The 9-11 attacks on America left its citizens in a state of shock. President George W. Bush responded by declaring “war on terror”. This two-part documentary looks at the role propaganda played leading up to 9-11 and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a story of hearts and minds won and lost on a battlefield that has no boundaries. In a digital age, when terrorists are recruited online and hate propaganda flourishes, how do we know where the truth lies?
1991. Out of the ruins of the Cold War, a dominant America finds itself in a new kind of war. A war with no true battlefield, no front lines, in which religion will be used as a weapon.
It all begins with Operation Desert Storm. The Americans easily win the first Gulf War and drive Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, but they will make two decisions that fundamentally impact the future: Saddam Hussein is left in power in Iraq, while U.S. military troops remain in Saudi Arabia to ensure the region’s stability.
U.S. President George W. Bush sells his war in Iraq as a necessary conflict aimed at removing a dictator whose weapons of mass destruction pose a global terrorist threat. “Operation Iraqi Freedom” is supposed to be a quick surgical strike, a campaign of “shock and awe”.
The western media jumps at the chance to cover the story, but reporters have limited access, except for those “embedded” with the military. After three weeks, Bush declares “Mission Accomplished”. The war is over, but it’s really only the beginning. A guerilla insurgency takes hold. Al Jazeera, the Arabic language network, chronicles the conflict in detail. The White House loses control of its propaganda message; first, with the bloody combat in the city of Fallujah, then with shocking images from the Abu Ghraib jail, where American soldiers are revealed to be abusing their Iraqi prisoners.