Category Archives: World Press

World Press


Edward Herman o­n U.S. Aggression Against Iraq

I could hardly bear to read listmember Ed Herman's thorough, profound and penetrating summary of where it's at with Iraq. I know all this, and still this is a benchmark piece. Here are some quotes from it:

Despite the hidden agenda and illegalities of the inspections system, and Iraq's foot-dragging and deceptions, the system did oversee the destruction of an estimated 90-95 percent of Iraq's WMD stocks, and most of its WMD capacity. Iraq was essentially disarmed, according to Scott Ritter and Hans Von Sponeck, who were active participants in the inspection process. But this did not satisfy the United States and Britain, and couldn't do so because of their illegal aim of regime change…

The apologists underrate the costs of war. There will be modest U.S. casualties, but enormous Iraqi casualties as the U.S. carries out its standard policy of intense bombing prior to invasion-occupation. There will be huge costs in a destroyed Iraq and heavy costs in the conduct of the war. “Collateral Damage: The Health and Environmental Costs of War o­n Iraq,” put out by the Medical Association for Prevention of War in November 2002, estimates half a million deaths assuming o­nly conventional warfare, costs exceeding $200 billion, and immeasurable adverse secondary effects o­n health and welfare.

There will also probably be intensified terrorist responses to the attack o­n Iraq. This and the feedback effects of war o­n the U.S. society will push it further toward an authoritarian state. This is a plus for the Bush administration as it will, like 9/11 and the war o­n terror in general, help it cover over its anti-public interest agenda.

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PILGER ON IRAQ: On the Background and On Journalists

Thanks to William Golden for this.  It's more o­n the journalists' role — an echo of  “MEDIA LENS really sees,” posted 12/18. Pilger is o­ne of the best, writing here about the master plan for invasion of Iraq that was in motion before 9/11 — be sure to read the whole piece if you don't know this story. This is how his article ends.

John Pilger reveals the American plan  New Statesman (London) 16 December 2002

You have to keep reminding yourself this is not fantasy: that truly dangerous men, such as Perle and Rumsfeld and Cheney, have power. The thread running through their ruminations is the importance of the media:”the prioritised task of bringing o­n board journalists of repute to accept our position”.

“Our position” is code for lying. Certainly, as a journalist, I have never known official lying to be more pervasive than today. We may laugh at the vacuities in Tony Blair's “Iraq dossier” and Jack Straw's inept lie that Iraq has developed a nuclear bomb (which his minions rushed to “explain”). But the more insidious lies, justifying an unprovoked attack o­n Iraq and linking it to would-be terrorists who are said to lurk in every Tube station, are routinely channelled as news. They are not news; they are black propaganda.

This corruption makes journalists and broadcasters mere ventriloquists' dummies. An attack o­n a nation of 22 million suffering people is discussed by liberal commentators as if it were a subject at an academic seminar, at which pieces can be pushed around a map, as the old imperialists used to do.

The issue for these humanitarians is not primarily the brutality of modern imperial domination, but how “bad” Saddam Hussein is. There is no admission that their decision to join the war party further seals the fate of perhaps thousands of innocent Iraqis condemned to wait o­n America's international death row. Their doublethink will not work. You cannot support murderous piracy in the name of humanitarianism. Moreover, the extremes of American fundamentalism that we now face have been staring at us for too long for those of good heart and sense not to recognise them.Comments? Click here

MEDIA LENS really sees

Here's break-through piece sent out by “MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media.” (This “Media Alert,” called “Adjusted Curiosity,” is December 17.)

I've become less inclined to post echoes of the mess we are in, and more interested in what digs deeper so that we can understand the forces that are in play. Understanding is power, and this piece helps us to know a different face of the enemy. The title is “Life in a Box,” and it's commentary from beyond the box about how we are inside it. Also, there's a section that you have to read, about o­ne person's impact as a result of writing some very clear letters. It's a success story that makes you feel real good, and gives you a glimmer of hope for anything you might do.  Here's a taste from the rest of the piece:

In some 60 Media Alerts published this year, we have shown how media performance overwhelmingly promotes the views and interests of established power…professionals, including media professionals, are not liars. They are people who have been selected and trained to subordinate their capacity for critical thought to a professional 'standard'. They do this without awareness in the understanding that it is 'just how things are done'. Journalists are totally, 100%, loudly and uncompromisingly honest – within the box delimited by power. And it works as long as no o­ne lifts the lid and takes a peek outside the box…

One individual writing a couple of passionate but rational and factually accurate letters, had helped to neutralize o­ne attempt by this country's Foreign Secretary to promote a war by deceiving and manipulating a national radio audience. This was a tremendous triumph for Darren Smith personally and a real sign of what can be achieved. Anyone who thinks writing letters, and other forms of dissent, makes no difference should reflect o­n this example…

Psychologist Stanley Milgram reported that the most fundamental lesson of his study o­n obedience in modern society was, “ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility o­n their part, can become agents in a terrible, destructive process”…Milgram's second key lesson was that when other “ordinary people” refuse to obey, when they refuse to stay meekly in the box, and instead claim their human right to speak out in the name of their own perceptions, their own thoughts, their own truly felt compassion for the suffering of others, this has an inordinately powerful impact o­n the world around us. Greedy and destructive power based o­n thoughtless obedience is supremely vulnerable to compassionate rebellion. We should never lose sight of this.

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