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John Pilger: Books That Counter Our "Training" To Make War

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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:51 AM
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John Pilger: Books That Counter Our "Training" To Make War
http://www.zmag.org/zspace/commentaries/3945

By Pilger, John
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These are extraordinary times. Flag-wrapped coffins of 18-year-old soldiers killed in a failed, illegal and vengeful invasion are paraded along a Wiltshire high street. Victory in Afghanistan is at hand, says the satirical Gordon Brown. On the BBC's Newsnight, the heroic Afghan MP Malalai Joya, tries, in her limited English, to tell the British public that her people are being blown to bits in their name: 140 villagers, mostly children, in her own Farah Province. No parade for them. No names and faces for them. The suppression of the suffering of Britain's and America's colonial victims is an article of media faith, a tradition so ingrained that it requires no instructions.

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In their modern classic Manufacturing Consent: the Political Economy of the Mass Media, Edward S Herman and Noam Chomsky describe how war propaganda in free societies is "filtered" by media organisations, not as conscious "crude intervention, but by the selection of right-thinking personnel and by the editors' and working journalists' internalisation of priorities and definitions of newsworthiness". In the wake of the US invasion of Vietnam, in which at least three million people were killed and their once-bountiful land ruined and poisoned, planners of future bloodfests invented the "Vietnam syndrome", which they identified perversely as a "crisis of democracy". The "crisis" was that the "general population threatened to participate in the political system, challenging established privilege and power". Afghanistan and Iraq now have their syndromes.

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As Herman and Chomsky decode principally the American media, an ideal companion is Newspeak in the 21st Century, by David Edwards and David Cromwell (published next month by Pluto). The founders and editors of the outstanding website www.medialens.org present a fluent dissection of Britain's liberal media, employing the kind of rigour that shames those who proclaim their impartiality and independence from vested power. Read also A Century of Spin by David Miller and William Dinan, who describe the rise of an "invisible government" invented by Sigmund Freud's nephew Edward Bernays. "Propaganda," said Bernays, "got to be a bad word because of the Germans, so what I did was to try and find some other words." The other words were "public relations", which now consumes much of journalism.

The latest achievement of PR is the "Obama phenomenon". In Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (published in the US by Paradigm), Paul Street peels away the mask in perhaps the only book that tells the truth about the 44th president of the United States.

Not enough laughs? Pack Joseph Heller's Catch-22, still unmatched in its demolition of the idiocies and lies of the killers who promote wars...

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Faber recently published Harold Pinter's Various Voices: 60 Years of Prose, Poetry, Politics (1948-2008). It is a gem from Pinter on everything from Shakespeare, night cricket and Arthur Miller's socks to murderous great power:

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless . . . while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

more...
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:30 AM
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1. "a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis." Ha! My thoughts exactly
on our corpo/fascist 'news' monopolies--although I don't think that the American people are fooled by it. They are more feeling powerless, or confused, or politically (or personally) paralyzed. They don't think they can act--that they have power. Interestingly, the great lengths that the warmongers have gone to, to hypnotize the American people, indicate just how potentially powerful the American people are, and the extent to which these war profiteers and global corporate predators fear the American people. If only people realized this, we would long ago have dealt with the "military-industrial complex" and its manufactured wars. And I think--in fact I firmly believe--that the corpo/fascist press aims at powerlessness and confusion, rather than at convincing anyone of anything. If they were really into arguing things out, they would lose, because they never have facts and reason on their side. (Look at Iraq! Look at Vietnam! Completely unreasonable government actions, based on lies.) So the trick is to create false, distracting arguments--WMDs in Iraq: isn't Saddam a bad man?; change "French fries" to "Freedom fries" because France opposes it; Vietnam is a communist "domino" and we must stop the "dominoes" from falling; and on and on--and, further, to fill the airwaves with this crap so that viewers feel that their opinions--that these wars are wrong--are irrelevant; creating the false impression of a flag-waving, goose-stepping majority marching off to war. No such majority ever existed in the US on the Iraq War. Nearly 60% of the American people opposed it, way back in Feb. 03 (all polls). But ask your average Joe or Jane on the street--or even your not-so-average, knowledgeable leftist activist--did the American people support the Iraq War, and they will mostly answer, "Yes!" They believe that other Americans were fooled.

Not fooled. But feeling powerless and helpless--yes.

That is the great triumph of the corpo/fascist press: Not the manufacture of consent, but the manufacture of the illusion of consent.
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Luminous Animal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:16 PM
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2. Kick.
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Karmadillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 04:48 PM
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3. Kick
nt
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