The Wars We Are Discouraged From Seeing

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Yves here. This post focuses on what sadly has become an important topic, namely propaganda, with coverage of wars as the object lesson. Since readers have sometimes brought it up, I suspect many will concur with the commentary on how the dulcet-toned newscasters at NPR manage to make our military adventurism seem virtuous and necessary, and even on those rare occasions where they admit to bad outcomes, it was all just a mistake. No one’s fault!

While we are on the topic of voices, one that really gets to me is Victoria Nuland’s. She already has protective coloring via her babyfaced (= harmless-seeming) look. But her voice. It’s pitched a bit high, as if to present youthfulness and vigor. But when she drops into the lower part of her range, there’s a steely tone of command. It’s as if she’s been working all on her own, with no Bene Gesserit to guide her, on developing the Voice.

By David Barsamian and Norman Solomon. Originally published at TomDispatch

[The following is excerpted and adapted from David Barsamian’s recent interview with Norman Solomon at]

David Barsamian: American Justice Robert Jackson was the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials. He made an opening statement to the Tribunal on November 21, 1945, because there was some concern at the time that it would be an example of victor’s justice. He said this: “If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down the rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”

Norman Solomon: It goes to the point that, unless we have a single standard of human rights, a single standard of international conduct and war, we end up with an Orwellian exercise at which government leaders are always quite adept but one that’s still intellectually, morally, and spiritually corrupt. Here we are, so long after the Nuremberg trials, and the supreme crime of aggression, the launching of a war, is not only widespread but has been sanitized, even glorified. We’ve had this experience in one decade after another in which the United States has attacked a country in violation of international law, committing (according to the Nuremberg Tribunal) “the supreme international crime,” and yet not only has there been a lack of remorse, but such acts have continued to be glorified.

The very first quote in my book War Made Invisible is from Aldous Huxley who, 10 years before the Nuremberg trials, said, “The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.” Here we are in 2023 and it’s still a challenge to analyze, illuminate, and push back against that essential purpose of propagandists around the world and especially in our own country where, in an ostensible democracy, we should have the most capacity to change policy.

Right now, we’re in a situation where, unfortunately, across a lot of the political spectrum, including some of the left, folks think that you have to choose between aligning yourself with U.S. foreign policy and its acts of aggression or Russian foreign policy and its acts of aggression. Personally, I think it’s both appropriate and necessary to condemn war on Ukraine, and Washington’s hypocrisy doesn’t in any way let Russia off the hook. By the same token, Russia’s aggression shouldn’t let the United States off the hook for the tremendous carnage we’ve created in this century. I mean, if you add up the numbers, in the last nearly twenty-five years, the country by far the most responsible for slaughtering more people in more lands through wars of aggression is… yes, the United States of America.

Barsamian: What’s your assessment of the war coverage of PBS and NPR? You know, a rarified, polite media where people speak in complete sentences without any shouting. But have they presented dissident voices to challenge the hegemonic assumptions you just cited when it comes to American war policies?

Solomon: The style there is different, of course, but consider it just a long form of the very same propaganda framework. So, you can listen to a 10-minute segment on All Things Considered or a panel discussion on the PBS NewsHour and the style and civility, the length of the sentences, as you say, may be refreshing to the ear, but it also normalizes the same attitudes, the same status-quo assumptions about American foreign policy. I won’t say never, but in my experience, it’s extremely rare for an NPR or PBS journalist to assertively question the underlying prerogatives of the U.S. government to attack other countries, even if it’s said with a more erudite ambiance.

You’ve got NPR and PBS unwilling to challenge, but all too willing to propagate and perpetuate the assumption that, yes, the United States might make mistakes, it might even commit blunders — a popular word for the U.S. invasion of Iraq that resulted in literally hundreds of thousands of deaths. Still, the underlying message is invariably that yes, we can (and should) at times argue over when, whether, and how to attack certain countries with the firepower of the Pentagon, but those decisions do need to be made and the U.S. has the right to do so if that’s the best judgment of the wise people in the upper reaches of policy in Washington.

Barsamian: Jeff Cohen, the founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), has talked about the guest list on such PBS and NPR programs. There’s a golden Rolodex of what he calls “formers” — former undersecretaries of state, former lieutenant colonels, retired generals, et al. But what about dissident voices like Medea Benjamin, yourself, or Noam Chomsky?

Solomon: Over the years, FAIR has done a number of studies ranging from commercial networks to NPR and the PBS NewsHour, and found that, particularly when issues of war and peace are on the table, it’s extremely rare to have opponents of U.S. military action on the air, sometimes below one percent of the interviewees. And this is considered “objective journalism” and goes hand in hand with a deeper precept, usually unspoken but certainly in play in the real world: that if an American journalist is in favor of our wars, that’s objectivity, but if opposed, that’s bias.

I’m sometimes asked: Why do journalists so often stay in line? They’re not, as in some other countries, going to be hauled off to prison. So, what makes them feel compelled to be as conformist as they are? And a lot of the explanation has to do with mortgages and the like — hey, I want to pay for my children’s college education, I need financial security, so on and so forth.

To my mind, it’s a tremendous irony that we have so many examples of very brave journalists for American media outlets going into war zones, sometimes being wounded, occasionally even losing their lives, and then the ones who get back home, back to the newsrooms, turn out to be afraid of the boss. They don’t want to lose their syndicated columns, their front-page access. This dangerous dynamic regiments the journalism we get.

And keep in mind that, living in the United States, we have, with very few exceptions, no firsthand experience of the wars this country has engaged in and continues to be engaged in. So, we depend on the news media, a dependence that’s very dangerous in a democracy where the precept is that we need the informed consent of the governed, while what we’re getting is their uninformed pseudo-consent. Consider that a formula for the warfare state we have.

Barsamian: At the White House Correspondents’ dinner President Biden said, “Journalism is not a crime. The free press is a pillar, maybe the pillar of a free society.” Great words from the White House.

Solomon: President Biden, like his predecessors in the Oval Office, loves to speak about the glories of the free press and say that journalism is a wonderful aspect of our society — until the journalists do something he and the government he runs really don’t like. A prime example is Julian Assange. He’s a journalist, a publisher, an editor, and he’s sitting in prison in Great Britain being hot-wired for transportation to the United States. I sat through the two-week trial in the federal district of northern Virginia of CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling and I can tell you it was a kangaroo court. That’s the court Julian Assange has a ticket to if his extradition continues.

And what’s his so-called crime? It’s journalism. WikiLeaks committed journalism. It exposed the war crimes of the United States in Iraq through documents it released, through the now-notorious video that came to be called “Collateral Murder,” showing the wanton killing of a number of people on the ground in Iraq by a U.S. military helicopter. It provided a compendium of evidence that the United States had systemically engaged in war crimes under the rubric of the so-called War on Terror. So, naturally, the stance of the U.S. government remains: this man Assange is dangerous; he must be imprisoned.

The attitude of the corporate media, Congress, and the White House has traditionally been and continues to be that the U.S. stance in the world can be: do as we say, not as we do. So, the USA is good at pointing fingers at Russia or countries that invade some other nation, but when the U.S. does it, it’s another thing entirely. Such dynamics, while pernicious, especially among a nuclear-armed set of nations, are reflexes people in power have had for a long time.

More than a century ago, William Dean Howells wrote a short story called “Editha.” Keep in mind that this was after the United States had been slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people in the Philippines. In it, a character says, “What a thing it is to have a country that can’t be wrong, but if it is, is right, anyway!”

Now, here we are in 2023 and it’s not that different, except when it comes to the scale of communications, of a media that’s so much more pervasive. If you read the op-ed pages and editorial sections of the New York Times, Washington Post, and other outlets of the liberal media, you’ll find such doublethink well in place. Vladimir Putin, of course, is a war criminal. Well, I happen to think he is a war criminal. I also happen to think that George W. Bush is a war criminal, and we could go on to all too many other examples of high U.S. government officials where that description applies no less than to Vladimir Putin.

Can you find a single major newspaper that’s been willing to editorialize that George W. Bush — having ordered the invasion of Iraq, costing hundreds of thousands of lives based on a set of lies — was a war criminal? It just ain’t gonna happen. In fact, one of the things I was particularly pleased (in a grim sort of way) to explore in my book was the rehabilitation of that war criminal, providing a paradigm for the presidents who followed him and letting them off the hook, too.

I quote, for instance, President Obama speaking to troops in Afghanistan. You could take one sentence after another from his speeches there and find almost identical ones that President Lyndon Johnson used in speaking to American troops in Vietnam in 1966. They both talked about how U.S. soldiers were so compassionate, cared so much about human life, and were trying to help the suffering people of Vietnam or Afghanistan. That pernicious theme seems to accompany almost any U.S. war: that, with the best of intentions, the U.S. is seeking to help those in other countries. It’s a way of making the victims at the other end of U.S. firepower — to use a word from my book title — invisible.

This is something I was able to do some thinking and writing about in my book. There are two tiers of grief in our media and our politics from Congress to the White House — ours and theirs. Our grief (including that of honorary semi-Americans like the Ukrainians) is focused on those who are killed by official enemy governments of the United States. That’s the real tier of grief and so when the media covers, as it should, the suffering of people in Ukraine thanks to Russia’s war of aggression, their suffering is made as real as can be. And yet, when it’s the U.S. slaughtering people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, that’s something else entirely. When it comes to the people at the other end of U.S. weaponry, the civilians, hundreds of thousands of them directly slaughtered, and millions indirectly killed by U.S. warfare, their tier of grief isn’t, with rare exceptions, on the media map. Those human beings just don’t matter.

Here in the USA, people find this unpleasant to hear or even think about. But our own humanity has been besmirched, damaged, undermined by such silences, which, in many ways, represent the most powerful propaganda of all. We need to break that silence.

Barsamian: The media landscape is radically changing from podcasts to blogs to all kinds of new media. Will that help?

Solomon: Technology’s never going to save us. Robert McChesney, the scholar of media history, has written eloquently about this. Every advance in technology was accompanied by these outsized promises that therefore we will have democracy. That’s going back to the first telegraphs, then radio, then broadcast TV, then cable television. At every step, people were told, hey, this technology means that no longer do we have a top-down relationship to power, we can make the changes happen ourselves. And yet as we’ve seen with all of those technologies, and this includes the Internet, technology never freed anybody.

Barsamian: What’s to be done? What practical steps would you recommend?

Solomon: I believe in organizing as the key element in turning around such dire circumstances, including corporate power, class war waged from the top down, and the militarization of our society and our foreign policy. That means a shift in mindset to see that we’re not consuming history off the shelf like Wonder Bread. As the saying goes, whatever your first major concern may be, your second should be the media. We need to build media organizations and support the ones that are doing progressive work, support them financially, support them in terms of spreading the word and also of learning more about how to — and actually implementing how to — organize both people we know and those we don’t. And I think that’s pretty antithetical to the messages the media regularly sends us, because really, the main messages from, say, television involve urging us to go out and buy things (and maybe vote once in a while). Well, we do need to go out and buy things and we certainly should vote, but the real changes are going to come when we find ways to work together to create political power both inside and outside the electoral arena.

When you look at the corruption of the Federal Communications Commission, for instance, that’s not going to change until different people are in office — and we’re not going to get different people in office until we elect them to overcome the power of Big Money. And there’s also the real history that we need to be reminded of: that everything we have to be proud of in this country was a result of people organizing from the bottom up and generating social movements. That’s truly where our best future lies.

Barsamian: You conclude War Made Invisible with a quote from James Baldwin.

Solomon: “Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

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  1. John R Moffett

    I used to listen to NPR and WAMU radio here in DC all day long back in the 1980s, when it was a different beast. Now it is pure PMC feel-good garbage, working hard to make well off people feel well off. I can’t even listen to a minute of it without getting nauseous. It is outrageously awful.

    1. jefemt

      Has NPR changed, or has your world-view and bullsh*t-o-meter been re-calibrated over the years?

      I was too busy in the eighties trying to survive the Carter/Reagan deep recession, raise a family, and keep the banker and tax man at bay. Ego ergo I go…. no time for newsy distractions.

      Perhaps there was a more rigorous media, in the waning afterglow of Viet Nam, the race riots, and Watergate. Remember— job number one of the US military complex was NEVER to allow a US war back on TeeVee. And for god sakes get rid of the draft- the last thing we need is Hockey Moms questioning the designs and actions of Empire.

  2. AG

    in Germany public radio, which is heavily state funded radio essentially, is slowly dismantled. Not as structure but as content, show by show.The argument is mainly young people don´t listen to the old stuff.
    Which is a non-argument in many ways.

    What makes me truly worry is the outlook: After civil society has so massively failed in this Ukraine War unable to identify and counter war-mongering propaganda of the worst kind yet unseen, why on Earth should this very same community/nation not fail on other wars again and again and again?

    Who will guarantee us there won´t be another Kosovo, or any other action on the basis of NATO Strategic Communication.

    Where should resistance come from when its Classic wells have dried out?

    Of course change is always possible. But it takes really long.

    To quote Nicolai Petro from 24th of Febr. 2023 on ACURA:

    “Once again, many Western leaders labelled the subsequent invasion of Ukraine as a precursor to an attack on NATO, and began making statements about how it must be used to remold the world for future generations. Once this view becomes the conventional wisdom, it is not hard to see how it will be used to ensure domestic support for foreign military adventures for decades to come.”

  3. Stephen

    “So, the USA is good at pointing fingers at Russia or countries that invade some other nation, but when the U.S. does it, it’s another thing entirely. Such dynamics, while pernicious, especially among a nuclear-armed set of nations, are reflexes people in power have had for a long time.”

    This comment is spot on and, of course, does not only apply to the US. People hate the idea that “their” country (or tribe) might be in the wrong. It seems to be a deep psychological characteristic that propaganda is then able to reinforce. We all seem to have the ability to be 100% hypocritical when it suits us.

    I engaged briefly (and uniquely for me) in an argument on a Fishbowl forum the other day: this is a site full of PMC types usually asking about careers and bitching about employers with anonymity. So very unlike Linked In, the PMC virtue signaling platform of choice.

    Someone was prompted by a post to criticize India for not sanctioning Russia. I felt compelled to respond. The counter argument that they have a right to neutrality and perhaps they ought to have sanctioned the US / west when it invaded Iraq and Afghanistan was not liked. Similarly, someone then made the point that 9/11 was bound to provoke reprisal and retaliation. The argument that such an approach resembles the Third Reich response to the assassination of Heydrich rather than justice and that ordinary Afghans / Iraqis played no part in 9/11 was regarded as an “apples and oranges” view. Brown University estimates of deaths from US / western wars since 2001 were similarly derided and rejected out of hand.

    The atrocities “we” commit are always somehow justified in our own minds. It is very sad. I think it is a large enabler for war, unfortunately one of the most enduring human activities.

  4. Donald

    I agreed with much of this piece and yet it still misses part of the problem— in fact it contributes to it.

    The problem is that in virtually all wars there are war crimes on both sides and often both sides have legitimate complaints, and yet the press usually doesn’t show it that way. They have two descriptive modes— Pure Good vs Pure Evil and Tragic Morally Gray Conflict.

    The first one is used for conflicts involving one of our enemies where the Blob sees a lot at stake, so this is what we see with the Ukranian War. I saw the NYT rewriting the history in a piece a month ago, where a Ukranian official was allowed to claim without correction that all the reports gong back to 2014 of Ukranian forces shelling civilians was Russian propaganda. So only one side does that. And so we constantly see words like “ brutal” used to describe Russian actions that are similar to those of the US or Israel when it fights wars. And Russia is portrayed as having nothing but bad motives when they invaded, in contrast to the motives of the US or any of its allies. And there is not a hint that either NATO or the Ukranians have done anything wrong

    But then any war where the US or an ally is the invader or aggressor we switch to Tragic Morally Gray mode. This is at best— sometimes this is also portrayed as Pure Good vs Pure Evil, where we of course are Pure Good. So it is a step forward to see it as Tragic Gray, but that is as far as it goes. Then you get the blunder or mistake language that the article talks about. Israel and its conflicts with Palestinians and others used to be portrayed as Good vs Evil, and now it is a step forward that it’s actions are portrayed as a bit gray, but that is as far as it goes.

    I understand that this piece says most of what I just said, but I don’t actually want what the authors here want, because in reality most conflicts are gray. You can often pack out a side which is worse, which is the clear aggressor or which commits the bulk of the atrocities, but ideally the press would look at all of the actions taken on both sides on a case by case basis and not ignore crimes because they don’t fit the Pure Good vs Pure Evil format. These two seem to think the press is doing a good job on the Ukraine War, but they aren’t. They are only condemning the atrocities of one side.

    1. hk

      This is driven, I think, by a sort of moral narcissism: we are doing the greater good, so any wrongs we commit are justified in context. The idea that the other side probably shares the same narcissism does not occur, and we are astonished and angered when the other side does not come out and confess that they are evil and they are doing what they are doing for evulz so that our moral belly button would get tingled.

      I think some sort of cynicism would do us good if only by tampering our sense of “morality.” I’ve found that people who perpetrate the greatest evil are invariably those who sincerely believe that they are doing some sort of greater good.

  5. zapster

    It is eternally frustrating listening to mealymouthed ‘both-sidesism’ cant. Anyone following this war closely can see clearly that the Russians are *not* “committing aggression.” After 9 years of the Nazis slaughtering and torturing Russian-speaking civilians, committing acts so vile that to ignore them is an atrocity itself and the complete failure of the west to do anything to protect them, how on earth can anyone blame Russia for this? Accusing them of “aggression” for finally acceding to the desperate pleas of the victims after years of trying every diplomatic effort possible is reprehensible. Yes, it literally DOES exonerate Russia. The west should be on their side fighting the resurgence of this most vicious fascist movement on earth which is growing alarmingly rapidly across Europe, Canada and the US from the seeds sown by the US in rescuing their grandparents from justice.

    1. juno mas

      The enemy of my enemy is a friend. So the Ukr. Nazis are supported with US funding: A method of playing the geopolitical chessboard to gain cheap resources from Russia. It’s always about the money (to be made).

  6. Carolinian

    Solomon: The style there is different, of course, but consider it just a long form of the very same propaganda framework. So, you can listen to a 10-minute segment on All Things Considered or a panel discussion on the PBS NewsHour and the style and civility, the length of the sentences, as you say, may be refreshing to the ear, but it also normalizes the same attitudes, the same status-quo assumptions about American foreign policy. I won’t say never, but in my experience, it’s extremely rare for an NPR or PBS journalist to assertively question the underlying prerogatives of the U.S. government to attack other countries, even if it’s said with a more erudite ambiance.

    Alex Cockburn once wrote a satirical column in The Nation that had Macneil and Lehrer leading a civilized debate on the merits of Swift’s Modest Proposal to eat the Irish babies. The News Hour has always had heavy corporate sponsorship and was “public” broadcasting mostly due to being on a government owned channel. But it has gotten much worse under Judy Woodruff and her team. NPR too. What independence our public broadcasting had was deliberately crushed under Reagan and his Repubs who said the USG was subsidizing his opponents.

    Now days there’s barely any antiwar movement left and some of those who incline that way like Solomon get it wrong with their confusion re Russian “aggression” versus strategic and defensive necessity. Even if the Russians are exaggerating to see the Ukraine conflict as “existential” they have a much better case to make than we do given America’s track record.

    Or at least that’s the story I’ve gotten by not listening to NPR.

    1. nippersdad

      It strikes me that the key tell for those people, like Solomon, who insist that Russia is guilty of aggression in Ukraine is that they have no answer to the question of what their alternative options were. When those European security pacts that were floated by Russia immediately prior to the SMO resurface it will be interesting to see how they manage to keep up the facade of both siderism. We will have been there before, and we did not come off well in that interchange the first time.

      It is as though Russia had not been making an anti-war argument for decades already. Until such as Solomon address that point directly they are as much a part of the propaganda campaigns as those they deride for having produced them.

  7. John Wright

    One further piece of evidence of the power of propaganda is there is NO movement in the USA to have the USA compensate for wrongful deaths of foreign citizens in military actions.

    If a foreign country invaded the USA to remove WMDs and killed or caused the deaths of many USA citizens as a consequence, one would expect a massive reparations bill if the invader retreated and USAians “lawyered up”.

    .But no one is calling for the USA to be charged Iraq War reparations.

    On another topic, it would interesting to have a “news invert” feature built into browsers.

    This could do a text swap of “Putin” to/from “Biden” , “Russia” to/from “USA” ,, “Lavrov” to/from “Blinken” , “aggressive action” to/from “defensive action” on a webpage.

    That might help readers see the news from another perspective as editorials/news were recast in a different light. .

  8. David in Friday Harbor

    I too was disturbed by Solomon’s framing of the current Russian military operation in “Ukraine” as a war of aggression. This framing is typical of the American ignorance of history, cultural xenophobia, and casual racism that underlies the absence of dissent in our mass media.

    The series of coups d’état staged in Kiev with open western and U.S. sponsorship since Yeltsin handed power to Putin and Medvedev 25 years ago made the secession of Crimea and the eastern oblasts almost inevitable. The arming and NATO military integration of “Ukraine” since the violent 2014 coup appeared to be a prelude to the pacification and depopulation of the eastern oblasts by force. This was likely a precondition to integration of “Ukraine” into NATO and the EU.

    All along the Russian government was being misled into an attempt to engage in a diplomatic solution that Merkel and others now admit was a farce.

    When I read the biographies of many current Russian government officials, I am struck by how many have roots in the eastern oblasts and who were educated in Kharkov or Kiev. To them this is a civil war and not a war of aggression.

    1. elissa3

      A hater of war. To quote the late Robert Fisk, who saw his share of horrors, “war is the ultimate failure of the human spirit”.

      In wrestling with the absolute that ALL wars are bad and that ALL combatant entities commit atrocities and horrors, I am considering a possible corollary. Violence in self-defense is normal and natural. Survival of oneself or of your group is the most basic existential question.

      Is this an acceptable approach to discerning the bad and not-so-bad in responsibility (regarding Ukraine, in particular)? I don’t know.


      1. David in Friday Harbor

        A good starting point is the assertion that all wars are “bad.” However, Solomon defines the current conflict as a “war of aggression” perpetrated by Russia which suggests he holds the view that there is such a thing as “good” wars and “bad” wars.

        International law has long struggled to define “good” versus “bad” war. I hate to cite Wikipedia, but some editor wrote this definition:

        A war of aggression, sometimes also war of conquest, is a military conflict waged without the justification of self-defense, usually for territorial gain and subjugation.

        Given the historical reality that Crimea and the eastern oblasts were “Russian” until 1991 and for longer than Miami, San Antonio, or San Francisco have been “American,” I think that it’s debatable whether Russia is waging a war of aggression in “Ukraine.” They seem to be acting to defend Russians on former Russian territory from ethnic cleansing by an illegal government.

          1. David in Friday Harbor

            Thank you for the link to this excellent and well-reasoned legal analysis of why Russia’s recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics is in greater harmony with international law that was the still-troubling NATO intervention in Kosovo.

            Historical grievances, accusations about human rights violations by state’s central authorities, internal conflict, and de facto secession exist in both cases. The difference is that the Russian invasion followed its own recognition of the declared independence of the two “republics,” whereas NATO did not wait that long in the case of Kosovo.

        1. hk

          The trouble is that there literally had hardly ever been a pure war of conquest, and even then, things get weird. AJP Taylor muses, in one of his books, that the only really pure war of conquest was the Italian War(s) of “Independence,” waged explicitly so that Piedmont could conquer other “Italian” territories on the way to creating a united Italy, and this is almost universally considered a “good” war.

  9. ThirtyOne

    Barsamian: Jeff Cohen, the founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), has talked about the guest list on such PBS and NPR programs. There’s a golden Rolodex of what he calls “formers” — former undersecretaries of state, former lieutenant colonels, retired generals, et al. But what about dissident voices like Medea Benjamin, yourself, or Noam Chomsky?

    Not so fast with the Chomsky-

    By 2014, a former CIA Director had conceded that the nation of Iraq had basically been destroyed. As Michael Hayden stated, “I think Iraq has pretty much ceased to exist.” Hayden went on to say that it was now broken up into parts, which he did not think could be placed back together again.

    This was not the case with Vietnam. The war ended in 1975 and the country was reunified. Ten years later, Vietnam welcomed American investment. Does anyone think this will happen anywhere in the near future with Iraq? So what was Chomsky talking about with the “success” of those 2003 demonstrations? And the limitations placed on warfare? Can the man be serious?

    As I have pointed out previously, Noam Chomsky is not a historian. He is a propagandist. Historians try to find the truth about an historical event or era by sifting through the facts: documents, exhibits and testimony. They then create a thesis by inductive reasoning from the evidence. Chomsky does not do this. He creates a conclusion first, and then grabs onto anything he can think of to sustain it. Which is why, as I have shown, he is easy to disprove.

    But for me, that is not the worst part. The worst part are the people (like David Barsamian) and the forums (like Democracy Now) that have allowed him to ramble on, with no checks or balances on his blathering. The man needs an intervention, but none of his backers feel strong enough to give him one. Probably because they have been lulled into a zombie-like state by listening too long to his sputtering pontifications.

    1. Candide

      Call me sentimental or lacking clarity, but I don’t expect any one source, human or institutional to provide the full picture, especially since people’s engagement on difficult issues can be in response to part of the story but not to all of the truth of it. You and I can laugh at my notion together, since it fails to achieve the purity and glow we may occasionally achieve. For me, David Barsamian’s Alternative Radio weekly hour has presented many views looking around the corner, of coming crises and many rewards for anyone whose attention span has survived the twitterfication of thought we’re expected to settle for. What I’m trying to say is that Chomsky’s phenomenal mental record plus AR’s earnest weekly analysis by dedicated advocates can help deliver the organizing called for in the interview we’ve read.

  10. tevhatch

    “War Made Invisible” is now on my purchase list.

    “How to Hide an Empire, A History of the Greater United States” By: Daniel Immerwahr should make a great companion book, he covers a lot of the dirty history of how the USA had nearly 1/8 of it’s landmass outside the 48 continental states, the genocides, eugenics, medical experimentation, etc. etc. that inspired the Hit-ler and his fellow travelers and how they impact USA policy to this day.

  11. tevhatch

    BTW, Please may I suggest that there be a topic of “Book Reviews” to link them all up?

  12. maray

    The US media hasn’t changed over the centuries. It was for the genocide of the native population, for the wars against Spain, for the spread of empire into the Pacific, precipitating war with Japan and China. Why was Vietnam an exception? It was killing rich white people the war wasn’t the problem, it was the people dying. By managing the death rate and media coverage, war has become as acceptable as it ever was.

    War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death
    Book by Norman Solomon

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