IN THE MIDST OF TWO WARS AND THE COUNTRY IN AN ECONOMIC MELTDOWN IN 2009, PRINCESS BARACK SPENT $57 MILLION ON OFFICIAL INAUGURAL EVENTS AND PARTIES. THIS YEAR, HE'S HITTING PEOPLE UP FOR MILLION DOLLAR CONTRIBUTIONS AND, AS HE TOLD THESE REPORTERS LAST NIGHT, "AIN'T NO BAN ON SOFT MONEY IN THIS HOUSE! WOO-HOO! GIRL'S GOTTA' PARTY!"
GIRL MAY INDEED WANT TO PARTY BUT ALREADY MISHAPS ARE PILING UP FASTER THAN EMPTY BOOZE BOTTLES IN SNOOKIE'S TRASH CAN. TWO DAYS AGO HE WAS PRAISING LOUIE GIGLIO IN PUBLIC, INSISTING THE MAN HE PICKED TO DELIVER THE BENEDICTION "REPRESENTS THE IDEALS OF JUSTICE, EQUALITY, AND OPPORTUNITY THAT HE PURSUES." GIGLIO HAS SINCE BEEN EXPOSED AS A RAGING HOMOPHOBE.
BUT PRINCESS BARRY IS TRYING NOT TO LET THAT CRAMP HIS STYLE. AS HE TOLD THESE REPORTERS WHO TRACKED HIM TO CLUB TUSH LAST NIGHT, "MARY BE TRIPPING. GIRL FRIEND GOT TO LEARN TO KEEP IT ON THE DOWN LOW! OH, IT'S MY JAM!"
WITH THAT, PRINCESS BARRY AND A SMALL BATTALION OF SECRET SERVICE AGENTS HIT THE FLOOR TO BUST A MOVE TO ONE DIRECTION'S "KISS YOU."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Emily Swanson (Huffington Post) reports on a Huffington Post - YouGov poll which found 52% of those surveyed think the Iraq War was a mistake (31% say it wasn't) and 55% say it wasn't worth fighting (27% say it was) -- the poll has a plus or minus 3.7% margin of error. Those aren't good numbers. If you doubt that, visit the Podesta Brothel that is Think Progress and you'll see them covering the poll -- sort of. The best figure (still disappointing) is the 55%. So they work that in but ignore the 52%. It's very dishonest of them to grab the 55% and not note the 52%. Neither figure is a good one but the 52% is more important.
It's more important not just because it's the lower number but also because of the questions asked. 52% of those surveyed say the Iraq War was a mistake. That number should be much higher. I'm not speaking of my personal opinion yet. I'm speaking of attitudes in surveys. Respondents, in the history of modern polling, are more apt to say a war or conflict was a mistake than they are to say it wasn't worth fighting. Why?
Mistake goes to government. Fighting goes to the service members. People are more comfortable calling out decisions by the government than calling out rank-in-file members of the military and when you get to the issue of "fighting" and it's value or worth, for many Americans, you are evaluating what the military on the ground did or did not do.
Maybe the public has changed or maybe the wording was different or maybe they just got a non-representative sample. I would love for that to be true because the numbers themselves are disturbing.
The Iraq War is not over. Analyzing the deaths, the number injured and the incidents of violence for 2012, Iraq Body Count concluded, "In sum the latest evidence suggests that the country remains in a state of low-level war little changed since early 2009, with a 'background' level of everyday armed violence punctuated by occasional larger-scale attacks designed to kill many people at once." So let's bust that little myth first. Second, US troops did not all leave. Some 15,000 moved over into Kuwait (and at least 13,000 of them remain). They were stationed there because of Kuwait's proximity to Iraq -- so that they could be quickly ordered back in. 'Trainers,' Marines guarding the US Embassy staff, Special-Ops, etc. did not leave and remain in Iraq. In fact, the number of US Special-Ops in Iraq increased in the second half of 2012. September 26th, Tim Arango (New York Times) reported:
Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.
Or as William Rivers Pitt (Truthout) put it last month, "if you think we're not still at war in Iraq, I can introduce you to some military families who are still posting love-you-be-safe letters to that particular delivery code." So that should explode myth two.
The Huffington Post - YouGov poll? I'd love for it to be wrong but it's backed up by another poll, one on Bully Boy Bush who has increased his approval rating by 12% just by leaving office. We covered that on January 2nd and noted:
There are a ton of reasons to continue focusing on Iraq here in the US. But if people only care about themselves then maybe now some on the left who've argued it doesn't matter (including two friends with The Nation magazine) will wake up? We've gone over what could happen repeatedly in the last years. We did so at length August 20, 2010 in "The war continues (and watch for the revisionary tactics."
If you're old enough, you saw it with Vietnam. That illegal war ended with the government called out for its actions. And some people -- a lot in fact -- just moved on. The weakest of the left moved on because it wasn't 'polite' to talk about it or it wasn't 'nice' or 'can't we all just get along' and other nonsense. Others talked about things because they didn't care about Vietnam, the Vietnamese or the US service members. And, after all, they had a peanut farmer from Georgia to elect, right? And bit by bit, year by year, all these lies about Vietnam took root. The press turned the people against it! The US could have won if the military's hands hadn't been tied! All this nonsense that, back when the public was paying attention in the early to mid-seventies, would have been rejected outright by the majority of Americans.
Jane Fonda explains in the amazing documentary Sir! No Sir!, "You know, people say, 'Well you keep going back, why are you going back to Vietnam?' We keep going back to Vietnam because, I'll tell you what, the other side does. They're always going back. And they have to go back -- the Hawks, you know, the patriarchs. They have to go back because, and they have to revise the going back, because they can't allow us to know what the back there really was."
And if you silence yourself while your opponent digs in on the topic, a large number of Americans -- including people too young to remember what actually happened -- here nothing but the revisionary arguments. Jane's correct, the right-wing always went back to Vietnam. They're at fork in the road probably because, do they continue to emphasize Vietnam as much as they have, or do they move on to Iraq. Victor Davis Hanson's ready to move on to Iraq. He's not the only one on the right.
And on the left we have silence.
And that is why revisionary tactics work. It's not because revisions are stronger than facts. It's because one side gives up. And the left -- check The Progressive, The Nation, etc.* -- has long ago given up on even pretending to care about Iraq -- about the Iraq War, about the Iraqis, about the US service members. [*But not In These Times -- they've continued to feature Iraq about every six months. Give them credit for that.]
We're seeing again what happens in silence. When we're silent on the left, when we silence ourselves, we lose and we lose big.
I'm going to toss out some poll numbers to illustrate how bad the results of The Huffington Post - YouGov poll is. The easiest way to find these numbers is to refer to Polling Report and scroll down.
In December, 2011, as most US troops were being taken out of Iraq (what the Pentagon rightly called a drawdown, not a "withdrawal"), there was a CNN - ORC Poll which asked, "Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war in Iraq?"
The results? 66% opposed. 31% favored. From 66% opposed in December 2011, the against-the-war opinion has dropped to 52%?
That's not good news. That's why the Podesta Bordello ran from that figure. We can't run from it. Running from the topic of Iraq has led us to this point where at least 10% opposition to the Iraq War has vanished. (At least 10%? I'm factoring in the potential margin of error.)
On the left, we're silent. Very few of us acknowledge Iraq today. If we do, it's a sentence or two. Or we're using the Iraq War to praise some politician. We're not talking about the realities, we're not covering the birth defects, we're not interested in the continued struggle, the abuse of LGBTs, the rape and torture of women in Iraqi prisons, go down the list.
On the left, we convince ourselves that we have something better and more important to do. That's not happening on the right. On the right, they're covering the continued tragedy that is the Iraq War. They're covering the results of it. They're talking about. They're addressing it.
This is what happens one side is silent. This is not new. This is not novel. Here, we have discussed this concept since at least 2005. We warned about it while the US military was involved in 'combat operations.' We warned about it when Barack, echoing Bush's 'major combat has ended' b.s., declared that combat operations were over. We've warned about it. That's not because I'm a genius.
That's because this is what happens and it happens over and over. Know the patterns. They do repeat unless you break them. That's not just therapy, that's history.
I was standing here shaking my head in silence until the friend I'm dictating this too just asked, "Are you still there?"
Which is a question with a number of answers. Yes, we are still here (the community, visitors and me). And this is exactly why we are still here. You cannot talk away from this topic without repercussions. And we're seeing that right now.
While I was being silent, however, I was thinking of how many years it took to rewrite Vietnam, how many movies (The Deer Hunter, Sylvester Stallone's awful films, and so many, many more), how many books, how many columns, on and on. It is a cottage industry, the revisionary history of Vietnam. People have made big money there.
By contrast, they haven't had to work that hard on Iraq. They certainly haven't put in the same amount of time that their cohorts did on Vietnam.
According to The Huffington Post - YouGov poll, only 52% think the Iraq War was a mistake. In ten years, that's going to be nothing. In ten years, if the silence from those of us on the left continues, those numbers will be reversed with 52% (or more) arguing the Iraq War wasn't a mistake and basing that on the fact that the left doesn't care enough to object to and refute the lies, doesn't care enough to cover the damage.
Every day the sun rises. If every day, a large group of people make it their life's work to insist that the sun doesn't rise every day and no one bothers to refute it, despite the fact that sun rises every day, you will find public opinion registering the belief that it doesn't. It may be a very small number, but you will find it in the polling. If the one group continues to insist for years that the sun doesn't rise every day, and the other side continues to greet that claim with silence, you will see that small number rise in consecutive polls.
That's not because people are stupid or because people are dumb. Most people are very busy with their lives, children, job, school, just surviving, whatever. And if they try to follow what's going on in the limited amount time that they can devote to 'current events' and political 'discussions' but all they hear is one side, it doesn't matter what that one side says, a number of people will accept it as truth.
That will happen because it is repeated over and over. Joseph Goebbels was a Nazi which means he was an idiot. People praise him or cite him for his assertion: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." Let's just deal with the first sentence. (And I'm talking about what an idiot Goebbels is here. I'm not comparing War Hawks on Iraq to Goebbels. I don't generally make Nazi comparisons as a rule.) "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." Goebbels didn't do the work required.
It's not telling a lie or spin that helps it succeed. It's this taking place in a vaccuum with other opinions absent. Not because of fear. There is no fear today in the United States that if you call the Iraq War a mistake you will end up harmed or punished or shunned or whatever. There's no liability, there's no loss or potential loss at present.
The lie succeeds not just because it's being repeated and not because the government suppressing truth but because those of us who know the Iraq War was wrong are silencing ourselves.
That example of the rising sun? People have limited time. It's not just that they hear, via the media, the claim that the sun doesn't rise every day. It's also that they're media trained. Meaning, in the US we expect that truth is presented as fact. Truth requires nothing but to be said. Media training in the US tells us that 'controversial' or 'disputed' issues require balance. So when the only one speaking is from one side, to the average American media consumer, that person must be speaking the truth because no one's there objecting. Surely, if this person claiming that the sun didn't rise every day was wrong or even just potentially wrong, there would be another voice and it would point out that the person was wrong.
Media training in the US, and we're all trained in it regardless of rejection, embrace or indifference, allows revisionary history to take root when one side falls into silence.
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