The greatest threat to America comes not from terrorism or anthrax or some right wing fantasy about a "One World Government". The greatest threat to our liberties and this nation's future comes directly from the insanity that is dealt out through the conservative media.
A magnificent example of that threat can be found in the October 22, 2001 issue of U.S. News & World Report. Propaganda, under the guise of reporting the insane war that the little moron's owners are inflicting on the innocent citizens of Afghanistan, is blatantly defined for all to see. Naturally, very, very few will read these reports and note the demented irony that they offer.
First, Michael Barone, writing under the column title of "The National Interest", opines as to how the reactions towards our bombing of Afghanistan has shown America who our real friends are in the Middle East. He indicts some nations for their lukewarm support and others for offering no responses at all. The central photograph on the page shows people clad in typical Arab dress, standing around something on the ground that is burning, and captioned as, "Pro-Taliban protesters in Pakistan rally against America."
He then explains how these tardy responses or no responses at all arise, not from a firm stance against the murder of more and more innocent lives in Afghanistan, but from the "fact" that the media in these nations are controlled by "propagandists of hate". He justifies that description by stating that these evil folks "have a near monopoly of the public dialogue."
He rationalizes his opinion with the unstated but overt desire to instruct the world that, since America is the paragon of perfection, anyone who believes otherwise must be, by extension, evil. To prove that assumption, he attacks the state religion of Saudi Arabia and Egypt and other Arab nations; Wahhabi Islam. Since the religion condemns the American way of life (the greed and overt sex and homosexuality and the like - in many ways just like the Falwell brand of Christianity), then the followers of that religion, such as the Saudi royal family and Osama bin Laden, must be, by another extension, also evil.
In as much as the leaders of these countries allow the media to attack America and its policies, then, using his metaphors, these "hateful messages" can be compared to Hitler's rallies and the fanatics in imperial Japan. Thus, the media of these nations espouse, in his view, anti-American and anti-Israel and anti-Semitic "propaganda".
Since Barone cannot accept that these feelings have any basis in the reality of the rest of the world, he urges the leaders of these nations to "rein in the radicals". Since that might upset the majority of the citizens, though, he wants these leaders to behave just like Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf. Musharraf, in allowing the United States to use his nation as a staging area for the attacks on the people of Afghanistan, has enraged the people of his nation. Not a problem, though, Barone assures us. All the leaders of these other nations must do is, if their citizens don't appreciate helping America, "use the brutality and cunning that got him [Musharraf] where he is to stay there." In other words, torture and murder are acceptable as long as America benefits in the long run.
His last two paragraphs define his demands. By using the Mexican media as an example, he explains how the latest leaders in Mexico have twisted the opinions of the Mexican people away from their long held and rational belief that being America's stooge isn't in their nation's best interest. Instead, the government of Mexico has contorted the media into encouraging a more "even handed" news slant toward America. He praises the Mexican government's love affair with NAFTA and the privatization of government agencies as proof that the Mexican media is more "even handed".
Finally, he states that we have the right to change the news bias in any nation, forcing it to become one that "is in favor of our policy."
The most telling words are his last, though. "Silence is no longer enough. We need lip service, too."
Further on in the same issue, a "Special Report" is titled "A nation, still in pain, rallies." With the subheading of "Now that we understand the horrors of terrorism firsthand. Now, we are all one."
The three photos that accompany this article's first pages show and are captioned, "America Singing. Patriotism means flag-waving, but also dissent and a sense of duty among all ages."
The photos, however, explain little if anything. Change just the design on the flags and suddenly the flag wavers could just as easily be Iraqis or Egyptians or Afghans. If that were the case, though, "fanatics" or "protesters" or some other belittling term would, automatically, replace the word "patriotism,".
The picture that supposedly shows "dissent" contains not one image that explains the beliefs of those who dissent against the mass murder of even more innocents in the world by American military might. The viewer is even left wondering if the central figure is arguing for or against the moron's latest insanity. Signs held by background participants carry messages turned away from the camera's eye, revealing nothing.
Lastly, the picture showing "a sense of duty among all ages" is of a crowd of young black boys no older than perhaps nine or ten. All are wearing camouflage uniforms and saluting some invisible, off-camera figure. As Barone implied about the hateful messages of other nations, these boys could just as easily have been blond, blue-eyed Hitler Youths. Little of the intent of the picture would need to be changed.
The article reports the reaction, during the Chicago Bears - Atlanta Falcons football game about the announcement that the U.S. military had begun bombing the rubble that was once Afghanistan. The crowd immediately chanted "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" How is that different from Iraqis shouting "Death to Americans" since it obviously implies the support from the crowd for the death that would now be inflicted in Afghanistan?
The article spends a few paragraphs focusing on an ex-hippie who has suddenly expressed a willingness "to see the enemy die." In the future, this fellow explains, he will sing the Star Spangled Banner with tears in his eyes. Would those tears be for the 5,000 casualties of the terrorist attacks in America or the 5,000 Iraqi children who have died every single month since the end of the Gulf War due to America's mean spirited sanctions against the Iraqi people? Would it be for the innocent Sudanese workers who died in America's misguided destruction of the pharmaceutical factory where they worked? Or will it be in a blind, unthinking allegiance to a government and way of life that so easily accepts the horrors we inflict on others?
Gentle readers, the term "propaganda" can easily be overused and wrongly applied. In this case, it is the only word that applies. These two stories do not, for the wary and independent thinker, describe the events the authors and conservative media intended.
Instead, they expose the depths to which this nation's media will go to twist and pervert the right of every American to receive the news in a clear and unbiased manner. Barone's is just an overt and rather sickening attempt to cast America as always the savior and ideal that the world disagrees with at the risk of their lives and property. His America has the right to tell the citizens of this planet's many nations what they may or may not believe. His America supports the horrors and murders and tortures that the world's dictators inflict on their people as long as those dictators also kneel before his version of America's whims.
The absolute reality is this, my friends: it takes no intelligence and no sense and certainly no grasp of the truth of our past and present mistakes to stand on the street and wrap yourself in some colored cloth and sing some little patriotic ditty. If that is termed the action of a "fanatic" or a "protester" or any other demeaning designation when performed by the citizens of other nations who do so out of hatred for America, then it is "fanatics" and "protesters" on our street corners, as well.
The stupidity of claiming that the media of other nations are run by "propagandists of hate" without acknowledging that the mass media in America is owned and operated by our version of conservative "propagandists of hate" is absurd. Any nation that allows vermin such as Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North to pollute its national mind is engaged in the worst type of encouraging "propagandists of hate."
This nation must, as a whole, comprehend the fact that the nations of the Middle East and everywhere else are not shouting out our praises for the simple and easily understood explanation that very few nations wish us well. Many nations feel that the incidents of Sept. 11 are just a form of reprisals against the hell that our government inflicts on humans the world around. The world has already given this nation both the silence and the lip service that Barone seems so eager for. The world has not, of course, given much more than lip service.
The moron and his cohorts have primed this nation for a long, drawn out war against terrorism. While there is absolutely nothing more dishonorable than terrorism, this nation must remove the flag from before their eyes and open their closed but patriotic minds to the fact that America is just as guilty of terrorism as Osama bin Laden.
The only way that America can gain the moral high ground is to cease supporting and training the world's most evil leaders. America must cease behaving as if we have any right whatsoever to interfere with any other nation's government or policies unless those acts present an immediate danger to America and its people. America must cease its sick and masochistic love affair with Corporate America and, instead, remind Corporate America that not one American life is so cheaply held as to allow it to be stolen away in the process of protecting corporate interests outside this nation's borders. America must, above all else, wrest the control of this nation away from the insects that currently own it and return that control to the American people.
The most important act that the American people can perform that will forever minimize the possibility of another Sept. 11 is to take back the airwaves and the means of disseminating the written word to the American people. The citizens of this country act like the uninformed and thoughtless mobs that we've seen these last weeks solely because they have no access to factual and unbiased information.
This country behaves as if the scheme, which overthrew the nation's government and handed it to a smirking, mindless frat boy has, somehow, gained legitimacy because of the events of Sept. 11. That belief must not be allowed to stand as truth or even as an Urban Legend. America is being led into another unwinnable and stupid war against an enemy that does not have any headquarters or supply lines.
Any war on terrorism can only be won by removing the power that gives terrorists a reason to live and die. America must become a nation that assists the people of other nations in gaining a better and more productive future. America must never again support or fund any "leader" that is not democratically elected simply because doing so promotes Corporate America's idea of the national interests.
Only by behaving with the integrity that we only claim to possess can we stand as an ideal to be emulated. Only when this nation observes its own laws and principles by removing any dictator from all of America's elected offices can we demand that any other nation on earth show any higher level of morality or ethics.
These two articles prove that there is no informed or intelligent debate going on in America. This "Rah! Rah!" crap by the conservative media must cease and factual, open reporting must take its place now and forever. Patriotism is nothing but a blind acceptance by the masses of lies told by the powerful. Patriotism without honest and forthright information being readily available is only national fundamentalism at its worst and nothing more.
As I write this, God only knows how many children and other innocents are being murdered and injured and made homeless by the moron's military attacks. The press is being lied to or kept in the dark about the horrors that we are inflicting on innocent people through the use of American controlled warplanes. Wait, though! Wasn't the use of aircraft as a means to murder the many now a far too familiar picture?
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