Shocked, Shocked!

A supplement to my post Agitprop is where you find it. I noted:

The only regret the United States should have about placing propaganda in Iraqi papers is that its revelation damages the effort to continue to counter-balance Al-Jazeera and The New York Times.

Western standards of journalism, in any case, are not being violated. First, it happened in Iraq; second, this is routine in France or Germany or Canada, and for AP and Reuters; third, when the Bush administration actually did it in this country … it raised a firefly, not a phoenix.

On the regrets front, we can be sure the exempt media won’t have any – even if such behavior would have been called treason in WWII, and even if it keeps our troops in harm’s way longer than necessary.

Paul Greenberg is Shocked, Shocked! by US temerity in paying for favorable news stories in Iraq.

Back in the fall of 2001, when September 11th was still fresh in American minds, George W. Bush told us what to expect in the war he proposed to wage against terror: “Our response involves more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success.”

This president has been as good as his word — or as bad if what he promised to do in 2001, which now seems so distant, shocks more delicate sensibilities. For it is one thing to declare war on terror just after a devastating attack on this country and quite another actually to wage such a war year after year, with all that involves in blood and suffering and, yes, secrecy even in success.

Critics of such a secretive war, like those who would have been shocked to find that the Congress for Cultural Freedom was a CIA front, live in an imaginary world where good can triumph over evil without ever getting its hands dirty. In that unreal world, the West should be able to prevail against enemies who operate from the shadows without conducting covert operations, including a secret propaganda war. Such a world doesn’t exist — and never did.

Greenberg gives a fine example that this isn’t the first time US taxpayers have subsidized anti-totalitarian propaganda – the press just didn’t interrupt in mid psyop.

Apparently they never heard of that Churchill fellow and his comment: “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”

I’d recommend they read Bodyguard of Lies by Anthony Cave Brown.

TOTH to J.R.