Thursday, March 12, 2009


Last night on Hardball, Ari Fleischer said this to Chris Matthews:

After September 11th, having been hit once, how could we take a chance that Saddam might strike again?

Yup -- Saddam.

For this Atrios calls him "the worst person in the world." But I see the situation differently.

Psychologists such as Elizabeth Loftus believe that false memories can be implanted -- by, say, interviewers talking to alleged victims of Satanic ritual abuse. Here's a story about one experiment that seems to demonstrate the process in action:

Imagine you've just been through a Guantanamo-style interrogation by a man in a prisoner-of-war camp. You're sitting in an isolation cell, when another of your captors bursts in the door, brandishing a photo of a man, and asking, "Did your interrogator give you anything to eat?" The man leaves, but later as your ordeal is ending, you're asked to pick out your interrogator from nine faces.

Surely, his image would be burned into your memory, right?


Using data from soldiers in a mock prisoner-of-war exercise within the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape programs of the U.S. military, new research shows that 85 percent of soldiers chose the man in the photograph -- who was not involved in any way -- instead of the man who had actually subjected them to what the military calls a "very stressful interrogation" that could have included a variety of physically demanding tasks and some violence.
In other words, soldiers undergoing mock interrogations can be tricked by simple psychological techniques into misidentifying their interrogator....

The post-9/11 Bush administration was a version of that experiment, one that went on for years; 9/11 was the stressful interrogation -- and Saddam was the man in the photograph who had nothing to do with the interrogation. I really believe that Ari Fleischer, after going to work day after day in the post-9/11 Bush White House, genuinely thinks, on some semi-conscious level, that Saddam was the guy who launched the 9/11 attacks.

The disgrace of it all is that the Bush kept waving the photograph at us, not just one another.

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