Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Spin is the New Truth

This piece at truthout is informative. It is a history of the Iraq war composed entirely of lies told be members of the Bush Administration (some of the tenses have been changed for consistency and clarity). Every statement was false, and could be documented as false. If you believed any of these statements were true, you've been had, you sap.

I've been having a number of political conversations recently as voters start to perk up. It is amazing how well negative advertising works - I've heard a lot of criticism of Kerry, recently, from other liberals (not surprising), using the same talking points and language used by Republican attack ads (surprising, to me). I didn't think this stuff worked anymore on informed citizens, and I guess I am wrong. I am referring particularly to "character" defamation charges - from the ubiquitous "Flip-Flopper" and "indecisive, wishy-washy" and "I don't know where he stands on . . . " to "voted for the war, then opposed it" to "probably hiding something about Vietnam" to "scumbag" - twice, from two people who are voting for him anyway!

These people think they are independent-minded people who are making their own judgements about a man's character from the evidence, but they aren't. They can't be, since they don't have any evidence. Instead, they have been influenced by a very disciplined, very effective propaganda campaign designed to distract attention from Bush's failed record and depress turnout among progressives in November. So let's look at these charges, shall we?

Flip-flops. Where do people talk like this but politics? If at any point you have said, "I voted for Gore/Bush/Nader in 2000, but I'm not sure who I'm voting for this time," doesn't that make you a flip-flopper? Real people change their minds when they are wrong. Politicians, apparently, are expected to hold the same opinion forever even if the facts have changed. It is perfectly reasonable, for example, for someone to have argued last October that more troops were needed in Iraq and to now be arguing for withdrawal. After all, more troops last year might well have helped establish some sort of stability. That seems less likely today. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.- Emerson Following the political wind is not the greatest sin in the world, especially not in a democracy in which the people's desires are supposed to determine policy. Why does Bush make us so angry? Because he doesn't care what we think!

Voted for the war. One thing that has gone little noticed in the debate over Iraq is how effective the Security Council was in containing Saddam Hussein. In October 2002, Bush obtained approval from Congress to use force, if necessary, to deal with SH. He went to the UN Security Council, which passed Resolution 1441, demanding that Saddam comply with the terms of the 1991 cease-fire by permitting weapons inspectors to enter Iraq and verify his complete disarmament. Saddam caved in and allowed Hans Blix and the inspectors to enter Iraq. They searched the country, found nothing but a few long-range missles, which they destroyed. Had Bush declared victory at this point it would be remembered as an important foreign-policy success, correcting one of Clinton's worst failures (the expulsion of the inspectors after the misguided 1998 bombing of Iraq). At this point, Bush demanded the inspectors leave Iraq and invaded anyway, with no reason. He did not return to Congress and ask for an endorsement of this decision, even though, since Iraq wasn't threatening us at all, an invasion would constitutionally have required a Declaration of War by Congress for it to be legal. The October 2002 vote was part of a strategy for dealing with Saddam through the UN - a strategy that worked.

Vietnam: For chrissakes already. Kerry fought with distinction and earned medals for chasing down and killing a guerilla with a rocket laucher who was threatening his boat, and for going back into hostile territory to rescue a Jim Rasmussen, a Marine who had been knocked overboard by an exploding mine. He returned to the states after receiving three injuries, none life threatening, as per Navy regulations at that time. He still has shrapnel in his ass. After returning he spoke out against the war, most notably in a 1971 appearance before Congress when he testified to hearing about atrocities committed by American forces. Many people felt that such testimony undermined morale, but no one seriously denies that these charges were true. Follow that last link and weep. Rape? Check. Massacred civilians? Check. Ears taken as trophies? Check. These things were not "allegations." The Pentagon investigated and determined that they did in fact happen. Deal with it.

I don't know where he stands . . . Radio and TV sound bites are not the best way to find out where a candidate stands on a particular issue. If you actually care, most candidates these days have web sites where you can check out their position papers. Check out www.johnkerry.com if you really want to know. If you don't, then quit bitching. It's called "due diligence."

He's not liberal enough/he's not focusing on my issues. I wish people would stop waiting for a saviour to ride in on a white horse, take power and make everything right while you sit at home and watch on TV. That way lies fascism. If you have issues that are important to you, get off your ass and do something about it. Getting the right person in office is only the first step. After that, pay attention, write your Representatives and your local paper, organize and stuff! If you are a Kucinich leftie, you must realize that most of the country disagrees with you and the only way to have any influence on policy is to come to a reasonable accommodation with moderates and try to convince them that your ideas make sense. Ask your self this: why should a small minority be able to impose the nifty-sounding ideas it read in cool books on the country? One word for you: NEOCONSERVATIVES.

Speaking of Kucinich lefties, Eric Nassau was in town this weekend for his 29th birthday. It was cool. He played with our own Jaik Willis as well as this guy Cody who plays Mondays at the Wrightwood Tap, think I'll check him out next week, come along if you're in the area.

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