Psychological operations are a part of warfare where you use unconventional weapons, such as propaganda, distraction and fear, to cripple your enemy and make it easier to accomplish your goals. Enter the boogeyman principle.
The fact is that the Iraq disaster has not been going well for some time. Mission accomplished came such a long time ago for George Bush. Since then there has been one shocking revelation after another, one misstep after another, one scandal after another. There are at least 2,500 dead American soldiers and no matter how many times the administration comes before the cameras to tell us how great things are going, the costs of this war are increasingly unacceptable to the people of this country. The only way to maintain the war, which is the goal, the powers that be need fear on their side. Fear requires a face. The face is what we can look to when a bomb goes off, when the tide is turning against us, or when the people want to talk about troop withdrawal. The face is the boogeyman. He represents our enemy, our goals, and our fears. He is why we continue to wage a war we have no business being in. When the chips are down, the approval ratings are hitting bottom and the press is getting to close to the truth, you can wave the boogeyman in front of the people and make it all go away.
The ultimate boogeyman for the Iraq War has been Osama bin Hiding. He carries the sins of 911 and is the reason we went into this quagmire. As boogeymen go though, he is too large to kill off, despite the fact that he was reported dead already:
The government however denounced this story as inaccurate because they are well aware that without him, the enemy has no face. Without bin Laden, the people would demand the boys come home. Justice for 911 would be served and the war would be seen as over by the people because it was sold to us as retribution, not the vision of spreading democracy. No, bin Laden, who once worked for the CIA, cannot be killed off. The war machine does not want him dead. They need him alive. The only thing the war machine wants is the continual perpetuation of the war. Afghanistan, Iraq, maybe Iran. Bin Laden is the primary boogeyman that cannot be caught, so there needs to be secondary boogeymen.
Enter Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Had you heard of him before this war? I thought not. Suddenly a couple of years ago, it was Zarqawi that began being blamed for everything that went wrong in Iraq. He became the poster child for the war on terror. Even the Washington Post had reported on the decision to glorify all violence in Iraq to Zarqawi as a psyop:
"The Zarqawi campaign is discussed in several of the internal military documents. "Villainize Zarqawi/leverage xenophobia response," one U.S. military briefing from 2004 stated. It listed three methods: "Media operations," "Special Ops (626)" (a reference to Task Force 626, an elite U.S. military unit assigned primarily to hunt in Iraq for senior officials in Hussein's government) and "PSYOP," the U.S. military term for propaganda work..." (WP. 10 April 2006)
At best, Zarqawi was a minor player, trumped up into the boogeyman to keep America cowering so the war machine could roll on. At worst he was a ghost. Either way, why would the administration decide to kill off their major asset in fear? The reasons appear to be threefold. First, the notion of catching the number two guy in al Qaeda was growing quite thin. As I had written once, the number two guy in al Qaeda was becoming akin to being the guy in the red shirt in a landing party on the old Star Trek series; you just knew he wasn 't coming back. The second reason for the timing was the current state of the GOP, the president, and the war. Bush 's approval rating had slipped to 29%, the rating for the Congress was in the 30 's, and support for the war was not much better. America now realizes that it is the rubber stamp GOP Congress that is just as guilty and complicit with the current state of affairs in this country. Suddenly the talk was about the GOP losing control of Congress in this year 's elections. If that was to happen the democrats would suddenly have the subpoena power they now lack to properly investigate the illegal spying on American citizens, the Downing Street Memos, or any number of illegal activities from this administration, including the lies that sent us into this war to begin with. With these types of numbers, the GOP could not wait until the elections grew closer. It is difficult enough to overcome negative ratings this low, let alone to do it in a short period of time. The last reason may very well be what was dominating the press right when Zarqawi went to paradise. After the gay marriage amendment sham failed miserably, not to pass but to distract the American people, the top story was Haditha. Do you remember Haditha? It was the primary story across this country before Zarqawi went down. After Zarqawi, it was continual full - court press coverage on finally getting the number one guy in al Qaeda. Every channel waxing philosophically about the war on terror and how this news would revitalize the sagging Bush numbers. It was packaged and sold to us as a near justification for everything that had gone so horribly wrong the previous three years. Forget the pitiful economy, $3 a gallon of gas, and the massacre at Haditha, we got Abu!
The boogeyman was eliminated. This should have been a watermark moment for the administration 's war efforts but what was the message coming from every GOP lip? This death could actually spur more violence, and the war was not over! Of course not. Feel good America, but do not think that it actually means anything to bring the troops home. Someone would step up to take his place after all. Someone has to for the war machine to roll on. And it took only a couple of days.
Enter Sheikh Abu Hafs al-Kurani. Two days after the death of Zarqawi, the sinister al Qaeda announced that Kurani will take the place of the boogeyman. Take heed America. Become vigilant against the psyops being waged against you. I pray I am wrong but take notice if the stories start reflecting Kurani as the new Zarqawi. If he starts being blamed for everything in Iraq then hearken back to how they sold the ghost Zarqawi to you. If you see Bush starting to reference Kurani in his press conferences as why we are fighting this war, remember all those Zarqawi press conferences.
Remember the propaganda, the distractions, and the fear. The boogeyman 's power is not in what he can do to you, but in what he represents to you. He represents fear. As a child must eventually learn to grow, the boogeyman does not really exist. His power resides only in your insistence to believe that he exists. Does that mean that I believe Zarqawi was not a real man? No. It means that he was not what the government wanted me to believe he was. It means that when the most ruthless terrorist in the world does not know how to use a machine gun, I have to wonder why. It means when he dies at a politically expedient time and the complicit press goes on a week long marathon of coverage as if he disappeared in Aruba, I have to wonder why. It means I have to wonder who the new boogeyman will be. Maybe this Kurani guy. Who knows? I pray that I am wrong, but I am just not getting that vibe.
The way to overcome fear is to face it. This country is too important to continue to allow its fleecing by the most corrupt government in modern history. The bottom line is Bush is gone in two more years and he will take the truth with him if we let him. He will take the truth about Plamegate, NSA spying, the Downing Street Memos, secret energy task force meetings, torture, and all of the laws he has broken. He will continue to drop bombs in Iraq and float your fears in front of you. He will dangle them in from of you to distract you from the truth. The truth is in the closet America. There are no boogeymen. The closest thing we have to them need to be voted out of office this fall so that we will again be a country that embraces the truth and faces our fears.