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Short Term Memory Loss

by Gary Sudborough Sunday, Jun. 08, 2003 at 6:55 PM
IconoclastGS@aol.com

The ever-changing justifications for their wars for corporate empire used by the Bush junta and the seeming lack of suspicion by the American people that they are being lied to egregiously.

Short term memory loss is a symptom of several disorders like Alzheimer's disease, involving damage to the brain. However, it is very strange that a significant percentage of the American population who are in perfect health seem to be suffering from this malady. Some Americans don't seem to remember that the initial justification for bombing and invading Afghanistan was to destroy al-Oaida and capture or kill Osama bin Laden. George W. Bush said that Osama bin Laden was wanted dead or alive in the terminology of an old west poster. Then, suddenly in the middle of the war in Afghanistan, the justification for the war changed to defeating the Taliban and liberating Afghani women from their burkas. Osama bin Laden was forgotten and his name was rarely mentioned in the corporate media. Americans suffering from this short term memory lapse accepted this switch in justification for inflicting the horrors of war on another people with no obvious discomfort or outrage.

A similar occurrence happened during the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The original justification for war was that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, making Iraq a threat to its neighbors and the world. The United States even concocted a phony story (proved a forgery by the International Atomic Energy Agency) about Iraq attempting to purchase uranium from Niger. Then, again after the invasion began, the justification for war switched to liberating the Iraqi people from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. No weapons of mass destruction have since been found and none have been planted yet. Once again, those Americans with short term memory disorder sensed nothing amiss, exhibited no outrage at being lied to by the government and corporate media and castigated those who were offended as being unpatriotic.

Another manifestation of this memory malady is that those afflicted seem to exhibit no suspicions as to why the most powerful nation on Earth with the most sophisticated intelligence agency and satellite surveillance can't capture one Arab man named Osama bin Laden, who has such bad kidneys that he needs periodic hospitalization and dialysis. The CIA certainly had no trouble capturing people they really wanted like the leftist Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan or the Pakistani man named Kansi, who killed several CIA employees in Virginia. Why were Saddam Hussein, his sons and much of Iraq's leadership not captured during the fall of Baghdad? Why was resistance so fierce and prolonged in the southern cities of Iraq, but collapsed suddenly and unexpectedly in Baghdad itself? Was a deal cut to prevent large American casualties potentially occurring in street to street fighting in Baghdad? British journalist Robert Fisk and Columbia professor Edward Said have speculated that this may be the case. Why would the United States deliberately allow Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden to remain at large? Bogeymen are very useful to frighten the American people into supporting future wars for natural resources or voting the right way at election time. If the head demons were killed or captured, Americans might get the impression that the "war on terrorism" was over. None of these ideas seem to occur to those aforementioned memory deficient people.

What is the explanation for these short term memory lapses in some Americans? I believe it is the subtle, pernicious effects of television. Reality is what the television news tells Americans on a certain day. If that conflicts with the past, these people conveniently forget the past. On growing up in a small northern Indiana town, I remember an old man who everyone thought was quite crazy. One day he became disgusted by something he saw on television and blasted the TV set with a shotgun. If it had been today and he had been watching the Fox News Channel, I would say it was completely understandable. At the time, this was considered further evidence of his insanity. Now, I'm beginning to believe he was more sane than people gave him credit for, although I just use the remote control, mute switch or don't turn television on at all. Television is obviously one of the most effective instruments for the transmission of propaganda ever invented.

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Canadian Perspective Lorene Clayton Monday, Feb. 23, 2004 at 4:56 PM
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