An essay on the national war-selling teamwork

The lie comes first, the debunking never catches up


I begin with three foreign policy riddles:
What’s the difference between Augusto Pinochet and Bashar al Assad?

     One — a monster dictator who kills his own people.
     The other is an elected president we’re trying to overthrow.

What’s the difference between El Marro and Nicolas Maduro?
     One — a huge drug trafficker
     The other is an elected president we are trying to overthrow.

What’s the difference between Evo Morales and Jeffrey Epstein?
     One — a human trafficker
     The other is an elected president we are trying to overthrow.

The three riddles above make the point of this essay clear. The lie comes first. The debunking may never catch up.

The typical American, if they know anything at all about Bashar Al Assad, knows that he gasses his own people. Of course, look it up and you will find that this gassing was at Ghouta, and that gas canisters were dropped from a helicopter.
Dig further — but who does that? — and you will find the squelched OPCW minority report that the canisters were placed by hand — a false flag to encourage actuation of the new international principle “Responsibility to Protect.”


The lie comes first. The debunking never catches up: Americans believe that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, even though nothing was presented to the court when the Russian accused showed up. And Nothing from the Russia investigation got used in the impeachment. Why? because there was nothing there: Bob Woodward, America’s most respected journalist, in two years of digging for his book Fear, found no evidence of collusion with Russia. “I looked for it. I looked for it hard,” he said. 


The lie comes first. The debunking never catches up: But here is the exception that proves the rule: Last November there was “massive and systemic fraud” in the Bolivia election, Evo Morales was a “wannabe dictator,” a doctrine that helped force Evo Morales out of the country. Then in June this year, the New York Times corrected itself, blaming a “flawed” OAS report. But Morales was out. All right, in this case, the debunking did catch up, eventually. But we never give up. This summer the BBC informs us that rapist Morales is into human trafficking. But this fall, the Morales party put paid to the state-supported slanders.


Did I say the lie comes first? My bad. It’s the targeting that comes first: In March of 2015, President Obama issued a ukase declaring Venezuela a “National Security Threat.” This alerted us that Nicolas Maduro was in the cross-hairs of US foreign policy. What followed? Why, we learn that he is guilty of drug trafficking. Our “paper of record” tells us so. The reader is invited to inquire how the media have presented Nicolas Maduro since March of 2015.

Newt Gingrich

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. It’s in Sophocles. Again and again, we see this variant on Sophocles: Whom the West would destroy, they first demonize. This demonizing appears in all the press. Remember Newt Gingrich, the take-no-prisoners Republican Party strategist? He produced a list of words to use on the enemy in his 1996 GOPAC memo. “These are powerful words [“pathetic,” “traitors,” e.g.] that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals, and their party.” 

Of course, the goal of overturning a government requires a different set, since you could hardly use the following list against an American running for domestic office:

Dictator, Drug Dealer, Wannabe Dictator, Monster, War Criminal, Crimes against humanity, Corrupt. Corrupt is the easy one. And in the 50s, the demon word was Communists, and was used to good effect in the United Fruit Company/CIA overthrow of Guatemala’s elected government. 

And in their regimes (Be sure to say “regime,” not “government”) there are human rights abuses, there are election irregularities. And be sure to specify that these are widespread. Not just human rights abuses, not just election irregularities, but widespread human rights abuses, widespread election irregularities. 

And the Monster “kills his own people.” Lindsey Graham said it in Congress. TV personalities say it. Everyone in the public eye picks up the doctrine: Nowadays, when TV comics have as much cred as the New York Times, we heard Stephen Colbert say “Assad, who gasses his own people,” “a war criminal,” “commits atrocities against his own people.” All in one interview. And reports are all we need. Tulsi Gabbard, who, being a soldier knows — and asserts — that our “help” leaves people worse off, says “reports have shown that’s a fact.” She assigned the fact to “reports.” And who is the original author of the reports? It is plain that Colbert came to that interview prepared with a list of Gingrich-style tags to get out there to the public.

Reports. And then of course, after the reports, comes the call to DO SOMETHING, and our interventions are for the sake of “the people we are trying to help”! — as if legalized by that new principle, Responsibility to Protect.

The experience of our time makes the war propagandist’s lesson clear. Get your story out there first. The debunking will never catch up.

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