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Why Are The Tricks Used To Sell War in 2003 Working in 2014? Have We Learned Nothing?

“You can’t change the world with words Bill, unless you write those words in the evening news with blood.” – Tom Bowen, In the movie Non-Stop

Glenn Beck tried to cash in on the feeling of unity many had after 9/11. His 9/12 project in 2009 was BS. But he did understand there was unity after 9/11/2001. I came from anger, blood-lust and the feeling, “Let’s all get the bastards who did this.” 

He wasn’t the only one using the bodies of the dead to get what he wanted. The desire for vengeance was stoked and consciously used by the Bush/Cheney White House to get us into Iraq.  They used the raw emotion from 2001, but it wasn’t enough. The sale of war in Iraq needed mind-changing visuals, serious authority figures, big money support and clever catch phrases.  Remember:

  • Photos of mobile labs with anthrax vials?
  • Ex-Pentagon generals vs. anti-war actresses and actors on TV?
  • The media ignoring who was paying the retired generals?
  • Slick word play the WH used to link 9/11 anger to Saddam? (BTW, that was linguistic evil genius.)

And who can forget this deadly visual word poem.

“Smoking gun in the shape of a mushroom cloud.”

They won’t be able to do it again, right? We are smarter now. Many of us even spotted it all at the time. But it didn’t stop the total war train. How do we use our knowledge this time?

Can they use our emotion like last time? After 13 years the confusion, sadness, anger and desire to act has diminished.  And now we have been lied to. And bilked. And emotionally manipulated by professionals.

If someone wants to evoke that 9/12 feeling again they need a fresh jolt to the system. Like beheadings.

Following 9/12/2001 the rage and anger was scaled up to include entire regions. The right wing wanted an entire religious faith to be punished. Any suggestion of trying to understand who did it and why it happened was mocked. Anything less than “glass parking lots” was “letting the terrorists win.” 

But in 2014 you can start asking questions.  Is there another way to deal with this current atrocity? Can we scale down? Focus?

During the run up a lot of people spotted the tricks and lies, but our protests were ignored. What will we do differently this time? New anti-war chants? (I swear to Surak if I hear one more “Hey Hey Ho Ho something something has got to go!” at a protest I will indulge in human emotion. )

People are already talking like it’s too late. Can’t we use the tools and leverage we have now we didn’t have before? 


The Fall War Launch Needs New Words, Images, People and Emotion

We know how they sold the 2003 Iraq War to us. Spot the tricks this time! Look for:

Notice the words and phrases being used this time. “Boots on the ground.” It’s all about protecting our people. Drones aren’t “boots in the air” so they are fine. This shift in focus from people to machines should lead us to look at the cost, but will it? 

Keep an eye on the word degrade, that’s an emotional word pawned off as a military and physical action. Plus degrade has that, “It happens over a long period of time” feeling to it. That’s intentional. Can we get a percentage of degradation?

This week we were reminded how powerful a video can be to people in power. Especially when they are caught doing something they don’t want us to see. 

The beheading videos are powerful, but the media won’t be showing them over and over. That means the military will offer up successful bombing videos–from a distance. Look for what they don’t want us to see. Closer in photos of the innocent dead. But this time we need to pay attention to how we talk about them.  How should we position the upcoming videos?  I suggest we make it clear we are on the side of the innocents, so when we show these videos we are not siding with the terrorists. 

(I can almost hear the newscaster say ‘Shocking new video from a US drone strike in Syria.”and then watch the pro-drone or pro-war types attack the source, spin the footage an get no real push back.)

What do we want the government to do when the new “dead innocents from drone strikes” videos start showing up?  Let’s not be thrown into the, “It’s either this or boots on the ground,” dichotomies

Speaking of videos, who is hunting for these videos?  Who is the TMZ of horrible drone deaths?  We know who’s prepared to suppress or spin images and video and why, but who is trying to get the video out and their reasons?  Are you a traitor if it comes from ISIL and your show it? 

Selling war involves authority figures explaining what they want. Keep an eye out for the retired generals. Who pays them? Do they work for people selling drones?  Could someone please check their affiliations this time? Call the TV producers and demand they mention their affiliations. Also, what about the think tank people? Foreign government funding? Defense contractors? 

You’ve all noted the media already has brought on tired old “experts” to make the case for war, but who is new in the media opposing war?

If our “boots on the ground” aren’t in danger, can we get some accountants on to talk about the cost of these drone strikes?  How about representatives of the innocent dead in the countries we bomb? Someone from a Big 8 Peace firm?  Who do you suggest? What would they have to do to get on TV and talk?  

If they can’t get anger, they will go for fear. Any attack in the US or on US interests will be linked to ISIL faster than you can say, Al Qaeda in Iraq.

I’ve heard three experts say it would be very hard for ISIL to attack the US. They will find someone who says they can. He will be in heavy rotation on Fox.

How do you stop them from using emotion? You can’t, but you can offer other emotions. Like courage. Is there anyone not coming from a place of fear?


Denying Them Their War Propoganda

David Swanson wrote an great piece,  James Foley Is Not a War Ad

He makes the point, with video to back it up, that Foley would not have wanted the video of his death to be used this way.

What if people in the United States were to watch the video of Foley when he was alive and speaking and laughing, not the one when he was a prop in a piece of propaganda almost certainly aimed at provoking the violence that Obama has just obligingly announced?

I can’t speak for the dead, Foley was human and I understand the reaction of most, “Let’s get the bastards who did this.”  But who he was leads me to believe he wouldn’t want his death to be scaled up to a war. 

We can’t control the actions of the group called ISIL, but we can control our response to them. Let’s not let the bastards who lied and manipulated us into the last war get away with it again.

Cue The Who.


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