As many of you will remember, during the Gulf War all information was first filtered through daily briefings from military personnel who offered only those "facts" that they chose to disclose. In the years after that stupid and useless carnage, it has come to light that CNN, the main news presence in the region, allowed CIA agents in the newsroom to dictate the stories and pictures that were aired.
Further, in the years following the end of the carnage, it was disclosed that the glowing and worshipful reports about the amazing accuracy of the military's "Smart" weapons were an outright lie. The claims that only military targets had been hit were proven to be false when the destruction of civilian homes and civilian bomb shelters were brought to light.
Most reliable sources, meaning those other than the American media, have reported that as many as 200,000 Iraqi civilians were murdered by our misguided attacks. That is in addition to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi conscripts we killed even though it was well known that they would surrender at the very first opportunity.
Why am I bringing all of this up now? Since most rational Americans are already aware of the fact that anytime that a politician's or a military spokesman's lips are moving, they are lying, why bring up old facts?
Last night (10/15/01), ABC news reported on the continued rearrangement of the rubble in Afghanistan by our military weapons. The administration has already admitted that their "Smart" weapons had targeted a building that has long housed UN personnel, killing all four occupants. It has also had to admit that a cruise missile exploded in a civilian neighborhood, miles away from its intended target, killing at least another ten civilians. How many other innocent men, women, and children that the military has murdered on orders from the moron will likely never be exactly tabulated.
At the end of the ABC report, a video was shown of children being herded into an underground bunker. The voice-over explained the pictures with the explanation that Afghan children were learning to rush into these shelters whenever they heard the sound of American warplanes overhead.
Now, considering the fact that the vast majority of Americans aren't that bright and discerning to begin with, what purpose might the administration and the military have in airing this? Why, during a report on the continued shuffling of rocks and dead vegetation through the use of massive explosives, would the military feel the need for a feel good picture of children running for protection?
Want to know what I think? (Of course you do!) I believe that the military and the administration are receiving reports on the deaths of hundreds or thousands, and perhaps many more, caused by our dramatic and evil overreaction against the innocent civilians of Afghanistan. When the truth comes out, and it will, I believe that the fantasies that are spun for the American public's consumption will prove to be just lies and more lies.
The administration is trying to kill perhaps 40,000 members of the Taliban who are scattered across hundreds of thousands of square miles of desert. They are attempting to accomplish this through the use of stand off weapons such as warplanes and cruise missiles, which are the only reliable means to that destructive end. In doing so, the apathetic and uncaring administration will cause the deaths of many innocents. I predict that the number of innocent Afghans murdered in this vile exercise in misused military might will dwarf the 5,000 to 6,000 who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
I also predict, although this will be difficult to prove, that the administration and the military brass are already aware of this slaughter of innocents and are attempting to put out their feel good version of the horrors first. By being the first to cram some more lies into the confused and banal brains of the American public, they know that any facts that are revealed later won't have the power to dislodge what little the public will remember in a week or two weeks. If they show children being protected from our butchery, then the public will happily continue to support that bloodbath as long as it doesn't interfere with their drooling addiction to their sitcoms.
Remember just one important reality as your watch the talking heads and see the highly censored videos, though. Before the first bomb was dropped on Afghanistan, the administration was asked what plans they had formed that would allow reporters to follow the military into combat. The answer was that they had no plans to allow reporters to be on the ground in Afghanistan until after the military was finished. In other words, the administration has no plans for the nation to receive timely and accurate reports. Instead, the administration will conduct its propaganda campaign by telling the media what it wants to be seen as true and nothing else.
In fact, a wonderful example of the tendency of the conservative media to downplay this habit of lying by the government and military leaders appeared in the LA Times recently. Easily 98% of the entire article was used to excuse and forgive the government and military lies as due to issues such as the "deadlines" of daily briefings and a need to protect the men and women on the ground and other almost truths. Only in the very last paragraph did the story finally get around to discussing the reality of the lies when it quoted Jacqueline Sharkey, a professor of journalism at the University of Arizona. Ms Sharkey stated that the perennial problem is when briefings go "beyond trying to control information that would affect operational security and troop safety and [try] to control public opinion about the decision to go to war."
No, gentle readers. The problem isn't just propaganda meant to maintain public support for a war. The problem is that the government has told too many lies and allowed too many innocent human beings to die to ever again gain the trust of the American people. Thoughtful Americans know that little if any of the news that the conservative media allows through the Rabid Right's filters has even a passing resemblance to the truth.
The best remedy for a government founded on a conspiracy to mislead the public is a free and unfettered press. In as much as the vast majority of the media is owned and operated by Corporate America, it is in their best interests that you believe that everything is just wonderful and that being prohibited from knowing the truth is in your best interests. Your only possible sources for even a slight glance at reality are alternative wellsprings (link to IPA) such as Mother Jones, Z Magazine, and the Progressive Populist newspaper. While these folks may not be able to uncover the entire truth, they will unflinchingly report that truth when found.
What's sad, of course, is that I have heard people (well, Republicans are people sometimes, too, I suppose) proclaim that we have no right to information if the government decides we don't. They believe that government has a "duty" to hide the truth when it's in the best interests of the government. Asking just exactly what is the government other than the representatives of the American people gains only dull stares and mean vituperation. Just how depressing is that?!? ( 1 )
Return To Front Page