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(Part II) I have a problem with . . . September 8, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Iraq.

Part II is here for your reading enjoyment

6. Clouding the nation in a fog of fear and misinformation.

This is one I have been pouring over for awhile. Control of information has long been an asset to those in power and to those who would wage war on false or misleading pretenses. So I struggle with this. With the media. At one moment a virtual pawn to an administration out of control with punch drunk power hunger. In another moment, critical, thinking and responding. Shedding the outer layer of hubris and becoming a champion of the people. Keith Olbermann has been one, a new Edward R. Murrow, a light in a time of darkness, hope where there was no hope. Tucker Carlson can occassionally become one. These among a few other writers and television anchors.

The fear that has proliferated the country post-9/11 is fueled, in general, by the occassional vague threat, unspecific in nature but always taken seriously. Subways, seaports, tunnels, malls, airliners, subways, threat after threat, subways, railroads and buses. (just warming us up with that one). Arrests. Also of a vague nature. Lackawanna Six, professors in Florida, Moussaoui, Attorney Generals at podiums blowing the trumpets of victory, regaling in their own brilliance and stunning prowess. And a media more accustomed to attending orchestated press junkets and news conferences and media events takes the bait and feeds the flames of fear.

But, “we are not descended from fearful men.” Where some see terror and fear others see the nexus of politics and terror and power.

And the media takes the bait. For the gatekeepers decide what is terror and what is to be feared. Events that never happened breed the most fear. Simply implanting the idea in the minds of the masses is usually enough. As long as you give them the assurance that all is well, with a downgrade of the terror alert or with an arrest, whatever it may be.

In the midst of all this, things randomly happen. Houses blow up. Crime always happens. Is a murderer a terrorist, if a terrorist isn’t a murderer? Or something like that.

The biggest events, stay overseas, if not in Iraq or Afghanistan, then in Madrid, London, Bali, Turkey, somewhere else, not here. The fear must be perfectly manipulated for the power grab to work without a hitch.

There are those things that happen which raise an eyebrow, but only slightly. They are often roundly ignored, downplayed, explained away. They happen everywhere. At home, such as in Oklahoma or San Francisco, Los Angeles or Seattle. Abroad just as, if not more often. Iraq and Afghanistan are either in civil war or rapidly tumbling toward it, depending on whom you ask. They are bad examples, surely, right? Well maybe not because events are going on in other places which seem to spiral us toward a more chaotic time period. But the information control is taut, and hard to tear through.

What things are ignored and why? Arrests more emphasized than certain events. Other events blown into giant multi media productions.

7. “Staying the course.”

Not even his original blather, Reagan and Bush Sr. used it all the time, but never mind that. Stay what course? The course of failure is no course to stay. If the current situation in Iraq doesn’t force a reassesment of goals, priorities and strategies then nothing ever will.

8. “Cut and run.”

Another buzz word. I hate buzz words. As if the only option is either immediate pull out or that stay the course nonsense. Eventually this war will come down to cut and run, which just need to decide how long we stay and fight after the war is already over for us and our interests. A guerilla insurgency is a wily enemy to be sure and one that the best generals couldn’t figure out in the jungles of Southeast Asia. It seems unlikely they will figure it out in the deserts of Southwest Asia considering the colassal failure to heed history which has so far guided the mission in Iraq into the biggest mistake the United States has made since Vietnam.

9. The Pentagon reporting of Vietnam-style “body counts.”

Is it the media that plays this up? The number of insurgents or terrorists killed by “U.S. and Coalition forces.” Doubtful. Doubtful indeed.

What wrong with body counts? A number of things.

Body counts are an inherently bad way to gauge the success or failure of an operation.

During WWI both sides lost 100s of thousands, millions, sometimes tens of thousands in single battles. But someone still won the war. During Vietnam tens of thousands of Americans were killed, over a million Vietnamese. But someone still won and it wasn’t the side with fewer casaulties. Casaulty counts fail to take into account human factors such as hatred, desire to fight, anger; the emotions which propel one in battle.

Body counts can never tell the story of the anger of a sons whose father is felled by their enemy. They can never tell how an invading forces destroys ones sense of pride in their nation.

So who is playing this up? The media? CNN, South African media, ABC, Radio Free Europe, wait, it’s the Manila Times or maybe the bloody British media, maybe it’s the Communists? It’s either a vast media conspiracy or someone else is feeding the media this information.

Oh, yeah, the good old U.S. military’s information controlling machine, courtesy of your tax dollars, thank you very much.

Yep. Their press releases: Aug. 29, Aug. 28, Aug. 28, Aug. 24. Body counts are emphasized and any action of significant size includes a press release with numbers of captured or detained enemy combatants or whatever you call them, oh, yeah, prisoners of war.

10. True believers

George W. Bush is not the Messiah, even if I liked him I wouldn’t say that. He is falliable, human and makes bad decisions and choices. He is not omniscient, nor are those he appoints. It is not up to him to ignore the public when the public cries out en masse about government policies. From a point of view independent of political parties, Bush has been bad for the Constitution, seperation of powers and checks and balances. This administration represents everything the founding fathers feared about centralized authority and too much federal power. Blind support of a president’s policies because of political affiliation is ignorant. Perhaps just as ignorant is blind support of said policies because you agree with a leader on certain issues, moral issues or social issues. Even if Bush’s stem cell, abortion, gay marriage and immigration stances are right and true and correct that doesn’t mean that all other policies are acceptable, no matter how you feel about the four “distraction issues” above.


1. strugglingwriter - September 8, 2006

“Staying the course.” I laugh every time Bush says we are “Staying the course.”. I have a hard time figuring out what “the course” is? What is our real goal in Iraq now? The Iraqis have a constitution and an elected government, what else are we doing there? Keeping the peace? I would rather “support the troops” and have them come home.

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