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Keywords:

  • banal nationalism;
  • U.S. invasion of Iraq;
  • weapons of mass destruction

Abstract.

U.S. armed forces invaded Iraq in March 2003, claiming that the country had weapons of mass destruction (wmd) which it intended to use against the United States Although evidence of the existence of these wmd was limited, President George W. Bush's administration faced little opposition in taking the United States to war. Using the concepts of “iconography” and “banal nationalism,” I argue that the events of 9/11 and the subsequent outpouring of nationalism dampened opposition to the invasion of Iraq. The increased display of the American flag in the aftermath of 9/11 was emblematic of this increase in nationalism and generated additional support for the Bush administration's decision to go to war. This nationalism further created a form of “collective amnesia” that limited the citizenry's receptivity to information contradicting the administration's narrative, which continues to linger.