The Corpus Callosum

OK, I
turned on the TV, in all its 12-inch glory, and watched href="http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/btw/watch.html">the
show.  It is as good as any articles of impeachment
will ever be.  

Money quotes, from the href="http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/btw/transcript1.html">transcript:

BILL
MOYERS:
It didn’t make sense to Simon that the dictator would
trust islamic terrorists.

BOB
SIMON:

Saddam as most tyrants, was a total control freak. He wanted total
control of his regime. Total control of the country. And to introduce a
wild card like Al Qaeda in any sense was just something he would not
do. So I just didn’t believe it for an instant. 


JAMES
BAMFORD:
From the very beginning
Chalabi was paid a lot
of money from the US taxpayers. The CIA paid him originally about
350,000 dollars a month, to Chalabi and his organization. The CIA
finally caught on in the mid-90s that– Chalabi was a conman basically.
And, they dropped him.

BILL
MOYERS:
Chalabi’s handlers in
Washington were not deterred
by that stain on his credibility. He charmed Congress out of millions
more dollars for his cause, and had the press eating out of his
hand. 


BILL
MOYERS:
Leslie Stahl and CBS
Retracted their story a year
after the invasion when nearly all the evidence presented by defectors
proved to be false.


VANITY FAIR’s Rose later said high government officials had
confirmed his stories. But these were the very officials who had bet on
Chalabi as their favorite man o’war. To the Knight Ridder team it all
smelled of a con game.

JOHN
WALCOTT:
What he did was
reasonably clever but
fairly obvious, which is he gave the same stuff to some reporters that,
for one reason or another, he felt would simply report it. And then he
gave the same stuff to people in the Vice President’s office and in the
Secretary of Defense’s office. And so, if the reporter called the
Department of Defense or the Vice President’s office to check, they
would’ve said, “Oh, I think that’s– you can go with that. We have
that, too.” So, you create the appearance, or Chalabi created the
appearance, that there were two sources, and that the information had
been independently confirmed, when, in fact, there was only one source.
And it hadn’t been confirmed by anybody. 


PRESIDENT
BUSH:
The regime has long
standing and continuing ties to terrorist organizations.

BOB SIMON:
Just repeat it and repeat it and repeat it. Repeat
Al Qaeda, Iraq. Al Qaeda, Iraq. Al Qaeda, Iraq. Just keep it going.
Keep that drum beat going.

And it was effective because long after it was well established that
there was no link between Al Qaeda and the government of Iraq and the
Saddam regime, the polls showed that an overwhelming majority of
Americans believed that Al Qaeda– that Iraq was responsible for
September 11th.

This
illustrates a pet peeve of mine.  It was called
to the attention of the Administration that the majority of the
American people had this misperception.  A responsible leader
would have gone on the air and corrected this misperception, told the
people that they were mistaken.  But there were no responsible
leaders to be found.


BILL
MOYERS:
Critics point to
September eight, 2002 and to your show in particular, as the classic
case of how the press and the government became inseparable.

Someone in the administration plants a dramatic story in the NEW YORK
TIMES And then the Vice President comes on your show and points to the
NEW YORK TIMES. It’s a circular, self-confirming leak.

TIM RUSSERT: I don’t know how Judith Miller and
Michael Gordon reported that story, who their sources were. It was a
front-page story of the NEW YORK TIMES. When Secretary Rice and Vice
President Cheney and others came up that Sunday morning on all the
Sunday shows, they did exactly that.

There
is more, much more.  They went on the count the stories about
Iraq, leading up to the war, and found that almost all of them could be
traced to sources within the White House, and nobody bothered to check
the facts.  OK, just one more quote:

WALTER
ISAACSON:
One of the great pressures we’re facing in
journalism now is it’s a lot cheaper to hire thumb suckers and pundits
and have talk shows on the air than actually have bureaus and
reporters. And in the age of the internet when everybody’s a pundit,
we’re still gonna need somebody there to go talk to the colonels, to be
on the ground in Baghdad and stuff and that’s very expensive.

DAN RATHER: Reporting is hard. The substitute for
reporting far too often has become let’s just ring up an expert. Let’s
see. These are experts on– international armaments. And I’ll just go
down the list here and check Richard Perle.


Why am I so bothered by propaganda.  I mean, aside from the
fact that it is all lies?  What bothers me is that the pros
use psychology.  Psychology, developed by scientists who
intend for their work to be used for good, is instead put to evil uses.
 People who do that betray the lineage of teachers who
developed the knowledge, and bestowed that knowledge to their students.
 That really bugs me.

Comments

  1. #1 Greg P
    April 26, 2007

    This is going to get more and more sickening. Dick Cheney will probably move to Dubai to a penthouse in Halliburton headquarters.

  2. #2 stumpy
    April 26, 2007

    It’s good to be bothered by propaganda, and partly for the reasons stated. But it’s useless. The psychological techniques developed by pros are just tools, only good or bad insofar as their user is good or bad. There’s nothing to be done. Until the US is balkanized as a threat to world peace (an idea proposed by a famous Hoosier, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.), we just have to live with the fact that we are a terrible force for evil in the world. If anybody has any bright ideas for changing that reality, I’d like to hear them.

  3. #3 Greg P
    April 26, 2007

    We could start by listening to those who are our allies instead of just doing whatever we want.
    As unlikeable as the French can be, they warned us that Iraq would erupt in chaos if we went in there, and it looks like they called it right.

  4. #4 stumpy
    April 26, 2007

    France does a lot of things right, in my opinion. Universal healthcare, for example. I lived in France for a while, and it was really nice. Less stressful than life here. Not as many worries, and more relaxed. Lots of people rode bikes. Pretty, too. The only problem was all the Gitanes everywhere. Everybody smoked, incessantly. But, there were a lot of good chess players. Americans could do worse than to stop bashing the French and start emulating them instead. Go away with your Freedom Fries, Mr. Republican. And your SUV’s and your strip malls. And your tax breaks for the rich, and your corporate welfare and your crony state and your daddy state and your chicken hawks and your Iraq war. Americans are a fat, lazy and ignorant lot, and we’ve got some growing up to do. Vive la France! A bas le McDonald’s! — Good night, and Good luck.

  5. #5 Joseph j7uy5
    April 27, 2007

    We need to focus on nuclear de-escalation, and restore the balance of power in government. In order to change government, there will have to be structural changes to ensure that no one party gets a dominant position. That would include things such as instant-runoff voting, voter-verified paper records of votes, and campaign finance reform. All campaign contributions should go into a common pool, and each candidate can take out a proportionate amount. If there are 100 candidates, each gets 1% of the money.

  6. #6 John J. Coupal
    April 27, 2007

    After reading that post and comments, I’m going to go outside tonight and look at the sky.

    There has got to be a full moon !

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