Monday, April 17, 2006

The Honest Propagandist

The words of uber-joke Jeff Goldstein, via TBogg:

For a few retired US generals to be calling for Rumsfeld’s resignation publicly even as we are embroiled in that battle sends a message to our enemies that the general’s believe we are losing. And, as everyone with a shred of intellectual honesty knows that not to be the case—that the only way we can lose is if the public will is sapped—calling for Rumsfeld’s ouster now not only sends the wrong message to Americans, but it likewise sends the wrong message to Iraqis, the vast majority of whom are optimistic about the direction of the country.

Intellectual honesty, eh.  Look, when someone is explicitly stating that they must say we are winning the war in order for us to win the war, and that it helps our enemies to say that we’re not winning; can we really trust their “intellectual honesty” when they say they think we’re winning?  I don’t think so.  Because even if he does believe that we’re winning, he’s already admitted that he’d say that even if he thought we were losing.  He just told us that.

And that’s one of the problems with running a propaganda campaign: You’re an idiot if you actually tell people that you’re running a propaganda campaign and that they need to lie if they don’t have positive news.  And Jeff Goldstein’s an idiot.  Because he’s just telling us that he thinks the war is subjective and should be influenced by the proper lies.  And when several military generals state publicly that we need to do something new in the war, and a confessed propagandist with no military experience or inside information disagrees with them and says that we don’t need any changes because we’re already winning; it’s pretty clear that the propagandist is lying.  And so in this recent blog post, Jeff Goldstein has implicitly admitted that he’s a liar and that we can’t trust him.  What an idiot.

But then again, maybe he has a point.  After all, who can really say that retired generals are the best arbiters of whether we’re winning the war?  Especially generals who were stuck in the thick of things and for whom the dangers of war may have distorted their view on how successful this mission is.  They say that distance often puts things in better perspective, and there are few who are as distant from the reality of Iraq than Jeff Goldstein.  

Besides, if these generals aren’t savvy enough to understand the importance of propaganda and lying about the success of your military in order to aid that success; then maybe things are better that they’re now retired and Rummy’s still there plugging away.  I think that Rummy and Goldstein share the same intellectual bunker, so it just makes sense that we continue trusting in their brilliant Peter Pan offensive.  It’s gotten us this far, and if we change strategies now, we’ll just confuse the enemy.


Mumphrey said...

The real problem with this war, as with almost any war of occupation, is the problem those who back it never bring up:
The other side, whether they're right or wrong, good or bad, fearless freedom fighters or evil nihilistic, evil, terroristic, evil evil-doers, don't actually have to win. They only have to hang on long enough for the occupiers to get so worn down, and the occupying country's citizens to get so fed up with the neverendingness of the war that the occupying government gives up and pulls the troops out.
It happened in Vietnam. It happened to the British in the American Revolution. I would argue that it happened to the occupying Union forces in the south enforcing Reconstruction after the Civil War.
And the thing is, it doesn't matter if the occupier's cause is just or not. The British in the Revolution had an unjust cause (I would argue); the Union army had the just cause (I would also argue, and I do so as the decendant of Confederate leaders). Vietnam was a mixed bag, as far as justness of the cause went.
It didn't matter in any case. All the opposition had to do was keep alive, make trouble for the occupiers, and for good measure, pick a few troops off now and again. (Washington actually didn't win many battles at all; his biggest accomplishment was keeping the army together and willing to fight.)
This is what's happening in Iraq. How often do the insurgents actually win any battle or fight with U.S. troops. I don't think they ever have. But this isn't any war in the sense that World War II or I were. They don't need to win. They just need to keep on their feet, or even their knees, long enough for us to give up and go home.
This thing was, I think looking back on it, doomed to fail from the start.
The big war boosters just don't get that, or aren't willing to face it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there are any "big war boosters. Nobody really wants to be over there. What some people "just don't get is that this is a war we can't afford to lose. Our lives are as much in danger as our troops in Iraq or those of the Iraqi civilans. When you look at the news each night try and Imagine that the scene you are seeing of the car that has exploded and the body parts lying around are in LA or Seattle or someplace else in America. It can happen and it will happen if we pull out of Iraq before it's time.
This isn't Vietnam or WW1 or WW2
or any other war that you care to compare it to. People don't like the things that they see the CIA and other branches of the government involved in and they say that it makes us no better than them, but when you're fighting for your very life sometimes you have to play by their rules instead of being hog tied by your own. You really shouldn't bring a knife to a gun fight.

Doctor Biobrain said...

When you look at the news each night try and Imagine that the scene you are seeing of the car that has exploded and the body parts lying around are in LA or Seattle or someplace else in America. It can happen and it will happen if we pull out of Iraq before it's time.

I hope to god that you're joking, and I don't believe in god.