George W. Bush
Declares War on Iraq
January 24, 2001
John Q. Media
Within the next 6 months, the media
in the United States will launch an editorial attack on Saddam Hussein, and
then shortly thereafter the government of this country will launch this attack
militarily. It should come as no surprise that the U.S. will be at war with
Iraq within the next six months. It is almost callous to make such a proclamation,
when the odds and evidence weigh so heavily in favor of this prediction; sort
of like predicting that the sun will come up tomorrow morning.
The author makes this prediction now,
as much to claim "I told you so" bragging rights after the fact, as to provide
an antecedent illustration of what is destined to be a perfect example of
the power of the government/media machine and its influence on the masses.
A short essay and/or prediction like this could not be made without reference
to several recent news articles from a highly respected newspaper, and reference
to Noam Chomsky, who argued what will follow here, long before the author
Saddam Hussein has, without question,
been branded as the epitome of the "tyrannical dictator"; but one must remember
that, also without question, the United States was acting, in whole or in
part, to protect its financial interest [to be read "oil"] in the region during
the Gulf War. For the last year, the citizens of the United States have been
paying through the nose for a naturally occurring commodity [to be read "oil"],
and have been reading recent published articles which report that OPEC will
continue to cut oil production do keep prices at levels which they find more
acceptable. The harbinger of this economic terrorism, [to be read "high oil
prices"] argued from both a geographic and cultural vantage point by the media
- Iraq is, and is near, these major oil-producing countries and its citizens
are "Arabs" - is none other than Saddam Hussein himself. Whether or not his
presence in the region can or cannot be accurately and directly linked to
said economic aggression [the author will argue that this "accurate link"
is not even necessary] America is already angry at Saddam. But soon that anger
will turn to fury.
The New York Times has recently
published articles under the following headlines; the dates are included to
provide temporal continuity:
January 11, 2001: Iraq Is Focal
Point as Bush Meets With Joint Chiefs
January 22, 2001: Iraq Rebuilt Weapons
Factories, Officials Say
January 23, 2001: Bush Administration
Warns Iraq on Weapons Programs
The case is being made to the masses;
a war cannot be waged without the public's support. With the slew of articles
that are soon to follow, this support will crescendo, and George W. Bush,
acting as the commander and chief [with some help from Mr. Powell one would
assume - and hope] will arrange for a minor military intervention [to be read
"war"] on the country of Iraq. Saddam Hussein will, necessarily, have to be
killed during this intervention so that Mr. Bush can claim to have rectified
what he has claimed is one of the biggest faults of the Clinton Administration's
foreign policy in this region; "During the campaign, he criticized the Clinton
administration as allowing the international coalition against Iraq to erode,
and for permitting sanctions against Iraq to loosen.". [New York Times:
January 11, 2001: Iraq Is Focal Point as Bush Meets With Joint Chiefs]
Contrary to this position, statements
by Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, "...bolstered, rather than criticized
Mr. Clinton... On Iraq, for instance, Mr. Cohen argued that sanctions had
worked. 'Saddam Hussein's forces are in a state where he cannot pose a threat
to his neighbors at this point,' he said. 'We have been successful, through
the sanctions regime, to really shut off most of the revenue that will be
going to rebuild his military.'" [The New York Times: January 11, 2001:
Iraq Is Focal Point as Bush Meets With Joint Chiefs]. And although
Mr. Bush as criticized Mr. Clinton regarding his military policies and spending,
asserting, "that Mr. Clinton's defense policies had caused military morale
to plummet and weapons systems to fall into disrepair.", The New York Times
notes that, "The increase outlined by Mr. Cohen today is actually significantly
more than what Mr. Bush proposed during the campaign, which was $45 billion
over 10 years. Though Mr. Cohen did not lay out that contrast, he seemed to
be suggesting that the Clinton administration had already achieved more than
anything Mr. Bush had even proposed during the campaign." [The New York
Times: January 11, 2001: Iraq Is Focal Point as Bush Meets With Joint
What these statements amount to, is
not only blatant hypocrisy [Bush's irreverent stump speeches turn out to be
nothing more than fabrications of truth to scare the American public - as
if that wasn't apparent at the time], but an effort to bring Democrats into
the proverbial "fold", by praising their efforts in these areas. Full Congressional
support will be necessary for him to distract the public [once again], with
a full show of America's military might. But as mentioned above, the support
of the American people is equally important; in order to achieve the consent
of the public, the media will necessarily publish [under the guise of "documented
and newsworthy observations"] a series of articles which illuminate the seriousness
of Mr. Hussein's threat to world peace.
One such article by the New York Times
begins by stating: Iraq has rebuilt a series of factories that the United
States has long suspected of producing chemical and biological weapons, according
to senior government officials.". And goes on to describe these facilities
as, " ... The factories - in an industrial complex in Falluja, west of Baghdad
- include two that were bombed and badly damaged by American and British air
raids in December 1998 to punish Mr. Hussein for his refusal to cooperate
with United Nations weapons inspectors, the government officials said." [The
New York Times, January 22, 2001: Iraq Rebuilt Weapons Factories, Officials
Say] Mr. Hussein has been a very bad boy.
There are too many examples to cite
in the article, from the New York Times, Iraq Rebuilt Weapons Factories,
Officials Say, [January 22, 2001] which use callous speculation to raise
the ire of the American public. The following examples are given to briefly
outline of the complexity and redundancy of such statements [their potential
to sway public opinion will be left up to the reader]; the author has highlighted
in red, the speculative verbiage in these
"Some of Iraq's facilities could
be converted fairly quickly to production of chemical weapons,"
"Iraq retains the expertise, once
a decision is made, to resume chemical agent production within
a few weeks or months, depending on the type of agent."
When questioned about the ability of
the infrastructure to begin covertly producing some chemical or biological
agents, Mr. Cohen stated:
know for sure, but given his past known behavior, there's probably
a pretty fair chance that's what's happening."
And regarding the issue of oil prices
raised above [no pun intended]:
"The rising price of oil has also allowed
Iraq to raise billions in revenues, significantly easing the strains placed
on its economy after the Persian Gulf war. While most of that revenue is strictly
controlled by the United Nations, intelligence reports
suggest that Mr. Hussein has been able to divert $500 million to
$1 billion a year and raise another $1 billion to $2 billion in illicit smuggling."
Mr. Hussein doesn't have a chance;
he has no public relations department.
The American public will undoubtedly
and predictably react to this propaganda with its full support of the war;
the slogan "support our troops" will be revived. Noam Chomsky wrote about
the use of this slogan during the Persian Gulf war:
"... Support our troops." Who can be
against that?... In fact, what does it mean if somebody asks you, Do you support
the people in Iowa? Can you say, Yes, I support them, or No, I don't support
them? Its not even a question. It doesn't mean anything. That's the point.
The point of public relations slogans like "Support our troops", is that they
don't mean anything. They mean as much as whether you support the people in
Iowa. Of course there was an issue. The issue was do you support or policy?
But you don't want people to think about that issue. That's the whole point
of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be
against, and everybody is going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because
it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention
to the question that does mean something" Do you support our policy?
That's the one you're not allowed to talk about. So you have people arguing
about support for the troops? "Of course I don't not support them."
Then you've won.".[Noam Chomsky, "Media Control", 20-21].
Maybe Mr. Hussein is very dangerous,
maybe those factories are producing deadly chemical weapons, maybe he is planning
an attack on the United States or one of its allies. Unfortunately, the American
public will never know. The American public will only know what its told by
the media and the politicians; an arguably one sided and propagandistic point
of view. And as speculation becomes "fact"
over the next several months, be mindful of whose opinions are presented,
and what their motivations might be.