Propaganda's Forward March

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In pursuit of their agenda, neoconservatives have shown no respect for facts or persons.

Neocons have lied to the President, the Secretary of State, Congress, the UN, our allies, and the public.

In order to fabricate a case for a "preemptive" US invasion of Iraq, neocons used their presidential appointments to manipulate US intelligence services. Neocon policymakers presented President Bush and the American public with doctored information.

Seymour Hersh and others have documented the manipulation of intelligence that made possible the US invasion of Iraq.

The neocon media and think tanks aided and abetted the deceit. They have crossed the line between advocacy and propaganda.

Neocons do not believe that lying in behalf of their agenda reflects on their integrity. In their warped minds, righteousness demands their service to The Agenda — the imposition of democratic virtue on the Middle East.

Numerous experts have said that the neocon’s agenda, in fact, creates terrorism and makes the US and Israel less safe. However, neocon ideology shields neocons from fact and reason.

Neocons are shameless. A prime neocon mouthpiece, the Weekly Standard, published a sensational story (November 24) purporting to prove many years of cooperation in terror between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. The story cites a secret Defense Department document as the source of the information.

The Weekly Standard ran the story without confirming it.

In a November 15 news release, the Department of Defense declared the story "inaccurate."

The DOD repudiation of the story did not stop Fox News, a neocon propaganda organ, from repeating the story throughout the subsequent weekend and again on its evening news program on Monday evening, November 17, at 6:10 PM central time.

On Tuesday, November 18, neocon Frank Gaffney repeated the story in a column in the Commentary section of the Washington Times, despite the Defense Department’s repudiation of the story the previous Friday.

Web sites have exposed this latest example of neocon propaganda, but will Fox News, the Weekly Standard, and the Washington Times issue corrections? Will this latest example of blatant neocon manipulation of news in order to deceive the public itself become a news story?

The answer to this question will reveal much about the relative power of propaganda and truth in the US, where an inattentive public is content to wrap itself in the flag and to believe whatever justifies the government’s actions.

There are reasons for pessimism. In the case of the US invasion of Iraq, all checks and balances failed. The government failed, the media failed, the experts failed, and the UN and US allies failed. This universal failure made possible an act of imbecility that every informed person (a small part of the population) recognizes as a strategic blunder.

Nothing positive has been achieved by invading Iraq. A fortune has been wasted, thousands of people have been killed and injured, a government destroyed and a country laid waste and left ripe for civil war, terrorism encouraged, credibility and good will squandered.

Can Americans disconnect from neocon propaganda and smell the truth? Or have Americans succumbed to propaganda’s reassuring embrace, secure in delusions that motives are pure, virtue is untarnished and successes certain?

Dr. Roberts [send him mail] is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy, Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

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