April 16, 2003
Winning the Hearts and Minds of Americans: The Battle for Democracy in Our Homeland, Part VIII
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Eighth in a Series of BuzzFlash Editorials
When a People are Deprived of Their History, It is Much Easier to Write a New One for Them. Isn't It?
It took 24 hours to destroy thousands and thousands of years of history housed in the Iraqi antiquities museum, along with the written legacy of ancient civilizations destroyed in the Iraqi national library and religious texts:
This devastation of loss to mankind merited barely a word of acknowledgment in the daily Don Rumsfeld disinformation briefings. Instead, he ridiculed coverage of the destruction by dismissively claiming that the television stations were showing the same young man carrying the same vase over and over again.
After all, erasing history -- Iraqi or American -- is what the Bush administration does day in and day out. So what better way to conquer a nation than by allowing its history to be destroyed by looters?
For the Bush Cartel, their truth and lies barely last through the next news hour, before their stories and excuses evolve to meet changing needs. Due to the lack of any meaningful Democratic opposition, they have become emboldened with lying and are almost giddy with weaving increasingly transparent tales of deception.
Let's explore just one case in point. For those Americans who don't watch FOX News, CNN or MSNBC, it is despairingly unbelievable that the Bush Cartel has gotten away Scott-free with its failure to find any Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. It was the most frequent cudgel that they used to try and get the U.N. Security Council to authorize an invasion of that country. We heard Bush, Rumsfeld, Powell, Perle and the crew rail on and on about how time was running out before Iraq would attack America. We might all be incinerated within weeks by Saddam's nuclear capability -- and wantonly killed in subways by his chemical and biological weaponry.
But no WMD's were used in the recent war against our forces. Barely a few limp missiles got off the ground during the entire war. Damage to a mall in Kuwait was actually caused by an errant U.S. missile. There was not a SCUD to be found.
Yes, the Bush administration will eventually embed WMDs somewhere in Iraq and claim that the "discovered WMD's" justified the invasion. They will need to do that to save face. They aren't allowing any U.N. observers or third parties to accompany their mysterious WMD search teams, so who would know if the Bush Cartel planted the WMD's or not?
But maybe they won't even bother with the WMD implants. After all, they have moved the WMD shell game to Syria now, claiming that Saddam shipped them there. Of course, beyond the fact that the Bush Cartel got away with such a brazen thuggish lie about Iraq's alleged WMD's, they are now compounding the tall story by saying Saddam hid them in Syria in order to justify military action against THAT nation.
It is hard to even begin to disentangle the illogic of the Bush Cartel lies, because they become so shamelessly compounded that you feel a bit like trying to sort out the trash from a liar's club picnic. But, we will just ask one of a thousand potential questions about the Bush prevarications and then move on. If Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction were such an immediate threat to the U.S. that we had to invade his country immediately, why would he ship them to another nation and not use them against us? What were they created for then? The Bush Cartel would have us believe that Dr. Evil was about to launch a nuclear/chemical weapons/biological agent attack against the U.S., but then ship all of the weapons for this attack to another country (Syria) so that he couldn't use them. Saddam's one clever guy, ain't he?
It reminds us of the story that the Pentagon office of disinformation floated, "on background," to the American press, in the period building up to the invasion, that Saddam had loaded all his WMD onto three ships that were sailing around in the Indian Ocean. (BuzzFlash is not making this up.) The American media ran with the story, including the Pentagon explanation that the U.S. military did not attack the ships because they were afraid of unleashing the catastrophic effects of the WMD's loaded onboard. Of course, the story was discredited within a few days, but the "fright scare" headline had done its work, adding to a daily diet of such fear-inciting stories apparently created by some mildly retarded offspring of a Bush administration official.
Some days, it seems that the White House and the Pentagon are almost giddy with the lies that they can get away with it, because the Democrats are psychologically unable to call them liars and force them off of their game. We heard in the last week that looting is a healthy sign of democracy, that protests against the American occupation among Iraqis is a positive sign of dissent unless you have to shoot them, that tax cuts will help the war effort, that no-bid contracts to cronies are good examples of free enterprise, that dissent in Iraq about the war is good but dissent in America about the war is bad, that democracy is succeeding in Afghanistan, that the war would be won even if Saddam isn't found, that record-setting deficits are good for America, that the coalition of "the willing" is growing. It's all such extraordinary fabrication and spin that it boggles the mind.
How does the Bush Cartel get away with it? Well, for one, they have no effective opposition. As we have noted many times, Tom Daschle occasionally challenges the administration. Then the administration calls him a traitor or something like that. Then Tom Daschle apologizes to a South Dakota newspaper and keeps quiet for awhile. That's the regular pattern, just like clockwork.
The second reason that the Bush Cartel can get away with it is the unrelenting assault of their sheer brazenness. It's like the old Soviet Union; the more you lie, the more that you are emboldened to create bigger lies.
The third reason is that the media in America has little, if any historical memory, beyond the latest news cycle. The Republicans, as we have noted, are masters at creating "unfolding factoids" that become news events with ongoing stages. This means the media covers each stage almost separately. News cycles turn over in a matter of minutes and hours sometimes. This process eliminates the likelihood that the Bush Cartel will be held accountable for the fact that a new stage of the "unfolding factoid" completely contradicts a former Bush Cartel statement. The press is too busy reporting about the new crumbs tossed to them as the story moves onto another "stage." Karl Rove knows that the biggest threat to exposing the ceaseless Bush Cartel barrage of lies is a long stretch of slow news days.
The fourth reason is that the corporate media is more and more leading the Bush agenda, not just following it. One commentator noted the other day that "Bush made the decision to go to war, but FOX News wrote the script." Bush, in many ways, is irrelevant to the war and domestic politics, except as a front man. The corporate media, with the tone set by Murdoch's news properties, is collaborating with the Bush administration right wing and Neo-Con strategists to sell a war by telling a story in a certain way that "brands" it. It's the advertising concept adapted to war. FOX News has become the "Coca Cola" for the Iraq War. Increasingly, the other media outlets, particularly on cable, are imitating the propaganda/entertainment mix that FOX News has trail blazed.
After all, a prominent media audience analyst reportedly told television news stations that covering peace protests was a downer for viewers. To keep their ratings up, the news stations should stay "positive" on the "patriotism" of war. Furthermore, even the New York Times reportedly joined other media in not showing too many Iraqi or American casualties because it was perceived as turning readers and viewers off.
We had a war that was covered more with ratings and circulation figures in mind than with news value judgments guiding the process. This lends itself perfectly to the permanent war political strategy of the Bush Cartel.
We have a media machine that rewrites history every news cycle in America. We have a media machine that increasingly relies on the manipulation of symbol and image over meaning, history and experience.
In Iraq, a heinous crime was committed when antiquities and books, our collective heritage as a people of the earth, was destroyed in a few hours of wanton looting, while the Bush Cartel protected the ministry building overseeing oil production in Iraq. It was a win-win situation for the Bush administration. The oil concession for American and British companies was seized and protected. The history of Iraq's rich culture was destroyed.
When a people are deprived of their history, it is much easier to write a new one for them. Isn't it?
* * *
the Hearts and Minds of Americans: The Battle for Democracy in
Our Homeland, Part
I: The "Infallibility" of America's
Part II: The Democratic Leadership Doesn't Even Have a Clue
Part III: These Men Died in Vietnam While George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
Avoided Combat Like Cowards
IV: John Kerry, Don't Apologize For Telling The Truth: The Future
Of Democracy Depends Upon Exposing The Chronic Lies And Deceptions
Of The Bush Cartel
V: OPTION 3c
VI: Iraq, For All Practical Purposes, Will Become America's 51st
State. In More Ways
VII: Can the Heathen Right Wing Media Pundits be Conquered and Civilized?
The Perfect War
We are in a Nation Ruled by Madmen Who Will Bury the U.N.
U.N. "Win-Win" for the Bush Cartel: Security Council
Supports Iraq War Or U.N. Disbands
George W. Bush Can't Tell the Difference Between a Democracy And a Puppet
There Tom Daschle Goes Again
Just Two Weeks, Rumsfeld Insults, Disparages and Demeans Veterans, the
French, the Germans and the Joint Chiefs of Staff: The Ship of Fools
Running Our Ship of State
to the Muscle Beach Party
otherwise noted, all original