Evolution of Dispossession

Evolution of Dispossession
How to Steal a Country?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Nice Analogy

I remember reading in one of Noam Chomsky's books that "propaganda is to democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state".

This analogy has stuck with me ever since. I find the use of propaganda in the US a very effective tool at keeping Americans acquiescent in their acceptance of government dogma.

How this works is pretty simple.

Whatever your views on the current Iraq War, whether you think the invasion was just and necessary or whether you feel the government deceived the US public concerning the Iraqi threat to the US, let's examine how propaganda works.

On one hand, if the government did willfully deceive its citizens with a multi-pronged disinformation campaign, then the government does not want the citizenry to know about this. When you see FOXNEWS (his whole scenario has played out many times, not just on FOXNEWS but on other mainstream media outlets) bring on "experts" which say something like "it is not patriotic to question your government during times of war", one is faced with a false dilemma : does one want to be unpatriotic or does one want to know the truth?

The fact is patriotism and questioning the government have nothing to do with each other. The person who was inclined to investigate government claims about Iraq, but quickly resigned from those efforts because they did not want to be unpatriotic are victims of propaganda, plain and simple.

Thomas Jefferon said "Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism"
Retired General Anthony Zinni said in a TV interview I watched that during times of war, this is the most crucial time for people to question their government (my paraphrase).

Another example of how propaganda works:

After 9-11, Americans were told that we were attacked because we are free and good, and the bad guys hate us for that, in a nutshell.

People believed this type of rhetoric, many clinging to these statements.

What does the record say?

Go to the list of countries (click on CIA from the LABELS section) that the CIA has overthrown. Look at how US policy affects people around the world. The US government expects the people from these other lands to have their governments overthrown by our shadowy CIA, and like it as well. These other nations should not have the right to determine their own path! Their governments overthrown, and they are supposed to grin about it... Now of course there are political dynamics on why the operations occurred in the first place. In some ventures, a case could be made that US interests were being served by fighting the evil communists. In other cases, smokescreen arguments like "the US is spreading democracy" were used. Better yet, "the US will free an oppressed people" !

The last 2 contrived reasons are Goebbels-like propaganda. One can go back and examine the real reasons why Mossadegh was overthrown, why Arbenz-Guzman was overthrown, why Allende was overthrown, and the real reasons are always different from the stated official reasons. Why? Because if the government were honest and explained the real reasons to the public, they (the policy shapers) know the public would never have supported it.

It is easy to convince people to support a course of action on the emotional character of rhetoric like "freeing oppressed peoples".

It is much tougher to sell if you tell them the truth ; "my fellow Americans, Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9-11, but he is arming the Palestinians, he is trying to hurt the dollar by accepting Euros for Iraqi oil, and his country sits on top of natural resources the US needs, and we are going to oust him and his regime to make sure that we control oil trades in dollars, our buddies in big corporations make profits from the weapons and the rebuilding projects, our other buddies in the oil industry get first in line on oil contracts, Israel becomes safer, and if the world hates the US more now than we did before, and if a few thousand brave Americans die in the process, and if a few hundred thousand distant Iraqis die as well, tough cookie"

While I still would disagree with the course of action, that in the long-term this type of action is bad for the US, I would respect the honesty.

But where our government lacks the courage to be honest, they are quite bold about shaping an issue with fetching imagery shrouded with propaganda, sometimes subtle and sometimes brazen.

"propaganda is to democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state"

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