War Drums Are Beating at FreeRepublic.com

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Starting
with the downing of the US Navy spy plane, the neocons at the Free
Republic web site have been rattling sabers regarding the People's
Republic of China. Many u2018Freepers' were especially enraged by articles
such as Lew Rockwell's u2018China
Is Right’
and and Karen De Coster's u2018Dance
of the War Mongers'
. Now, with the announcement by President
Bush regarding sale of advanced weaponry to Taiwan, there are open
calls for war
on Free Republic.

Granted,
the majority of these posts are probably meaningless Internet chest-thumping,
but they are instructive nonetheless: they demonstrate just how
easily the State/Media conglomerate can use propaganda to maneuver
a populace into war and maintain war fever once the body bags start
to arrive.

This
is nothing new and certainly predates the Internet. From the War
of 1812 to Desert Storm, every declared and undeclared war in our
history has been preceded and supported by some form of State propaganda:
let me illustrate with two examples.

The
Spanish-American War

U.S.
President Cleveland had issued a proclamation of neutrality in the
Cuban Insurrection against the Spanish in June of 1895, but pressed
by business interests represented by elements of the Senate, Cleveland
backtracked and warned that the US might take action in Cuba if
Spain failed to resolve its crisis.

During
this period, both during the fading days of Cleveland's presidency
and after the election of U.S. President William McKinley, the US
military was developing war plans concerning Spanish possessions
in the New World and in the Pacific. After the election, we moved
both ships and troops into these areas, arguably starting down the
road from Republic to Imperial power.

Both
Hearst’s New York Journal and Pulitzer’s New
York World, via sensational reporting on the Cuban Insurrection,
helped develop anti-Spanish sentiment in the United States. The
steady drumbeat of anti-Spanish rhetoric exploded into frenzy after
the U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana Harbor. This war frenzy
certainly contributed to President McKinley's call for 125,000 volunteers
to augment the standing army of 28,000 regulars.

The
Great War: World War One

As
the u2018Great War' raged in Europe, most Americans had no European
ties and were not interested in expending treasure or blood in a
war u2018over there'. However, Allied and German propaganda caused much
furor among “hyphenated” European- Americans and in that community
opinions about the war were sharply divided. Most markedly, more
than eight million German-Americans lived in this country and many
were pro-German. At the same time, anti-German sympathies were the
norm among the upper and business classes, the media and academe.

US
President Wilson, as a member of both the Eastern upper classes
and the academe, was solidly in the Pro-Allied camp, while publicly
proclaiming US neutrality to ensure re-election. On April 13, 1917,
days after our entry into the war Wilson created the Committee on
Public Information to promote the war domestically while publicizing
American war aims abroad.

This
was a propaganda apparatus unparalleled in world history. Under
the leadership of journalistic muckraker George Creel, the CPI functioned
as a de facto public censor, vetting nearly all published material
about the war and helping to draft legislation such as the Espionage
Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. In the months prior to
our entry into the war and especially after our entry when it was
nearly criminal, antiwar viewpoints were rarely heard.

Modern
Times

How
does this dusty history relate to our current events and what's
the Freeper tie-in?

First
of all, I contend that the vast majority of the US public has absolutely
no interest in yet another pointless war on the Asian landmass.
Three were more than enough and resulted in hundreds of thousands
of lost American lives and countless trillions of American treasure
spent. Not to mention the increase in State power that is the result
of any war.

Secondly,
those intelligentsia with belligerent and bellicose attitudes towards
China are remarkably similar to the armchair warriors of World War
One. They are concentrated in our Eastern Elites: descendants of
the same crowd of media, academe and political statists.

Thirdly,
my friends at Free Republic
are making the same sad mistakes that their fathers, grandfathers
and great-grandfathers made. They are falling under the gradual
spell of State propaganda that is moving us ever so slowly into
a position of war and foreign entanglements impossible to escape.

A
truly Free Republic does not need to make war thousands of miles
from its borders. An Empire does and will.

    April
    27, 2001

    Jeff
    Elkins [send him mail]
    is a freelance consultant and writer living in North Central Florida.

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