an act of willMajor revelation from the New York Times, following extensive investigation and a successful lawsuit to obtain government documents: Former military officers acting as television news analysts have been faithfully chanting misleading administration talking points regarding the war in Iraq, are provided regular access to Pentagon briefings precisely because of their willingness to do so, and are given exceptional exposure (with minimal disclosure) on television news and newspaper op-ed pages.
Well, knock me over with a feather. Glenn Greenwald says all the right things on this point, but raise your hand if you didn't already know all of this. The fascinating thing about the propaganda of the last few years is its obviousness -- or, rather, its obviousness, and its obvious acceptance. These fuckers have all but announced that, excuse me folks, we're gonna make some shit up; c.f. William Kristol's recent "politics of fear" advice to Hillary Clinton, or the regular and open admission from war pimps that the thing they flog as "al-Qaeda in Iraq" isn't al-Qaeda, but they call it that anyway. A group of bad actors has told a set of calculated lies, but has done so with near-complete openness. And they keep getting airtime and op-ed space.
Equally obvious are the endless calls for "one last chance" to make the war work, and the constant invocation of "the next six months" as "critical."
It. Is. All. Fucking. Obvious. Anyone who "believes" the noise at this point is choosing to do so. The problem is that many of the people who've made this choice are people in positions of substantial authority. And they've so thoroughly adopted the posture of credulity that they now live entirely in the fog of unreality. Iraq is not the only problem; we have an entire network of power that regularly orients its behavior by reference to a map of cloudcuckooland. (And do be sure to read the recent story about Guantanamo in Vanity Fair, where a general officer in the United States Army is quoted as earnestly describing the prisoners of that legal black hole as a threat to the very existence of the United States. So dire was this threat that the geniuses in the EOVP were compelled by a sense of duty to watch episodes of 24, and pass to the military the "ideas" about interrogation that they got from a fictional character on television.)
Meanwhile, the people who supposedly examine and describe to us the actions of powerful institutions have also calmly slipped away into the same fog. Witness this very recent newspaper story about an "anti-terrorism" sweep in Tennessee. "Even though Memphis hasn't suffered a terrorist attack," the story informs us, "the city is using federal grants to fight crime, which might lead to the discovery of a terrorist suspect." My favorite two paragraphs:
The 100 sheriff's deputies working Saturday night and Sunday morning also recovered 12.2 grams of heroin, 19 syringes and seized $1,795. They issued citations for 202 traffic violations.The anti-terrorist sweep netted a couple of hundred traffic tickets and some syringes, which will now be earnestly parsed by a crack team of intel analysts. It might lead to the discovery of a terrorist suspect, after all. The Memphis Commercial Appeal just passes this all on as fact, wide-eyed and polite, no questions asked.
Information gathered in the sweep will be reviewed by intelligence officers at the local Homeland Security center. The information will be forwarded to the state's Homeland Security center in Nashville.
See also these previous posts, among others.
The public sphere is fatally contaminated by horseshit. The results have to be ugly.