awesome maratelethon has invaded the nation's households as
Manifest Destiny on the march, a political spectacle
in which the military are props and the civilian announcers
are inspired by the most grotesque delusions of racial triumphalism.
Iraqi Freedom," the embedded multi-media experience, is
neither news nor military propaganda. Rather, it is an imperial
work in progress, an attempted re-orchestration of the (white)
American anthem and saga. Like the musical national anthem,
it is an ugly song, and one that a rapidly diminishing number
of people want to sing.
it may appear that the U.S. military has permanently occupied
telecommunications, this is an illusion. In reality, the American
military and the corporate media have been totally subordinated
to the political project and vision of the Pirates who took
control of the U.S. government January 20, 2001. As the announcer
on the old Sci-fi TV series "The Outer Limits" used
to informed the audience: "Do not attempt to adjust your
television set. We are in complete control...!"
are the political representatives of a Pirate class that profits
directly from war and "reconstruction" in the wake
of war. (See "Rule
of the Pirates: the $200 billion payday,"
December 5.) The Bush men seek nothing less than free rein to
pillage the globe in a "marketplace" of brute force,
a distinctly American hegemonic heaven.
is their servant, junior partners even at the Pentagon, which
is the toy of corporate think tanks, weapons systems marketers
and for-profit war scenario-conjurors like Defense
Group Inc., the people who sold "Shock and Awe"
to the Defense Department. The "brass" are routinely
overridden at every strategic and tactical stage of military
decision-making, most dramatically in the current Iraq invasion.
Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of
the Pirate cabal arbitrarily rewrite the military battle plan
and the official script to enhance the political images.
They cut and paste a virtual reality that bears little relationship
to the material exigencies on the ground, or to the political
sensibilities of the globe. In a sense, this is a private showing
of a national infomercial for the Bush-branded New American
was drafted into the virtual aspects of this production. Working
soldiers want nothing to do with media flakes and flacks flitting
around the field of battle. (Nor would managers at nuclear power
plants or munitions factories.) The "embeds" of the
virtual "Operation Iraqi Freedom" were imposed
on the military by Bush's corporate public relations experts.
Militaries seek victory, then parades. Political spin
masters are predators of the mind. Media manipulators keep the
audience in thrall for the longest possible period of time -
no duration is beyond their ambitions.
The TV show
and the coterminous military assault are equally the actual
beginnings of Permanent War. The war is real, willed into existence
and sustained by the delusions of a racist American public.
The virtual rendition is deemed a success to the extent that
(white) America believes it. Or, more accurately, believes in
Pirates know their fellow Americans well,"
wrote in our commentary, Racism
and War: Perfect Together," March 13. "White America
sees the world through the eyes of the mass murderer and slaveholder.
Were it not so, there would not exist the grotesque disconnect
between white American public opinion and the opinions of mankind,
shared generally by Black America. Bush would not be possible."
men were confident that a public deluded enough to believe,
in the absence of any evidence, that Saddam Hussein "had
something to do with" the events of September 11 is a population
eager to commit any outrage against a non-white people. Corporate
Republicans rule because they have divined the mass white psyche.
The Bush men also know that the corporate media are no different
than their next-door neighbors. "The hundreds thousands
of human cogs in the corporate media machine are made up of
"normal," mostly white, middle class Americans,"
"They share a common, white American worldview, shot through
with native racism. (A worldview that many non-whites in corporate
media attempt mightily to assimilate.)"
war-hungry corporate media were thrust upon an unwilling officer
corps. The embedded press have performed beyond the Pirate's
wildest expectations, embellishing the administration's
lies for the pleasure of a (white) public that has "lived
in a warped and artificial bubble of their own self-serving
creation since they killed their first 'red savage' and whipped
their first 'nigger brute.'"
and Accuracy in Reporting assigned itself the near impossible
task of tracking a Niagara of media untruths. On March
25, the beleaguered FAIR watchdogs reported on broadcast
lies by network household names about Iraqi use of Scud missiles
- disinformation that the media made up all by themselves:
Ted Koppel, "embedded" with an infantry division,
reported matter-of-factly that "there were two Scud missiles
that came in. One was intercepted by a patriot missile."
ABC anchor Derek McGinty had earlier explained that "there
was a Scud attack, one Scud fired from Basra into Kuwait.
It was intercepted by an American patriot battery, and apparently
knocked out of the sky. There is still no word exactly what
was on that Scud, whether or not there might have been any
sort of unconventional weaponry onboard."
Channel's William La Jeunesse was not only asserting that
a Scud had been launched, but was drawing conclusions about
its significance: "Now, Iraq is not supposed to have
Scuds because they have a range of 175 up to 400 miles. The
limit by the U.N., of course, is like 95 miles. So, we already
know they have something they're not supposed to have."
later announced "that U.S. forces searching airfields in
the far western desert of Iraq have uncovered no missiles or
launchers." In fact, the Iraqis had not launched any Scuds
since the beginning of the invasion.
with General Tommy Franks' assurances that the U.S. will "certainly"
find evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, the embeds
hyped every desert stopover by WMD searchers, "breathless"
to confirm the existence of a "smoking gun" that would
justify all the smoke, fire and death of Shock and Awe. FAIR
John McWethy promoted the story with this report: "Amidst
all the fighting, one important new discovery: U.S. officials
say, up the road
from Nasarijah, in a town called Najaf, they believe that
they have captured a chemical weapons plant and perhaps more
important, the commanding general of that facility. One U.S.
official said he is a potential 'gold mine' about the weapons
Saddam Hussein says he doesn't have."
Tom Brokaw described the story thusly: "Word tonight
that U.S. forces may have found what U.N. inspectors spent
months searching for, a facility suspected to be a chemical
weapons plant, uncovered by ground troops on the way north
to Baghdad." NBC Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski
added what seemed to be corroborating details: "This
huge chemical complex... was constructed of sand-casted walls,
in other words, meant to camouflage its appearance to blend
in with the desert. Once inside, the soldiers found huge amounts
of chemicals, stored chemicals.
Yet no chemical
weapons were found. The Pentagon said it could not "determine
exactly what these chemicals are or how they could have been
used in weapons."
WDMs are finally "discovered" the event will be anti-climatic
as well as probably staged, due to the impatience of the triumphalist
media to justify America's crimes.
readers to check in regularly with FAIR: http://www.fair.org/
American reporters utterly self-destructed as professionals
with the full blessing of their government and corporate
superiors. "We at no time want to provide any information
that can be of aid to the enemy," said the vampirish Paula
Zahn - a signal to any sane viewer that everything issuing from
her mouth for the duration of the war is as false as her face.
"Very good point, Paula," Wolf Blitzer replied, knowing
well that his professional career rests on the enthusiasm of
his contribution to the war effort. Blitzer and his colleagues
have no ethical problems with the arrangement, however, since
they are as delusional as their (white) American audience. Their
country and cause are just. "Facts" are those things
- real or invented - that conform to this assumption. Betrayal
of the assumption is a betrayal of the nation: aid to the enemy.
corporate media hinder public understanding of unfolding
events in an occupied or contested Iraq. Their presence is more
destructive of truth than if they had been barred from the scene,
entirely, because they are infinitely capable of retailing and
manufacturing lies - which they themselves believe.
2 a.m. Eastern Time, Sunday morning, a CNN reporter gained access
to newly captured Iraqi prisoners who were squatting or lying
on the ground outside a command tent, handcuffed. The embed
shined his camera light in the faces of the unhappy young men
- clearly soldiers - moving among the group looking for all
the world like a plantation owner shopping for slaves. "Here's
another one," the embed told his crew, directing the camera's
glare to an Iraqi who covered his face, feigning sleep.
what is known under the Geneva Conventions as subjecting prisoners
to humiliation as "public curiosities." The abuse
was casual, totally gratuitous, achieving nothing in the way
of "news," but revealing the identity of young men
who might have good reason to fear the consequences of having
surrendered to the "enemy," unscathed. Embedded crews
throughout the advancing U.S. columns thought themselves lucky
to showcase human prizes for the curiosity and scorn of the
morning, Tim Russert and his panel of high ranking, objectively
embedded stateside corporate media friends were found in full
roar over Iraqi "executions" of American POWs - speculation
that they treated as fact for an entire network half-hour.
Had "sand nigger" hating Americans been fully tuned
to NBC's "Meet the Press," they would have doubtless
demanded the immediate nuking of Baghdad.
the Pentagon and the White House had distanced themselves from
the execution allegation. In the end, the official complaint
was that U.S. POWs had been subjected to "public curiosity"
by Iraqi and Al Jazeera television crews - a horrible violation
of international law, said the President and the U.S. press,
revealing the savagery of the Iraqi regime.
of the thousands of media workers involved in virtual
"Operation Iraqi Freedom" was aware of the American
embeds' many close up displays of Iraqi prisoners. (All of the
networks can and do monitor each others' feeds.) Yet FOX and
CNN - both guilty - continued for days to rant incessantly about
Baghdad's and Al Jazeera's crimes, while pretending they had
not done the same.
submits that these "normal" American men and women
do not believe that international law or any universal code
of conduct applies to themselves, and that a fundamental, psychotic,
shared racism binds them together in this core belief. Americans
cannot be guilty of anything, except "mistakes" of
worldly innocence or misplaced kindness.
embedded contingent is doubly delusional, twice afflicted, and
thoroughly insane. CNN's ridiculous Leon Harris is the worst.
No matter the weightiness of the subject, Harris appears like
a weatherman, bouncing, smiling, flirting, flippant. He is one
happily embedded Atlanta-based Negro. No script - no problem.
Harris just spouts the Bush men's line as if that is his
job: "The mission of the U.S. troops is a bi-fold mission,
not just freeing the Iraqi people, but bringing democracy to
the Iraqi people," said Harris the weatherman, making career
points with his skills at unqualified propaganda. Turning his
attention to an American officer in a remote location, Harris
asks, "This town has been liberated, right? Can I use that
term?" Yes, you can, says the military guy.
analyst doesn't look as much like a weatherman as Harris, but
he points a mean wand at an electronic map showing arrows pointing
to Baghdad. It is impossible to not conclude that, at some point
in his career, he was a weatherman - and gave more reliable
parent Time Magazine's Tim Lacey was unlucky enough to be working
the nightshift when a 101st Airborne Division sergeant reportedly
fragged three officers' tents. Negativity threatened to spoil
the show. The pudgy-faced, forty-something Lacy, who sounds
exactly like a New York City beat cop and is limited to the
same vocabulary, immediately attempted to clean up the image
of his troops, his embedded buddies. "I can't say
this enough," said Lacey, for the third time. "This
is about one disgruntled soldier, but everyone else here on
this camp is doing just what everyone expects of an American
justified the impending bombardment of Basra with words that
can only sound logical to the most impaired denizens of a pathological
society. "Basra is a key humanitarian distribution point,"
said the CNN embed. "This is why it has been made a strategic
has "infiltrated" into Iraq's second largest city,
Mintier explained, his face idiotic but, nevertheless, straight.
most white Americans incompetent to deal with people and facts
that appear to threaten the edifice of white supremacy, which
they have internalized as a core worldview. Since white supremacy
exists only in their minds - and can be confirmed only through
brute coercion - white violence seems arbitrary to sane human
beings. We understand racist behavior largely through the repetitive
patterns of the pathology - how "white folks act."
To venture into the emotional depths of the delusion, we imagine,
must be like a visit to hell. It is safer to watch from a distance
as the racist reacts to invisible threats, lashes out at inoffensive
people, or celebrates victories against imagined adversaries
- in a way, like trying to figure out what a very aggressive
and Awe serves notice that no people on the globe are out of
reach of the raging Pirates. But that does not mean the Bush
men are skilled at global piracy. After all, it's never been
attempted under 21st Century conditions.
is bringing the whole civilian media gang along for the rampage,
embedded for the benefit of several hundred million homebound
delusionals. Once summoned to the Coliseum, the mob must be
entertained. The mood of the continental crowd swings from trembling
fear to mean-as-a-snake, and must be accommodated - rationality
delusional behavior is also incompetent behavior, and collective
delusion can wreck an adventure. The real "Operation
Iraqi Freedom," the military action, began days
and perhaps weeks too soon for the military planners, jump started
for the sake of the dynamic of the conversation within the Bush
crowd and their dialogue with white America. Bush delivered
his 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein and the world on Monday,
March 17. Premature ultimatum. Suddenly, on Wednesday the 19th,
Saddam was spotted (maybe) within reach. Swoosh. Premature projectile
ejaculation. The armored columns then had to move forward
across the Kuwaiti border, so that the internal momentum,
willed by Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld, could be maintained, and the
expectations of the public and the embedded press - Where's
our Shock and Awe!? - satisfied. Delay would be... unimperial,
a letdown - dead air on the television.
and Awe deferred
on Tuesday, March 18, the northern U.S. invasion force,
barred from using Turkish territory, would require weeks to
pass through the Suez Canal, round the Arabian Peninsula, and
steam up the Persian Gulf to Kuwait. As of Ultimatum Day, Monday
the 17th, the crucial 101st Airborne Division's helicopters
were still being unloaded from ships. The unpacking was not
yet finished on Wednesday, March 19, when Bush tried to swat
Saddam Hussein. Instead of the meticulously calibrated, rolling
advance under and through the smoke and hellfire of Shock and
Awe, the Americans and Brits lurched into war, like a driver
who can't handle a stick shift.
allowed the logic of their own imperial pronouncements to hobble
the war plan. An invincible America and its strong willed Leader
must triumph over Third Worlders with ease and under any circumstances,
they assumed, believing that they personify the manifestation
of American Destiny. So it is written, somewhere, and preached
in vast, air-conditioned suburban sunbelt churches. The Bush
men acted on their own hype, waving off the advice of commanders
who have long sworn by a doctrine, associated with Colin Powell,
of decisive, swift, overwhelming, minutely coordinated force.
Instead, the Bush men listened to their political and public
relations voices, calibrating military movements to the perceived
appetite of the crowd. Strategic necessity was subordinated
to the emotional demands of the Bush men's racist constituency,
people who, like the Pirates themselves, do not live in synch
with the rest of the planet, and who believe actual facts on
the ground are subject to proclamation and ultimatum. Bush thought
Americans craved quick blood. We know he did.
ranks among the embedded press were certainly aware that the
much advertised Plan had been mangled by impetuous, snap decisions
from the very top. But, what's an embed to do? Now part soldier,
more than ever a propagandist, and collectively infused to the
marrow of their Indian-killer bones with the prospect of white
glory, the corporate media failed to call effective attention
to the incomplete U.S. force array. Instead, they dutifully
delivered the improvised Pentagon-White House cover stories.
bombardment and assault had been comparatively desultory when
measured against The Plan because... Saddam's generals were
negotiating mass surrender. (Yeah, that's the ticket.) No, the
Americans were waiting to see if Saddam were dead or alive.
If dead, why, this whole Shock and Awe thing might just be called
off. (Sure, and forego putting the world in terror of The Superpower.
Wasn't that the point?) In the interest of sparing the common
foot soldiers of the Iraqi army, the U.S. would deign to pause.
(Even the embeds rolled their eyes at that one.)
is not engaged in giving armchair advice to the War Party. In
fact, if we thought they were capable of comprehending us, we
would shut up. We want them to halt their aggression against
the world, not fine-tune it.
we are warning that the behavior of the Bush men and
their constituency - a majority of white Americans - is bizarre
and inherently unstable, based as it is on shared illusions
of white supremacy. (Black CNN "weatherman" Leon Harris'
idea of himself is also somehow reified by these delusions.)
White America is not rational. Its behavior must be anticipated
through a disciplined mental practice that was painfully learned
by the slave and her children. At these perilous times for the
planet, and for those who are thought of as domestic enemies,
we must never forget that the adversary is not only powerful,
he is crazy.
regard, the embedded media are useful indicators of the way
the racist wind is blowing. They are acting out collective white
fantasies, unconstrained by any pretense of professional ethics,
purposely placing no distance between themselves and the "national
interest" as defined by their Leader. They have been deputized,
and are grinning like Barney Fife of Mayberry. The Pirates play
them like a piano, but it's a song they enjoy as much as the
Bush men do - for now.
years ago during the U.S. invasion of Grenada, the corporate
media demonstrated that their heart's true wish is to prove
their fealty to the state - that they have The White Stuff.
An internal split in the ruling New Jewel Movement followed
by a military coup and the assassination of the island nation's
popular leader, Maurice Bishop, providing the pretext for Ronald
Reagan's air and sea assault. The well-rehearsed armada arrived
in Grenadan waters in October, 1983, on what was billed as a
mission to "rescue" American students at the island's
medical school. Soon it was announced that the action was necessary
to "liberate" the 70,000 or so inhabitants from the
tyranny of a few hundred Cuban construction workers and embassy-assigned
military preferred that the media not get in the way of the
mission. The outraged press were placed on shipboard lockdown
for the first 48 hours of the invasion, forced to watch impotently
from the railings as Navy Seals and Army paratroopers landed
without benefit of corporate media benediction. The shipboard
scribblers howled, while their stateside editors produced negative
ink on the wisdom of the invasion.
co-publisher Glen Ford wrote a small book on the subject for
the International Organization of Journalists, titled, "The
Big Lie: Analysis of U.S. Press Coverage of the Grenada Invasion"
(1985, IOJ, now out of print). As soon as the military saw fit
to allow the corporate media on Grenada, Ford wrote, American
newspapers and broadcast networks morphed into cheerleaders
for the invasion.
Post had no real complaints about the invasion anymore, except
for wounded feelings over the initial news blackout:
was troublesome and a bad precedent for Mr. Reagan to yield
so much authority over the actual operation to the uniformed
military, which created an unnecessary crisis of political
confidence by barring the press and by too often seeming blind
to the operation's diplomatic context."
Post appears to be saying, as boldly as its mumbling style
permits, that not only did the paper approve of the invasion
but that, if the press had been allowed its usual privileges
the operation would have been smoother, diplomatically and
domestically. The Washington Post and its counterparts would
have helped explain the invasion and avert "an unnecessary
media are full partners in the invasion of Iraq, and may be
effectively embedded in one form or another for the remainder
of Permanent War. They have become trustees of the state, pampered
passengers on the road to Baghdad, Tehran....
the global press are invited to join the posse. Foreign media
will selectively avail themselves of the option, while in general
recoiling from what poet Dr. Rodney Coates calls "Operation
Putrid Smell" and its successors.
In the meantime,
Brian Whitaker of The Guardian (UK) prefers official Iraqi briefings
to presentations by the American military, who offer little
more than assurances that the invasion is "moving forward"
spokesmen, on the other hand, have been remarkably forthcoming
and, if we disregard the usual rhetoric, the factual content
of their statements has often been more accurate than that
of the invasion forces. Their figures for Iraqi casualties
have also been low enough to sound plausible.
believes, best analysis is posted daily at a Russian site:
Russian military men have been underemployed since the demise
of the Soviet Union. The Baku-based site provides valuable cross
references to the sparse and often-worthless accounts of American
embeds. It's not a Russian war - although the crazies in the
American War Party may soon be claiming otherwise.
the Associated Press reports that the New York Stock Exchange
has declared Al-Jazeera staff persona non grata on the
spokesman Ray Pellechia denied the station's war coverage
was the cause. Citing "security reasons," he said
the exchange had chosen to limit the number of broadcasters
working at the lower Manhattan exchange since the war began,
giving access only to networks that focus "on responsible
They can't handle the truth!
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