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Tuesday, September 11, 2007
(1:13 PM) | Stephen:
Anthrax Anthrax Anthrax

One of the more bizarre assertions made about the last 6 years is that there have been no more terrorist attacks on American soil. This claim is used to justify everything from the war in Iraq to all of the ways in which Americans' civil rights are violated on a daily basis.

Like any other claim of "success" in George Bush's policies, it's false:
The 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States, also known as Amerithrax from its FBI case name, occurred over the course of several weeks beginning on September 18, 2001. Letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news media offices and two Democratic U.S. Senators, killing five people and infecting 17 others.
Atrios makes a good point about the anthrax attacks, namely that they were actually more terrifying than the plane attacks in New York and the Pentagon. As horrifying as those were, no one really had the idea in their head that they would continue to happen on a daily basis. And most people in this country never enter a large and/or significant building at all, let alone every day. But we all get mail. With the anthrax attacks we had unknown person(s) sending this incredibly dangerous substance through our postal system, and we had no idea from whence or from whom it came.

There are several reasons why these attacks have been sent down the memory hole. First, Americans insist upon subscribing to the comforting fiction that terrorists are brown-skinned Muslims, not "regular" folks. Second, since the Bush Administration and conservative commentators started to immediately use 9/11 to attack liberals and Democrats - oh yes they did, within days of the attacks; the so-called political unity after the attacks consisted of Democrats supporting the President while he beat up on them - the presence of biological warfare agents being sent exclusively to Democratic Senators and the liberal media would have been quite inconvenient to acknowledge.

There is a third reason why the anthrax attacks have been largely forgotten, and this reason illustrates the one thing that the Bush Administration has always been able to do well. As I noted above, it was the anthrax attacks that really scared Americans, really hit them hard personally. 9/11 was horrible, but it was in the class of big, horrible things that don't happen too often. Without some hard work, the attacks on New York and the Pentagon were going to fade in people's minds into abstractions, like Hurricane Katrina or the Asian tsunami. What the Bush Administration was able to do - helped as always by their enablers in the media, both conservative commentators and by the so-called liberals who probably thought that by becoming Bush stenographers they would discourage further attacks - was take the climate of personal fear and tie it to the sense of national tragedy surrounding 9/11.

You can see, then, how we have been manipulated from the very beginning. How our emotions and fears have been twisted to serve the purposes of a few power-hungry, twisted old men in Washington, DC.

And on this anniversary of 9/11, Osama bin Ladin releases a tape, which is dutifully disseminated by our government and media, while General Petraeus sits in front of Congress to give a "report" that he didn't write about a "surge" that has not produced political reconciliation and has not reduced the violence in Iraq, which facts will be spun into justification for the continued presence of our overworked and under-equipped soldiers in a living hell.

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