Facts versus Propaganda
Why Pro-War Advocates Have Got It Wrong
If you're committed to a certain belief, it can be unpleasant to find truths that go against it. Nevertheless, we owe it to ourselves, our children, and our country, to pay attention to what is really happening in the world around us.
In this article, Todd Altman gives a sharp dose of truth to those whose foreign policy is mainly built on false myths, fears and vague wishes.
by Todd Altman
The current war on Iraq is proving to be the most divisive issue the people of this country have had to face since the Vietnam war. And just as was the case with many of those who supported the war in Vietnam, many of those who support the war in Iraq are fond of doing two things. First, they routinely accuse those who oppose this war of being "anti-American." Second, they consistently ignore the historical context in which this war is being waged.
Consider first the claim that war protestors are "anti-American." Is this accusation valid? I don't believe it is. Here's why.
The term "America" is virtually synonymous with individualism, and one of the central tenets of individualism is that there is a fundamental difference between the government of a country and the country itself. Thus, in the very act of accusing dissenters of being "anti-American," pro-war advocates unwittingly reveal themselves to be anti-American. Why? Because the premise of their accusation is the collectivist notion that there is not a fundamental difference between the government of a country and the country itself, and that it is therefore impossible to criticize one without criticizing the other. There is an eerie sense of Orwellian doublethink to this sort of "patriotism," and I think more and more Americans are starting to realize this.
Consider next the issue of historical context. If you oppose this war, and often find yourself being viciously attacked by those who support it, you've probably figured out by now that there are certain things about the federal government's foreign policy -- both past and present -- that pro-war advocates simply don't want to know about.
Why? I can think of no other reason than that they have a deep-rooted fear of losing the emotional comfort that their comic-book worldview affords them, and so cling to that view the way a frightened four-year-old child clings to his teddybear. Thus, whenever someone attempts to expose the ignorance on which this view is based, they have the same hysterical reaction that said child would have if you tried to take his teddybear away.
What, specifically, do pro-war advocates not want to know about? In short, the long, disgraceful history of lies and deceit surrounding U.S. foreign policy -- a history that, if openly acknowledged, would force them to face the traumatic possibility that they have allowed themselves to be manipulated and betrayed over and over again by the very political leaders in whom they've invested so much blind faith over the years. To discover that this possibility is in fact true would be emotionally devastating. Thus, to protect their sense of emotional security, they deliberately ignore the fact that the government:
- Lied about Pearl Harbor being a "surprise" attack.
- Lied about the Gulf of Tonkin attack.
- Lied about not being a long-time sponsor of the very terrorist activities it professes to oppose.
- Lied about the real reasons behind, and brutality of, the U.S. invasion of Panama.
- Lied about "mass genocide" in Kosovo.
- Lied about not having told Saddam Hussein (prior to his 1990 invasion) that the U.S. had no interest in his border dispute with Kuwait.
- Lied about Iraqi soldiers taking scores of babies from incubators.
- Lied about there being hundreds of thousands of Iraqi troops being amassed near the Saudi border.
- Lied about not having foreknowledge of 9/11:
- Lied about weapons inspectors being "kicked out" of Iraq.
- Lied about Saddam Hussein (brutal though he is) having gassed "his own people."
- Lied about how George Bush Sr. continued to coddle Saddam Hussein long after the very gassing incident that is now being used as a pretext for the current war, and how the Reagan-Bush administration went out of its way to arm Iraq throughout the 1980s, even though the U.S. State Department had identified Iraq in 1979 as a sponsor of terrorism.
- Lied about Saddam Hussein's "Weapons of Mass Destruction" programs.
- Lied about how many Afghan civilians it killed during the Fall and Winter of 2001/2002.
- And lied about the true source of the information it recently presented to the UN to justify the current war.
As the old saying goes, "Fool us once, shame on you; fool us twice, shame on us!"
It is time that we, the people, stop living in denial about just how corrupt our government has become; that we stop viewing all of reality in childlike terms of black and white; that we face the fact that human conflicts are not always a convenient case of "good guy vs. bad guy," but are often a case of "bad guy vs. worse guy;" and that we realize there is nothing "patriotic" or "American" about mindlessly supporting an unjust war.
To learn about what you can do to peacefully express your opposition to the war on Iraq, visit:
Todd Altman is an Air Force veteran, has a bachelors degree from the University of Maryland, and is the author of the Geolibertarian FAQ.
Copyright © 2003 by Todd Altman. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Todd Altman and The Progress Report.
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