I was alerted via Tomdispatch.com about the publication of new book by Chris Hedges and Laila al-Arian: Collateral Damage, America’s War Against Iraqi Civilians. According to the post, the book is:
“Based on hundreds of hours of interviews with veterans of the Iraq war and occupation, it lays out graphically indeed and in their own words the American system of patrols, convoys, home raids, detentions, and military checkpoints that became a living nightmare for civilians in Iraq. Think of their book as a two-person version of the Vietnam-era Winter Soldier Investigation, this time for a war in which Americans have seemed especially uneager to know much about what their troops, many thousands of miles from home, are really doing to the “hajis.”
Another good read in this vein is Collateral Language: A User’s Guide to America’s New War. Language, this book argues, is, as George Orwell documented, one damn powerful force.
Think about it: what if poli-ticks (according to Jon Stewart: poli meaning many, ticks meaning blood sucking insects) said it like it is rather than relying on trumped up jargon and doublespeak?
For example, what if we used…
- “war on Iraqi civilians” INSTEAD OF “war on terror”
- “US imperialism” INSTEAD OF “spreading freedom and democracy”
- “dead and injured civilians” INSTEAD OF “collateral damage”
- “the ass who stole power” INSTEAD OF “the president”
- “global militarism” INSTEAD OF “globalization”
- “corporatism” INSTEAD OF “free market capitalism”
- “xenophobic flag waiver” INSTEAD OF “patriot”
- “bribe to keep you quiet” INSTEAD OF “tax reimbursement”
Do you think people would be as likely to say, “Yes, I support the war on Iraqi civilians”? Do you think they could stomach U.S. imperialism quite as easily if we focused on the deaths, starvation, displacement, genocide, etc it is causing? Do you think they would be able to see the atrocities US policies are bringing about as a “necessary evil” if we called torture what it is? Do you think people would be so happy about paying blood at the pump with their “tax reimbursement” if they knew who really controls the economy/global agenda (Bilderberg, anyone?) I certainly hope not.
By hiding the reality of things with feel good phrases, those in power pull the wool over the eyes of many. Let’s not allow this to happen – go out and re-read 1984 people, become an expert in the evil machinations of doublespeak, and call people (or leaders) out when they use it. Hitler was a huge fan of propaganda – see his Mein Kampf and ask yourself if those in power are not masters at this devious craft. Then, ignore the propaganda machine and say it like it is – it ain’t democracy baby, it’s neo-fascism, it ain’t ‘the greatest country on earth,’ it’s the heart of empire, it ain’t a war on terror, it’s a war against civilians and civil liberties…