Monday, February 8, 2010

War machine propaganda: lies, distortions and fabrications

Catching Associated Press (AP)'s hand in the war propaganda cookie jar today is this article:

AP Article Fuels Iran War Hysteria by Jason Ditz

"At the end of the day though, the biggest problem with the piece was the reference to “nuke warheads,” a technology which Iran isn’t even accused of moving forward. If Iran isn’t even capable of making fuel rods for medical reactors out of 20 percent enriched uranium it is hoping to produce, it is absolutely absurd and irresponsible to claim that Iran is nearing the capability of producing nuclear-capable warheads, which would require not only weapons-grade uranium which they are not producing, but advanced delivery systems."

How many people noticed that North Korea has had demonstrated nuclear capability all along, and AP drummed barely a beat in that direction. Why? Because it's not really the nuclear issue itself that's on their agenda, but supporting causes for war in the Middle East is, and nowhere is this plain truth more evident then having a real life example of the exact same problem in another area of the world that gets zero attention.

The oil smokescreen.

Let's talk about another war propaganda machine's smokescreen: oil.

There are people, perhaps many, who believe the *real* reason behind the invasion of the Middle East is oil. Smoke and mirrors. Yes, sure, unquestionably, the oil people profited hugely from the invasion and took every opportunity to raising the price of oil and their profits, and on this count they are absolutely guilty as charged for backing the invasion for their own greed. There's no question about this.

But there's a critically important point here that goes unmentioned. It has to do with our support for the oil excuse. Consider this: the rest of the world buys oil from the Middle East, that it's a world market and has been for a very long time without any fuss at all. It's their resource, and they buy things from us as we buy oil from them. The price of oil wasn't a problem at all until OPEC used it to strike back at America over it's support for one of Israel's wars with it's neighbors, which was won owing largely to American money and equipment. That was round # 1, which established the price of oil as a weapon.

The conspiracy story the propagandists pushed through our information supply is that we sneakily went to war for oil. Many people really believe this line. Why was this fallacy permitted to grow instead of being struck down for the distortion it really is? Because it puts the real reason for the invasion behind another smokescreen.

Why the distortion? Because they were selling oil all along to the rest of the world all along, and would have continued doing so without any of our interference at all. It was how they made money. If there really was a need to threaten them, say to stabilize the price (which wasn't necessary until OPEC's retaliatory action), technology solutions abound and we could have used one or two or three of those solutions to keep the market price under control. We could have threatened to finish developing synthetic oil (a program well under way until OPEC reduced the prices and the program was shut down), or technology to harness other natural energy sources such as solar and tidal, not to mention any of the other ways that our engineers could have worked with.

But people were sneakily fed the "it was about oil" propaganda as the "real reason" for the invasion, and they bought it, buying into the story that we needed to make war because we needed to secure our supply of oil. Our supply of oil and it's price weren't threatened until we backed the arrogant, belligerent behavior of our "friend" Israel with all the money and weapons they wanted to put their enemies down, regardless of little details such as right or wrong.

Yes, oil money was involved, of course, but it wasn't the reason for the invasion, it was just a very convenient smokescreen to divert attention from the real reason, that Israel wanted America to seize authority in the Middle East on it's behalf, and it's agents in key places (Washington and our information supply) pulled it off, and then allowed conspiracy stories to spread, such as the oil story - to give people something to complain about.

I don't mean to say I told you so, but... By Stephen M. Walt

"Probably the most controversial claim in my work with John Mearsheimer on the Israel lobby is our argument that it played a key role in the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Even some readers who were generally sympathetic to our overall position found that claim hard to accept, and some left-wing critics accused us of letting Bush and Cheney off the hook or of ignoring the importance of other interests, especially oil. Of course, Israel's defenders in the lobby took issue even more strenuously, usually by mischaracterizing our arguments and ignoring most (if not all) of the evidence we presented.


Blair's comments fit neatly with the argument we make about the lobby and Iraq. Specifically, Professor Mearsheimer and I made it clear in our article and especially in our book that the idea of invading Iraq originated in the United States with the neoconservatives, and not with the Israeli government. But as the neoconservative pundit Max Boot once put it, steadfast support for Israel is "a key tenet of neoconservatism." Prominent neo-conservatives occupied important positions in the Bush administration, and in the aftermath of 9/11, they played a major role in persuading Bush and Cheney to back a war against Iraq, which they had been advocating since the late 1990s. We also pointed out that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other Israeli officials were initially skeptical of this scheme, because they wanted the U.S. to focus on Iran, not Iraq. However, they became enthusiastic supporters of the idea of invading Iraq once the Bush administration made it clear to them that Iraq was just the first step in a broader campaign of "regional transformation" that would eventually include Iran.

At that point top Israeli leaders from across the political spectrum became cheerleaders for the invasion, and they played a prominent role in helping to sell the war here in the United States.


Nor am I suggesting that these individuals advocated this course because they thought it would be good for Israel but bad for the United States. Rather, they unwisely believed it would be good for both countries. And as we all know, they were tragically wrong. "

I read this last article after writing the above. I'm thankful to see it (please read the whole article) because I was going to say the same things but he has more and better information at his disposal.


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