Call it What It Is: Nazi-Style Propaganda
by Bob Fitrakis
August 5, 2003
While the mainstream media debates whether the President was misinformed, exaggerating or misleading the U.S. public, they miss the bigger story their obvious complicity with the Bush administration’s Nazi-style propaganda prior to the war. George W. Bush and his administration deliberately undertook a massive campaign to wage illegal and aggressive war against the people of Iraq. The narrow focus on one fraudulent claim in the State of the Union address regarding Iraq buying uranium from Africa ignores the much broader campaign of falsification used to whip the people into a war frenzy.
Take the second obvious lie: that Iraq was harboring and supporting Al Qaeda terrorists. The mainstream media knew that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were arch enemies and represented two distinct ideological movements. Hussein’s pan-Arab movement and bin Laden’s fundamentalist pan-Islamic movement. The only thing these two men had in common was that both had been decade-long U.S. allies in the 1980s. Which country is most responsible for harboring Al Qaeda? We know the answer. The United States of America, where they learned to fly and where they attacked on 911 after the Bush administration called the FBI off their trail.
Bush and his cabinet, enabled by the media, tell blatant and verfiable lies daily. Take for example Bush’s latest fabrication on July 15. During a news briefing with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the President stated, “The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to let the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations . . . .”
The fact that Bush would so drastically alter reality, with the world’s leading advocate of weapons inspectors beside him, and the images of UN weapons inspectors night after night on U.S. TV news, suggests that the President is either mentally unstable or a pathological liar far worse than Richard Nixon.
Moreover, the UN Security Council specifically refused to sanction the U.S.-British attack on Iraq. It was only an imminent attack that forced out the weapons inspectors.
The more important question may not be the sanity of the President but why the mainstream media allows W to openly, notoriously and outrageously lie. Do Presidential lies matter only if involving oral sex with an intern? Are they perfectly acceptable if done in the style of the Third Reich to support the return of a 19th century imperialist occupation of a Third World people?
Perhaps the U.S. press embraces the silence of the lamb because, as the book Into the Buzzsaw notes, our best investigative reporters are routinely fired, laid off, demoted or silenced when they challenge corruption in high places. Or, are they simply afraid that sinister forces in our own military industrial complex will send them grade-A, Made-in-the-U.S.A. anthrax to intimidate them?
The unaltered fact remains that the only reason George W. is President today is because his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, ordered election supervisors to purge some 58,000 voters from the Florida election rolls not because they were felons, but because their names were the same or similar to felons. This news story surfaced on the front page in Britain.
Rather than really thinking of media as being lazy or indifferent, we should see that Bush’s illegal war campaign exposes them as willing accomplices. As media critic Robert McChesney points out “[there has been a] striking consolidation of the media from hundreds of firms to an industry dominated by ten enormous transnational conglomerates. The largest ten media firms own all U.S. TV networks, most TV stations, all major film studios, all major music companies, nearly all cable TV channels, much of the book and magazine publishing, and much, much more.”
And we have the Secretary of State’ son Michael Powell at the FCC advocating more media consolidation, yelling like Bush, “Bring it on!”
Is it any wonder that the public is entranced with so-called “reality TV” while our military produces fictional stories like the “Saving of Private Lynch?” The military scripts neo-American hokum and does Hollywood at its finest. The feel-good tale of the American girl-next-door in the middle of a firefight with evil Iraqi men trying to kill her until her last ammunition clip was emptied. When the Iraqi medical staff tried to return her to the U.S. troops, after she was injured solely by a vehicle crash, they were met with gunfire to keep them at the hospital until the military video crew could arrive and tape the blockbuster fantasy for the nightly news.
Still, the biggest lie that Bush has perpetrated on the U.S. public that has escaped any and all scrutiny is the blatant illegality of the war. Since the Nazi generals were taken away and hung after the Nuremberg trials, there is no such thing as “preventive war” under international law and the UN Charter. No nation has the right to change the “regime” of another nation because they don’t like their leaders; nor can a nation attack another nation because they may pose a threat years in the future. Bizarrely, the U.S. mainstream media allows the President to routinely violate international law unchallenged.
So it is not surprising the Bush administration uses Nazi-style propaganda to resurrect long-discredited and evil Nazi doctrines like preventive war. The Fourth Reich will come to the U.S. in the name of fighting terrorism and protecting “homeland security.”
Bob Fitrakis is a Political Science Professor in the Social and Behavioral Sciences department at Columbus State Community College, and author of The Idea of Democratic Socialism in America and the Decline of the Socialist Party (Garland Publishers 1993). He is the editor of The Free Press, where this article first appeared (www.freepress.org).