Why Facts on Iraq Don't Matter
I have read it twenty times and I still don't believe it. The latest PIPA Knowledge Networks poll shows that a third of the American public believes US forces have actually found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. A further 22 per cent think Iraqi troops used banned chemical or biological weapons against US soldiers in Iraq.
Poll analysts, who go to great pains to appear to respect the subjects of their research, have come up with an interesting name for this surreal phenomenon. They call it 'cognitive dissonance'. When pressed to explain the meaning of this term in plain English, they admit -with a sense of humble discomfort- that it describes the lack of agreement between reality and a person's understanding of it. In other words, it describes one's inability, or even downright unwillingness, to grasp the truth.
Not surprisingly, the poll showed that the above erroneous beliefs were expressed primarily by those supporting the war on Iraq.
Now, it is true that ever since Antonio Gramsci's writings were smuggled out of his stingy Italian prison cell, educated liberals have accused media propaganda of being responsible for popular misconceptions throughout this century's wars. And, granted, with ample reason. From the paid lies of American Civil War correspondents, to the fraudulent nationalistic rants of reporters covering World War I, to the disgraceful, corrupt journalist intelligentsia of the Cold War, no modern institution is more directly responsible for the perpetuation of mass militarism than the corporate media -and this includes the military itself.
Yet the media is not to blame for the findings of this latest poll. Sure enough, rarely do the American corporate media seriously question the striking absence of illegal weapons in Iraq, the cold-blooded murder of over 6,000 Iraqi civilians, or even the 'intelligence' invented by the Bush Reich to reinvigorate the American weapons and oil industries. But nobody, not even the fascistoid Fox News Network, has announced the incontrovertible finding of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. No one, not even the CIA's own disinformation unit, has yet thought to invent non-existent biological attacks on US troops, with non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. In fact, why should the CIA go to all the trouble of making up false news, when large chunks of the American public are actually doing it themselves? This is a professional propagandist's dreamland -the blissful earthly paradise of fifth-column emissaries!