Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 05, 2008

Denial and Deception

The 'Webpage of the Day' has a very fitting title:

IRAQ - Denial and Deception - Feb 5, 2003

Posted by b on February 5, 2008 at 16:29 UTC | Permalink


Thank you Bernhard.

Posted by: beq | Feb 5 2008 17:29 utc | 1

d r i f t g l a s s on above.

Posted by: beq | Feb 5 2008 18:07 utc | 2

via Atrios - Greg Mitchel at E&P on Powell day

Looking back on that day, it only took hours after Powell’s speech before the U.N. Security Council for TV commentators and newspaper editorials, and even many liberal pundits, to declaredtheir support for the Bush administration’s hard-line stance on Iraq.

CNN’s Bill Schneider said that “no one” disputed Powell’s findings. Bob Woodward, asked by Larry King on CNN what happens if we go to war and don’t find any WMD, answered: “I think the chance of that happening is about zero. There’s just too much there.” George Will suggested that Powell’s speech would “change all minds open to evidence.”
As media writer Mark Jurkowitz put it in the Boston Globe, Powell’s speech may not have convinced France of the need to topple Saddam but “it seemed to work wonders on opinion makers and editorial shakers in the media universe.”
The Washington Post echoed others who found Powell’s evidence irrefutable. An editorial in the paper judged that “it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. . . . Mr. Powell’s evidence, including satellite photographs, audio recordings and reports from detainees and other informants, was overwhelming.”
The New York Times, meanwhile, hailed Powell’s “powerful” and “sober, factual case.” Like many other papers, the Times, on its news pages—in separate stories by Steven Weisman, Michael Gordon, and Adam Clymer—also bent over backward to give Powell the benefit of nearly every doubt. Apparently in thrall to Powell’s moderate reputation, no one even mentioned that he was essentially acting as lead prosecutor with every reason to shape, or even create, facts to fit his brief.

Liberal media ...

Posted by: b | Feb 5 2008 19:43 utc | 3

It's good to see that some amerikans are engaged in remembering the road to slaughter in Iraq. The shit of it is that the numbers of amerikans doing so is probably around the 6% mark that people speak of in one of the blogs linked to from here. The 6% figure came from surveys right after 911 when only 6% of amerikans believed Shrub wasn't doing a heck of a job.

Probably the same 6% of amerikans, the same people didn't go with Bush then and remember Powell's lies now.

But this time last year close to 60% (well might be a slight exaggeration but 6 to 60 sounds good) of amerikans were angry embarrassed and determined to fix things. amerika is broken they would say,but now most appear to be 'over' that embarrassment.

Popular culture is a lousy way of getting an insight into a national culture. Producers know that an audience is distracted and uncomfortable if their books, TV shows and movies just throw up a mirror to what is really happening in a society, so they try and reflect what they believe people are feeling rather than what they believe their audience is doing.

I mention that because there are a slew of movies which deal with amerikan discomfit towards Iraq that have been released recently, probably to certain death at the box office.

Production lead in times and the speed with which many amerikans have thrown off their sack cloth and ashes means that these cultural artifacts now only serve to draw a mark in the sand showing us where the hide tide of amerikan dissatisfaction was.

"Redacted" "the movie which proves Brian De Palma hates amerika " according to one critic, has sunk without trace.

In fact it wouldn't be unfair to say that there was much more media outrage at De Palma for making this fictional movie than media outrage at the light sentences and cover ups which occurred the trial of the rapists and murderers of the al-Janabis that the movie was based upon. Incidentally the link I included was typical of most I looked at in that it refused to humanise any of the victims by naming them, they were just 'Iraqis' . That article at least gave the primary victim an age (14), most amerikan coverage referred to her as "the teen age girl" and the seven year old sister was barely mentioned, just lumped in as a part of "the rest of the family".

Sheeesh more digressions.

I mention all this because "Redacted" is far from the only movie to be released recently which looks at the horror. Tommy-Lee Jones should stitch up the Oscar with his role in "In the Valley of Elah" yet one can't help but think he is more likely to be rewarded for his journeyman work on "No country for Old Men" than his brilliance in this movie which does add a piece of jetsam to the high tide mark of amerikan self examination, but since an Oscar might take some folks back to that place, the movie will be judged "Best movie to be politely ignored".

If you haven't seen the movie give it a go, don't be put off by the biblical title which relates to the only story the Tommy Lee Jones character knows, David and Goliath. TLJ plays one of those retired lifers that even I, thousands of clicks away from amerikan military culture has run across. He still irons everything he wears, either by using a wife or keeping his trousers under his mattress. Nothing is done, no one spoken to, no breakfast eaten, until he has shaved and dressed in neatly pressed clothes, and he has made his bed with neatly tucked corners. Until everything is 'shipshape and Bristol fashion' as the english lifer equivalent would say, the TLJ character feels incomplete, unable to deal with the most pressing concerns, even news of a murdered son.

His son joined up in time for an Iraq tour after already having 'done' Bosnia. Without going into the whole movie which is held together by a quite basic 'whodunit plot' the movie traces the TLJ character's realization that too much war, a war that is too intense and lacking the support of a halfway decent rationale for waging it, corrupts the warrior class far more than the society which they are trying to destroy.

His beloved warriors still iron their shorts but they have come back psychopaths, men who can only experience anything 'real' when they injure and maim others, preferably with a head full of crystal meth.

Of course it's a dreadfully amerikan-centric movie completely lacking in regard for the Iraqi point of view. That probably accounts for the ease with which the studios limited it's foreign release, but it also adds to the illusion of reality, that is how most people are. Even so it picked up awards in england and Canada, which must have been on the basis of TLJ's magnificent acting. As I said above the plot isn't what you'd call riveting. More digression - my main point is that the culture which conceived and made this movie had practically ceased to exist by the time it was released, like 'Redacted' it has failed when it could have succeeded.

We can point the finger at Murdoch's media manipulators and blame them for distracting amerikans from their realisation that 'there's something nasty in the woodshed' but the mass media didn't lead amerikans to that conclusion, amerikans pushed their way there using other devices and ought to have been able to hang in for a bit longer despite the mainstream attempts at distraction.

The politicians have also been hard at work leading their citizens along the garden path, but the realisation that there were massive flaws within the body politic should have inured many against that.

I couldn't work it out. Then I recognised that the most important function of the election process in amerika has become the false feeling of renewal it creates. That decline in self knowledge, the diminished sense that amerika is broken, can be traced back to the 06 mid-terms where many amerikans appear to have felt that by destroying the rethug majority and replacing it with a weak-assed dem one they have done done the job. Democracy is great, right? Then democracy will fix the problem. So we exercised our democratic privileges and that ought to do it. That is enough

Right before that '06 election was the high water mark of amerikan self-knowledge, the low water mark will be November 08 when after a full 12 months of near hysteria, drama, bullshit and circus ringmasters prancing, most amerikans will feel sufficiently enervated, drained and debauched to convince themselves that they must have 'renewed'; that the election of a new prez has 'fixed' amerika.

Of course, Iraqis won't notice the difference.

Posted by: debs is dead | Feb 5 2008 22:53 utc | 4


Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 5 2008 23:58 utc | 5

Hillary versus McCain is confirmed tonight.
Neo-Zi Neo-Soviet versus Neo-Zi Neo-Soviet.

Both to grow government beyond current 55%.
Both guaranteeing elections per Politburo.

The Party has always Decided the Winner.
We are all Winners. US (heart) Big Brother.

Posted by: Tante Aime | Feb 6 2008 6:24 utc | 6

debs is dead,

You have so nailed it. An excellent, poignant post. Yes, a spectacle of renewal for a psychologically exhausted people. Run over by one too many repetitive messages. I saw the hoorah victory speeches of both Obama and Clinton in the late hours of Super Tuesday. I confess I found both speeches rousing, because we cannot will all hope away, even after our experience and our lucid conversations with intellect interpose to warn us.

One should be wary of this seduction by now. Behind Obama, his supporters hoot "USA...USA...USA", like people at a football match. Really the neocon shall lie down with the lamb. There shalt be a new consensus. And it feels good brothers and sisters. It feels good. I kid you not. And the end of decades of political acrimony shall be a shining peace. "Yes we can". And you want to believe this could be the fulfillment of Martin Luther King's dream. No red states, no blue states, just the United States of America. This is Obama's pitch that frightens and attracts the emotion. I am a little afraid of this and simultaneously attracted to it. It is spellbinding. And one hears a rhythmic chanting. There was a chant going up at at McCain's soiree tonight as well. It is a sound I don't like.

Clinton's speech sounded much more politically connected and vibrant and intelligent--in that it contained the actual substance of the country's pressing political concerns--touching all the wires and blinking lights of what is called the Democratic base: pissed-off poor people with a high school education. This is the class that could well put Hillary Clinton in power. I kid you not. And it will be the storybook ending for the politically conscious aging children of the 1960s. Except that it won't be that. But we all should have one last dream as lovely as that. And you should get a load of the backstory that is developing.

I hate to think of all the unstrung pathology that is welling up beneath this campaign. It's shaping up to be a battle between demons: misogyny versus racism, in the democratic camp, like two scorpions in a bottle, stinging one another to death. Hillary's close cadres have recently met informed left-wing critics with the charge of misogyny. It's too late to bring up the political credentials of either candidate, or to question how beholden they are to coporate/lobby interests in the present donnybrook.

If Clinton and Obama people are savaging each other right now, in the political backalleys; then you can imagine how the General Election may play out. Americans will meet as a nation maddened by its old sins. The republicans will go ape-shit in this campaign, in round robin of coded, or even naked bigotry. If they succeed the soul of America will be CHAINED TO THE WAR. And if the democrats manage to forfeit the election, McCain promises wars within wars, like wheels within wheels.

But we know that the American ruling class is responsible for death in Iraq and death on smaller, less visible fronts.

Not long ago the democratic presidential candidates spurned FOX NEWS, for the depraved organ of neocon propagada that it is. But today I read that Clinton and Obama are considering a debate that will be hosted by those jackels. Ingmar Bergman is said to have never missed an episode of that horrid soap opera Dallas because it was the kind of grotesque you just can't take your eyes off.

As Bergman described it: "Fascinatingly bad".

Posted by: Copeland | Feb 6 2008 7:45 utc | 7

Jonathan Schwarz has an excellent documentation of Powell's willful lies.

(Just in case someone still needs proof.)

Posted by: b | Feb 6 2008 9:41 utc | 8

The comments to this entry are closed.