President George Bush claimed last week his impending war against Iraq would bring peace and democracy to the Middle East, and liberate Iraqis from repression.
At the same time, in a move clearly aimed at intimidating the media, the White House denounced a CBS News interview with Saddam Hussein, in which the Iraqi leader asserted his nation had nothing to do with 9/11 or al-Qaida, as "propaganda."
Now, I have no love for Saddam's sinister, brutal regime. The last time I was in Baghdad, in late 1990, the Iraqi secret police threatened to hang me as a spy after I discovered a group of technicians and scientists who had been secretly sent by the British government to produce anthrax and other germ warfare weapons for Iraq to use against Iran.
But what I dislike even more than Saddam's nasty regime are government lies and propaganda.
Since 9/11, Americans have been subjected to the most intense propaganda campaign from their government since World War I. Much of the mainstream U.S. media have been intimidated by the Bush administration into unquestioningly amplifying its party line.
Or, in the worst tradition of yellow, jingoist journalism, they act as cheerleaders for war.