By Michael I. Niman ArtVoice
March 27th, 2003
common people don’t want war… But, after all, it is the leaders of the
country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the
people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a
parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice
or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.
That is easy. All you have to
do is tell them that they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for
lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.
It works the same in any country.”
Nazi Reich Marshall Herman
Goering at his
War Crimes Trial
not a good day when I feel compelled to start my article by quoting Adolph
Hitler’s deputy – but it’s imperative at times like this not to let the
lessons of history escape us. And
there are many, as history is littered with the fetid carcasses of failed
empires and the demented dreams that fueled them.
One thing, however, is certain: if history has taught us anything, it
tells us that any society that seeks to build a global empire is doomed to
painful obscurity. I can go on ad
nausea about this point, but I won’t. The
crew now controlling the White House planned this war back in the late 90s under
the guise of The Project for The New American Century – and they’re
executing it right on schedule (read their own words at http://www.newamericancentury.org/).
It’s not about failed weapons inspections.
The inspections failed this time for the very same reason they failed in
1998 – because the UN withdrew inspectors in advance of US bombing raids in
. And today, as in 1998, another
group of inspectors is coming public with accusations that the
is fabricating a threat they claim doesn’t exist.
The latest such whistleblower is weapons inspector and MIT professor,
Joern Siljeholm, who charged the Bush administration
with misleading the world community. But
this is old news. We know this
isn’t about weapons – though no doubt we’ll see pictures of banned weapons
paraded before willing TV cameras before the next week is out, with their actual
source forever destined to be a point of contention.
The real threat is that there might not be any weapons of
mass destruction – that the UN will give
a clean bill of health. If this
were to happen, the regime of sanctions that has crippled
for the past 12 years would be over. And
at least economically, a peaceful
would once again become a world player and a powerful force within the OPEC oil
cartel. Perhaps even a despotic
lunatic like Saddam Hussein could have realized that in the 21st
century, economic weapons – weapons of mass corruption – could be more
powerful than weapons of mass destruction. This
was the real threat. Not a dictator
with a stash of bombs, but a dictator with free reign over the world’s energy
Good Vs. Bush
The current war is also not a war of “good versus
evil.” At least not in the sense
the Bush junta would like us to think. The
based World Council of Churches, representing Christian denominations from 100
countries around the world, called the war “immoral, illegal and
ill-advised.” The pope warned that
the warriors would have to answer to god for their sins.
The leaders of George W. Bush’s own Methodist church have used strong
language to condemn their parishioner’s war moves, while pleading with Bush
not to do what he just did, accusing him of demonstrating an “unprecedented
disregard for democratic ideals.” They
went on to argue that he had presented “an astonishing lack of evidence
justifying such a pre-emptive attack.” Despite
near universal condemnation from religious leaders, Bush says he takes his
commands from god. Son of Sam
claimed to take his orders from his neighbor’s dog.
One scenario is just as likely as the other. For
Bush to blame this war on “god” is nothing short of blasphemy – taking the
lord’s name in vain.
Having launched the war for the American Century, Bush has
taken “time out” at
. There’s no time out, however,
for the nearly 300,000 American troops stuck fighting in this war.
The ones I spoke with weren’t too excited about going.
This is not what they signed up for.
They’re a professional fighting force of idealistic Americans that
signed up to defend our country if need be – not to be hijacked to fight a
“war without end” for a “New American Century” or any other radical
political vision of conquest. As
patriotic Americans we must support our friends, relatives and neighbors serving
in the military and demand their safe return home.
There’s also no time out for
’s civilian population, living through a hell that we simply cannot imagine.
If you haven’t read my article entitled “
,” please give it a read at http://mediastudy.com/articles.
One thousand missiles just reigned down on a city the size of
in a one day period. Western
reporters (the real ones – not the embedded counterfeits) on the scene in
report shock wave after shock wave blowing out their windows and slamming their
doors. They report how residents are
drugging their children to sleep while they themselves stay up night after
night. They report a scene that is
anything but “liberating.” The
TV networks, however, call it “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” having adopted the
Bush administration’s Orwellian lingo. We’ll
free these Iraqis (and their oil) from themselves, even if it kills them.
The images of a Burning Baghdad aren’t alien to New
Yorkers who suffered the trauma of
September 11th, 2001
. They know the choking clouds of
toxic smoke and dust that comes from fires and collapsing buildings.
And they’re being forced to relive their horror as they see innocent
civilians like themselves suffer though a similar nightmare.
Only this time there’s an added horror – these deaths are on our
hands. This is what it means to be a
citizen in a democracy – we are the ones who are ultimately responsible for
the actions of our government. And
we can’t hide behind rhetoric dismissing the 2000 election as a “coup,”
because such a coup de grace is only possible with an apathetic electorate, the
majority of whom didn’t vote and didn’t protest the theft of the election.
Today people are taking to the streets to exercise their legal right to
protest – but it’s too little too late.
We’re now seen globally as a rouge state – a pariah nation.
challenge now is to stay informed. This
means forget about CNN and all the other cheerleaders with their embedded
“reporters.” Once they agree to
the terms associated with the carrot of becoming embedded and cared for by the
military and their censors, these people cease to be reporters.
Their so-called reportage offers no more news than any other
“reality” TV show. British
journalist, Robert Fisk, warned how, “once the invasion
starts, they [embedded reporters] will lose their freedom to write what
they want.” Fisk, a real bona fide
journalist ducking flying debris in
, predicted that once hostilities began, we’d see the embedded crowd,
“playing toy soldiers, dressing themselves up in military costumes for their
nightly theatrical performances on
television.” And in fact we have,
with Ted Kopple leading the pack, looking like a foolish old man in a silly army
costume, reporting about not much of anything, as bombs fall by the thousands.
don’t believe the polls that say we’re all behind this bloodshed.
If this carnage was truly popular, we wouldn’t need to be told how
popular it is. The key thing to
remember about polls is that without seeing the raw data behind them, they are
worthless. Who are you asking? What
are you asking them? And in what
context are you asking the questions? Rephrasing
a question to read, say, “Do you support this illegal war and the ensuing
bombardment of Iraqi cities, even though weapons inspectors say Iraq poses no
threat to the US and most religious leaders say it is a sinful war of
aggression?” would produce quite a different set of results.
next time you see a picture of an embedded reporter, ask yourself why are we
only embedding reporters with invading troops?
Why are no reporters embedded with Iraqi families huddling in their
basements? Why are no reporters
embedded with the suffering families of 9-11 victims who have to relive their
horror all over again – once again feeling powerless to stop a holocaust of
violence? Where’s the real story?
Why are we being told how to think instead of being told what’s really
listing of alternative media sources and Dr. Michael I. Niman’s previous
columns are posted online at http://mediastudy.com.
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