Thursday, January 17, 2008
War Made Easy How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death
Last night I saw War Made Easy, an amazing film that traces the way war is constructed by Presidents in the same way over and over, putting over first lies, then drumbeats, "Peace" "Freedom" "Democracy" to make war, spread destruction, kill thousands.
In World War I ten percent of deaths were civilians. In the Iraq war ninety percent of deaths are civilians. The film used clips that dated all the way back to Roosevelt, and even World War I, but focused on the period from LBJ to GW Bush. There was even a transcript of Nixon talking about using nuclear weapons in Vietnam at the same time that he gave public speeches as a "man of peace." The film laid bare the full extent of the campaign to disguise the death and destruction of war, to ignore the will of the people, to discredit opponents, to silence the perspectives of those being attacked.
Norman Solomon has analyzed the rhetoric of war from its initial promotion to the final withdrawal, and found astonishingly similar terms over the course of every war: contrived issues or provocations, Congressional resolution, ridicule of doubters, "support our troops", admiration for military equipment by press,; then as the war drags on , escalation of the war, increased death justified for peace, and finally, the use of the meaningless term "quagmire", and using nationals to kill each other, instead of US soldiers. And throughout the film, were pictures of people killed and terrified by actions on the ground that are the physical manifestation of this fabrication of of Peace, peace, peace, war for peace.
At the outset of World War II, there was Pearl Harbor, which FDR apparently knew was coming.
At the outset of the US war against Vietnam there was the Gulf of Tonkin incident, supposedly an attack from the North Vietnamese. It has been recently admitted to be a fraud. Congress authorized the war immediately.
Today we have some sort of incident in the Strait of Hormuz, well timed as Bush visits his Middle East. No identity was established for the small boats that approached the big aircraft carriers in a narrow strait, but we do know from experts that the "threats" recorded on a radio were not spoken by Iranian Farsi speakers.
And of course there was 9/11 that enabled the vague purposefully unending "war on terror". Fitting it into this established narrative for war, it is a smooth example of a provocation which led immediately to the Congressional resolution, the drumbeat, the ridicule of doubters ( in this case firing journalists), the celebration of the military, the support our troops, and now we have gotten to the end of the narrative, the arming of nationals, in this case Iraqi Sunnis to kill other Iraqis, in addition to all the other arming of Iraqis we have pursued with police forces, etc.
IS the Strait of Hormuz the beginning of the next narrative, since the Weapons of mass destruction narrative has foundered?
The movie was narrated by Sean Pean. Anti war activist. Creative people making a difference.