Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Psst! Hey Buddy, Did You Hear How Well the Iraq War’s Going?

 

Here are some thoughts for the holidays:

Word that the Army’s psy-op propagandists and perception mongers in the Pentagon had manufactured a fraudulent hero legend around the “friendly fire” death of footballer-turned special forces combatant Pat Tillman–much like the fraudulent tale woven about “rescuing Pvt. Lynch” during the Iraq war’s initial days–should have us all on our guard regarding the stories out of Washington purveyed to us by a willing and gullible corporate media. If we take this scummy scam conducted at the late Tillman’s expense as a starting point, we might go on to ponder some other things. Among them:

A majority of us Americans think that the unprovoked invasion of Iraq was a mistake–a mistake that has cost nearly 1300 American lives so far, with no end in sight, and over 100,000 innocent Iraqi lives (right up there on a scale comparable to the butchery of Saddam Hussein himself)–yet we just re-elected the man who is responsible for this colossal crime.

Americans continue to flock to auto dealerships to buy SUVs and trucks even though it is common knowledge that the money they pay to fuel these gas-guzzling behemoths goes straight into the pockets of the corrupt, dictatorial regimes, like Saudi Arabia and Yemen, that are breeding and even financially backing the terrorists who have been attacking Americans at home and abroad.

A decisive majority of Americans believe that healthcare should be a right, and that the solution to America’s healthcare crisis is to have a nationalized medical system like Canada’s, yet such an idea isn’t even on the table in Washington, and is not even discussed by the two parties during national campaigns.

A majority of Americans believe that anything that federal or state government runs is bound to be heavy-handed, bureaucratic and prone to corruption, and yet a majority of Americans also supports having those same governments administer the death penalty.

Government statistics keep telling us that the national income is rising, but the average American family today, with both parents working their butts off, is spending 75 percent of its disposable income on housing, food and transportation, compared with less than 50 percent of income back in 1960, when most families were supported by only one job. (Explanation for this enigma: the national income is an average, but with the rich getting unprecedentedly richer and the poor poorer, you can quickly see where the missing income is going.)

Most Americans continue to believe the fantasy that they have the best lifestyle in the world, but in fact, people in Europe and even in countries like Japan and Taiwan, in many ways, live better than do we Americans, in terms of diet, leisure time, old age security, healthcare, and even safety from terrorism.

With a dogmatism that resembles religious zealotry, American schools teach (or preach to) U.S. students that capitalism is the best economic system, and that the American political system is a model for the world, yet bombed-out-looking American inner cities shock visitors from Europe and even from the more advanced countries of Asia. Poverty in the U.S., while hidden from public view, is the equivalent of a mid-sized third world nation in our midst, with millions of American children growing up hungry, ill clothed, uneducated, and trapped in a cycle of poverty and despair.

In the land of the free, an employer is free to fire an employee for wearing a button supporting a political candidate disliked by her boss. Verbally criticizing a “superior” (there’s a great term, like “boss”, to find still in circulation in what is supposed to be a democratic society or equals) on the job is grounds for dismissal. The much celebrated freedom of speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights applies only to those few waking hours when citizens are asleep or during those few hours when they are either on their commutes to and from work or at home with their families.

And now this: After taking over the airwaves, taking over the print media, and dominating even the Internet, American corporations are now moving to conquer that last bastion of freedom of expression and information–the grapevine. In a cover story in last Sunday’s New York Times, it was disclosed that companies with names like BzzAgent and Tremor are using tens of thousands of weird but willing volunteers to spread product advertisements by word of mouth, pretending that they are simply voicing their own independent opinions.

Since Washington, particularly these days, is little more than a particularly large corporate monopoly, we shouldn’t be surprised to find its PR and image-control agents adopting the same techniques to promote the kind of scams we saw in the just-exposed Tillman saga. Expect volunteers in your community to begin soon talking in the check-out line about how well the war is going, and about how exciting the Iraqi experiment in democracy is.

Or maybe about how brilliant our maximum leader is.

Happy Holidays!

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” to be published this fall by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

May 24, 2018
Jeff Warner – Victor Rothman
Why the Emerging Apartheid State in Israel-Palestine is Not Sustainable
Kenn Orphan
Life, the Sea and Big Oil
James Luchte
Europe Stares Into the Abys, Confronting the American Occupant in the Room
Richard Hardigan
Palestinians’ Great March of Return: What You Need to Know
Howard Lisnoff
So Far: Fascism Lite
Matthew Vernon Whalan
Norman Finkelstein on Bernie Sanders, Gaza, and the Mainstream Treatment
Daniel Warner
J’accuse All Baby Boomers
Alfred W. McCoy
Beyond Golden Shower Diplomacy
Jonah Raskin
Rachel Kushner, Foe of Prisons, and Her New Novel, “The Mars Room”
George Wuerthner
Myths About Wildfires, Logging and Forests
Binoy Kampmark
Tom Wolfe the Parajournalist
Dean Baker
The Marx Ratio: Not Clear Karl Would be Happy
May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
Lawrence Davidson
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail