FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Publicity Stunts as Public Policy

About 2500 US known dead, give or take a corpse or two Untold tens of thousands of Iraqis. A new and more repressive crackdown in Iraq’s capital city titled, rather lamely, Operation Forward Together. No Iron Fist this time. No Desert Storm. Just Forward Together into the fog or perhaps the abyss.

No one really seems to know any longer yet the commander-in-chief in Washington and his sycophantic henchmen both in and out of uniform continue to insist that their soldiers and the people whose country they are destroying will stay “until victory.” Like most wars, such victory is vaguely defined. However, even the US adventure in Korea looked more purposeful to US residents than this one in Iraq.

The recent murder of Zarqawi and the current crackdown in Baghdad serve well as metaphors for the entire nature of this war. An overkill of US military power with results that mean virtually nothing in the longer term.

So what–they killed Zarqawi? Does that bring an end to the war any closer?

So what–the newest Prime Minister of the Green Zone, a man whose reliance on Washington’s firepower already seems to rival that of Ayad Allawi (DC’s first handpicked man), announces a giant security sweep of Baghdad. Under Washington’s direction, he tells the city’s residents (and the compliant US press) that there will be over 70,000 US and Iraqi more troops in their city setting up checkpoints to harass them, take their guns (always a popular move in Iraq), breaking into their homes at night, arresting men on minimal suspicions, and just irritating and disrupting their already wartorn lives.

Will it end the war? Of course not. Like other such operations before it, Forward Together is another public relations exercise whose primary audience is the US public and whose primary targets are any Iraqi that gets in the way of the troops swaggering through their streets and homes. It won’t amount to a hill of beans.

Talking about hills of beans, how about Congress? Now that there are 2500 dead US soldiers and many thousands more permanently wounded, those fine men and women are debating whether or not they should hold a debate about the war in Iraq.

As of this writing, the decision to hold such a debate has yet to be made. They had to get their pay raise passed first, not to mention the ever-important vote on same-sex marriage. Oh yeah, one can’t forget the pressing national question of drug use by professional baseball players! Even without holding that debate about the war, both houses passed with nary a whimper a $94 billion supplementary appropriations bill–$66 billion of it going to continued murder and mayhem in Iraq and Afghanistan. Speaking of Afghanistan, does one needed to be reminded that the war there is heating up again, with two more coalition soldiers killed on June 14, 2006 and another Afghani child killed by a US soldiers driving a truck? I can’t help but be reminded of the Creedence Clearwater song “Fortunate Son.” For those that don’t know the song, here are the relevant lines:

Yeah, some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
And when you ask them, how much should we give,
oh, they only answer, more, more, more, yeah

More blood, more money, and more time. In Iraq, in Afghanistan and in every other country that the US empire’s machine wishes to extend its reach. Whether it’s prisons or airports that enable secret kidnappings known as renditions in Europe or the US version of Great Britain’s H-Block in Guantanamo Bay where hundreds are held without charges. Guantanamo Bay, where dozens of these prisoners are on a hunger strike and two recently hung themselves in what a US official callously described as a publicity stunt.

Let’s get something clear here, George Bush’s visit to Baghdad on June 13, 2006 was a publicity stunt. George Bush’s strolling onto that aircraft carrier in a flight suit so many moons ago was a publicity stunt. Threatening war on Iran because it wants to go its own legal way on nuclear development is a publicity stunt (hopefully).

Two men hanging themselves out of despair in a prison is not. Unless, of course, the deaths of 2500 US soldiers in a war for power and profit are publicity stunts, too.

 

 

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Frank Clemente
The GOP Tax Bill is Creating Jobs…But Not in the United States
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
December 13, 2018
John Davis
What World Do We Seek?
Subhankar Banerjee
Biological Annihilation: a Planet in Loss Mode
Lawrence Davidson
What the Attack on Marc Lamont Hill Tells Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail