Monday, February 12, 2007

Not Paying Attention

The main reason that Bush & Co., including supporting operatives like Fox News, are able to float their lies on the sea of American public opinion is that most Americans don’t pay attention.

First, the majority of Americans simply aren’t very interested in what their country does internationally. They have the vaguest idea where countries like Iran, Iraq, Israel, and Afghanistan are. A woman once said to me with a dismissive gesture, “Africa is down that way somewhere.” These are the people whose interests don't go beyond their own families, romances, jobs, health, homes, clothes, vehicles, television entertainment, and favorite sports teams.

The result: Most Americans are abysmally ignorant about everything which is important to their political leaders, to the powerful lobbyists such those which make up the Israel Lobby, and to the heads of international corporations such as armaments manufacturers and Big Oil.

But wait, it gets worse. Our rulers are happier with an indifferent population than with an informed one, but a population which accepts the beliefs it is told to accept makes the rulers even happier. After all there are elections to consider, and the need for acquiescence to taxation – especially the vast thefts from the workers needed to finance wars – and the hunger for people to join the military. And, ultimately, it is crucial to persuade people that they are better off with what they have than they would be if they rebelled.

In order to create opinions, people are bombarded every day with propaganda posing as “news” and “opinion". It follows, unfortunately, that even the terminally ignorant and uninterested have opinions. They parrot the slogans they are told are respectable, and they believe in a few simple “facts” which are usually falsehoods.

Here's the main point I want to make: If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, very little knowledge is even more dangerous. Because they are not interested and aren't paying enough attention, the mass of people believe that they have been presented with proof of facts when they have been presented with no such thing. Witness the lies which led much of the populace to enthusiastically support an invasion of Iraq. Even though reality has dampened that enthusiasm, I’ve heard that there are still Fox News followers who believe that Iraq was behind 9/11, that Sadaam Hussein was friendly with Al Qaeda, and even that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” and was on the fast track to making a nuclear bomb. It is amazing how a Big Lie can outlive all proof to the contrary!

The root of the trouble is that people don’t question and don’t distinguish between proof and mere assertion. Like a microorganism that can distinguish only between light and dark, they cannot sort out the gray areas where the truth lies. They listen to a burst of double-talk and obediently come away with a “fact” and an opinion.

Here is the example which triggered my diatribe. On Sunday, an anonymous group of US officials showed journalists what they said was proof that Iranian agents had smuggled weapons to Iraq, including "explosively formed penetrators". The officials refused to allow reporters to name them or to record their briefing, but instead just released pictures of weapons.

NYT
“BAGHDAD, Feb. 11 — Senior United States military officials on Sunday literally put on the table their first public evidence of the contentious assertion that Iran supplies Shiite extremist groups in Iraq with some of the most lethal weapons in the war.”

Comment: Persons who pay attention are immediately on guard because they remember the completely fabricated “evidence” that has us mired in Iraq. To the dodos, however, the message is already clear: Iran is supplying America’s enemies in Iraq with lethal weapons! Iran is killing our boys!

“Never before displayed in public, the weapons included squat canisters designed to explode and spit out molten balls of copper that cut through armor. The canisters, called explosively formed penetrators or E.F.P.s, are perhaps the most feared weapon faced by American and Iraqi troops here.”

Comment: Wow! Canisters! Never before displayed in public! Even though they could have been made in Cincinnati, here they are, on display. That must prove something.

Watch for the weasel words and innuendo, some of which I’ve put in caps:

“Officials spread out on two small tables an E.F.P. and an array of mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades with visible serial numbers that the OFFICIALS SAID link the weapons directly to Iranian arms factories. The officials also ASSERTED, WITHOUT PROVIDING DIRECT EVIDENCE, that Iranian leaders had authorized smuggling those weapons into Iraq for use against the Americans. The officials said such an assertion was AN INFERENCE BASED ON GENERAL intelligence assessments.”

Skepticism came naturally to the New York Times reporter, but by now the dodos have stopped reading.

“That inference, and the anonymity of the officials who made it, seemed likely to generate skepticism among those suspicious that the Bush administration is trying to find a scapegoat for its problems in Iraq, and perhaps even trying to lay the groundwork for war with Iran.”

If the dodos had read this far, they would be attacking the reporter as an unpatriotic swine.

The officials “also LEFT MANY QUESTIONS UNANSWERED, INCLUDING PROOF THAT THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT WAS DIRECTING THE DELIVERY OF WEAPONS.”

“The officials were repeatedly pressed on why they insisted on anonymity in such an important matter affecting the security of American and Iraqi troops.

“The officials also WERE DEFENSIVE ABOUT THE TIMING of disclosing such incriminating evidence, since they had known about it as early as 2004.

“The officials asserted WITHOUT SPECIFIC EVIDENCE that the Iranian security apparatus, called the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - Quds Force controlled delivery of the materials to Iraq. And in A FURTHER INFERENCE, the officials asserted that the Quds Force, sometimes called the I.R.G.C. - Quds, could be involved only with Iranian government complicity.”

So, we have “proof” presented by persons who kept their identities secret who made various “assertions” which were “not based on direct evidence” but instead were based on “inferences ” which were based on “general assessments”. The anonymous “officials” “left many questions unanswered,” including questions about proof “that the Iranian government was directing the delivery of weapons.” They made other assertions “without specific evidence” -- sometimes based on inferences based upon inferences, one of the least trustworthy attempts at “evidence”.

The officials were also “defensive about the timing” of the disclosure of their so-called evidence, which has been around for three years. It appears that the “evidence” was dusted off to support the recent crescendo of anti-Iran war drums heard in Washington and Israel. The display on the tables was flimsy innuendo in the service of propaganda, not evidence that could support action.

So, the dodos now know for a fact that Iran is supplying weapons which are being used to kill our troops.

The final dangerous addition to this mix is patriotism. A former acquaintance of mine thought I was insane for not believing, before the Iraq invasion, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He has admitted I was right but he has not lost his “patriotism”, and he still feeds on the same kind of Bush/neocon lies that poisoned his brain before his country invaded Iraq.

If I asked him today, “If the US were Iran and Canada was Iraq, and the Chinese had invaded Canada, wouldn’t you think the US would be interested in 'interfering' and supplying weapons to the Canadians?”, he would say, “Sure.”

I once asked him these things:

If Israel had been created in California instead of Palestine, based on a 3000 year old book, with the backing of Chinese military force, do you believe that America should fight to take California back? He said, “Of course.”

Would you object if Russia attacked us because we have weapons of mass destruction? He answered, “Of course I'd object!”

If Cuba had nuclear weapons and the US didn't, do you think the US would be justified in creating nuclear weapons? He replied, "Absolutely!"

My punch line is that when I asked him, “How can you apply a different set of standards to what the US does than to what other countries do?” his hesitant but loud reply was,

“Because we’re Americans, dammit!"

You can't argue with that kind of logic.

9 comments:

Aikäne said...

Interesting how much effort is made to find "fingerprints" on IED's (reminiscent of the tactical "search" for WMD's) and how little concern is raised about the weapons that actually destroyed the country -- the bombs and bullets with W's fingerprints.

Aikäne said...

For some more interesting reading, see:

Language Lesson
Bush Junta Locks and Loads

Fleming said...

Alkane, thanks for the good comments, and especially for the links, which get to the nitty gritty of the markings on the weapons, on the serial numbers which are supposed to mean so much but mean nothing. That is exactly the kind of analysis we need. Basically all the US has said is that there are serial numbers. So what? Especially if they are in the wrong alphabet.

It's good to see you visiting again.

Zoey & Me said...

I don't get it. The US has Iran hemmed in from the east and west and all Iran is doing is shipping a better bomb product to the insurgency. So OK, they pull back because they see a madness again in the White House fudging their way to war against Iran and Iran stops making the bomb of choice for Iraq insurgents. . . now what? Iraq insurgents go back to making the same bombs they made in 2006. Bush just saved the 10 or 12% margin . . . Instead of 300 troops dying each month only 270 die. What's the point?

Nabila Harb said...

Weapons that have been used illegally, with a clear chain of evidence (and extensive documentation of provenance) from the U.S. to the Zionist entity has been documented by the U.S. State Department but THAT won't be read by any one.

Zionist forces dropped up to a million cluster bomblets in populated areas in southern Lebanon, 90% of which were fired in the last three days of fighting.

This is quite different from obscure claims of Iranian weapons in Iraq but you are correct in assuming that the majority of Americans will take the leap of faith and support an attack on Iran based on nothing more than Bush's invisible 'axis of evil' while failing ever to question America's blind support of the Zionist entity.

Fleming said...

Nabila, you make an important point -- just the kind of "thinking outside the box" and looking for what is missing from news coverage that this weblog is designed to present. I haven't seen a single published account of the documentation of Israel's illegal use of cluster bombs. I will publish any information on this subject that you would like to supply unless you are publishing it on your own weblog.

Nabila Harb said...

Here is a link to an article that deals with the report by the U.S. State Department on Zionist violations in the use of cluster bombs in Lebanon.

http://www.aljazeera.com/me.asp?service_ID=13116

Unfortunately, it is nothing new. They used them in the 1982 invasion as well and the use of cluster bombs is only one of many of their crimes against humanity.

Fleming said...

Nabila, thanks for that link. Sorry I've been delayed in responding. I also want to refer readers to your UMFALASTIN blog (see my "Links"). You do a wonderful job of providing detailed information that is much needed.

Fleming said...

Nabila, thanks for that link. Sorry I've been delayed in responding. I also want to refer readers to your UMFALASTIN blog (see my "Links"). You do a wonderful job of providing detailed information that is much needed.