This incisive article by Danny Schechter on media disinformation was published almost a month prior to the bombing of Lebanon.
New York, New York June 17: There are screws loose in high places.
Elements of the U.S. intelligence “community” (which have done such a fine job in Iraq) and their Israeli counterparts, along with the cadre of paid and unpaid cheerleaders in the TV punditocracy, seem to have decided that what the world needs now is another world war.
And they are not shy about saying so.
First, last week, David Twersky, the Tel Aviv correspondent for the New York Sun, a mouthpiece for the Israeli hardliners, compared the kidnapping of a corporal in Gaza to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the incident that triggered World War I.
The parallel was planted.
Then, just yesterday Sunday June 16, Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker and still a darling of the GOP right, stated as a matter of fact on Meet that Press that a new war is already underway in the Middle East. It is, he insists, already a world war. “THIS IS, IN FACT, WORLD WAR 3,” he said for emphasis, with no regrets and an apparent longing to “bring it on.”
Columnist Dave Postman elaborated on his message in his Seattle Times blog:
“Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich says America is in World War III and President Bush should say so. In an interview in Bellevue this morning Gingrich said Bush should call a joint session of Congress the first week of September and talk about global military conflicts in much starker terms than have been heard from the president.
“We need to have the militancy that says ‘We’re not going to lose a city,'” Gingrich said. He talks about the need to recognize World War III as important for military strategy and political strategy.
“Gingrich said he is “very worried” about Republicans facing fall elections and says the party must have the “nerve” to nationalize the elections and make the 2006 campaigns about a liberal Democratic agenda rather than about President Bush’s record.”
Hmmm…, a world war to save the Bush Administration? How convenient.
But there is more. The always aggressive and often obnoxious Prince of Darkness, Richard Perle, a leading booster of war on Iraq, is now lobbying the Administration to finish off the “axis of evil.” In print pieces and TV appearances, he is calling for a wider war now.
Hold on. Also on Meet The Press, Martin Fletcher, the NBC veteran Israel correspondent revealed that the Israeli war plan that is now being carried out is not simply a response to current risks or attacks, and that it has been FIVE years in the making. It was a plan just looking for a pretext.
“I think they will never say that publicly,” he added, explaining that this war plan was not made by the current Israeli government but Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima Party mate Ariel Sharon & Sharon’s generals. Fletcher says Tel Aviv calls it a “work plan.” He says it is being implemented “step by step.”
He added, “It will go on until someone steps in and stops them.”
The United States is not currently that “someone”—not now. President Bush is backing Israel although with an unheard PR appeal asking that they be gentler in their attacks. He, like, Israel, is blaming Hezbollah which insists it is acting defensively and reactively, not offensively.
Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner, who appears in my film WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception) has been running war games Vis a Vis Iran. He wrote to me on the weekend after talking to Pentagon insiders. His conclusion: “It would be hard to overestimate the danger of a major war,” he says. They say the Israeli soldiers they captured were fighting illegally in Lebanon.
He says be believes the US and Israel are coordinating their strategies. While he believes that Iran is orchestrating Hamas and Hezbollah through Syria, he also says: “That does not mean that Israel is not taking advantage of the events. They have decided on regime change in Gaza and on punishing Hezbollah while establishing a buffer zone to prevent rocket attacks. As closely as the US and Israel have been coordinating, one has to assume coordination.”
Former Israeli independence fighter and now peace activist Uri Avnery goes further: ”As in 1982, the present operation, too, was planned and is being carried out in full coordination with the US. As then, there is no doubt that it is coordinated with a part of the Lebanese elite.”
And who wants this war? The Toronto Star’s Linda McQuaig challenges the dominant view in DC that it is only the Iranians.
“Is it really Iran that is pushing for war? Think about it. Why would Iran want to provoke a war with Israel and the U.S. — both heavily armed nuclear powers — when it has no nuclear weapons itself?”
Summer is often called the silly season. While the Bush Administration is losing one war in Iraq, and another with public opinion here at home, it seems to be opting for more conflicts as its backers bang the drum for a new world war.
Years ago, Che Guevara called for “1, 2, 3” Vietnams. The Busheviks today may be moving toward ‘1, 2, 3’ world wars.
Sound crazy? In our Orwellian political climate, a new generation of Dr Strangelove’s are in command. Only this time, they don’t act like loonies. They have mastered the art of the TV interview and can, with selective facts and ideology packaged as information, make insanity sound oh so sane.
They have convinced themselves, and now want to convince us, to join a new hegemonic adventure to expand their failed “GWOT,” (Global War on Terror), whatever the cost.
And where is the media in all this, to rein them in, to connect the dots, to offer the missing context and background, to make vital distinctions between the aggressor and those agressed upon, and to stand up for international law, human rights, and sanity? NBC is giving the Gingrichs and Pearls of the world a platform to advocate more killing with no one to challenge them effectively.
We need more critics like Cenk Uygur, who challenges William Kristol on Huffington Post in these terms:
“Bill Kristol has never seen a war he didn’t like. No, that’s too soft. A war he didn’t love and lust after. Here’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing pretending to be serious, sober minded analyst on television when in reality he is trying to get us sucked into horrific wars that other people will die fighting.”
Why didn’t Tim Russert have the guts to say something similar to Newt Gingrich?
Has mainstream media devolved so far that a world war is now considered a legitimate subject to advocate? Doesn’t this new “mission” add up to more madness?
Has it come to this? Is the summer heat corroding our senses? Is global warming melting our brains?
Danny Schechter is “blogger in chief” of www.Mediachannel.org His latest film seeking distribution is In Debt We Trust. ( www.Indebtwetrust.com ) Comments to [email protected]