US Prez/Media Play Us Americans As World's Lynch Mob
I just read an illuminating article by David North entitled “US imperialism and the proxy war in Syria.” North addresses the reality that once again an overwhelming amount of pro-war propaganda is flooding out at us from the mainstream corporate media, broadcast and newspaper.
North positively notes that in spite of the psyops carpet-bombing there still exists significant anti-war sentiment and healthy cynicism to government/media manipulation among many Americans who feel, as I, we are trapped in a darkly surreal and ever-looping version of the Groundhog Day movie by the murderous foreign policy of our present administration, carried on from previous administrations.
One particularly notable feature of contemporary pro-war propaganda is the persistent calls for the killing of the leaders of countries that are being targeted for attack by the United States. This was the case with Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya. They are all now dead.
North brings up the Nuremberg tribunal of 1946 which inventoried war crimes of Nazi leaders and set up a code of wholesome international laws, primarily asserting that launching an aggressive war not in response to a clear and imminent threat of attack but rather “for the purpose of achieving certain political or economic objectives--is a crime.”
North explains that according to Professor John B. Whitton in a 1971 article that appeared in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science “those who incite war are themselves engaged in criminal activity.”
In his discussion of war propaganda as a crime, Whitton specifically refers to defamatory propaganda, which is a form of propaganda that seeks to incite war through the incitement of mass hatred against the leaders of “enemy” countries.
This is an important concept. It is one thing to expose and even denounce political leaders who may, in fact, be guilty of reprehensible acts. But calls for assassination have as their aim not only the dehumanization of an individual, but also, by extension, the citizens of the country he leads.
Above all, such propaganda attempts to extinguish within the people of the aggressor country all critical faculties, to render them oblivious to all legal norms, and to lower their consciousness to the level of a lynch mob or, just about as bad, passive eyewitnesses to crimes against humanity.
North enumerates some recent lynch mob incantations of journalists:
Calls for the killing of Assad are now common in the media. The Economist declared in its issue of August 31-September 6 that Assad “should be shown as little mercy as he has shown to the people he claims to govern. If an American missile then hits Mr. Assad himself, so be it. He and his henchmen have only themselves to blame.”
Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal wrote on August 27: “Should President Obama decide to order a military strike against Syria, his main order of business must be to kill Bashar Assad. Also, Bashar’s brother and principal henchman, Maher. Also, everyone else in the Assad family with a claim on political power.”
The redoubtable A. Barton Hinkle of the Richmond Post Gazette advised his readers on September 4, “The most obvious advantage of killing Assad is that it would do precisely what the president wants to do: send a message that certain crimes against humanity will meet with swift punishment.”
Among the first to urge the murder of Assad was the prominent “left” liberal columnist Peter Beinart. Writing in The Daily Beast more than one year ago, on June 11, 2012, Beinart said: Let me propose an unpleasant thought experiment: Maybe America should try to kill Bashar al-Assad?...
North contends that the people writing such lines are “not simply degraded individuals.” They are using “defamatory" war propaganda to promote mass hatred of a leader to promote an illegal war. They are, in essence, war criminals.
It should also be pointed out that journalists have not restricted their approval of state killing to foreign leaders who have run afoul of the geopolitical interests of the American state. Last month, Michael Grunwald, a senior editor of Time magazine, fired off a twitter message that read: “I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.”
Such a statement by a leading American journalist reveals all too clearly the essential link between the eruption of American imperialism and the unrestrained growth of fascistic tendencies within the ruling class and the political establishment that serves its interests.
The US government has an ugly agenda as well as an amoral and compromised history relating to Syria, as it had with Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and other targeted sovereign states. The corporate media does not even attempt to explore and reveal such an agenda or contextual history but fulfills its role as pure propaganda instrument for war. If the media did its job it would have to assert that the legal implications of the US waging war on Syria would be a violation of international law, linked to a history of international law-breaking.
There is no historical context whatever. The public is led to believe that the role of the US is entirely altruistic, driven by compassion for the suffering of the Syrian people, who are being oppressed by a ruthless dictator—or, as George H. W. Bush said of Saddam Hussein in 1990: “Hitler revisited.” There are references in the media to 100,000 dead in the civil war, as if the US is merely a horrified bystander, bearing no responsibility whatever for the bloody events in that country.
Now in Syria, the Assad government is facing down a CIA-backed insurgency. Once again the United States is covertly and illegally destabilizing another sovereign country. Once again the United States is trying to establish another “puppet” pliable leadership in a sovereign country through covert brute force to be escalated to overt, faux-authorized brute force. Once again the plight of the human beings to be destroyed or devastated by this agenda is ignored or even with grotesque hypocrisy is being exploited for propaganda purposes to stir up war fever in us, the residents of the aggressive country.
According to North the US-backed forces are losing the civil war in Syria. The US and the Gulf State allies, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have poured BILLIONS OF DOLLARS into the anti-Assad insurgency. Assad’s forces have been supported by Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. They are now on the offensive. Hence the playing at this point of what North calls “the chemical weapons card.”
North goes on to explain the determination of the US and allies to destroy Syria cold-bloodedly to get to and weaken Iran whose power and control within the Middle East is so resented and coveted by the US/Israel/NATO countries and the Gulf petro-states. There is a profound gangsterism, a "might makes right" brute sensibility among this US-led mafia.
... the determination of the United States to overthrow the Syrian regime and replace it with a puppet government is inextricably linked to Washington’s struggle against Iran. Bashar Al-Assad must go, as far as the US is concerned, because his regime is a critical ally of Iran. The overthrow of the Assad regime would serve to isolate Iran, weaken its influence in the Middle East, and render it more vulnerable to attack.
The most critical constituency of the Syrian regime is the Alawite population, whose religion is an offshoot of Shiism. In Iran, the Shiites comprise the largest section of the population. This is why the United States, in its efforts to overthrow Assad, has been in a de facto operational alliance with Sunni-based Al Qaeda-related military forces. This fact has gone almost entirely unnoted in the US media.
Let’s repeat that. The United States has been in a de facto operational alliance with Sunni-based Al Qaeda-related military forces.
This should be the media expose of the CENTURY but instead incredibly it is ignored or minimized by the mainstream corporate media. This US/Al Qaeda bonding should be making sirens of cognitive dissonance go off in the heads of all Americans.
Fortunately it is doing that, with more and more Americans. Obama and the Congress were stunned when Congresspeople were getting calls from citizens, a ratio of 9-to-1, against a Syrian strike. REAL, HEALTHY public opinion was actually calling in!
The Obama administration had to postpone stage two of the “regime change” on Syria. The full-out faux-authorized shock and awe devastation via bombing. Obama et al. won’t give up so easily, however, given how little respect the American citizenry receives from them. Mr. North informs, “the United States, France, Britain and the Gulf States are expanding their financial and logistical support for the anti-Assad rebels” COVERTLY to compensate for the unpopularity of the “official” war waging.
Obama and members of his administration and their journalist flunkies are quite willing to lie to us baldly, shamelessly and illegally to persist in their present illegal operations and to get to their next stage in the destruction of Syria and then on to the destruction of Iran, and if they get that far -- if the globe survives -- on to Russia and China. IMPERIAL WAR MADNESS RULES!
We are a war criminal nation. The media won’t confirm that for us. But we are and we Americans need to face up to that reality or WWIII is before us and the rest of the global family of men, women and children.
I don’t know about you but I am long-tired of being an accessory to mass murders in my role as a tax-paying American!
[cross-posted on open salon]