HomeArticleAny Effective Anti-War Movement Must Readjust Its Understanding Of What War Is

Any Effective Anti-War Movement Must Readjust Its Understanding Of What War Is

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has kicked off yet another round of “Iran is totally gonna nuke us any second now you guys” ejaculations. This is of course another demand that we accept unsubstantiated claims from a proven liar about another longtime target for neoconservative regime change, and I’d like to tap out a few thoughts about war and how to oppose it as pertains to the latest trend in neocon Iran shenanigans.

I’ve been writing about rape a lot these last few days, partly due to where I’m at in my personal rabbit holing and probably also partly because of where the zeitgeist is at with the Kavanaugh and Cosby stuff in the news. So since we’re already on the subject I hope people don’t mind if I kick off this piece with another rape analogy.

Until relatively recently, most people had a wildly different understanding of what rape is than how it actually tends to show up in real life. Even today, saying the word “rapist” tends to conjure up a very unrealistic image for many people: a stranger in a ski mask grabbing a female jogger and dragging her off into the bushes and leaving her severely injured, or something similar. Because such an event is rare, there was a belief that rape itself was something rare; it didn’t say anything about the majority of rapes which don’t entail severe physical injury, or the rapes which are inflicted by acquaintances, friends, coworkers, partners, family members, prison mates, partners, exes and spouses. Rape is common, and, like murder, the perpetrator of a rape will most likely be someone the victim knows.

Just as our society is readjusting its understanding of what rape is and how it tends to happen, it is important for any antiwar movement to readjust its understanding of what war is and how it tends to happen.

In a 2006 article titled “The Vietnam Syndrome Mutates” by the neoconservative publication The Atlantic, the author discusses how after the Gulf War in 1991 Bush Senior crowed that “The specter of Vietnam has been buried forever in the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula… By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all!”

“Vietnam syndrome” was a term used to describe the reluctance of the US citizenry to sign off on direct military interventionism after that disastrous war, asking “Is this another Vietnam?” any time the subject of military action anywhere in the world came up. There was a hope among the pilots of the US war machine that the Gulf War had shown the American public that it could again begin trusting Uncle Sam with the responsibility to sign off on winnable, necessary military interventions at minimal cost that nobody would regret. And for a very brief period, until his son led the empire into another disastrous invasion in Iraq, the elder Bush was right. And then, as The Atlantic mourns, Vietnam syndrome mutated into Iraq syndrome.

And to this day those two disastrous wars remain the primary “Remember the Alamo” calls of the peace movement. Any proposal that looks like a conventional ground war is instantly opposed and rejected by war resisters in particular and the broader public in general, which is obviously a good thing, but it also means that people aren’t keeping their eyes peeled for less conventional acts of war which can be just as disastrous.

We are now at a strange juncture in geopolitical dynamics wherein anyone paying attention knows that China is scheduled to surpass the US as the dominant superpower before too long unless something drastic happens, and so the US-centralized empire is working frantically to tilt the world stage in its favor before then, but it needs to use a much softer touch than it would like because Iraq soured the public attitude toward war. General Wesley Clark once described how after 9/11 the Pentagon had planned to keep toppling noncompliant governments after Iraq, over five years following up Saddam’s overthrow with regime change wars in “Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”

Iraq didn’t go as planned, but that didn’t deter the imperialists from their agenda, they just had to find another way to go about it. In order to get their regime change operation underway in Syria, for example, the empire flooded the nation with heavily armed terrorist factions and implemented what is possibly the single most sophisticated war propaganda campaign in human history to manufacture consent for more direct intervention. It implemented the same strategy against Libya with far more success. In both those interventions, longtime targets for regime change were attacked in a way which killed thousands upon thousands of people to advance imperialist agendas and destabilized the region in a way that has adversely affected the entire world, just as with Iraq. But, unlike Iraq, they didn’t involve full-scale ground invasions or conventional warfare.

Because of the loss of American life and the unwanted refugee crises which have ensued from US imperialism in Iraq, Libya and Syria, those interventions by the Bush and Obama administrations are aggressively condemned by populist right-wingers. But, because the populist right broadly supports the Trump administration, they remain largely blind to the fact that it is doing essentially the same thing to Iran that the Obama administration did to Libya and Syria. Forgiving and excusing this administration’s starvation sanctions (the only form of warfare in which it is considered acceptable and appropriate to target civilians with deadly force), escalated covert operations by the coup-staging sociopaths at the CIA, coziness with the MEK terror cult, and an elevation of virulent Iran hawks to the highest levels of his cabinet, right-wing populists sustain a narrative that this administration has a vested interest in peace, leaving only leftists, some libertarians, and what remains of the near-extinct antiwar Democrats to oppose this administration’s Iran warmongering.

I insist, as I always have, that if there’s ever to be an effective antiwar movement in the US it will necessarily involve a loose coalition of rank-and-file citizens from all across the political spectrum, but before that can happen there’s going to have to be an evolved understanding of what war is and how it operates. We’re going to have to circulate the understanding that both of America’s mainstream parties are fully devoted to the agenda of war in all its forms, so just because you got someone into office whom you happen to like doesn’t mean you get to relax your antiwar vigilance or give anyone the benefit of the doubt. And we’re going to have to circulate an understanding that war doesn’t always look like planes full of American soldiers unloading onto foreign shores and shooting at anyone who gets in their way. More and more, it’s going to look like a deadly combination of starvation sanctions, increasingly sophisticated psyops, CIA covert ops, empire-armed extremist factions (with funding often coming through opaque and unaccountable gulf state allies), a few airstrikes mixed in as needed, and extensive coordination with other branches of the empire like Israel.

In order to oppose something, you’ve got to understand how it works. The old ways of thinking aren’t serving us anymore. We need to expand our understanding.

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Latest comments

  • Rape is not a good analogy here. Think of all the women who have lied to us and enabled the “rape” of Iraq, Libya and Syria? Madeline Albreight, Hillary Clinton, the representatives and senators etc of the US government, Mrs May etc etc. If rape is the analogy then I am glad to see that you are recognising that women (whether LGBT or non-white races) can be just as evil as men. Even the women who have won their right to be front line soldiers need to be considered, in the larger view they are killing people for money. I am sad to see your blog riding the trivial “Aussie women hate men” train.

    • Jon, I agree with the sentiments of your take. The idea that somehow women are not also capable of being assholes the same as powerful men is feminist nonsense. I saw this very morning a news segment with Elizabeth Warren talking about how women need to take over the government. She is just as much a psychopath as any power lusting man. But because she has the same plumbing as women women will eat her crap up just because she is woman.

      And it is not just Aussie women who hate men. All feminists hate men. Some try to deny it but their philosophy betrays the lie.

  • Inforebelscum, I wrote to you, but it’s above, forgot to hit YOUR reply. No one else needs to read it, ha ha. Caitlin your Captcha causes double posts, or I suck. Delete my posts if you want, I’m off topic.

  • Thanks, IRS. Years ago, there were dozens of caucuses in each party, and all were allowed, they made deals to ‘give’ on my vote, but expected solidarity on their vote in exchange. Now, the Dem party is top down, no room for differing views, same with the Repubs. It’s almost as tho if you believe in this & this, but not this & this, you have to leave your party. This is the drumming of narrative Caitlin talks about. Today, a moderate Dem. would have to leave the party, die to NOT being welcome. Same with Repubs. If you don’t completely follow the narrative of a left or right news propaganda, your own party attacks you. You have to go along with the platform in toto & vote for people by party, not ideas, because there are only 2 belief systems (now). You almost don’t have to listen to a candidate for office because the letter D or R tells you how they will behave in office. They have no choice. Control at the top drives all. Then, I see both parties in action and don’t want either. I either have to agree to radical left or radical right and that’s how we are now. No variation, one size fits all, and I see the sides becoming more unlike each other all the time. Then, some will don almost costumes and carry bats & guns (Antifa, Proud Boys etc) and beat their desires and wants into you, ‘this is what I want, give it to me, or I will follow you, dox you, hound you in a restaurant!’. My point above was maybe your neighbor has desires, too, and wants things, too. maybe his ideas a bit yours, but fair is fair. If you want this, you should give him that, no? This country used to allow variety of thought, beliefs, and would say things like I may not agree but I will die for you to have your rights, freedom of choice, etc. Not today. I blame very calculated narrative, delivered by the news, from parties I watch on TV and see as actors, liars, performing, all working for TPTB and know they won’t DO what they say once in power anyway. they cant. They’re not in power. Scary as F.

    • MM, appreciate the response. I agree with your assessment. I think the Rubicon has already been crossed. The US is dead. There is no coming back. Which I think is a great thing. The US should not exist. The area now known as the US should be peacefully broken up into at least two hundred separate independent nations, all based on a human scale. There is no reason for the federal government to exist. Break up the US and stop the empire, says I.

  • Sorry, just realized, duh, the people who read Caitlin aren’t hooked on MSM news. It’s late. No lecture intended. Seems I’ve had a few too many ‘discussions’ lately with John ‘Wolf’ Smith and Tom ‘Hannity’ Jones. Like talking to a robot. Needed to vent.
    …Never mind.

  • “he British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is British propaganda that has, since 1922, served the interests not of objectivity and truth, but of the British Empire and the special interests that constitute it.” http://www.thenewatlas.org/2016/12/the-bbc-is-not-news-organisation-and.html

  • The very first thing that ANYONE has to do to understand just exactly WHY the US continues to conduct perpetual war is to somehow, some way obtain an accurate understanding of the relationship between the military industrial complex, the MSM, the USD and US “politics”.
    ..
    The private Fed’s USD and US Treasury bonds used to be backed by physical gold. This meant that other countries who had purchased US bonds could send those bonds back to the US Treasury and receive physical gold in return. Nixon ended this convertibility because some nations were sending their bonds back to the US and wanted gold in return, and Nixon realized that there was literally not enough gold in the US depositories to allow the US government to continue borrowing money through the sale of Treasury bonds to fund the US’s social programs AND, at the same time, the perpetual wars of worldwide corporate/USD hegemony. Watch the following video and notice that Nixon says that what he is doing is only “temporary”. (IMO watching this video should be a mandatory part of public school curriculum.)
    h………..ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRzr1QU6K1o
    ..
    So what “backed” USDs after Nixon closed the gold window? Since that day, the private Federal Reserve’s trillions of fiat USD were/are backed by military force (drones), not gold. Put differently, the USD is now on the drone standard.
    ..
    First and foremost, we MUST all understand that perpetual war and “fiat” (printed out of thin air) USD go hand in hand. One CAN NOT exist long without the other.
    ..
    For just one example, MERCENARIES paid by fiat USD:
    “How the US sent $12bn in cash to Iraq. And watched it vanish”
    h………ttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/feb/08/usa.iraq1
    now replace draftees, so that in today’s US wars there are no coffins flying back to Main Street USA to get the bewildered herd of grieving parents poltically riled up. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
    ..
    Quite intentionally, there is very little MSM coverage of the hundreds of thousands of US-funded murders and atrocities all over the globe and what little coverage there is only serves to support the US’s exceptional “peace-making”, “nation-building”, “democracy-spreading” efforts. This is actually and extremely difficult, astronomically expensive undertaking, but if its present WAR/EXTORTION-BASED ECONOMIC SYSTEM is to continue, the US Elite has literally no other choice than to do it.
    ..
    Are YOU US citizens AWARE that you are living in a WAR/EXTORTION-BASED economic system?
    ..
    In closing, here’s the US’s economic/political system in a nutshell. Jerome Powelll holds down his computer’s “0” key for longer and longer periods of time so that the TBTF banks get bailed out by future taxpayers time and time again. The US national debt skyrockets and it will never, ever to be “paid back”. The US’s Fed-funded miliatary-security-congressional-industrial complex literally forces the rest of the world to accept those printed-out-of-thin-air USDs as payment for their REAL goods. Any nation that does not comply with US diktat or fails to accept fiat USD as payment for its REAL resources, products, etc. either has its government replaced or is reduced to stone-age chaos by the complex. THAT is “the Matrix” that you just happened to be born into. Now that you know what you’re “living in”, what are YOU going to do about it?

    • Ish, a most superb take. A clear statement of the elite’s long con. I hope you understand too who exactly is behind all of this.

      • I hope you understand too who exactly is behind all of this.

        The people behind “all of this” (i.e. the system of murder and mayhem perpetuated by the empire and its vassals, allies and proxy armies) are the same wonderful human beings who show up at Davos every year to congratulate themselves for hoarding a few more billion dollars in their offshore tax havens and living in opulent luxury while the few hundred millions marks who still believe the Western system of political economy championed by these fiends is more or less fair and meritocratic even though every year they work harder for less money while their society continues to collapse around them as the Davos crowd moves us further toward a system of tech feudalism.

        I’m talking of course about the billionaires who own the tech conglomerates, arms manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and investment banks that keep the global capitalist system funneling cash into their vaults.

        That’s who you mean, right? Because the reason for having imperial wars is primarily economic. The World Bank and IMF are part of the same system of murder and exploitation that steals from the many and gives to the few. It’s a complicated web of sociopathic grifters, power obsessed politicians and fanatical ideologues beholden to doomed toxic deologies like Zionism and American Exceptionalism.

        It’s mostly about the elites manipulating the system to maximize their money and power but it is complex and impossible to fully control and manage. The invasion and occupation of Iraq did not play out as the designers had hoped it would. Dittio the proxy war in Syria. Chaos still gets a say and unintended consequences are a given. And of course the Euro-American Judeo-Christian West is coming apart at the seams as it loses its power and strength to the nations of the east.

        A lot of people, even on the left, think the world is run by a handful of genius super villain bankers and power crazed deep staters, politicians and/or the members of a certain religion and ethnic group that has enormous influence over western public opinion.

        Sure they, and other forces, play a role but the world is complex and contradictory and the abstract power of capital accumulation wields much more influence than one group of individuals hanging out in smoke filled back rooms.

        Yep, capitalism is still the main force behind the mayhem and misery of western imperialism. But you knew that already of course 😉

        (The gold standard is just another illusion…the gilded age still happened, the markets still boomed and busted and the rich still fucked over everyone else.)

        • Eric, overall an excellent take. I would argue though with the idea that the system is not controlled by a few people. I am not saying there is a Star Chamber but my research shows that while it is all complex it is indeed tied together by a very elite few (the money controllers). Who makes this knot is the question. I look at it as the world is run by various Crime Families. Not unlike the Mafia (except the mafia is less violent). And these crime syndicates aka the power behind the thrones (TPBTT) are like the Mob in that they are always jockeying for the other guy’s turf/wealth. Wars are caused by assholes trying to out asshole the other assholes, to put it crudely.

          Capitalism could be a good thing if it was ever actually tried. What we have now is not Capitalism but rather Corporatism (the fusion of corporations and government – but which controls which?!) masking as Capitalism. But like all other economic theories it would be subject to abuse from Power too. May I ask what form of economics/government you would like see replace what we have now?

          Being a billionaire is not in itself evil so long as it is accomplished through honest labor that produces an honest, useful product or service. But how many billionaires did so under such principles? Steve Jobs created many advances that greatly benefited humanity. I do not have a problem with such billionaires (I have more thoughts on this but now is not the place).

          “Yep, capitalism is still the main force behind the mayhem and misery of western imperialism.”

          I would replace the word “capitalism” with the word “Globalism” (the quest by the moneyed elite to form a One World Government NWO) to more accurately describe the situation. But overall you are definitely on to it. Let us hope others can be too.

  • Good article, Caitlin, and I salute the segue from poetry—after all,

    Beware, the best poems can hurt
    Their verses are downright too pert
    You’ll cringe at the rhymes
    Of bards who do crimes
    So issue a poet alert

  • I am in full agreement with you, Caity, on almost everything, However, it is now time that I strongly disagree with you.
    While I am a long-time pacifist with regard to war and unprovoked aggression, I am also a strong believer in self defense. Furthermore, while I belong to several pro-women groups, I can never fully unde3rstand what you described in your Tea Tree poem, you really have no idea about Israel, the country, because you are unable to separate its connection to the U.S. war machine, from its own need to survive.
    Israel is a small country surrounded by enemy countries and groups such as Hamas which, since its inception in 1987 has sworn to eradicate both Israel and all Jews. The Palestinians, which everyone is so quick to hold blameless, are not only those who start the attacks and break every agreed upon truce, but instigate Israel’s retaliation, by killing innocent Israeli’s, or as Hamas did, unprovoked, incessantly bombing Israel from inside of civilian residences and other public buildings. As such, the civilians were no less blameless than were those launching the bombs. Yet the world decries Israel for living up to its promise, its necessary promise, in the face of so many enemies, namely to respond tenfold if attacked. It is that promise and Israel’s greater strength that is responsible for the periods of quiet and peace in the area. for it is a deterrent to many who would destroy both the country and the Jews themselves.
    When do you ever hear of all the Arabs who leave peacefully inside Israel and who work and prosper there? And even more, I have not yet heard anyone ewcognize that the Palestinians, as Nazi Germany’s strongest Middle East ally in WW II. share Hitler’s philosophy of eradication.
    I abhor U/S. undeclared war and its military bases in so many countries – and the fact that they do this in my name, without my consent or permission. I detest that Israel feels it necessary to be part of that situation. However, I do also realize that it is in an untenable situation.
    Its country was stolen from it. Historically, for nearly two full millennia, Jews were hated, mistrusted and worse, including being expelled from one country after another. As part of the victorious side, as is quite common after war, they were awarded a portion of what used to be their home. They developed desert into a mostly livable land and again, as best as possible, repelled those who would destroy them and issued their ’10 times’ proclamation. You may hold those who have been herded into small areas as being abused, but it is they who throw firebombs into Israel and tunnel under the border to come up and murder innocent civilians.
    No one will ever convince me that Israel is right when it comes to joining forces with the U.S. in unnecessary, undeclared wars. However, neither will anyone convince me that Israel, because it has learned the lessons of history and the precariousness of its existence, does not have the right to do what is needed and necessary for its existence. Israel would be quite satisfied to live in peace with its neighbors, but only a few of them have ever lived up to an agreement of peace. As such, Israel is ever vigilant and keeps its promises. And that is as it should be.

    • “7 Palestinians killed, over 500 injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers in Gaza” https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/09/28/575478/3-Palestinians-killed-nearly-270-injured-in-clashes-with-Israeli-soldiers-in-Gaza

    • Harry, you and I obviously have totally different information sources. Everything I’ve read says that it is Israel – every time – which breaks treaties and starts another ‘moving the grass’ exercise. In the first place, Israel was behind the development and support of Hamas in order to split the Palestinian vote. You do realise, I suppose, that Palestinians dig tunnels because there is no other way for them to get essential goods in and out. And so on, and so on …

      Israel may want to live in peace, but only after it has expanded it’s tiny state by taking parts of Lebanon and Syria and all of the land intended for a Palestinian state plus, with the backing of the US, reduced all neighboring Arab states and Iran to ruins and rendered them powerless.

  • The questions to ask are:

    What does CHANGE when you know this type of information?

    Did you knowing CHANGED anything that happened?

    Does you knowing NOW, CHANGE anything in the near future?

  • What Caitlin’s describing is known as ‘Hybrid War’ and Andrew Korybko’s written extensively on it. Here’s the first part of his multi-part series: https://orientalreview.org/2016/03/04/hybrid-wars-1-the-law-of-hybrid-warfare/

  • War on the domestic front is the effort to keep “the right people” in powerful positions. This is a bi-partisan effort by establishment Democrats and Republicans.

    And to that end, they play us. Like a fiddle. Just like Caitlin has explained in her post “We are being played.”

    If you haven’t read “We are being played”, READ IT. If you have read it, READ IT AGAIN.

    And then think about the how Gina Haspel and Brett Kavanaugh got nominated and approved for CIA and Supreme Court. I explained my thoughts about the Kavanaugh nomination at the post: “Medea Benjamin Shows America What Real Resistance Looks Like” (read it!). SUMMARY: The focus on dubious salacious allegations has blocked public discussion of more serious concerns about Kavanaugh. Many women will not want to hear that. They want desperately to be validated and to fight Kavanaugh’s anti-pro-choice views. But IMO the Democratic approach to this nomination was designed to fail.

  • Excellent article as usual!… I would only disagree on one point.
    For the neocons – Iraq went exactly as planned.

    • Yes I ageee. The objective is to leave those countries in ruins. That way they can’t oppose Israel’s plans for dominance if the region.

  • “In order to oppose something, you’ve got to understand how it works.”

    More importantly, you have to understand who/what you are opposing.

    Caitlin, I think your assessment of alt-right populism being supportive of more wars is way off. Their mantras are “No more wars for israel” and “No more wars against their fellow Whites” (Russians). And they thoroughly denounce the policy of Invade the world, invite the world.

    Again, I think there is common ground out there where the left and the right can come together against war. And to me preventing war is the Prime Directive.

    • INFOREBELSCUM, and yet, despite those slogans by the alt-right (“No more wars for israel” and “No more wars against their fellow Whites/Russians”), they still overwhelmingly support Trump who does the exact opposite of those slogans. How does that sit together?

      It seems that vast majority on the right still don’t see that Trump is basically a continuation of Obama and Bush and that we are dealing with two wings of the same corporate-war party, for the benefit of the plutocrats.
      It will be very hard to move forward while people still believe the partisan fairytale.

      • Dan, from my observations the alt-right is actually up in arms about Trump’s israel first policy. But, since there is no one else to rally around for now the alt-right is grudgingly supporting Trump’s domestic policies. I think the alt-right sees Trump as a two edged sword.
        I agree fully with your second paragraph. I think Trump was put into place by TPTB specifically to divide the country even further. Planned chaos.

    • No, survival is the Prime Directive. Preventing war would go a long way toward assuring that, I agree. So how do we mere humans prevent something that is programmed into our DNA (greed and ego) and achieve balance?

      Beyond that, what good is surviving if humanity and all creatures are forced to live in a global war zone of horror and perpetual fear? The corollary of war is not peace, it is creation. Creation is setting the imagination free to be. Respecting creation and the “Creation” leads to peace.

      Can we build an economy based on imagination and creation? That is the challenge. Divide and conquer (war) does not obey the Prime Directive, the First Law, the Natural Law. Survive. Only cooperation and collaboration can do that. War is the antithesis of creation.

      At the heart of our problems lies ethnic and religious hatred all based on greed. Can we stop defending these chaos inducing concepts and thereby realize our true potential to survive and thrive? I certainly hope so.

      • LB, of course survival is the ultimate instinct. I was referring to political/economic issues when I say that war (its prevention) is the Prime Directive.
        “Can we build an economy based on imagination and creation? That is the challenge.”
        Bingo! That is exactly what we must work towards.
        “At the heart of our problems lies ethnic and religious hatred all based on greed.”
        Gotta strongly disagree here. IMHO the heart of our problems is twofold: 1) an utter refusal to seek and revere Truth and 2) busybodiness – a refusal to abide by the Golden/Silver Rule. Greed is just a symptom of these problems not the actual problem itself IMHO.

  • Let’s just say, for a moment, that Bibi is correct (which I very much doubt), and that Iran does have a couple of atomic sites. The first question I would be asking is “And how many do YOU have, Bibi?”

    The next question would be “Who is the most likely to use such weapons, Iran or Israel?”

    Finally, I would want to know “Who controls congress of the world’s worst warmongering nation, Iran or Israel?”

  • Hey you left out Netanyuha’s artwork–you know the fused bomb–which coincidentally generated 27 standing ovations from our esteemed congressmen and women.

    But per your conclusion [of what war is and how it tends to happen] please let me include a quote from a former Israeli Prime Minister–which addresses what I would call the Primal Conflict resulting in both WWI and WWII–and the soon to be announced WWIII:

    “Our race is the Master Race. We are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.” — Menachem Begin – Israeli Prime Minister 1977-1983

    That pretty much says it all–the rest is just hyperbole!

    • Israel was founded by Zionist terrorists, and Israel, and the U.S. are the two world’s largest state sponsors of Islamic terrorism, followed by the wholly owned U.S. Islamic subsidiary of Saudi Arabia in third place.

  • I think that the shock value of the graphic photos and on the ground reporting of what was actually occurring on a human level in Vietnam was largely responsible for the widespread revulsion that Americans felt, and I think that partly what Bush Sr meant by conquering the Vietnam Syndrome was that they learned to control the narrative more by keeping critical journalists out of the war zones and making sure news coming out was carefully crafted to appear more heroic and less horrific than it really was. To help the people truly grok what the CIA and military are doing requires a flood of visceral images and testimony of many civilians in the area to humanize an otherwise abstract enemy. Getting rid of the draft also took a lot of the steam out of the antiwar movement, and less US troops intensive methods also diminishes the human cost in the eyes of the average American. That’s why we need direct on the ground coverage of the atrocities by brave journalists to assault our senses with the reality of it so its harder to ignore. Statistics are devoid of emotional impact.

    • Julia, great take, especially “Statistics are devoid of emotional impact.”

      He who controls the flow of information controls the narrative. You are correct that we need to disrupt the flow of information with Truth. And a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. We need a photographer version of Julian Assange.

    • There has been quite a bit of ‘direct on the ground coverage … by brave journalists’ in Syria, eg Vanessa Beeley, Eva Bartlett, Kevork Almasian among others. Until the MSM monopoly is broken and/or their audiences are shaken out of their apathy and ignorance and said brave journalists are given broad coverage, nothing will change. Nothing can change with the current media set-up.

      • Robyn, just thinking about this (again) today. In the US, the people are SO divided and diametrically opposed, and it seems to be because of nothing other than which TV news they watch & handful of news sites they read an article or two from. Half of us are PASSIONATE about items A, B, & C! We’re furious and out protesting because of MSNBCNN, NYT & WaPo. The other half are SICK & TIRED of X, Y, & Z! We’re tweeting & rallying thanks to FoxNews and maybe Brietbart. I can tell you exactly what matters to each side, the left or the right, issue by issue by issue- there’s no real difference from person to person. I blame the MSM first (& schools) for the mass dumbing down of us Americans, clearly on purpose, as informing us is not the goal, but herding us into sides for voting, spreading each side’s propaganda, and controlling us by triggering us to act or not act, is. I ask every reader here to please, at the very least, start reading the OTHER side, as well as what you now read, for point/counterpoint, understanding what your neighbor thinks to try to know & understand him/her, and begin breaking out of your own mind control. The only reason we think we’re right and ‘they’ are wrong is the conviction & skill of our controllers. The anchors & talking heads that are TRAINED to create your opinions. Stop & think, YOU COULD BE WRONG! The other guy may have a point. may even be right. Quit thinking you have to argue with half the country, forcing others to believe and do what you do, what you believe may not even be your own real, true values. Many people get enraged arguing ideas they literally only heard on TV! That stuff is not all there is, and so much of it is BS! We just don’t realize how severe the brainwash is when one can tell exactly what you believe with all your heart if one can see what channel you have on at your home. The current media set-up (nearly entirely opinion, not information) makes us lazy by doing our thinking for us/telling us what to think, is divisive, very limiting and destroying us as a country.

        • Sorry, just realized, the people who read Caitlin aren’t hooked on MSM news. No lecture intended. Seems I’ve had a few too many ‘discussions’ lately with John ‘Wolf’ Smith and Tom ‘Hannity’ Jones lately. Like talking to a robot. Needed to vent.
          …Never mind.

        • Miss Margaret, you are on to it. We are being brainwashed and few see the whole picture of the big con. As a rule, the left- the real Left, not the New Left – correctly sees through the lies and propaganda coming from TPTB when it comes to war and a militarized police. But for some reason the left falls for the lies and propaganda coming from the same TPTB propaganda machine on social/cultural issues. With the right it is the opposite. The right sees through the lies concerning social/cultural issues but believes every word coming out of the mouths of Warpigs and cops no matter how obvious their lies.
          If both sides could only see where the other side, like them, is both right and wrong we could unite to fight the real enemy – government. But since the left and the right are both for a big unlimited government (but for different reasons) there is not much hope for a real change. But fight on we must.

          • Inforebelscum, I wrote to you, but it’s above, forgot to hit YOUR reply. No one else needs to read it, ha ha. Caitlin your Captcha causes double posts, or I suck. Delete my posts if you want, I’m off topic.

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