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Saddam != Osama

Salon has a good essay by Kane Pryor, A National State of Confusion, discussing the lack of distinction made by most Americans between 9/11 and Iraq. Despite being "umbilically joined to the media's saturation coverage" of the war on terror,

Forty-four percent of Americans believe that most or some of the hijackers were Iraqi; another 6 percent believe that one of the hijackers was a citizen of that most notorious node in the axis of evil. That leaves 33 percent who did not know enough to offer an answer.
Actually, not a single one of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqui. Further, although 65 percent of Americans surveyed believe al-Quaida and Iraq to be allies, "those with a scholarly knowledge of al-Qaida have consistently spoken of al-Qaida's enmity for the secular rule of Saddam Hussein."

Pryor's deeper concern is with the way the administration so forcefully created a revisionist public account of Iraq's non-role in 9/11. Indeed, according to Pryor, every administration agenda item was carefully re-aligned to, somehow, be about terror: missile defense, Arctic Drilling, tax cuts, all "found themselves reinvented and reissued in the language of terrorism." Pryor blames the resurrection of virulent conservatism, as well as the press:

That the administration and the military of a nation -- even a great democratic nation -- should attempt to use disinformation to manufacture consent for an agenda should come as no surprise, even if it does disappoint and anger. That such an indubitable historical revisionism of 9/11 could occur can be seen as nothing less than a complete and profound failure of the media to protect the American people from virulent propaganda.
But he also points the finger at the public:
But true as it is that the science of mass media long ago discovered that what sells and what informs are very often polarized, the American public has not yet been deprived of the free will to seek out truth and knowledge. The public is equally responsible for its ignorance. The division between the true world and the media-driven perceived world has widened to such an extent that we were unable even to understand the questions demanded by 9/11; a mass cognitive dissonance was averted when "evil" was tacitly determined to be the official explanation for the terrorist attacks. As long as the popular understanding of "reality" continues to be a group of yesterday's celebrities on a stylized mobile set in outback Australia, Americans have little hope of understanding the world, much less their role within it.