Monday, March 24, 2008

From Osama to Saddam: Tracing how 9-11 transited America through Afghanistan and into Iraq

PBS’s Frontline documentary series began a two part investigation and review of the seminal events of the last seven years of American history. Called Bush’s War, it explores the chain of events put in place by the terror strikes on the World Trade center of September 11, 2001.

From the early days of the American reply to the Taliban held areas of Afghanistan hosts to Al Qaeda, through the infighting within the Bush Administration between Defense and the CIA.

It examines the role of Vice President Dick Cheney, the most powerful of Vice-Presidents in recent American history and his control of the file from the outset of the attacks on the World Trade Centre.

Cheney swayed by his fellow neo-cons develops the plan for extraordinary powers for the Presidency, the development of the detainees program that would see combatants come from the Afghanistan campaign and from other locales as well, all to be housed at Guantanamo Bay. From there it was on to changing the focus of the agenda, from hunting down Bin Laden to the need to quash the totalitarian state of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

The turf war between Defense and the CIA would continue on through this period of time, providing less than reliable information which none the less seems to have been taken as gospel, as it fit in with the plans being drawn up by the White House.

Using the Frontline documentary style of showing key video moments, interchanged by first hand accounts by many of the participants of the time, it provides an overview of how the events led to the current situation in Iraq after five years of combat.

Still on the loose is Osama Bin Laden, who may or not still be alive and living in Afghanistan, Pakistan or any other number of countries. Whether still alive or long gone, his image and legacy is still used to provide a reminder that the main focus of those early days after 9-11 have never been fully addressed, as the US became sidetracked in its Iraqi endeavors.

Gone from the scene are Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell, two key figures who frequently came to verbal blows over the direction of the American agenda. Powell who made those famous speeches and quoted any number of studies, reports and worrisome rumours to the UN and the US Congress, much of which led to the Iraqi war.

Rumsfeld, who tried to redesign the US Military and sowed much of the confusion within that service eventually retired from his post, after a number attempts were refused by the President despite the growing outcry over Rumsfelds performance.
A number of other US officials both neo-cons and whistle blowers alike have been cast off or moved on to the shadows. And now with seven months until America selects a new President, the principles of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney too will soon be leaving the political scene.

The Frontline production reviews much of the events of the last seven years of their administration, most of which has been framed through the prism of war, domestic intelligence gathering and constant fears of another terrorist threat. An era which has weighed heavily on the American people, who have been quite willing to accept the word of their government, without seeking out too much in the way of a counter opinion.

Frontline shows that inside that Administration, there was more than enough drama taking place. With the followers of the Cheney/Rumsfeld perceptions seeming to win most of the battles, holding sway over key officials and of most importance of the President.

The Frontline site features a number of extras to view, a timeline of the events that led to war, interviews with key officials, reporters and observers of the time and numerous links for more information for those looking for more detail on the issues of the day.

Most importantly, PBS is streaming the entire program on its website.

So if you’ve missed part one which aired on Monday night, you can catch up to it anytime you wish by clicking here.

Part two airs on Tuesday night, and it too will be available on the Frontline website upon the completion of its airing.

For anyone who is looking for a refresher course on how we got to where we are, Part one provides a comprehensive review of the events. How the links between the administration officials created the policies of the day, that have to this day have left many Americans concerned about the direction of their nation.

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