The curtain opened on the Attack Iraq scenario with what was billed as an heroic bid to end the war before it started. If only the head of state, and former ally, could be murdered in his bed using high altitude precision guided bombs, steerable even through cloud cover, we could call it a day. Worth a try, right?
The new bunker busters had been ordered up in a hurry and having stealth bombers drop some was the Beltway Goon wet dream du jour. A pretext for pre-emption was all the Neocons needed. Since the War on Terror had been personalized to Osama and Saddam, viewers already understood that a manhunt could be a wartime activity, involving cruise missiles and high altitude bombers.
The American public was asked to believe the CIA had spooky insider knowledge that Saddam's chances of being in that secret bunker were greater than fifty-fifty. Given the number of American lives that might be put in harm's way should Operation Iraqi Freedom proceed on schedule (which it did), the President and Secretary of Defense must be forgiven for trying. Great cover story.
Of course in reality there was no such bunker and Saddam was not waiting around in Baghdad while CNN waited breathlessly for some explosions for the home-viewer voyeurs. Whether the CIA really had any spooky insider knowledge was irrelevant as the only important order of business was to get some stealth bombers doing their thing on TV, being heroic and all, their pilots getting in harm's way.
As we see in Why We Fight, a postmortem documentary, the neighborhood was populated with ordinary civilians. The "precision guiding" practiced here had nothing to do with geography or preventing the slaughter of these innocent "extras" in the Pentagon's show, and everything to do with surgically wiring US TV viewers to appreciate how supremely awesome and shocking the Beltway Goons could really be, so they'd pop popcorn and cheer for more, good patriots that they be. What, no Saddam under that palatial tea cup? It's a shell game! Bomb them all! Go Team America.
The TV dupes and doofuses bought it, hook, line and sinker. The myth of "trying to stop the war at Dora" was spun, whereas in reality it was planned as a curtain opener, with much more to come. So much more. The Attack Iraq extravaganza would be another one for the history books. Many proud and heroic chapters would follow, with troops putting themselves in harm's way all over the map.