• Read the WSJ, If You Can Stand It

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    Does anyone know when the Wall Street Journal became
    the capitalist equivalent of a Stalinist propaganda machine? I can
    vaguely recall reading some items on that editorial page that made some
    sense, though one wonders when that was.

    You see, the page purports to comment on the Iraqi War, and
    it probably even has some readers. Whether or not those readers have
    read anything aside from the Journal is hard to say. If they
    had, one can imagine that the editorial offices are daily bombarded
    with protests against its brazen and even immoral ranting on behalf of
    the warfare state.

    More likely, the people who read those editorials don’t read
    anything else, are glad to believe that the US military is the god of
    liberty marching on the planet, and frankly don’t care anything about
    information that contradicts that. Most serious people don’t even look
    at it for anything other than discovering what the most extreme
    elements of the regime want us to think.

    As a dedicated advocate of capitalism and free markets —
    causes the WSJ purports to support — I can only wince when I
    read the editorials these people write. Their writers are probably in
    their twenties, and it is impossible to know whether they write from
    total ignorance, and whether that ignorance is willing or just a
    condition, or whether they thrill to dish out the lies of which only
    shills are capable.

    But rather than go on like this, let us fisk the editorial
    that appeared on November 17, 2004
    , called “Victory in Fallujah.”

    Whoops, can’t even get past the title.

    Victory? The Washington Post began a story
    the other day as follows:

    Even the dogs have started to die, their corpses strewn among
    twisted metal and shattered concrete in a city that looks like it
    forgot to breathe.

    The aluminum shutters of shops on the main highway through
    town have been transformed by the force of war into mangled accordion
    shapes, flat, sharp, jarring slices of metal that no longer obscure the
    stacks of silver pots, the plastic-wrapped office furniture, the rolls
    of carpet. These things would be for sale, except there are no traders,
    no customers, hardly any people at all in the center of Fallujah.

    U.S. Marines searching for insurgents in the Jolan
    neighborhood in the northwestern side of the city on Monday did see two
    elderly men emerge from a pile of rock. The men, who looked too old to
    fight, pointed to their stomachs. They were hungry. They were given
    brown, plastic pouches of military rations and disappeared back into
    the rocks, the Marines recounted.

    Black smoke rose from buildings across the city as U.S.
    artillery continued to bombard insurgent positions and weapons bunkers
    a day after commanders declared that the city had been liberated.

    Now, I don’t know any moral person who can read that and not
    feel at least some pangs of sadness. Moral outrage too. It is a
    travesty. Keep in mind that Fallujah never did anything to any American
    citizens here. This ancient city of commerce and friendship was never a
    threat. It was never militarized. It contained no terrorists, at least not until the US made it
    a magnet. The
    people fighting there were resisting an invading military from the
    other side of the world. For this, the city was smashed in the most
    horrific and bloody way.

    Not that any end justifies this means, but the known truth is
    that the pummeling of this city does nothing to curb terrorism, end
    resistance, punish injustice, warm the hearts of Iraqis toward the
    Americans. Rather — must it really be said? — it does exactly the

    But to declare this liberation? Declare this a victory? It
    really leaves one morally stunned. Who would say such a thing? The
    devil perhaps, or the willfully blind or the heartlessly cruel. But
    these editorialists dash off such comments, sitting in their plush
    Manhattan offices, with no concern for truth or anything. The level of
    their abstraction is what chills you.

    Now that we are past the title:

    Iraqi insurgents respond by attacking in Mosul, Baquba,
    Kirkuk and Suweira. This, we now hear, proves that the more insurgents
    the U.S. kills, the stronger the insurgency grows. Call it the Obi-Wan
    Kenobi school of international relations: Strike him down, and he’ll
    only become more powerful. In real warfare, of course, killing the
    enemy means there are fewer enemies to kill.

    Yes, Star-Wars kids, killing does indeed kill people. And if
    killing is the only goal, you can accomplish that goal in precisely
    this way because the killing has indeed created ever more enemies and
    hence ever more targets.

    It’s like the bank robber who says that anyone who moves is
    going to be shot. As more and more people are shot, more and more are
    inspired to take the risk of moving to disarm the robber. And this is
    especially true when not everyone is in plain sight. The end result of
    this shoot-’em up approach is massacre. As in Fallujah.

    The insurgents have been denied their principal sanctuary.

    Yes, and so has everyone else. Killing fields are unhappy
    sanctuaries. The rebels will have to find other sanctuaries — most
    everyone with sense left as the Americans marched in — or take back
    Fallujah once the Americans go.

    It is increasingly clear that the US controls only the ground
    under the tank treads and the soldiers’ boots. The US doesn’t even
    control Baghdad. In fact, Baghdad has been lost, in the words
    of Michael Ware of Time. But according to the Wall Street

    Ordinary Iraqis can take heart that the Allawi government
    and the U.S. mean business, something that had been put into doubt by
    the failure to take Fallujah back in April.

    We are really supposed to believe that ordinary Iraqis are
    taking heart in all this, huh? That citizens all over the country are
    thinking: it warms my heart that this once great and ancient city in my
    country has been bombed to smithereens and thousands have been killed
    and many more have fled. What graces have been bestowed on our beloved

    As for the weak-willed, namby-pamby April attack that was too
    soft and thus encouraging to the insurgents, IBC says: “between 572 and
    616 of the approximately 800 reported deaths were of civilians, with
    over 300 of these being women and children.”

    The sooner and more aggressively the fight is taken to
    other insurgent strongholds, the better the chances that January’s
    scheduled elections can be held on time, in conditions of relative

    Day by day, as long as this war has gone on, there has been
    less security and more misery for just about everyone. When you think
    about democracy in Iraq, just remember that most real experts admit
    that Saddam Hussein would win if he ran. This is the political
    situation that the US has created.

    These insurgents will no doubt continue to mount gruesome
    attacks throughout the country, with the aim of cowing the silent
    majority of Iraqis who’d like to be on the side of freedom if given the

    The silent majority, huh? How do we know? Well, they are
    silent, so of course there can be no proof of this. They are there. We
    just can’t hear them. It’s just something that editorial writers in New
    York know. Just a solid intuition, an intuition so reliable that it can
    be put into an editorial as fact.

    Well, here is a fact: never in the history of the world has a
    military conqueror engaging in mass bloodshed and imposing a lawless
    military dictatorship enjoyed a majority of support from the host
    country. Why doesn’t this claim alone discredit this editorial page,
    now and forever?

    Also, notice the identification of US government bullets and
    bombs with the cause of freedom. The cause of freedom has many great
    saints and martyrs in world history, but not one led a bloody military
    occupation of a foreign country while killing as many as 100,000

    Beyond whatever tactics the Iraqi insurgents may employ,
    their strategy is to convince Americans that there is no bottom; that
    their cause enjoys huge popular support; that it feeds off the
    resentments that “occupation” inevitably engenders; and that it can go
    on undeterred by whatever damage U.S. forces inflict.

    Note that that word occupation is in quotes. We need to
    create a new category of propagandists: occupation deniers.

    The big news of the Fallujah campaign is that most Iraqis
    quietly supported it. The protests from nationalist politicians was far
    more muted than in April.

    Big news indeed. In other news, Ukrainians welcomed farm
    collectivization, Poland welcomed invasion from Germany, and the
    Chinese welcomed the Cultural Revolution. For more on each, see back
    issues of Soviet Life and the collected works of the Eher

    The task now is to build quickly on success in Fallujah by
    wiping out other insurgent strongholds such as Ramadi.

    A sentence such as this
    makes one wonder whether the US might actually adopt some extreme
    solution to the Iraqi problem. The first and only nuclear weapons
    dropped in history on cities were built and deployed by the US to
    prevent other countries from building and deploying nuclear weapons.
    Imagine a scenario under which Iraq is destroyed by WMD in the name of
    purging Iraq of WMDs.

    Those of us in the Old Liberal camp, who think of market
    economics as tied to peace, can only be disgusted by its identification
    with the cause of indiscriminate, imperial, total war. And yet the WSJ
    is not alone. Nor is their rhetoric without cultural cost.

    Read the blogs and forums out there calling for death to
    dissidents, and for an end to the freedom to speak. This kind of
    editorial, and it is one of thousands published daily in this country,
    does more to further ignorance, violence, and statism than anything I
    see published on the left.

    Freedom has no
    greater enemies than those who lie in its name.

    Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail] is president of
    the Ludwig von Mises Institute in
    Auburn, Alabama, editor of LewRockwell.com,
    and author of Speaking
    of Liberty

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