Friday, October 29, 2004

That battle of perceptions

I’ve mentioned before the Bushies’ obsession with visual images in the Iraq War, from the staged toppling of Saddam’s statue to the flight deck, as if they’re constantly auditioning for a postage stamp.

This is especially the case for Secretary of War Rummy, who didn’t consider torture in Abu Ghraib an issue until the photos came out; before then it was “one-dimensional.” He was also much more angry about the release of the photographs than about what was in the photographs. At least one tactical decision, the assault on Fallujah in April, was entirely a response to images, those of the four dead contractors.

This week, Rummy gave a speech in which he said that terrorists are trying to scare off Americans with televised images of carnage. “They’re convinced that if they can win that battle of perceptions, managing the media and affecting people’s thinking, that we will lose our will and toss in the towel. Well, they’re wrong.”

The “war on terror” is not the only thing the Bushies are trying to sell as if it were toothpaste: they’re also trying to sell terror itself. The Blue Lemur has a scan of an RNC mailer with Kerry’s photo juxtaposed with images of the Twin Towers burning.

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