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Want to change people's opinions of the war in Iraq? Change the framing.

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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:30 AM
Original message
Want to change people's opinions of the war in Iraq? Change the framing.
I've taken Jab105's advice and read George Lakoff's book "Don't Think of an Elephant" and agree completely with Mr. Lakoff's accessment of the political situation in the US and how to change it. So here's my first attempt at "reframing" the debate.

The Bush regime has made every effort to keep an "evil" face on the war in Iraq. During the first year the face was that of Sadam Hussein. Once he was caught, the Bush regime had to find another villain to legitimize the war in the eyes of the American people. That face has been Zarqawi (unseen as it is). This gives the American people some one to target and keeps them from realizing that the US is actually attacking and occupying a nation of men, women and children that had nothing to do with terrorism, September 11, OR the gassing of innocent Iraqis in years past.

We need to reframe the way people see the war. We need to refer to the war as the "War against the Iraqi people" or "War for Iraqi Oil" or something similar. This takes the evil face away and puts a more honest picture in people's minds, a picture that includes innocent women and children being killed by American bombs and large corporations profiting from the Iraqi people's misery.

The fact that Bush lied to get us into the war has no bearing here. People know that but don't care. Since we can't change the way they feel about the lies that led us to war, we can change the way the war is framed in people's minds. NEVER refer to it as "Operation Iraqi Freedom" or "the Liberation of Iraq." That just uses GOP terms to reinforce the image that the Iraqi people needed to be freed from tyranny.

The goal is to change the way normal Americans visualize the war. That has to take place inside their minds and to change their visualizations you have to change the way the debate is framed. Only after the way people visualize the war is changed can we use the war against the Bush Regime. Our goal is to change the general atmosphere in our country from one of support for a war president to one of a presiden't abuse of power against a weaker country.

Does this make sense?
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NVMojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:37 AM
Response to Original message
1. it makes sense.
but then I've always thought it was against the people in Iraq who had nothing to do with 9-11 and control of their oil.

It baffles me to try and understand that anyone sees it differently.
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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. You see it through the eyes of a progressive, as do I
What we need to do is change the way conservative-leaning people and the so-called undecideds see it. That's where the reframing comes in.

The best thing, probably, is to avoid the oil altogether and to stick to the fact that the war is killing and wounding hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens who did nothing to deserve it and that very little of the profits from the Iraqi oil actually go to the Iraqi people. Most of the money goes to paying large American corporations such as Halliburton for their no-bid contracts.

If the war were truly against Sadam Hussein, it would be over and the Iraqi people would be happy. They are fighting us tooth and nail and are very willing to die to protect their homeland from the invaders.

It would be nice if we could make people see it this way. It will take a long time but the goal is to change perceptions which will not happen overnight.

The thing is to start framing the argument in such a way that our argument is not dismissed as simply "anti-Bush." If we can make people stop and think of things in a more progressive light without insulting them, then things will begin to fall into place. Little steps.
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:19 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Pro-justice, not anti-Bush
or how about:

pro-human rights;
national self-determination;
sovereignty of the Iraqi people.
opposition to the American-backed puppet regime

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Gyre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. So we have a heinous crime
and we know who did it, but we just pretend we don't? That's awfully hard for me to do.

On the other hand, as a prosecutor, I've found that laying out the evidence, with the logical conclusions stated, and then letting the jury come up with the right answer is generally a better way to go, UNLESS, they don't want that answer (ie, they like the defendant and hate the victim). In which case you have to beat them over the head with their duty to get them to convict. Just my 2 cents.

Gyre
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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #15
23. The results of this election are proof that evidence doesn't matter.
I'm sure that as a prosecutor you have seen guilty people walk because their defense lawyer was very good at casting doubt in people's minds. The Dems presented voters with a myriad of facts about the corruption of the Bush administration and they still voted for Bush. It's a case of the framing, or perceptions, that people have being stronger than the facts. We need to fight this by reframing the debate. Read the book. It's an eye opener. I've been thinking along these lines for a while but Lakoff is very adept at describing the concepts of framing and how we can win the debate.

You might even be able to use the reframing tactics as a prosecutor.

Keep in mind that reframing isn't lying or "spin". It's causing people to visualize things in our favor through words.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #9
16. All are far too complicated for the argument.
One thing Rove has mastered is the rhetoric--obfuscate like hell, but keep it very simple.

You can't expect Joe Sixpack to latch onto, much less understand, much more than two syllables. Sad, yes, but very true.

The point Lakoff makes is that we have to SELL the ideas.
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meow2u3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. I can sum up Rove's strategy in three words
One thing Rove has mastered is the rhetoric--obfuscate like hell, but keep it very simple.


SIMPLIFY THE LIE! Or the long version: Master the art of disinformation and package it in bumpersticker form.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. Precisely; simplify the lie.
And sadly, it works like a charm.

We have the truth on our side, but we don't know how to "sell" it.

In a consumer culture, whether we like it or not, that's what it takes.
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #16
26. OK, how about PRO-LOVE? nt
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Francesca Donating Member (452 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:39 AM
Response to Original message
2. Makes complete sense
I read the book as well.. the only obstacle I see in re framing the war in Iraq is that so many people believe the idea that the claim that the war in Iraq was about oil is a liberal conspiracy (my mother and coworkers for example)... In their case it might be more effective to re frame the war in a more subtle way.. for example harping on the fact that it was a preemptive war for invalid reasons... with some conservatives you have to go easy or they shut down completely and will listen not at all...
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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. See my response to NVMojo above.
Also, you are absolutely right. We need to find terms and phrases that are not offensive to the people we are trying to reach. The War against the Iraqi people could work. Another posibility is the US/Iraqi war. Oil is a touchy subject. You and I and 58 million other people know that the war is about oil. But we need to reach the 59 million that voted for Shrub and we need to activate the 35% of the population that didn't vote at all. I do think that reframing is the way to go.
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pretzel4gore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #2
14. the war's about overthrowing legal government in the USA
if you noticed, the 'news' has been stage managed for years.....and each lead item has overshadowed the lead item that was focused on yestiddy (as nazipooos call yesterday)...the whole objective of bushinc is to excite the mob, including the dopes in your circle...
to fight the nazipoos, we must use marching bands and bales of $bills tossed to the mindless drones; to respect the people was jesus' message, and he was murdered, because no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American voter, as the saintly Che (Guevera) once politely observed (lol)
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justa Donating Member (90 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:41 AM
Response to Original message
3. exactly, but we also need to point out the incomplete job...
that has been done in Afghanistan and the failure to get the people actually responsible for the attacks on the US.
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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #3
10. There are many things that we could hit the GOP and Bush on
But we need to be sure to avoid debating them with their terms. Never use terms that they use because they elicite a response that is positive towards the GOP and negative to our side. An example is "tax relief." The GOP has framed the discussion in such a way that if you use this term it denotes that taxes are bad and we need relief from them.

Always try to reframe the debate to use terms and phrases that put the debate in a progressive light. Attack the GOP, but try to use terms that are not insulting the the people that you are trying to reach.

Also, remember that facts mean nothing if you don't change the way people visualize the situation. People don't care that Bush lied about his reason to go to war against Iraq (WMD) because they have in their mind that we are "liberating" the people from an oppresive regime. We know that they are more oppressed under the US occupation but most people don't see it that way. That's why I think we need to make the war more personal by making it a war against a people rather than against terrorism.
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lawladyprof Donating Member (628 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:07 AM
Response to Original message
4. The occupation of Iraq--eom
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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #4
24. Precisely. Short, sweet and accurate.
You may have noticed that more news sources are framing the Iraqi war as an occupation of late. And more people are beginning to come around to our viewpoint regarding the war. We just need to make sure that it keeps coming around toward our side by always reframing it in this way. Never, never refer to it as Operation Iraqi Freedom.
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lawladyprof Donating Member (628 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #24
28. Occupation is nice because it conjures up
images of occupied Europe.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:51 AM
Response to Original message
5. Operation Exxon Greed?
I have also read the 36-page Lakoff excerpt & other Lakoff stuff on the net--haven't yet gotten any of his books. I made copies of that stuff to distribute at our county Dem strategy meeting tomorrow night. I think Lakoff is part of the answer, not the whole banana.
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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:25 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. It is just part of the solution but it is a very effective tactic
But be careful on how you frame things. "Operation Exxon Greed" would insult many people. Better to make it a war against a people, a group of men, women and children that did nothing to deserve the invasion of their country.
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:54 AM
Response to Original message
6. they're not insurgents,
they're freedom fighters.
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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:27 AM
Response to Reply #6
12. I agree. That's why we need to reframe the way they are seen by the US
citizens. The Iraqi people have never done anything to us. We have attacked them twice. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died during our attacks. Many of them were women and children, all innocents.
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missouri dem Donating Member (298 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:48 AM
Response to Original message
13. I like the word quagmire when discussing the war. Quagmires
are scary. Also reframing the debate by comparing the Iraqi's situation to our own revolution. And explaining that it is all of the people in Iraq who are angry and that we would feel the same way if a Muslim country came here and occupied us.
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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #13
25. Exactly. That's what reframing is all about.
Just be careful not to alienate people by offending them. I've been very angry these last two weeks and have had a tendency to use incendiary words when discussing Bush and the GOP. That is counter productive and actually pushes people away from our side. Quagmire is good. We need to show that the Iraqi people are innocents that are suffering terribly and all they want is their country back. It is also costing Americans enormous amounts of money that could go to other things, such as schools, roads, prescription drugs for seniors etc.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:32 AM
Response to Original message
17. I'd be very interested in starting a DU group devoted to this.
I've just begun reading the book, but I think it's essential.

The ideas in this book will go a long way to selling the Democratic Party and it's ideaLs to disaffected Americans.
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Nashyra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. Also reframe the "we need to GET THEM over there" so
we will be safer at home. I always point out that "we are getting them over there for something they did not do and now there are more THEM because we went into Iraq" Open borders, insurgents, no Osama, jihadist, and the fact that if we are so Christian why do we think it is ok to Kill innocent Iraqi's so that we don't get hurt. I always point out that we went into Iraq on a lie and now the voice of our gov't is to get them before they get us. How Christian. And by the way have they seen the profits of the oil companies. People are so gawd damn stupid!!!!
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #20
29. "them" are everywhere
That's what I always say. We could subdue Iraq tomorrow and it would have absolutely no affect on the terrorists who might want to attack the US. They're everywhere, Europe, Canada, even here in the US. I don't even know what "fight them over there" means.
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Nay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
19. What I want to know is why Dem leadership doesn't use these
tactics to the hilt. Sure, I can maybe convince a couple of people at work with reframing, but they have the chance to convince a whole country -- and they don't even try. What the hell is going on?
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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. According to Lakoff, the Dems were slow to recognize the tactic
That's why the Repugs can sum up things in one or two words, such as tax relief, late-term abortion, and on and on and why it seems like Dems ramble on to get their message across. www.rockridgeinstitute.org is about the only think progressive think tank working on reframing the message whereas the Repugs have dozens of them and have dedicated millions of dollars over 40 years to make framing work for them. We're late getting started but we have to do it if we want to regain control of our government.

Rather than tax relief use fair taxation. Rather than smaller government (and we all know dem governments tend to be smaller than repug governments) use responsible government. When it comes to abortion use respect for life rather than pro-life or pro-choice. Respect for life denotes respect for all life, including not just American lives but Iraqi lives as well. We just need to change the language used in the debate to small, concise phrases that stick in people's minds. Not spin. Spin is lies. But we need to learn to use the GOP's tactics of lexicon against them.
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Clarkie1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
27. Don't call it a war, it's not a war. Call it "The Iraqi Occupation"
We need to reframe it using completely different language than "war." War is Bush's language.
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