White House guidelines on 9/11 messaging — don’t mention Baghdad

The New York Times in its Izvestia-like role as mouthpiece for the White House, shares some of the guidelines that have been sent to government officials with directions on how they should talk about 9/11, as its tenth anniversary approaches. Goodness knows what any of them might say if they were not provided with clear instructions on how to speak and think.

The documents being reported on have been distributed to hundreds, perhaps thousands of officials. They are referred to as “internal documents” which leads me to doubt that they are even classified as confidential, yet the Times, prissy as ever, didn’t publish the documents — merely quoted from them liberally.

There are two sets of guidelines — one on how American officials should communicate with other Americans and the other on how to talk to everyone else.

[T]he guidelines aimed at foreign audiences … call on American officials to praise overseas partners and their citizens, who have joined the worldwide effort to combat violent extremism.

“As we commemorate the citizens of over 90 countries who perished in the 9/11 attacks, we honor all victims of terrorism, in every nation around the world,” the overseas guidelines state. “We honor and celebrate the resilience of individuals, families, and communities on every continent, whether in New York or Nairobi, Bali or Belfast, Mumbai or Manila, or Lahore or London.”

Bali or Belfast?

There was a much more obvious city beginning with “B” to couple with Bali.


After all, more innocent civilians have died in terrorist attacks in that city alone in the last decade than in every other location on the planet where attacks have occurred.

Of course the subject of terrorism in Iraq is awkward for Americans since the lines between terrorism and warfare so often became blurred on an American-made battlefield that quickly became a terrorist training ground.

The report notes:

Some senior administration officials involved in the discussions noted that the tone set on this Sept. 11 should be shaped by a recognition that the outpouring of worldwide support for the United States in the weeks after the attacks turned to anger at some American policies adopted in the name of fighting terror — on detention, on interrogation, and the decision to invade Iraq.

So what tangible form does that recognition take?

Everyone should maintain a polite silence about Iraq. Oh… and don’t mention al Qaeda either. With bin Laden dead, al Qaeda is totally passé.

Let’s focus on the future (“present a positive, forward-looking narrative”) while we remember the past.

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2 thoughts on “White House guidelines on 9/11 messaging — don’t mention Baghdad

  1. Ian Arbuckle

    “While we member the past”, with the help of the memoirs of Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, war criminals parading their lies and distortions, being celebrated and taking pride in their criminality.

    It makes me sick, but then I have to remind myself that despite all these low life characters and those that followed them, the Banksters, and Wall Street sharks that pull the strings of Obama and his cronies, and all the lies, corruption, deaths and disasters that they have brought down on us all, the people still need to suffer more. Why? Because they still just care about the wrong things and so they will not stand up and change what is wrong.

    “Every nation has the government it deserves.” (“Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite.”) Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821), French speaking Savoyard philosopher, writer, lawyer and diplomat comment in a letter he wrote in August 1811, later published in Lettres et Opuscules Inedits (1851). As a critic of the French Revolution and the futile limitations of democracy what he really meant was, “Every nation has the government which it is fit for.”

    The American people need to grow (a pair) and stop worrying about their comfort, before its too late. They need way more fraud, tyranny, war and suffering before they move off the couch. At the moment they have the government “they are fit for”.

  2. BillVZ

    ”The guidelines aimed at foreign audiences … call on American officials to praise overseas partners and their citizens, who have joined the worldwide effort to combat violent extremism.”

    Golly , I guess “the horse was already out of the barn as to the intent of those guidelines- as horrified current and former American officials said that the recently released Wiki Leaks cables — give great concerns over the protection of scores of American Officials as well as creating a fresh source of diplomatic setbacks and embarrassment for the Obama administration.

    Will the NYT or Guardian give us a taste of what was in the leaks as to why there would be the need to protect American Officials? Just a thought!

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