“It is the absolute right of the Sate to supervise the formation of public opinion.”
-- Joseph Goebbels, Third Reich Minister of Propaganda
-- Chuck Hagel, Senator (R-Nebraska)
“I will continue to focus on ways to insure that America prevails in the war on terror…protecting our citizens from those who would do us harm.”
Presumably, the President’s antidote involves alienating allies, inflaming half the American electorate, savaging the military, vanquishing the economy and creating the most prolific breeding ground for terrorism the world has ever seen.
“As we work to deliver opportunity at home, we’re also keeping you safe from threats abroad. WE WENT TO WAR BECAUSE WE WERE ATTACKED, AND WE ARE STILL AT WAR TODAY BECAUSE THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO WANT TO HARM OUR COUNTRY AND HURT OUR CITIZENS.”
This statement, as incredible as it seems, really demonstrates Bush’s genius and shows why he should not be dismissed as a hapless simpleton blundering his way through the political china shop. Bush has the ability to look straight into the camera lens and offer up the most astonishing lies, fully aware that his audience already has a firm understanding of the facts. Everyone knows there’s no connection between the war and Iraq and 9-11, and that, the “facts and intelligence were fixed to fit the policy.” Nevertheless, Bush’s unswerving commitment to fabrication and his visceral grasp of personal power allows him to deceive without flinching, a talent that catapults him into the rarified company of the foremost tyrants of the 20th century.
Can we see the similarities between Bush’s comments and those of his predecessor, Joseph Goebbels some 60 years earlier:
“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly -- it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
Bush has internalized this directive, whether he ever plodded through the history of the Second World War at Yale or not. He understands the power of repetition and its effect on co-opting public opinion.
“The world’s terrorists have made Iraq a central front in the war on terror. These foreign terrorists violently oppose the rise of a free and democratic Iraq, because they know when we replace despair and hatred with liberty and hope, they lose their recruiting grounds for terror.”
Even now, when most Americans know that the burgeoning Iraqi resistance is mainly comprised of Iraqi nationals fighting to end the occupation of their country, Bush still returns to the hackneyed lies of foreign terrorists swarming to fight America in an apocalyptic battle for the Middle East.
“Our troops are fighting these terrorists in Iraq so you will not have to face them here at home…. This mission isn’t easy, and it will not be accomplished overnight. We’re fighting a ruthless enemy that relishes the killing of innocent men, women and children. By making their stand in Iraq, the terrorists have made Iraq a vital test for the future security of our country and the free world.”
Again, Bush who repeatedly notes that the war on terror should not be confused with a war on Islam, summons up the most lurid imagery whenever it suits his objectives.
“A ruthless enemy that relishes killing…children”?
How does Bush’s incendiary rhetoric and racist stereotyping square with his claims of seeking a “secure…and free world”? And how does Bush’s finger-pointing match up to the facts as we know them today: that 500,000 (mostly children) were killed by the brutish sanctions levied against Iraq by (primarily) the US; that 100,000 Iraqis (mostly civilians) have been killed in the two years since the war began; that somewhere between 20,000 to 60,000 Iraqis are being detained right now without charge by occupiers of an invasion that was called “illegal” by the Secretary General of the UN; that social services and unemployment are worse than they were under Saddam; and that the daily humiliation and suffering of occupation has destroyed the fabric of Iraqi society.
The Iraqi people have a keen understanding of terrorists; at least 140,000 of them are occupying their country right now, plus a few stragglers from Syria and Saudi Arabia. They’ve seen through the sham of Bush’s promises for liberation and democratization, and the American people are not far behind. Despite Dick Cheney’s delusional palavering that the insurgency is in its “last throes,” the American mission is teetering in Iraq and no amount of presidential blather will set it straight.
As Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel said, “Things aren’t getting better, they’re getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It’s like they’re just making it up as they go along. The reality is we’re losing in Iraq.”
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state, and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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