Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq

By Susan A. Brewer | Go to book overview

6
Operation Iraqi Freedom

War and Infoganda

We will not allow any terrorist or tyrant to threaten civilization with weapons
of mass destruction.

George W. Bush, 2002

I wish I could have some real answers to why we’re here, but I don’t think I’ll
ever have them.

U.S. soldier in Iraq, 2005

WHEN HE LAUNCHED OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM in March 2003, President George W Bush declared that war would make Americans safer and the Iraqis free. Such assertions masked the real purpose: the expansion of U.S. influence in the Middle East. In the months following the terrorist attack by Islamic extremists in September 2001, the president decided to invade Iraq in order to remove dictator Saddam Hussein from power and transform the Persian Gulf nation into a reliable ally. Officials came up with many reasons why Americans must fight, designed to rally support for a war of choice. Their masterful promotion of Operation Iraqi Freedom initially disguised flawed intelligence and inept planning for the occupation. The disastrous results left many Americans wishing for real answers about why they were fighting in Iraq.

Following in the footsteps of McKinley, Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, and Johnson, Bush described a clash between civilization and barbarism. As had his predecessors, the president extolled the American mission. “The United States will use this moment of opportunity to extend the benefits of freedom across the globe,” Bush announced in September 2002. “We will actively work to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets, and free

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