“[T]he intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.”
-- Richard Dearlove,
former head of British M16
American leftists and liberals have failed to grasp the importance of Dearlove’s statement to Tony Blair and his top advisors in a secret meeting nine months before the invasion of Iraq. (Dearlove told Tony Blair that the US attack on Saddam would be “justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD.”)
Yes, the information does confirm that Bush intended to attack Iraq from the very beginning without any compelling evidence of WMD or connections with al Qaida. And, yes, this does only reinforce what many of us suspected from the very onset: that the justification for war was built entirely on lies and demagoguery. Maybe that’s why so many people are dismissing the memo with a shrug of the shoulders like its yesterday's news. But, the Dearlove memo is much more than that. It is the first piece of incontrovertible evidence that a criminal conspiracy took place at the highest levels of government to lead the nation to war. It’s easy to understand why the mainstream media has concealed this story as much as possible. The circulation of this information has the power to erode public support for the occupation and end the war.
We need to remember that over 50% of the American public still believes that Saddam was either working with al Qaida, had WMD, or was directly involved in 9-11. In other words, support for the war is entirely predicated on false information. The only way to dispel these commonly held illusions is by producing concrete evidence to the contrary. We now have that proof in the Dearlove memo.
We’re basically engaged in an information war, and we need to take the initiative. We have to accept responsibility for getting our own message out and abandon the crazy notion that the corporate media will bow to public pressure. The media is the most powerful weapon in the imperial arsenal and the people in charge are not going to provide access for an effort that runs counter to their basic interests.
Now that we have hard evidence of a conspiracy we need to recognize that the truth is not enough. We have to develop the strategies that will take that grain of truth to where it is needed most: to the people who still support the war.
So, how do we ensure that every American knows the content of this one damning document? How do we use the truth as means for ending the occupation of Iraq?
1) Coordination: We need a coordinated strategy to access whatever media is available to the antiwar public (mainly web sites and leftist journals) and ask them to provide a small section of front page space to alert their readers to the Dearlove memo and a link to its content. This should serve as a nagging reminder that we now have definite proof that the war was the result of deception. Left-leaning radio shows, like Air America and Democracy Now! should work up a similar plan.
2) Language is fundamental to the dissemination of ideas. We need a concise two or three word euphemism that summarizes the details of the memo so that it becomes an integral and unforgettable part of a national campaign. The administration has been very effective in using language (“preemption”, “silver bullet”, “unlawful combatant”, “war on terror”) to crystallize their hard-right ideology and make it palatable for the masses. We need a similar strategy to spread the facts. Perhaps, “the Dearlove memo” or “the smoking gun memo.”
3) There must be a steady, deliberate approach to revealing the contents of the memo. Dearlove's comments should be repeated over and over to maximize public saturation.
4) We must take our message to the other side. Right wing radio provides a forum that invites infiltration; it’s just a matter of dropping a few words about the memo that might provoke listener interest. They also have web pages where anyone can jot down their thoughts. We should be willing to enter the discussions on right-wing blogs and supply the details of Dearlove’s communiqué to their readers. There’s a direct relationship between support for the war and knowledge of the facts. The truth is our greatest asset.
The success of the antiwar, anti-imperial movement depends on our ability to disseminate information beyond the corrupted grip of the mainstream press. The Dearlove memo provides the first real challenge to alternative media to step up to the plate, coordinate its efforts, and deliver the goods. I believe it is still possible to get the message out through unconventional channels, and in doing so bring about a speedy end to the war in Iraq and a stunningly blow to the media octopus that’s strangling our democracy.
It can be done, with an intelligent coordinated attack that pools our collective talents, provides a clear message and repeats that message persistently from every vantage point until every American citizen knows the real truth about our criminal involvement in Iraq.
The war will only end when support for the war ends at home. We have a new weapon in that struggle: the truth. Let’s use it.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state, and can be reached at: email@example.com.
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