Thursday, May 29, 2008

A propaganda lesson

The war in Iraq has been a study in propaganda in its most pernicious form. I was listening to the archivist and folk singer Utah Phillips the other day in an interview recorded before his death and he pointed out that before the Nazi party the word had a much more benign meaning. It was the conveying of information to support a position. In other words making an argument based on facts that supported your side. Goebbels corrupted that idea to mean making up the facts to support your side and the folks in the White House today have adopted this use of the word as their model. In making the case for the invasion it was not incumbent upon those that took the position that we had to invade to put forth the facts that did not favor their argument. In the market place of ideas that is the responsibility of the opposition. We can get to the failure of said opposition in another debate but the current administration new that the facts they were asserting were untrue. That is why they should be prosecuted as traitors and war criminals. When Dick Cheney went on television and said they knew the location of the WMD he knew that the fact he was asserting was a fabrication. The center for public integrity documented the 100’s of instances of this so I will move on to the present and the need for this little exercise in propaganda as it was originally defined.
The idea that John McCain is a teller of truths in the language of Bill Clinton is a fairytale. Let me provide a few examples. When the good Senator visited Iraq in 2007 in an effort to garner support for the ill-conceived war he visited an open air market. He then went on television to tell us that his visit proved that we winning the war because he could walk around and shop. One of his companions compared it to a farmers market in Indiana. Not having been to Indiana in a few years I can’t say that you do not need armed guards to shop there but here is the truth about Baghdad. For the Senator to walk around this safe secure marketplace he had to strap on a bullet proof vest, surround himself with 100 of our finest young soldiers and put 4 helicopters overhead to circle the area. A few weeks later this same market was closed by suicide bombings but as I stated before that is not his responsibility to bring out. Just don’t lie about your trip that’s all I ask. Did he forget that the cameras were running as Hilary Clinton did in Bosnia or was he counting on his pals in the mainstream media to go along with his lie as they had with the Bush folks.
McCain is pushing the, “the surge is working” meme so hard he make Sisyphus look like a piker. He quips in his speeches that General Petraeus drove around in an unarmored Humvee.The pentagon was denying this nonsense the moment they heard it and again McCain was forced to admit he, “misspoke” but in the same breath he uses the lie to support his bigger lie.
For those that try to advance the idea that we are winning in Iraq the phrase that our troops are doing everything we ask them to brilliantly tumbles from their mouths with ease. They deify the generals and when anyone dares to question their wisdom or competence that questioner is called un-American and traitor. I have one but one question for those folks. If they have done everything they have been asked and the surge strategy was so brilliantly designed to win why are they not on their way home to a well deserved victory parade?

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