The blog of Xeno, a slightly mad scientist
Dennis J. Kucinich – Governments have always used fear and manipulation of emotion to get the public to support wars. The Bush administration did it in 2002 in Iraq and it is happening again in Obama’s push for war in Syria.
In possibly the biggest development yet in the story, we learned this weekend that the CIA has now been enlisted to sell this new war with unproven evidence. On Saturday, U.S. intelligence officials claimed they “authenticated” 13 videos that show the horrific aftermath of a chemical attack in Syria in August. What exactly did they “authenticate”?
Why are these videos suddenly news when they have been publicly circulating the web for weeks? Here’s why: The videos are meant to market the war, not to “prove” who committed the atrocities. (CBS News and others have reported that the White House case for war has been described as “largely circumstantial.”)
We’ve seen this movie before and it doesn’t end well. A decade after the Bush administration used the CIA’s “yellow cake” tale and other faulty evidence, the government is yet again relying on the CIA to lead a domestic propaganda effort for military action abroad. If these videos can sway American public opinion, as they’re intended to do, and influence Congress to vote to attack Syria, this could become the first YouTube war.
No American could look at these horrifying videos of people suffering and dying and not be moved. But that doesn’t mean a military strike is the only way to respond to the humanitarian tragedy happening in Syria. So bald-faced is the rush to war that the White House could not restrain its anticipation that the videos could be successfully employed to market the war. As the Washington Post reported, “Administration officials and their congressional allies believe the horrific scenes depicted in the videos could help sway public opinion.” But CNN, which broadcast portions of the grim videos this weekend, added the qualification that they could not independently authenticate them.
The release of these graphic videos is a cynical maneuver by the White House because the rest of the case for war remains unproven, with open questions about transcripts, satellite imagery and signal intelligence under the shield of classified information. What does it mean when the government’s case for war relies more on emotion than on evidence? Welcome to war marketing in the YouTube era. …