Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Reality of War and Censorship

We live in a censored world. Our news is filtered by corporations and government agencies who want us to see and believe certain things and not other, more contradictory views. The government wishes us to believe that its policies are working. It doesn't matter if they are or not. What matters is that the Public believe that they are working, otherwise the apple cart might get tipped over. The Pentagon learned this lesson in Vietnam. When the government lost popular support for the war overseas, the Pentagon had to pack up and leave. Generals and defense contractors lost pride and money since their pet projects and such were not needed any more. But the killing mostly stopped. War is about killing and survival. Some live and others die. We don't see the death though. This is what we typically see that makes it past the censors, while this is what we don't see. (Please see Fred's article for the his oped and attribution.) Both are incomplete views of reality by themselves alone, taken together we get a more holistic viewpoint. But without a holistic view of the reality of war due to censorship, how can we, the People of a democracy, make proper decisions regarding whether the war is a just war or not. We are partially blind and deaf because news and information we need is denied us.

(Thanks to Peter Coates and Fred Reed for the inspiration)

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Comments:
Thanks John

I, as always, appreciate a mention. Yes the public is fed Pentagon Propaganda due to the system of embedding "war correspondents" in field units. Such "war correspondents" know that if they write the wrong thing they could lose their position in the unit and be booted out of the theatre (Iraq or Afgh) altogether.

Iraq/Afgh has a ways to compared to Vietnam. Vietnam had a large US press corp that could almost go anywhere switching between units. Also Vietnam had the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_Papers written about it that gave that War a bad name. Iraq/Afgh's 6,000? US deaths does not approach Vietnam's 50,000 deaths yet.

Pete
 
It's true that the US Press had more freedom in Vietnam, but that's why it has so little freedom now. The Pentagon saw that freedom of the Press as a negative. It's also true that casualties are lower, but we aren't counting contractor deaths either. Another reason is improved body armor and the use of armored vehicles for transport. But ultimately, Americans would rather trade money for their sons' and daughters' blood. We may yet win all the battles and lose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, because of underlying bad strategies. Iranians, Iraqis, and the Taliban can wait us out since they live there. Supporting corrupt regimes that skim reconstruction and development funds only make the problems worse. We aren't getting good info on the situation and the people who are have a vested interest in not telling us what the situation really is.
 
I find that even when we show and tell, only a few have open windows to see. I do not believe there is such a thing as a "just war" or a "just collision". Can we teach people to see down the road and catch error earlier so war is not necssary? Elaine
 
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