War is sell

Posted in Documentaries, Mass Communication, Politics + Diplomacy by expresscheckout on 3 September, 2006

U.S. Marine covers the face of a statue of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein Baghdad 2003

Clich here to watch War is Sell, a documentary by Brian Standing examining the techniques used by government propagandists, public relations consultants and commercial advertisers to promote the US invasion of Iraq and the general US domestic war agenda of the 20th and 21st centuries. 

Featuring Amy Goodman, Alexander Cockburn, Robert Fisk, John Stauber, Sheldon Rampton, Nancy Snow, Rahul Mahajan, Mary Carpenter, and Neil Whitehead.

Also, below is an article by Mike Whitney revealing the massive failures beneath the propaganda of the Iraq War:

Going to War with the Leaders you have
By Mike Whitney
Information Clearing House
September 3, 2006

“As you know, you go to war with the army you have. They’re not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld 

Name one part of the occupation of Iraq that has succeeded?

From the shortage of soldiers, to de-Ba’athification, to the disbanding the Iraqi military, to the lack of body-armor, to leaving the ammo-dumps unprotected, to Falluja, to Abu Ghraib, to Haditha, to the stage-managed, public relations Jessica Lynch incident (which was later exposed as a sham) every facet of Iraqi fiasco has been a complete and utter failure.

And whose name is on that failure? Whose name features most prominently on the greatest strategic disaster in American history?

Don Rumsfeld. Hands down, Don Rumsfeld is the biggest flop in American history. No one else even comes close.

Major General Paul Eaton summarized Rumsfeld’s dismal performance this way:

“Rumsfeld has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically, and is far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to our important mission in Iraq”.

Keep in mind that Eaton is a conservative Republican and a firm believer in America’s preemptive war in Iraq. His comments simply reflect his ability to objectively judge performance and to assign blame where blame belongs. In this case, the person who is most responsible for the bungled policy in Iraq is Don Rumsfeld.

Fellow Lt. General Gregory Newbold was equally critical of Rumsfeld and said, “The decision to invade Iraq was done with a casualness and a swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions—or bury the results.”

Newbold is right; they don’t “bury the results” at the American Enterprise Institute, or at the Pentagon, or at the many smoke-filled, bastions where American plutocrats like Rumsfeld lark about, but in small-town America; Bakersfield, Winooski, Devils Lake, where parents and young widows choke back the tears for the men who lost their lives in Rumsfeld’s folly. That’s who pays the bill for Rumsfeld’s arrogance.

Rumsfeld’s failures are legion, but they do not compare to the disgrace he has heaped on the United States through his authorization of the cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners in American custody. There is a clear record of official memoranda which lead straight to the office of the Secretary of Defense connecting Rumsfeld to a regime of torture and abuse directed at men who have never been charged with a crime and who are the unwitting victims of a terrorist witch-hunt.

Rumsfeld’s involvement in these crimes puts him well-outside our fundamental traditions and beliefs as Americans. His conduct is an assault of the basic principles which we hold most dear and which are written into our founding documents.

“We hold these truths to be self evident…”

It is impossible to grasp how someone can be raised in America, matriculate at American universities, participate in the American political system, and spend the bulk of his life breathing in the same American customs and mores as the rest of us, and yet, be so completely divorced from the most essential values of the culture.

Rumsfeld is like a man who has passed through his entire life impervious to his surroundings and to the nations’ prevailing ethos. He is, quite simply, the most un-American character to ever serve in high-office.

So, it is surprising, then, that the amoral Rumsfeld, whose litany of failures in Iraq and Afghanistan follow him like the plumage on a peacock, would decide to take aim at his many critics in a speech delivered to the American Legion on Thursday. It just shows that there are really no limits to the obtuseness of the men who currently hold power in America.

“Once again, we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism,” Rumsfeld opined. “But some seem not to have learned history’s lessons. Can we truly afford to believe that, somehow or someway, vicious extremists could be appeased?”

Rumsfeld’s words are aimed at the 61% of Americans who no longer believe that the war in Iraq is “worth it”. He dismisses them as “appeasers”. Of course, at one time many of these same people supported the war and didn’t care about the moral or legal issues as long as America prevailed. So, in fact, many of these “appeasers” actually changed their minds due to Rumsfeld’s staggering incompetence in managing the conflict. The Sec-Def must examine his own performance to truly understand why public support has eroded so dramatically.

Tom Friedman summarized Rumsfeld’s strategy as the “Rumsfeld Doctrine” that is, deploying “just enough troops to lose.” And, as we have already shown, Rumsfeld has failed in every phase of the occupation without exception.

It is pointless to dispute Rumsfeld’s allegations that his critics are “appeasers” or “fascist” sympathizers. It’s just a silly attempt to set up a straw man and then knock him down. Rumsfeld is a master at shifting attention from his own wretched performance and dumping the blame on someone else. In this case, he attacks not only those who have lost faith in the war but, also, takes a few swipes at his old nemesis “the media”.

The media has played a central role in sustaining support for the war; keeping anti-war critics out of their studios and off the air. They’ve limited their Iraq coverage to scenes of Arab’s killing Arabs rather that the daily digest of American bombing-raids, decimated Iraqi cities and an entire nation reduced to anarchy. Still, in Rumsfeld’s mind, any information that leaches through the fissures in the media façade and doesn’t promote the blinkered goal of American corporate-hegemony, is tantamount to treason.

“Those who know the truth need to speak out against these kinds of (media) myths and distortions that are being told about our country and our troops,” Rumsfeld moaned. “The struggle we are in is too important to have the luxury of returning to that old mentality of “Blame America First.”’

Rumsfeld’s words were immediately followed by an announcement from the Pentagon that they would tender a “$20 million public relations contract that calls for extensive monitoring of US and Middle Eastern media in an effort to promote more positive coverage from Iraq.” (Wa Post)

Again, we see how utterly disconnected from reality Rumsfeld truly is. Rather than try to grasp the real issues involved, he cynically applies his energy to “attacking the messenger” or “perception management” strategies. These are the signs of someone who is completely incapable of personal accountability and who seriously believes that everyone else is to blame for his own failures.

No one is “manipulating the media” to oppose the war, quite the contrary. The corporate media has been a vital cog in the Pentagon’s information stratagem and is probably the most successful part of the war effort. They have maintained an astonishing level of public support for a war that has yet to provide any moral or legal justification or any recognizable “metric” for achieving victory. It simply goes on day by day grinding out more carnage while reducing the “cradle of civilization” into a pile of smoldering wreckage.

The Pentagon’s own report provided the most scathing account of America’s failed crusade. The report admitted that, “Sectarian violence is spreading in Iraq and the security problems have become more complex than anytime since the invasion in 2003…The illegal militias have become more entrenched, especially in Baghdad neighborhoods where they are seen as providers of both security and basic social services.” (NY Times)

In other words, everything has gotten worse and there are no tangible signs of improvement.

Is the Pentagon part of the “Blame America First” crowd too? Is the High-Command trying to “manipulate the media and demoralize public opinion” as Rumsfeld claims? ( Note: Bush disputed the Pentagon’s findings the very next day giving his cheery predictions precedent over the dismal facts from the Big Brass)

Opposition to the war is now emerging from all segments of society and continues to grow despite the optimistic accounts of progress in the media. America was defeated in Iraq when the first bombs were dropped on Baghdad in March 2003. It’s been downhill ever since. After 4 years of the most pitiless warfare against a civilian population, the magnitude of that defeat has only increased.

Donald Rumsfeld is mistaken when he says that antiwar Americans suffer from “moral confusion.” Moral confusion is a condition of men who deliberately inflict pain on other human beings in violation of the most fundamental standards of human decency. In fact, those activities far exceed mere confusion and indicate a state of total moral decay. Such people are not fit to make even the most elementary ethical judgemnts, let alone to decide on the important issues of war and peace.

Support for the war is on a steady downward trajectory. That decline in support will not be altered by the delusional accusations of a man who, more than any other, is responsible for the shame and degradation that conflict has brought on our country.

That man is Don Rumsfeld.


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