Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Democracy, whiskey, and sexy

Robert Jensen, a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream is writing for Al Jezeera. The following is an excerpt of his response to the liberation of Baghdad

"Despite constant discussion of "precision bombing," the US invasion has produced so many dead and wounded that Iraqi hospitals stopped trying to count.

"Red Cross officials have labeled the level of casualties "incredible," describing "dozens of totally dismembered dead bodies of women and children" delivered by truck to hospitals.

"Cluster bombs, one of the most indiscriminate weapons in the modern arsenal, have been used by U.S. and U.K. forces, with the British defense minister explaining that mothers of Iraqi children killed would one day thank Britain for their use.

"US viewers see little of these consequences of war, which are common on television around the world and widely available to anyone with Internet access.

Hmmm. Today, the world saw perhaps the most important consequence of the war to date: Iraqis dancing in the streets as a US tank destroyer tore down a statue of Saddam in Baghdad. And it seems a sizable chunk of the population of Baghdad were not the least bit concerned with any of the claims Professor Jenson raised as they chanted "Down with Saddam--God Bless George Bush." One Iraqi man, when asked what he thought the Americans would bring to his country said, with his voice lifting each word to greater prominence, "Democracy, whiskey, and sexy!"

The antiwar movement stands totally discredited, yet they still have their ax to grind and they will use every tool they can muster to grind it. Consider the following expert our good professor gave in an interview about his book:

"After several years of writing dozens of op/eds that expressed very radical ideas (everything from describing the United States as a terrorist nation to sharp critiques of corporate capitalism), I realized I had accumulated a lot of experience and tips about how to take, as the book's subtitle puts it, radical ideas from the margins to the mainstream."

Lots of apologists for dictators draw on the same set of skills, and that's why they are called propaganda artists. The good thing about  propaganda though is once the evidence comes out, life never goes well for the propagandist.

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