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The American People are the Enemy in the War in Iraq

December 21st 2005

The American People are the Enemy in the War in Iraq

Enemy America

A propaganda operation at the hands of the Bush Administration and its supporters is underway as I write this. The intention is to manufacture consent in the continuance of a great national purpose*. To do this, the propaganda must manipulate, confuse and ultimately assist in the defeat of the great enemy. The enemy is all around you. It looks like you. It IS you. That's right, the American people are the enemy.

The propaganda is aimed at you and it is about you. This propaganda effort is about smearing the opinion of the majority of Americans as mere politics and "defeatism".

The Drudge Report reports that, according to a "top GOP operative", "the Republican National Committee will provide state parties with a web video prior to release [Friday, December 9] that shows a white flag waving over images of Democrat leaders making anti-war remarks." It’s hard to believe this is the first time the Republicans have heard of such an idea.

 
 
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It’s been around for weeks (in this particular context; otherwise it's been around for quite some time). It’s also hard to believe they haven’t been behind the smear tactics before now. But it’s possible they have taken a cue from the wilder elements among the lower regions of the War Party.

Syndicated propagandist (er, columnist) Mark Steyn writes of the “Defeaticrats", the Democrats, including veteran John Murtha, who now oppose the war in Iraq. Steyn is a regular in the pages of the "libertarian" Orange County Register and places like quasi-fascist online Free Republic. Free Republic is a syndicator of GOP propaganda from sources like Talon News, the outfit that employed Jeff Gannon, a fake journalist, to toss softball questions at Administration officials last year before he was outed (in more ways than one; Gannon, it turns out, was/is also a gay prostitute).

Presciently, that is, a whole week before Drudge says the GOP thought of it, Council on Foreign Relation's propagandist Max Boot wrote about "White Flag Democrats" in the new, more right-wing Los Angeles Times (now home to National Reviewer Jonah Goldberg) on November 30. In his hit piece, Boot is surprised and disturbed that just when Democrats "had finally kicked the post-Vietnam, peace-at-any-price syndrome", and even though they had “sounded hawkish in demanding action to deal with what Kerry called the 'particularly grievous threat' posed by Saddam Hussein", they now are turning 'defeatist', as the new spin reads rejection of a wrongheaded war. This is a two-for-the-price-of-one smear. You get to spin the Vietnam war again as a victory lost because of "defeaticrats" while defaming those who question the present criminal war, too. Hey, Boot, yeah the Democrats should have known better about this war a long time ago, they had the chance to do the right thing and stop the nonsense years ago. But do I need to remind you, Boot, et al., that ALL OF THE PROPAGANDA ABOUT IRAQ AND WMD TURNED OUT TO BE BULLSHIT!!! HELLO!!! If it is embarrassing the Democrats are only now noticing this it is even worse that you and your type still are not!

Boot even uses a supposed sort of Al-Qaeda internal memo – a letter supposedly sent, as Boot puts it, by "Al Qaeda's deputy commander, Ayman Zawahiri, [...] to Abu Musab Zarqawi, the top terrorist in Iraq." In this letter the actors playing the terrorists manage to interpret the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War just as the most rabid war monger among us would: "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam — and how they ran and left their agents — is noteworthy."  How convenient. I guess it could be a coincidence that the terrorists we are fighting now and the U.S. terrorists who attacked Indochina would agree on this matter.

The letter, of course, as an artifact of the "War On Terror", is meant to be taken seriously like all of the other artifacts meant to be taken seriously. But is there any real reason to assume it’s not just another phony prop like the Osama confession tape?

One of the Orange County Register's (CA) war opposers, columnist Steven Greenhut, supports the war party line but with an Orwellian twist.  On December 5, on the paper’s opinion blog (about half way down), Greenhut reminds us that he opposes the war but is worried that Democrat Howard Dean’s words are “troublingly defeatist” because Dean dares to hint the U.S. may in fact lose this war (that is, leave without achieving the minimum definition of victory). Dean recalls that thousands of Americans were killed in Vietnam after most or at least many Americans recognized it was war we should not be in. So he was asking how many Americans need to die (never mind Iraqis right now) before the U.S. leaves the country? But, if you oppose this war, what does it mean if you still steadfastly hold out for victory and worry about the words of those who say the U.S. might lose? Shall the oppositionists support the U.S. war effort in Iraq, in order not to be "defeatists", while still opposing the war as most of us have all along? How bizarre! The war is wrong even if "we" can win. The war should be opposed even if it means recognizing the U.S. might – gasp! – lose (while leaving tons more corpses on the other side, of course). Greenhut’s is the way of (supposedly) opposing the war while keeping his political line smart and straight. Greenhut shows right-wing libertarian GOP-supporters they can have their cake and eat it too. Democrats, of course, do this too in their own way.

Even the Orange County Register's resident right-wing cartoonist weighs in, toeing the new "Smear the Anti-war majority" party line (See December 7, 2005 cartoon, not online as of yet).

 

So here's the brief version of what the propagandists are doing: They are taking the broad, diverse, long-term anti-war movement (that is, now a majority of Americans), much of which has opposed this war on a factual and moral basis long before it began, and spinning it into a mere small crowd of flaky Democratic elites who have lately come to oppose the war because it's going badly, has caused 2,000 American deaths and there’s political opportunity in doing so. Now, of course there are likely many Americans, including many Democratic elites, who are opposing the war now for narrow reasons of cost (only to us) and manageability. But even if that narrow criticism is the one held by a majority of the majority that now oppose the war, it is hardly accurate to spin it as a simple matter of Democratic elites making cranky, politically motivated noises.

Of course, it is easy to use the Democrats to smear the anti-war party because they have in fact both been complicit in the lead-up to the war and because their new-found criticisms of the war seem so  narrow and shallow. It’s certainly valid to question the war on the basis of the cost in U.S. lives, but it is hardly the first and only reason. Doing so on that basis alone, especially when one had supported the war and the process and rationale leading to it for a long time, could rightly be  seen as hypocritical and merely political. It is this sort of narrow, seemingly (and often actually) hypocritical war criticism that is fodder for the worst home-front propaganda on the part of the war party and its fellow travelers. In that sense, the Democrats are doing more for the war effort and its propagandists than anyone has imagined. But even if the Democrats often seem juicy targets, it is a choice too of the Max Boots, the Mark Steyns and the Mike Sheltons of the world to ignore the totality of the anti-war party, its diversity and its most powerful arguments in order to appear to easily slay simplified, cartoonish and hypocritical opponents and arguments. It shows that their focus is manipulation, not discovering and relating reality.

Great National Purpose is not about the nation so much as about the elite that own it and run it. And it’s not so great either, really. But it is purposive, certainly.

 

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Keywords and misspellings:  politics poletics democrat demoncrat republican repub comentary commentary


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