Monday, November 22, 2004

Cognitive dissonance and support for Bush: "What we've seen in the last four years is Team Bush skillfully manipulating perceptions using the theory of cognitive dissonance. After the 9-11 terror attacks, when we invaded Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, we as a nation had the option of 1. recognizing that our government is hardly better than the terrorists we condemn because we too kill civilians for political ends or 2. buying our cult leaders' patently obvious lie that "freedom is on the march." Which one do most people find more comfortable to believe? Which one rewards the believers with a sense of doing the right thing and which one punishes them with the sense that they, even they, are part of a horrible evil?

"This is why military families as a group continue to support Bush's war of aggression in Iraq. They can say 1. the war is a ridiculous fraud and our children/spouses are putting themselves in danger in an enterprise that makes America more (not less) likely to be attacked or 2. this is a heroic sacrifice that our children/spouses are willing to pay to depose a threatening tyrant and establish freedom around the world. Accepting the truth that one's own child died a preventable death for absolutely nothing requires the kind stoic realism that few people possess. It sends Americans into a confusing twilight zone of questioning everything they have been so painstakingly taught-that our war-time leaders really care about our soldiers, that they act in the best interest of the country, that when the chips are down and it really matters, our leaders are good and true, that if America decides to go to war, we must be in the right. It threatens to unhinge us from a belief system we have relied on our entire lives.

"The alternative, that our president would knowingly mislead the public to take control of oilfields, sacrifice soldiers' lives to enrich his business cronies, and kill Iraqi children to make countries like Saudi Arabia toe the American line, is just too agonizing a thought to be dreamt of for most Americans."

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