Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Back in the beginning of time, when I was still scratching for my undergraduate degree, I had to take a course called Propaganda Analysis. It wasn’t the deepest subject I ever encountered, but it did teach me a few things that have helped to cut through the smoke screens the media puts up all the time.

This morning’s paper was loaded with them; starting with the headline, “Intelligence asserts al-Qaida, Iraq link: Bush declassifies information that says bin Laden envisioned Iraq as staging area” immediately followed by “Radical cleric al-Sadr poised for power grab: The anti-American Shiite leader’s backers say he is hiding in Iran”.

It amazed me that, prior to our invasion of Iraq, the majority of people in America believed that Saddam was harboring al-Qaida, but it is certainly more amazing that some continue to do so and that this headline will do its little bit to sustain that impression. There’s no way to confirm this, but I know darn well that a few rabid war supporters in my home area will read only that headline and its subhead and then conclude that Mr. Bush was telling the truth all along and Saddam was supporting al-Qaida when he was in power in Iraq.

All one has to do, though, is read the first line of the story to learn that bin Laden ordered a move into Iraq in 2005. Uncritical readers will not note that 2005 was two years after we invaded that country. Nor will they conclude that the opportunity for al-Qaida to gain a foothold in Iraq did not crop up until two years after America established clearly that they would be unable to achieve control of the country.

The irony here is thick enough to be called iron for short. Bush, the story says, declassified this information in an attempt to defend his war strategy, but a thoughtful reading reveals that his war strategy caused the opportunity. And yet, his argument will be swallowed and reiterated by those who constantly seek reasons to support this war.

The reason for leaning on al-Sadr’s presence in Iran, of course, is to keep the notion of Iran as a harborer of evil in the forefront of American thinking. Al-Sadr is not our friend. Iran is not our friend. Therefore, the intended conclusion is, both are evil, and headlines like this are employed to keep subliminal American outrage at Iran at a high enough pitch that we might support another invasion; this time into that country. Fact is that al-Sadr is in Iran along with a couple of million other Iraqis who have fled the horrors we have let loose on the streets of Baghdad and every other city and town in Iraq, but we never hear about them through our media.

Don’t get me wrong. I certainly do not support al-Sadr in any way. He is not the sort of fellow one would hope would end up in control of any country, but the fact is that our invasion and destruction of the status quo in Iraq set the stage for his kind of leadership. The ultimate irony will be that the United States, which under the sway of the far right so often acts like a Christian theocratic state, has unseated a secular (though undesirable) government in Iraq and most likely enabled a new Islamic theocracy that will be virulently anti-U.S. for the foreseeable future.

Oh, what tangled webs we weave . . .

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

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