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[P]
Why we should reject American propaganda

By wji in Op-Ed
Mon Oct 29, 2001 at 07:39:14 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

[this article is intended mainly as a response to theantix's well-written article, 'Why we should buy into American Propaganda' ]

American propaganda is far more sophisticated than the old USSR stuff; the reasons are fairly simple. USSR, Iraq, most of Latin Ameica... these are all more or less totalitarian societies. If you are an Iraqi citizen, and you hear that Kuwait has attacked us, you can believe it or you can laugh. It makes no difference. You have no vote and joining any political opposition will probably be fatal.

Americans, on the other hand, have a great sense of enfranchisement and involvement in the political process. True, relatively few Americans vote, but even those that do not participate in elections often have meaningful, well-expressed opinions. America has no gulags, no mental prisons, no death squads. Propaganda, therefore, must be vastly more sophisticated.


The media rarely lies; it just selectively edits the truth. Newsweek reported a week ago that the coming Afghan winter will provide our Special Forces with the opportunity to tool around on snowmobiles; that the same winter will doom three, four, five million to starve is apparently not newsworthy. (Incidentally, you can always trust Newsweek to get the facts right in defense reporting; after all, their ultimate owner is one of the world's largest defense contracting firms.) The Taleban, theantix tells us, report thousands of civillian casualties, while America reports ten. He goes on to analyze the numbers quite well; his final conclusion seems to be that the numbers are more on the US side. That's probably true.

It is also true that the American/Coalition Against Terror(TM) bombings will result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not millions if they do not stop. It is, in fact, more certain. The facts are simple: The coming winter closes off many mountainous regions of Afghanistan. [Newsweek, New York Times, UNESCO]. Estimates vary widely as to how many Afghanis need food. No one disputes that at least 400,000 are in dire and imminent need of food [Oxfam]. The United Nations World Food Program estimates that as many as 7.5 million are in need of food, up from 5 million pre-September 11. That gives us a number of 2.5 million people in danger of starvation as a direct result of US millitary attacks.

Food drops? The US has dropped perhaps three hundred thousand one-day meal packets. Guess what? That will keep maybe three thousand people in peanut butter and bean salad through the winter -- at least it would, if most of the drops were landing on civillians rather than Northern Alliance troops and unpopulated areas. Perhaps that is a blessing, really -- the same air-dropped food packets killed several civillians in the former Yugoslavia. The amount of food needed is not measured in packets or C-17-loads, but thousands of tonnes.

And what do we hear of this in the media? Newspapers, TV, and magazines continue to report on our magnificent generosity in bombarding Afghanistan with raisins, serviettes, and radio propaganda even as we pound them with 'smart' bombs and cruise missiles. Writes Arundhati Roy in Outlook:

After three years of unremitting drought, an air-dropped airline meal in Jalalabad! The level of cultural ineptitude, the failure to understand what months of relentless hunger and grinding poverty really mean, the US government's attempt to use even this abject misery to boost its self-image, beggars description.

Reverse the scenario for a moment. Imagine if the Taliban government was to bomb New York City, saying all the while that its real target was the US government and its policies. And suppose, during breaks between the bombing, the Taliban dropped a few thousand packets containing nan and kababs impaled on an Afghan flag. Would the good people of New York ever find it in themselves to forgive the Afghan government? Even if they were hungry, even if they needed the food, even if they ate it, how would they ever forget the insult, the condescension? Rudy Giuliani, Mayor of New York City, returned a gift of $10 million from a Saudi prince because it came with a few words of friendly advice about American policy in the Middle East. Is pride a luxury only the rich are entitled to?

theantix continues his defense of US propaganda and policy; We know that the Americans have many weapons at their disposal, including biological, chemical, nuclear, and large-scale conventional weaponry. They've used them in the past, and nobody would likely stop them if they decided to be cowboys and carpet the cities and villages with bombs as seen before in Vietnam and (to a lesser extent) Iraq. Instead they chose the expensive cruise missiles and Special Forces operations. We have seen no evidence or even claims to counter this. Again, this suggests to me that they are trying to minimize civilian casualties.

Apparently, America has resorted to 'expensive' cruise missiles instead of 'cheap' carpet bombing in order to avoid civillian casualties. What selfless restraint! Spending millions on expensive weapons to destroy transportation, electrical, and water facilities, cutting off UN food and sealing the borders to deny Afghanis escape! Do we honestly think the Afghan people will find starvation and 'smart' bombing more acceptable than starvation and 'dumb' bombing? The choice of a silent method of genocide over a loud one has nothing to do with reaction in Afghanistan or even the Arab world. It is a decision based on the desire of America to appear magnanimous and peaceful to their own citizens even as they murder and terrorize.

The argument continues; I sincerely believe that if [the media] could get an exclusive story breaking news about America targeting civilians, they would do this, because it is in their interest to do so. Of course, because of the overwhelming support of the American people for the military campaign, the major media would be reluctant to give support to anti-American claims without strong evidence, so we also have to rely on the independent news available through the Internet. But it seems to be in the interests of the media to jump all over news that contradicts official government reports, as they did with the affairs of Bill Clinton and Gary Condit.

Where this belief can possibly come from is beyond me. If the media desire exclusive stories about America targeting civillians, they hardly have to leave their studios:

'UN Humanitarian Comissioner Resigns, accuses America of genocide' [His name was Dennis Halliday and he resigned over what he called 'genocide' and 'the process of destroying an entire society.' -- that of Iraq]

'Condemned war criminal elected president of Isreal' [See the excellent k5 story on Sabra and Shatila]

'World Court rules against America for unlawful use of force' [America's response was to escalate their illegal terrorism, and order their contra 'Sons of Reagan' to target schools, hospitals, and agriculture]

'America bombs medicine factory, kills thousands' [The factory was in Sudan and was destroyed in 'retaliation' for the embassy bombings; CIA claimed it manufactured chemical weapons but produced no credible evidence. Independent chemical tests have found no nerve gas or precursor chemicals. See the PBS Frontline documentary]

'America set to starve millions in Afghanistan'

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o 'Why we should buy into American Propaganda'
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Display: Sort:
Why we should reject American propaganda | 35 comments (20 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
ACK I've been misunderstood. (4.90 / 11) (#4)
by theantix on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 06:29:40 PM EST

Okay, the fault was largely mine. I chose a provacative title for my article, and didn't stress one point often enough: I don't believe all american propaganda, and don't think anyone should. I'm not even saying that American propaganda is true because neither you or I know that. We have to filter the information given to us by all possible sources. All I tried to say in that article was that it was not completely unreasonable to believe some of what they are saying, because it makes sense. And that someone could have an earnest belief based on reasons beyond the "evildoers" arguments supplied by Mr. Bush. I wasn't trying to say that the war was great (or even good), and that no innocent Afghani citizens were going to die. Those are different arguments, and really aren't well-suited for a discussion site because of the non-productive nature of those discussions.

--
You sir, are worse than Hitler!
American media propaganda (4.36 / 22) (#7)
by sasha on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 06:51:52 PM EST

What is really unique about American propaganda, in my mind, is the fact that it does exist in a relatively free society.

In the Soviet Union, things that were really concealed and altered were airtight. That is, for example, if the statistics bereau artificially inflated the population during 1937, or claimed that there were no cases of a certain disease in the USSR since 1958, that was the information. There is no contradictory information that can be found in your neighbourhood public library, or in a small leftist publication. That was the official information, and that was all you had to go by.

Here, it's been my experience that while the mass media spouts complete and utter garbage, realistic, academic, and semi-objective information is actually available. REAL academics and researchers (as opposed to 'experts' invited to CNN talk shows and such) generally write the truth in concrete information, real political scientists that know what is going on are allowed to speak, and there is a broad base of sensible media if you know where to find it.

Nevertheless, the similiarities of the net results amaze me. In the Soviet Union, everyone, especially the intelligentsia, was endowed with a sufficient dose of cynicism that they knew the real truth behind many official reportages, or could infer it based on the usual propaganda. True, there were many people of 'plebian' origin who really did believe that stuff, but in urban circles, a lot of people, between themselves, really did know what was going on. The sudden explosion of realistic commentary during perestroika could not have come without being built on years of principles that were simply considered 'common knowledge.' I'm not talking so much about the Stalinist era as the years between 1953 and perestroika, of course.

In the US, eager readers of Time and Newsweek, vigilant fans of CNN, people who have real, practical access to vast amounts of objective information and have the resources to get it, are clueless - on the other hand. It's just amazing how much a free society really doesn't differ so much from a totalitarian regime if you keep the public grossly ignorant, uninformed, and occupied with other mundane matters. And cultivate this over generations.

I'm not trying to be melodramatic. Those are just my observations.


--- Signal SIGSIG received. Signature too long.

Hold on a !$#%ing second... (3.26 / 19) (#12)
by Perpetual Newbie on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 07:42:17 PM EST

Or rather, my comment should be titled "Why we should reject wji propoganda"

the American/Coalition Against Terror(TM) bombings will result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not millions if they do not stop. It is, in fact, more certain. The facts are simple: The coming winter closes off many mountainous regions of Afghanistan.
So the diabolical US finally closed the winter gap with the Russians. It's taken fifty years, but the US can now launch winters at its enemies.
Imagine if the Taliban government was to bomb New York City, saying all the while that its real target was the US government and its policies.
Didn't that kind of happen already? Well, not quite, bin Laden said that his target wasn't the US government and its policies but he really wanted to kill every single American, Hindu, and Jew.
And suppose, during breaks between the bombing, the Taliban dropped a few thousand packets containing nan and kababs impaled on an Afghan flag.
Oh, so it was just a badly flawed analogy where you're accusing the US of intentionally bombing civilians.
Apparently, America has resorted to 'expensive' cruise missiles instead of 'cheap' carpet bombing in order to avoid civillian casualties. What selfless restraint!
Ah, so making to Kabul and Kahandar like was done to Tokyo and Dresden would be better?
Do we honestly think the Afghan people will find starvation and 'smart' bombing more acceptable than starvation and 'dumb' bombing?
By a matter of degrees, and they'd probably find a carpet dumb bombing more acceptable than a carpet nuking followed by spraying nerve gas over the country and tilling salt into the fields.
The choice of a silent method of genocide over a loud one has nothing to do with reaction in Afghanistan or even the Arab world.
Genocide? ROFL! Please direct me to evidence that the US's intent is to kill all Pashtuns.
Where this belief can possibly come from is beyond me. If the media desire exclusive stories about America targeting civillians, they hardly have to leave their studios:

'Condemned war criminal elected president of Isreal' [See the excellent k5 story on Sabra and Shatila]

Yeah, we all know how the US ordered Sharon not to intervene. Sounds like you've got an anti-Israel axe to grind along with your anti-US one. Here's food for thought, a war criminal and genocidal mass murderer was elected president of the PA.

Grumble. (3.85 / 7) (#16)
by wji on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 11:28:36 PM EST

I had to debate myself as to whether to respond to this; I don't like the idea of putting effort into an a proper reply when you did not. However, I don't like the idea of your thinking 'oooh, look, he's to hurt to respond' so, here it is.

Firstly, you suggest that because people will die due to the medical causes of starvation and cold, American millitary action can not be to blame. I understand more died in the Nazi concentration camps from starvation and overwork than from Zyklon B. I suppose this justifies the Nazi terror.

I again use the Holocaust analogy to the claim that it's not genocide unless the US does not want to kill all Pashtuns. A lot of Jews were deported by the Germans in WW2. Many of them were put in work as opposed to death camps. In some countries, literally a handful (I seem to remember the figure of 7 for one country, might have been Norway but don't quote me.) were actually sent to camps. This, then, was not genocide?

My Webster's has:

gen.o.cide

[...first applied to the attempted extermination of the Jews by Nazi Germany] the systematic killing of, or a program of action intended to destroy, a whole national or ethnic group

If you are interpreting genocide extremely, EXTREMELY strictly, then I guess this isn't genocide (of course, under Webster's definition the bombings might be classified as a program of action intended to destroy a whole national group). But in order to please your sensibilites: I retract, for the purposes of this article, the claim of US genocide. Replace that with 'holocaust'. Webster's defines that as a great or total destruction of life. Fair enough?



In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

Utterly moronic... (2.71 / 7) (#17)
by Danse on Sat Oct 27, 2001 at 04:14:49 AM EST

I almost hate to respond to your post since it was so full of cheap shots that made little sense and took no thought whatsoever to write, but since some people seem to be modding it up, I figure I'd better do it anyway.

So the diabolical US finally closed the winter gap with the Russians. It's taken fifty years, but the US can now launch winters at its enemies.

As wji already pointed out, just because the military isn't causing winter there, doesn't mean they aren't responsible for the fact that those people won't get any food and will die of starvation. Surely even your feeble mind can grasp that.

Didn't that kind of happen already? Well, not quite, bin Laden said that his target wasn't the US government and its policies but he really wanted to kill every single American, Hindu, and Jew.

Not even close. Getting in a good shot at the Americans and killing a few thousand of them is not the same as laying siege to the country and probably causing millions to die of starvation. He's obviously postulating that if Afghanistan had the capability to lay siege to this country and force us to go to ground, and then dropped a few measely food packets, we would not be all that grateful for it. In fact, we'd be downright pissed.

Oh, so it was just a badly flawed analogy where you're accusing the US of intentionally bombing civilians.

No, he's accusing the US of willfully causing millions to die of starvation since they know damn well that's what will happen if they don't stop bombing and let relief groups get food in before winter blocks off a lot of areas and it's too late. Since they don't seem to be stopping, it's obvious that they aren't really trying to prevent civilian casualties. They're just trying to avoid killing them with bombs cause that looks bad on tv.

Since I've hit your main points, the rest of your post is irrelevant. Sucks that I had to waste time responding to such drivel.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
It's more complicated than that (4.33 / 3) (#24)
by Perpetual Newbie on Sat Oct 27, 2001 at 06:17:12 PM EST

As wji already pointed out, just because the military isn't causing winter there, doesn't mean they aren't responsible for the fact that those people won't get any food and will die of starvation. Surely even your feeble mind can grasp that.
My feeble mind is quite capable of grasping the estimates that six million people would die of starvation and related disease in Afghanistan this year that were floating around months before September 11. I also am able to grasp that there is a civil war going on and a drought which has gotten worse in its third year, that foreign aid groups have been evicted for having women workers or an insufficient number of Afghani native workers, and that the US is facing a significant threat of nuclear attack in the future if they don't start eliminating al Qaida and its allies now. The people of Afghanistan are caught between a rock and a hard place, and the bombing makes relief efforts difficult but did not cause their problems. If you need somebody to lay blame on for "causing" the starvation, consider that it is the responsibility of a government to make sure that its people are well provided for.



[ Parent ]
Nope... (3.00 / 2) (#26)
by Danse on Sat Oct 27, 2001 at 07:42:19 PM EST

After listening to an interview with a representative of Doctors Without Borders, it seems apparent that much of the loss of life could be averted. He said they actually have enough food and supplies on hand to take care of the current need, and that there is more coming. They also have the means to get the supplies where they are needed, but cannot do so due to the fact that the US is still bombing, and so far has not agreed to cease long enough for them to move in with the supplies. Soon it will be too late because winter will have made many of the routes impassable. Red Cross representatives have said basically the same thing. Doesn't help that the US keeps bombing their warehouses either.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Very Chomskian :) (4.60 / 5) (#14)
by rehan on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 08:25:41 PM EST

Oddly enough, though, I think that you fall victim to and perpetuate another possible piece of propaganda. This is that the US forces are using mostly smart bombs and cruise missiles. During the Gulf war, the impression given by the DoD and CNN was that most of the weaponry was "smart" - however, now CNN says that the actual figure was 0.13%.

What is the figure this time? I don't know - and it's certainly not widely publicised. But be skeptical of the impression given by CNN.


Stay Frosty and Alert


Thanks, but... (3.00 / 3) (#15)
by wji on Fri Oct 26, 2001 at 11:10:50 PM EST

I don't see why dissent from the gov't line should be labeled Chomskian. Chomsky's a smart guy and a damn good speaker, but, you can't rely on him to do your thinking for you. I think there is a tendency to take Chomsky as gospel, and to repeat what he says without really doing anything about it. This is a Bad Idea. Not accusing you of it, or anything. Just my 57 cents Canadian.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
in style (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by rehan on Sat Oct 27, 2001 at 07:20:21 AM EST

Does anyone know the figures given by the US military for percentage of smart vs dumb bombs dropped in Afghanistan?

Also, I meant Chomskian in style, not necessarily content


Stay Frosty and Alert


[ Parent ]
Ignorance. (4.00 / 5) (#18)
by emc2 on Sat Oct 27, 2001 at 06:38:05 AM EST

All but 1 Latin American country (Cuba) have democratic goverments, even former dictatorships like Chile and Argentina have been under democratic rule for many years now.

-1 for that.

---
The Devil is in the details.
Did you read that EULA today?

I agree. (5.00 / 2) (#21)
by Crashnbur on Sat Oct 27, 2001 at 03:09:34 PM EST

I wouldn't have labeled the comment "ignorance" myself, but in journalism it is vital that you get your facts straight before you print them. Everyone's guilty of an innocent mistake now and again, but that's not a viable excuse for it.

I also agree that this article should be a comment under the previous story...

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Half truth (2.00 / 1) (#28)
by svampa on Sun Oct 28, 2001 at 07:37:34 AM EST

Most of Latin America countries have strong polices and armies, inherited from dictatorships, so governments always must, at least, watch them.

Sometimes those democracies are considered currupts and polls a fraud by their own citizens. And protests demonstrations against government are crushed by police

They relly more on police strength than on a sophisticate media manipulation, so it is not absolutely false, press manipulations are more sophisticated in old democracies.



[ Parent ]
I would be more inclined to say... (4.00 / 2) (#20)
by Crashnbur on Sat Oct 27, 2001 at 03:07:00 PM EST

"Why We Should Be Left Alone For Our Choice To Buy Into Or To Reject American Propaganda"

Both articles seem to make the point that Americans live in a country that tolerates expression and diversity. So why can't our headlines reflect that?

Some people see good reasons to agree, others see reasons to disagree. I find reasons for both, which is also known as finding common ground. We really aren't that different, you know.

crash.neotope.com


we are consensus of Borg... you will be assimlated (2.00 / 3) (#23)
by wji on Sat Oct 27, 2001 at 05:52:52 PM EST

Look, I'll find common ground when the truth is part of the territory. I don't believe in compromise for it's own sake, in fact I think that the relentless anti-debate standpoint popular among many is absurd.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Ha! (4.00 / 4) (#30)
by Anonymous 6522 on Sun Oct 28, 2001 at 04:42:27 PM EST

I think that the relentless anti-debate standpoint popular among many is absurd.

I think the dedate-it-until-you're-sick-of-hearing-it-and-then-debate-it-some-more crowd is even more absurd. All useful "debate" about September 11 was done by September 20, all useful "debate" about the bombings was done before the end of the first week. Everything else is just people pushing their agendas.

[ Parent ]

If I could get my propaganda... (3.00 / 6) (#27)
by 2400n81 on Sun Oct 28, 2001 at 03:09:51 AM EST

...from either the government or from you... hmm... Let's see... At least the government has more tact.

I love how people are just so sure they have the answer to all of the world's problems.

What would you have us do? (3.75 / 4) (#33)
by soulcatcher on Mon Oct 29, 2001 at 03:03:43 PM EST

Let me ask you this. What would you have use do? The Taliban is harboring, and supporting a man and an orginization that holds utter conempt for the life of any non muslim. A group that is known to have at least two suitcase nukes. A group that will not rest until they have murdered every last American, and every last Jew on the planet (By their own admission I might add).

As Afganistan has decided to throw thier lot in with Al Queda, we as a people can only assume that they intend the same thing. Would you have us just sit back and LET them fly planes, and walk nuclear devices into our cities?

The United States was attacked FIRST. Al Queda struck the first military blow. It is now the job of my government to ensure my safety, and the safety of those I love by eliminating this threat.

Where does that leave the Afgan people? Between a rock and a hard place. No, they are not responsible for the Taliban, and Al Queda (though they are responsible for allowing such a horrific government to rule over them - rulers ALWAYS rule at allowance of the people) No, they do not deserve to die from starvation - Yes, there is more we could do to help. But remember - when you call this a genocide that 5 million of them were starving BEFORE we started - the US did not cause that, the Taliban did.

As it stands, there is a high liklyhood that the bombings will stop (or slow) for the holy month of Ramadan (I'm sure I mispelled that). I hold a high degree of confidence that the reason we have not slowed yet is that we are trying to get all the bombing we can in before the month starts. If that holds true, then the aid workers can get in.

You liken what is happening in afganistan to the jewish holocaust - there is no parallel. Nazi's killed and impounded people for the 'crime' of being a Jew. That was targeted, with the intention to kill every last Jew on the planet.

The US is assaulting a hostile country, that has made a military attack against it. We are making every effort to not hit civilians, and we are at least dropping SOME food - even if it is not enough. This does not sound like the actions of a country that is purposefully removing the Puntash people from the face of the planet.

The thing that always bothers me about the type of editorial that this is a response against is this: Whenever the US acts as a policing force, or steps in to stop dictators from ceasing land that is not theirs, or pushes on china about human rights issues, or generally uses it's power to do ANYTHING, everyone else in the world points a finger at us, and tells us that we should not be policing the world, and should stay out of other countries business. They tell us that it is not our responsibility to try and care for the peoples of other nations.

But when we start a war against an agressor, all of a sudden, every problem inside that country becomes the US's problem. Sure, there were 5 million people starving already in Afganistan, but because the US attacked it, now we are to blame for every problem every person in the country has. 7.5 million people starving? US should take responsibility for every one of them.

I guess I'm just sick of every country down on it's luck blaming everything it can on the US - wanna have a lifestyle like us? Then industrialize, and cease tribal warfare. Afganistan's chief problem is the same one we see over and over again - the population can't live with itself - Poshtun, Uzbeck, Turkmen - If the people could get past what are really insiginificant racial differences, they could maybe make something out of their country.

Same thing with Palestine/Isreal. Does the situation suck? Yes. But even though the US has managed to keep a rabid Isreal mostly on a leash (don't think for a minute that if the US changed it's foreign policy to one of non-intervention in the mideast as requested by Islamic states/terrorists that Isreal wouldn't forcibly remove all the palestinians from it's borders - or worst.) But what do we get for forcing at least a level restraint on Isreal? We get the largest terrorists acts in history.

Just tell me this - what do you people want from us? cause from your post it sounds like you want the US to jsut let Al Queda go on it's merry way, and pull all it's troops out of any muslim country, and spend any money we have dropping food on any muslim country that needs it. Oh, and as for the planes, thank you sir, may I have another.

Maybe if we locked all our women up, and gave them rickets by no sun exposure that would do it?

"Soulcatcher" - what a cute alias for SA (4.25 / 4) (#34)
by minra on Mon Oct 29, 2001 at 09:10:33 PM EST

Let me ask you this. What would you have use do?

Umm. How about "use" [sic] stop being the world's number-one supporter of terrorism?

The Taliban is harboring, and supporting a man and an orginization that holds utter conempt for the life of any non muslim. A group that is known to have at least two suitcase nukes. A group that will not rest until they have murdered every last American, and every last Jew on the planet (By their own admission I might add).
Bin Laden denies involvement in the WTC attack. What he does say is that the US will not enjoy security as long as it continues to invade and oppress other countries (directly or by proxy). This is nothing more than a statement of fact, and echoes what many historians, diplomats and security analysts have been trying to tell us for the past thirty years.

The Taleban have offered to extradite OBL to the custody of an independent world court if the USA offers evidence connecting Bin Laden to the attacks. The USA contemptuously rejected the offer, not even attempting to justify their invasion of a sovereign country beyond simply stating "We know it was him".

Clearly, the USA are not remotely interested in taking this issue to a world court, because the point of the whole exercise (and I do mean the whole exercise) is to create a cartoon-book villian and drum-up support for the latest US military adventure.

(Even if you buy-into the fable that OBL coordinated these attacks, you must ask youself one question: "How many thousands of innocent Afghani civilian casualties am I willing to sacrifice for operation "Enduring Freedom"? 5,000? 50,000? 500,000? 5,000,000?

The US assault on Afghanistan has already caused the deaths of several thousand civilians -- more than died in the entire WTC attacks, which, by the way, was around 2,500 people and NOT 6,000.

You've already killed thousands and terrorized hundreds of thousands into fleeing their homes. Is that not enough 'punishment'?

Is it justice or hypocrisy for the US to invade a foreign country for refusal to extradite a "terorrist"?

Consider, for example, that Haiti has resently petitioned the USA for extradition of a KNOWN war criminal who murdered more than 5,000 Haitains -- yet the US refuses to extradite him because he was trained by the CIA and acted to promote 'US Interests'. The western media are acting as if Taleban demands for proof are an indication of criminal conspiracy. Yet the USA is harboring many known terrorist criminals and refuses to extradite them.

Hence, by the logic of your administration, if harboring terrorists makes a countries' civilians deserve to be bombed, then you have to praise the WTC attacks as a just punishment for US state-sponsered terrorism.

Please note, I'm not claiming that the WTC attacks were just - I'm merely illustrating the point that applying your external standards to your own country leads to the conclusion that the US population needs to be bombed and tortured until they stop supporting a 'terrorist regime'.

Does it hurt when someone applies your loudly proclamed ethical standards to your own country? If so, that's a pretty good indication that you're being hypocritical and applying a double-standard.

As Afganistan has decided to throw thier lot in with Al Queda, we as a people can only assume that they intend the same thing. Would you have us just sit back and LET them fly planes, and walk nuclear devices into our cities?
Oh, I see now!. Since you "only assume" that the population of Afghanistan wants to obliterate the United States, that justifies cutting-off desperately needed food aid and starving the Afghani populace to death?

Thanks for clearing that up.

Of course, I do not need "to assume" that you advocate the murder of a civilian population - you went right ahead and proudly told us so.

Remember, the only country to have ever decimated a civilian population with nuclear weapons is America. In addition America has just deployed tactical nukes in the latest aggression against Afghanistan.

Please keep this in mind when you advocate terrorism and starvation of millions of civilians based on your assumption that some of them might support some criminals who might have access to a handful of nuclear weapons and might someday use them against the civilian population of a superpower which is attacking them... armed with nuclear weapons .

Aah yes, perfectly logical.

The United States was attacked FIRST. Al Queda struck the first military blow.
Please show us your evidence showing that the state of Afghanistan attacked the US.

Oh, you don't have any evidence EITHER? Then you are just repeating the wartime propaganda of a terrorist state.

It is now the job of my government to ensure my safety, and the safety of those I love by eliminating this threat.
If you had any evidence pointing to the perpretrators, you'd have no problem convicting them in a world court. The reasons your country is now bombing the shit out of one of the poorest countries on the planet have absoultely NOTHING to do with ensuring your security.

Where does that leave the Afgan people?
EXACTLY where US leaders want them.

They are responsible for allowing such a horrific government to rule over them - rulers ALWAYS rule at allowance of the people)
Oh, I see! By your argument, the Afghanis, who live under an the military rule of an oppressive theocratic regime, are responsible for their leaders' actions.

Ok, if I grant that, then what does that say about you and me -- citizens of democracies who enjoy 'freedom of speech' and the 'rule of law'? Do we citizens of western governments bear more or less responsibility for the actions of our government than do the Afghanis ?

No, they do not deserve to die from starvation - Yes, there is more we could do to help. But remember - when you call this a genocide that 5 million of them were starving BEFORE we started - the US did not cause that, the Taliban did.
You admit the Afghanis are "between a rock and a hard place"? That's funny, since the USA was instrumental in creating both.

Funny how those 'terrorist training camps' were built to NATO specifications, eh? Funny how we funneled 6 billion dollars into building a mercenary force in Afghanistan (described by a former US official as the "Afghani trap") to lure the Soviets into invading the country.

Once the Soviets pulled-out, the US did nothing for the ruined society except to covertly support - via money, training and weapons - the most brutal and fundamentalistic of the warring factions - the Taliban.

If you belive we got involved in Afghanistan to "promote democracy and freedom", just look at the deplorable results of thirty years of US intervention here (and elsewhere in the world).

The situation is a catastrophe. Either these results are unintentional, in which case the intervention was a catastrophic failure, or they are intended, in which case the intervention was an unspeakable crime.

As it stands, there is a high liklyhood that the bombings will stop (or slow) for the holy month of Ramadan (I'm sure I mispelled that). I hold a high degree of confidence that the reason we have not slowed yet is that we are trying to get all the bombing we can in before the month starts. If that holds true, then the aid workers can get in.
I will repeat myself: What the US/UK is doing here is illegal under US and international law, and is only being cheerfully supported by our partners-in-crime because the vaunted "war on terrorism" gives them excellent cover to use their own state-terrorism towards their own sick ends.

You liken what is happening in afganistan to the jewish holocaust - there is no parallel. Nazi's killed and impounded people for the 'crime' of being a Jew. That was targeted, with the intention to kill every last Jew on the planet.
I would like to comment, but must refrain. It is a fact that German citizens are prohibited by German law from freely expressing facts and opinions on that subject. You may find it enlightening to research and reflect-upon the possible reasons for such a uniquely specific ban on political speech.

The US is assaulting a hostile country, that has made a military attack against it. We are making every effort to not hit civilians, and we are at least dropping SOME food - even if it is not enough.
Your proof that this was organized by the Taliban is... what exactly? Or do you think that repeating a lie often enough magically turns it into the truth?

The US has knowingly and intentionally disrupted the network of international emergency aid. It has knowingly and intentionally dropped a miniscule amount of food rations. Thus, the goal is to create a massive human catastrophe while drowning the minds of Americans in feel-good propaganda.

I'm sorry to see that it is working.

The thing that always bothers me about the type of editorial that this is a response against is this: Whenever the US acts as a policing force, or steps in to stop dictators from ceasing land that is not theirs, or pushes on china about human rights issues, or generally uses it's power to do ANYTHING, everyone else in the world points a finger at us, and tells us that we should not be policing the world, and should stay out of other countries business. They tell us that it is not our responsibility to try and care for the peoples of other nations.
Aha... You regurgitate the most ludicrous US propaganda and expect us to be impressed?

The reason you go to such great lengths to ignore the abundant evidence of US-sponsored atrocities is because you can't handle the reality that your government is one of the world's premier supporters of international wholesale terrorism.

You cling to your nationalistic religious delusions despite the fact that the crushing truth is staring you in the face -- because you can't handle the truth! You need to believe the lie that your nation produces democracy and prosperity and humanitarian causes throughout the world, because if you accepted the evidence that the US supports terrorists, opressors, drug-mafia, corrupt despotic regimes, and national impoverishment, you know that YOU - as a citizen of a democratic state - would also be to blame!

Stop repeating the lie that the US is acting as some kind of "World Policeman", ok? A policeman is sworn to uphold the law, whereas the USA consistently ignores the law (domestic and international) when it doesn't suit US interests. That is the methodology of a criminal, not a policeman.

The rest of your post is just too vile to respond-to. You are defending a world-opressing superpower that is executing the greatest act of deliberate civilian genocide in the 21st century. The fact that your feel-good media are marinating your brain in propaganda is no excuse -- you have access to the internet -- to all the facts that prove your political perspective to be hallucinatory.

Educate yourself, and then come back for a discussion once you've worked your way through the following sites -- for starters....

www.emperors-clothes.com

www.whatreallyhappened.com

www.zmag.org

Again, I think soulcatcher is a really sweet alias -- if you're SATAN.

[ Parent ]

What I would have us do. (2.66 / 3) (#35)
by wji on Mon Oct 29, 2001 at 10:02:09 PM EST

DISCLAIMER

I just reread this, and realized the extreme flaming-ness here. I was pissed off when I wrote this. I'm not saying anything I think is wrong, i'm just saying it in a sarcastic, inflammatory manner. Don't take it entirely seriously. A little bird told me to write all this...

The Taliban is harboring, and supporting a man and an orginization that holds utter conempt for the life of any non muslim. I agree.

I would also add that the Taleban made several offers regarding bin Laden, some tenable, some not. The untenable ones, most notably the offer to release aid workers in exchange for no millitary action, were reported on in the mainstream media. The somewhat more tenable offers -- and remember, these were initial negotiating positions. Their proposal included extraditing bin Laden specifically, with the promise that other Al Queda leaders would be discussed at the negotitating table. Colin Powell is supposed to be Mr. Diplomacy -- and he won't even consider a diplomatic option when what the majority of Americans think they are fighting for is within diplomatic reach?

A group that is known to have at least two suitcase nukes. A group that will not rest until they have murdered every last American, and every last Jew on the planet (By their own admission I might add).

A group led by individuals who ought to be tried in America, sentenced to die, and shot. They will rest in peace then -- and so can the rest of the world.

As for the suggestion of suitcase nukes... Weekly World News is not always the most reliable source for international politics and millitary matters. Although, if you want to read about I WAS BIGFOOT'S LOVE SLAVE, it's good stuff. Enquirer just hinted about suitcase nukes. I wonder where WWN got the figure of two from? I should look into this. Do you have a URL?

As Afganistan has decided to throw thier lot in with Al Queda, we as a people can only assume that they intend the same thing.

As the government of America has decided to hold on to convicted war criminal Emmanuel Constant, America 'as a people' is guilty of between three and five thousand counts of murder. Therefore Haiti would be justified in detonating a nuclear weapon in Miami.

Would you have us just sit back and LET them fly planes, and walk nuclear devices into our cities?

No, but I wouldn't starve unrelated people, either. And I wouldn't delude myself into thinking that a massive millitary effort will stop terrorism. There are terrorists, now, TODAY plotting to do terrible things to the US, who can be found in the US. Cutting off all the food to states which 'harbour' terrorists -- like Texas -- and saturation bombing the Appaliachans might 'solve' that particular problem. Rather than 'sitting back' and having law enforcement arrest individual criminals -- we should just declare a state of collective guilt in the US and kill as many Americans as possible. Sound good?

The United States was attacked FIRST.

By terrorists. Not a government.

Al Queda struck the first military blow.

Al Queda is a terrorist organization, not a millitary one. They do not strike millitary blows. They commit crimes. If a French citizen murders an Australian in Australia, he is tried in Australia for murder. If France refuses to extradite him, Australia can try sanctions, the United Nations, or, as a last resort, targeted millitary operation to bring the individual back.

It is now the job of my government to ensure my safety, and the safety of those I love by eliminating this threat.

Here's a novel idea for 'eliminating the threat' -- eliminate the threat. Don't create more terrorists by killing thousands or millions of innocents. Unless, of course, your political motives are far beyond eliminating the threat to your population.

Where does that leave the Afgan people? Between a rock and a hard place.

Too bad, eh? But it's their own damn fault for being born in a country without a massive millitary machine and no reservations about imposing its own will on any country that it doesn't like. Dumb choices, these people make.

No, they are not responsible for the Taliban, and Al Queda (though they are responsible for allowing such a horrific government to rule over them - rulers ALWAYS rule at allowance of the people) No, they do not deserve to die from starvation - Yes, there is more we could do to help. But remember - when you call this a genocide that 5 million of them were starving BEFORE we started - the US did not cause that, the Taliban did.

7.5 million - 5 million = 2.5 million

As it stands, there is a high liklyhood that the bombings will stop (or slow) for the holy month of Ramadan (I'm sure I mispelled that). I hold a high degree of confidence that the reason we have not slowed yet is that we are trying to get all the bombing we can in before the month starts. If that holds true, then the aid workers can get in. You liken what is happening in afganistan to the jewish holocaust - there is no parallel. Nazi's killed and impounded people for the 'crime' of being a Jew. That was targeted, with the intention to kill every last Jew on the planet.

For one thing, I never likened anything to the Nazi holocaust in my article. I did use the holocaust as an EXAMPLE, in a comment on a comment. I also refuted both the claim that genocide requires the killing of every one of a race, and that the Nazi holocaust was intended to 'kill every last jew on the planet'. Funny that they deported so many Jews. Were they expecting America, Britain, France, and the other countries that (reluctantly) took them in to kill the Jews in THEIR countries?

The US is assaulting a hostile country, that has made a military attack against it.

There is precious little evidence -- some of it contradictory -- suggesting that Bin Laden was responsible. Call it speculative at best. Linking bin Laden to a 'green light' from the Taleban regime is speculative squared.

We are making every effort to not hit civilians,

Part of the thesis of my article was that our attacks are either directly intended to kill thousands or millions, or carried out with the knowledge that they will result in the deaths of thousands or millions. You have not refuted my claim, which I backed up with evidence. You have just said 'no, that's not true.' In any case -- firing a howitzer at a jeep from the side of a jinking and weaving propellor aircraft, from hundreds of metres away, when the jeep is in front of a civillian building, is not exactly 'making every effort'. [Look it up. I got it first at CNN.com].

and we are at least dropping SOME food - even if it is not enough.

Not only is it not enough, it's so far from being a fraction of enough that it cannot be anything but a PR move. Oh, and did you notice that all but one of the food drops occured around Mazar-e-Sharif -- an important strategic crossroads surrounded by Northern Alliance troops?

This does not sound like the actions of a country that is purposefully removing the Puntash people from the face of the planet. The thing that always bothers me about the type of editorial that this is a response against is this: Whenever the US acts as a policing force, or steps in to stop dictators from ceasing land that is not theirs, or pushes on china about human rights issues, or generally uses it's power to do ANYTHING, everyone else in the world points a finger at us, and tells us that we should not be policing the world, and should stay out of other countries business. They tell us that it is not our responsibility to try and care for the peoples of other nations.

States are not moral agents.

Let me repeat that: states are not moral agents.

States act in their own interests.

Saddam You-Know-Who was a good guy until he invaded Kuwait and threatened to drive up the price of oil and serve as an example to other nations. Then he was a bad guy. When he gassed Iranians, he was a good guy. Because the Iranians were bad guys. When he invaded Kuwait, he was a bad guy. Because the US did not want a powerful anti-US regime in the Middle East. Of course, the people might not accept this notion, so it was neccessary to invent stories about incubators to push the public into supporting the 'war'.

But when we start a war against an agressor, all of a sudden, every problem inside that country becomes the US's problem. Sure, there were 5 million people starving already in Afganistan, but because the US attacked it, now we are to blame for every problem every person in the country has. 7.5 million people starving? US should take responsibility for every one of them.

I'm not arguing that America has a responsiblity to every person without enough food. I'm arguing that if America cuts off someone else's food aid to a country, resulting in mass starvation, America is culpable for the deaths which result. When I say this I side with such radical manifestos as The Geneva Convention or The Nuremburg Principles.

I guess I'm just sick of every country down on it's luck blaming everything it can on the US - wanna have a lifestyle like us? Then industrialize, and cease tribal warfare.

Ah, tribal warfare! The cause of all evils in the third world! The 'tribal warfare' concept -- a classic bit of propaganda from the Enlightened Liberals of the media -- deserves its own article. So I won't go into it here, I will merely ask -- if, say, 500,000 afghanis die for lack of food, 100,000 of which could have been saved by the foreign aid workers kept out by US bombs -- did tribal warfare kill them?

Afganistan's chief problem is the same one we see over and over again - the population can't live with itself - Poshtun, Uzbeck, Turkmen - If the people could get past what are really insiginificant racial differences, they could maybe make something out of their country.

They seemed to get along OK until our pals the muhajedeen decided to free them from Communist Repression(TM).

Same thing with Palestine/Isreal. Does the situation suck? Yes. But even though the US has managed to keep a rabid Isreal mostly on a leash (don't think for a minute that if the US changed it's foreign policy to one of non-intervention in the mideast as requested by Islamic states/terrorists that Isreal wouldn't forcibly remove all the palestinians from it's borders - or worst.) But what do we get for forcing at least a level restraint on Isreal? We get the largest terrorists acts in history.

So, you suggest that Isreal would sacrifice its capability to defend itself from millitary attack -- a capability provided almost solely by US millitary aid -- that's free equipment, that you pay for -- just because America told it to stop killing civillians and occupying their homes?

If that is so -- what are we doing supporting Isreal in the first place?

Just tell me this - what do you people want from us?

The cessation of all bombing until the immediate humanitarian crisis can be resolved.

The cessation of bombing in or near populated areas unless it proves neccessary, as determined by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, to pursue a legitimate millitary operation in pursuit of legitimate goals, namely the destruction of the Al Queda network in Afghanistan, and the capture or assassination of Osama bin Laden.

cause from your post it sounds like you want the US to jsut let Al Queda go on it's merry way, and pull all it's troops out of any muslim country, and spend any money we have dropping food on any muslim country that needs it.

Not quite. See above.

Oh, and as for the planes, thank you sir, may I have another.

Yeah. Cause you know, it's not like there is any tighter security now, or like passengers on a hijacked plane will resist even in the face of death, or anything. It's certainly not like any sensibly structued terrorist organization would have carried out all it's attacks simultaneously, or anything. However, bombing a bunch of innocent people will stop terrorists from putting fertilizer into barrells, and barrells into trucks, and trucks into parking garages and streets. It will stop fanatics with a chemistry textbook from making sarin in a basement and spraying it from a rooftop. Great logic, you have. 2+2=5, of course.

Maybe if we locked all our women up, and gave them rickets by no sun exposure that would do it?

And now we get to the most important part of the article! The part that mentions something The Enemy may or may not have done, that has NO relevance to ANYTHING in the article being responded to -- but it sounds REALLY AWFUL! I may not have said anything like this -- but because I disagree with the official line, I MUST BELIEVE IT ANYWAY! Even -- ESPECIALLY if I deny believing it! Because I'm just such a FANATICAL TERRORIST! I'm a Muslim fundamentalist, for sure -- which is why I don't even own a Qu'ran! I HATE DEMOCRACY and FREEDOM, which is why I exercice my DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS on K5 by writing responses like this to idiots like you!

Unprintable. Why do I bother?

In short, go die of anthrax. Just think, those spores you inhaled could have infected a more intelligent animal -- like a cow.

Ugh. Now I've started a flame war. And now everyone will ignore the logical refutations of your arguments, and focus on my mocking you. Good job -- you win. 1000 points to you, my friend. I'll go back to being an Evil Terrorist now.



In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

Why we should reject American propaganda | 35 comments (20 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
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