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Double Standards, Lies and Iraq

by Gary Sudborough Sunday, Sep. 15, 2002 at 7:58 PM

Examples of double standards involving weapons of mass destruction and what John Pilger calls the lying game about Iraq.

Israel has weapons of mass destruction as Iraq is only accused of possessing. Israel invaded Lebanon and occupied it for a number of years. Iraq invaded Kuwait. Israel's leader Ariel Sharon is guilty of war crimes for massacres of Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Shatila and more recent atrocities in West Bank cities. Saddam Hussein is guilty of war crimes for using poison gas on the Kurds. However, in spite of these great similarities, Israel has not been demonized in the media, bombed and subjected to an embargo and no-fly zones as has Iraq. Why? I suggest it is because Israel is the local partner of the United States in the control of Mideast oil and repression of Arab nationalism.

Apartheid South Africa had weapons of mass destruction and invaded Angola and sent a terrorist army called Renamo into Mozambique to destroy the socialist government there. Renamo burned villages, destroyed anything considered socialistic like health clinics, farm cooperatives and schools and terrorized people by cutting off arms and legs with machetes. In addition, apartheid South Africa tortured and murdered thousands of its own black people in the townships. South Africa was not demonized, bombed or accused incessantly of possessing weapons of mass destruction. Why? South Africa was performing a useful function for the United States by helping to destroy the socialist governments in Angola and Mozambique.

One has a choice. Either these double standards arise accidentally because US policymakers are stupid or sleepwalkers and fail to apply equal standards everywhere or they are constantly lying to the American people. I refuse to believe that people who own and control so much of the world and have rolled back socialism everywhere are stupid. This leaves lying and they are extremely proficient at lying. They have Ph.D.s in lying.

I never remember hearing invented terms like ethnic cleansing and weapons of mass destruction until they were used as justifications for war. The United States claimed it was bombing Yugoslavia because of ethnic cleansing by the Serbs against Albanians in Kosovo. I knew this was a lie because at the very same time the US was militarily supporting Turkey in a far greater ethnic cleansing against the Kurds. Also, the US had used its air power to aid the Croats in an ethnic cleansing of the Serbs from the Krajina region of Yugoslavia. I believe weapons of mass destruction is another invented propaganda term because of the double standards I have mentioned concerning Israel and South Africa and also because of other inconsistencies. After enduring over ten years of bombing and sanctions, how can a completely devastated Iraq be a greater danger to the world than before the Persian Gulf War, when the United States was friendly to Iraq, provided it with intelligence and chemical and biological weapons in the Iran-Iraq war and never mentioned the phrase weapons of mass destruction?

When people are asked to sacrifice themselves or their loved ones in a war, they simply can't be told that war is a racket as Major-General Smedley Butler put it or that it is for the benefit of the exceedingly tiny fraction of the population with most of the wealth. Also, they can't be told that it is to enrich large corporations, especially with the bad publicity about Enron, Global Crossing, Tyco, Arthur Anderson, etc. Consequently, they must be made to believe it is for some noble purpose like bringing people freedom and democracy or ending ethnic cleansing, and they must be conditioned to fear and hate the designated enemy. Remember the false story about Iraqi soldiers throwing babies to the floor from their incubators during the invasion of Kuwait. Weapons of mass destruction falls into a similar category of making people fearful.

A very illustrative example of this war propaganda is the Creel Committee established by President Wilson to convince Americans to fight in the mass slaughter called World War 1. They hired two of the best corporate propagandists of the time, Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays. Ivy Lee had been employed by John D. Rockefeller to minimize the damage to his reputation caused by the massacre of striking coal miners at Ludlow, Colorado. Edward Bernays was a nephew of Sigmund Freud and famous for making smoking popular with women by clever propaganda. The Creel Committee very effectively demonized the Germans by spreading propaganda that they were Huns and bayoneted babies. This propaganda enabled the United States to enter what had previously been a very unpopular war.

My point is that propaganda terms like ethnic cleansing and weapons of mass destruction are simply extensions of the demonization that the Creel Committee was so good at. A war with Iraq will not be about weapons of mass destruction, but about control of oil and the further extension of the U.S. global empire.

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