(This title is from Noam Chomsky... but I liked it, so I'm taking it)
“Modern weapons take food from the hungry and shelter from the homeless” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
One of the many good quotes from “Why We Fight”. First, let me say that if you haven’t already seen this documentary, you should. It is very good.
Most of the movie was not new information, but one thing from the first ten minutes of the movie that really struck me was footage of thousands of people in Tehran holding candlelight vigils for those who had died on 9/11. I looked into this further and found that there were actually millions of people all over the Palestine region who stood in silence mourning the loss of life in the attacks, an experience they are regrettably too familiar with. I had never heard or seen these images. Instead, the news only chooses to broadcast the smaller demonstrations of people shooting guns into the air and praising God for the destruction of their enemy.
And it’s in this kind of context that the whole liberal media bullshit breaks down. The media was just as much a catalyst for this war as the Bush administration. The media was used to bolster public support and silence them from asking questions about who actually did this and what were their reasons. True, many within the media may not have known that they were being manipulated and used, but I tend to think they knew full well what they were doing. We were shown the same tired footage of the worst of the worst people and were inclined to characterize the whole Arabic world as evil enemies of “freedom” or our precious way of life. And our inability to differentiate between those who had nothing to do with the attacks and those who needed to be brought to justice allowed the administration to draw a hazy – and later completely discredited – link between the Taliban and Iraq (who apparently had WMDs) and lead us into a disastrous war. Again, it helped to paint in the broad strokes using terms like Axis of evil, then, if you disagreed with the administration, you were implicitly compared to Hitler.
Frankly, part of me believes that the American media is controlled nearly to the degree of the media of totalitarian states. So much of it is propaganda done under the guise of a free press (except Fox News, which is simply under Satan). There is little freedom of information, so we are forced to trust the distorted reports that our agenda-driven imperialist government feeds us through the stream of popular, ratings-driven, shock media… The dual curse of profiteering and warmongering in the ranks of government coupled with info-tainment.
Back in 2003, when I sadly aligned myself with the religious right, I did support this war. But, I have to wonder, if I had seen the sympathy of the Arabic world rather than their parties, would I have felt differently? If we weren’t lied to about Iraq’s link to the Taliban, or Saddam’s supposed attempt to acquire plutonium and built a bomb, would we be in this mess now? And if there were true freedom of information in this country, would we have been so blindly misled into this disastrous war?