For his last article, see the following:
CommonDreams.org | Normon Solomon | Digital Hype: A Dazzling Smokescrean?
(Spinning the Mostly Lies)
By Norman Solomon
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Thursday, 16 March 2006
[Copyright (c) 2006 in the
U.S.A. and Internationally
by t r u t h o u t (.org)
and/or Normon Solomon.
All rights are reserved.]
The third anniversary of the Iraq invasion is bound to attract a lot of media coverage, but scant recognition will go to the pundits who helped to make it all possible.
Continuing with long service to the Bush administration's agenda-setting for war, prominent media commentators were very busy in the weeks before the invasion. At the Washington Post, the op-ed page's fervor hit a new peak on February 6, 2003, the day after Colin Powell's mendacious speech to the UN Security Council.
Post columnist Richard Cohen explained that Powell was utterly convincing. "The evidence he presented to the United Nations - some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail - had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them," Cohen wrote. "Only a fool - or possibly a Frenchman - could conclude otherwise."
Meanwhile, another one of the Post's syndicated savants, Jim Hoagland, led with this declaration: "Colin Powell did more than present the world with a convincing and detailed X-ray of Iraq's secret weapons and terrorism programs yesterday. He also exposed the enduring bad faith of several key members of the UN Security Council when it comes to Iraq and its 'web of lies,' in Powell's phrase." Hoagland's closing words banished doubt: "To continue to say that the Bush administration has not made its case, you must now believe that Colin Powell lied in the most serious statement he will ever make, or was taken in by manufactured evidence. I don't believe that. Today, neither should you."
Impatience grew among pundits who depicted the UN's inspection process as a charade because Saddam Hussein's regime obviously possessed weapons of mass destruction. In an essay appearing on February 13, 2003, Christopher Hitchens wrote: "Those who are calling for more time in this process should be aware that they are calling for more time for Saddam's people to complete their humiliation and subversion of the inspectors."
A few weeks later, on March 17, President Bush prefaced the imminent invasion by claiming in a televised speech: "Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it."
In the same speech, noting that "many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast," Bush offered reassurance. "I have a message for them: If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you."
The next day, Hitchens came out with an essay featuring similar assurances, telling readers that "the Defense Department has evolved highly selective and accurate munitions that can sharply reduce the need to take or receive casualties. The predictions of widespread mayhem turned out to be false last time - when the weapons [in the Gulf War] were nothing like so accurate." And, he added, "it can now be proposed as a practical matter that one is able to fight against a regime and not a people or a nation."
With the full-scale attack underway, the practicalities were evident from network TV studios. "The American public knows the importance of this war," Fox News pundit and Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes proclaimed a few days after the invasion began. "They are not as casualty sensitive as the weenies in the American press are."
And what about the punditry after the ballyhooed "victory" in Iraq? Researchers at the media watch group FAIR (where I'm an associate) have exhumed statements made by prominent media cheerleaders who were flushed with triumph. Often showing elation as Baghdad fell, US journalists lavished praise on the invasion and sometimes aimed derisive salvos at American opponents of the military action.
One of the most gleeful commentators on network television was MSNBC's "Hardball" host Chris Matthews. "We're all neo-cons now," he crowed on April 9, 2003, hours after a Saddam Hussein statue tumbled in Baghdad.
Weeks later, Matthews was still at it, making categorical declarations: "We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple."
Simplistic was more like it. And, in the rush of stateside enthusiasm for war on Iraq, centrist pundits like Matthews - apt to sway with the prevailing wind - were hardly inclined to buck the jingoistic storm.
Pseudo-patriotic hot air remained at gale force on Fox News Channel, still blowing strong. "Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory," Tony Snow told viewers in late April. "The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints."
What passes for liberalism on Fox also cheered and gloated. Sean Hannity's weak debating partner, Alan Colmes, threw down a baiting challenge on April 25. "Now that the war in Iraq is all but over," Colmes demanded, "should the people in Hollywood who opposed the president admit they were wrong?"
[This is NOT an admission of we "liberals" that we were wrong about Iraq. But, far from it, this is a statement of just how much the so-called "conservatives" and their pundits lied or were dead wrong about Iraq, or both. Colin Powell is the "best" example of this, he who called the NeoCons in control of the U.S. right now, "....f___ing crazies....", because he more than all of them knew he was lying through his teeth to the United Nations Security Council and to the American people when he laid out the "justification(s)" for attacking, invading and occupying Iraq, for he had made categorical statements not long before, none of which were changed one iota by any "new evidence", that much of the "evidence" that he ended up presenting to the U.N. was NOT true.
The foregoing, along with all of the many, mostly lies used to "justify" this completely, nationally and internationally, illegal "preemptive" war of aggression, outlawed by, at-minimum, the Constitution of the United States, the United Nations Charter, the Nuremburg Protocols, and the Geneva Conventions, is exceedingly damning evidence of many more-than-impeachable "presidential" high crime offenses, of war crimes, of crimes against humanity, of mass-murder, as well as of other extremely serious felonious violations of national and international law(s), all fraudulently and deceitfully perpetrated in the names of, under "color" of, and/or under "cover" of "freedom" and "democracy", irreparably harming the standing of the United States in the eyes of all those who stand for True Democracy and Freedom, and making them wonder if the age of reason and liberty is dead.
So we liberals weren't wrong. No, VERY far from it, those of us, and "our pundits", who knew and said so at the time that the "evidence" and/or "justifications" for going to war against Iraq, and Afghanistan too for that matter, was almost all lies, were totally truthful and "right on the money". We have more than proven time and time again that most of those so-called "justifications", and that so-called "evidence", for attacking, invading and occupying Iraq were based on virtually nothing but lies, unending lies at that, which still haven't stopped because the extremely psychotic and dangerous administration in the White House right now keeps recycling, repeating and/or re-spinning the lies.
Also, they keep telling more and more new lies over and over again, to such an extreme extent that about half of the American people still refuse to believe that the lies were and are lies, and blindly follow and support this extremely sociopathic, theocratic, corporate-fascist, authoritarian, neo-nazi, cabalistic, junta, mobster, "f___ing (insane)" administration! And all of this makes those who are facing and exercising our rights and duties to speak out against all of this insanity, "fear" that the corporate mobsters in absolute political power right now have already completely destroyed True Freedom and Democracy in this country and in the world, though we of course hope and non-violently fight that it is not so, and/or that it does not become so, and that liberty and reason prevail over ALL of these "f___ing crazies"!] [Subtitle, and words and/or emphasis in brackets ("[ ]"), added by Wolf Britain.]
Part of this article has been adapted from Norman Solomon's latest book, War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. To purchase the book, go to: www.Amazon.com.
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