Making the Wars Disappear

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Danny Schechter, who edits Mediachannel.org., recently posted his views on what has become obvious to anyone monitoring or just watching mainstream media that is how the media has management to help the politicians make the Iraq and Afghanistan wars disappear.

Though Danny’s focus is on the Iraq War, we here at Veterans Today feel that what he has to say applies to Afghanistan also.

This is an election year with the primary elections coming up for many about May 2010, now is the time to really focus on just how the wars relate fiscally to the U.S. economy, how most incumbent politicians either blindly support the administration and conservative views on war or just do not want to talk about it.

Ask any incumbent running what THEIR views on Iraq or Afghanistan are and note the response you will get. No, you will rarely get their views. What you will get is defense of the administration (whichever happens to be running the wars), and either Republican or Democratic Party talking points on the wars, if the political parties are talking about the wars or not.

If readers have not figured it out by now, the only resource we have to real journalism is Indy media – period. Don’t take my word for it, just check out what the late Walter Cronkite had to say about Indy media outlets like Media Channel, Veterans Today, and independent media in general.

In all fairness to Fox News, now considered mainstream media, Fox was created out of a sense of conservatives needing an alternative independent media from what many conservatives believed to be the liberal bias of mainstream media. Back in the day (1960s) this may or may not have been true. However, what began as an independent conservative movement turned into yet another mainstream media outlet that makes points and bucks by feeding propaganda to the right-wing. Pretty much like right-wing radio has managed to do.

You want propaganda or manipulated news go ahead stay with mainstream media, including FOX, CBS, NBC, CNN, ABC, but if you want REAL JOURNALISM – Indy Media is where you need to be. Well, there is C-SPAN where you may get the opportunity to watch your favorite Senator or Congress critter sleeping through a debate or making fools of themselves.

Robert L. Hanafin, Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired, Veterans Today News Network

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Extracts from

Making the Iraq War Disappear

Byline Danny Schechter, Editor, Mediachannel.org.

With the passing of yet another anniversary of war, Danny noted that the American media loves anniversaries of major events because these provide the ideal news pegs to do follow-up stories.

He also notes that we “would think that they would have pulled out the stops for the seventh anniversary of the US war on Iraq, a conflict that was described by the Pentagon in its first days as a “cake walk” and designed as a quick intervention modelled after the in-and-out combat of Operation Desert Storm ending Baghdad’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

However, not only did US plans not work out that way, but the news commitment faded and, in the process – as one would expect – so did public attention.

The networks went from ‘all the war, all the time,’ to withdrawing troops long before the military did. As a result, the situation was uniformly described as “quiet” with no real assessment offered on the costs, casualties and consequences of what just about everyone considers a botched and failed mission.

This has been a war which Washington still seems unable to end despite the campaign promises of a new president.”

Health Care and Partisan Political Diversions from Wars Voters are not committed to:

The 7th anniversary of the Iraq war has also been a low-key affair in the US, Danny notes, “where attention is focused on the healthcare issue and where a new domestic war has broken out between a resurgent [extremists] right [the Tea Bag movement] and the Democratic centre.

Danny accurately notes that, “in some quarters, Barack Obama…is being demonized as a Hitler in much the same way that Saddam Hussein was referred to as a brutal dictator.

We at Veterans Today found proof of this but what concerns us more is the racist overtures of the Tea Bag movement that go beyond racial slurs.

Reforming healthcare may be our issue du jour but what is really at stake is an attempt by Republicans to roll back the 2008 election.

Revenge is not only aimed at Al Queda but here at home.

One notable over the hill civil rights leader remarked that, “This is about November [2008], not a vote this week [on healthcare]. “The Republicans [especially the extremists fringe of that party] have a ‘pre-existing condition’, a determination to revenge the election they lost.”

This civil right leader called “the fever-pitch polarization in our politics “a new civil war”.

Iraq and Afghanistan for SALE

Danny Schechter again accurately noted that only one story got attention in  US mainstream media that revolves around fraud in Iraq on a gargantuan scale; some $50 billion reported missing in various war contracting scams. The focus on these financial frauds, however, avoids the fraudulent nature of the US invasion itself.

Veterans Today Editorial Comment: Though mainstream media reports fraud on a widespread scale in Iraq by war profiteers as a recent phenomenon, Iraq for Sale has been common knowledge way before Brave News Films made it a documentary including research and facts going back to 2001. The young Veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan around the time that both Iraq and Afghansitan Veterans of America (IAVA) and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IAVW) were formed made it known to anyone who would LISTEN just how widespread corruption and war profiteering is in Iraq and Afghanistan. IAVA made exposing the corruption and fraud of war profiteers many featured in Iraq for Sale a legislative priority. Nope Iraq for Sale and extending the sale to Afghanistan today are not old news, and do not let mainstream media manipulate you into believing it is.

THEN THERE IS THE U.S ECONOMIC MELTDOWN

Nothing caught our eye here at Veterans Today more than Danny Schechter’s honest and realistic analysis of how the billions wasted on Iraq and Afghanistan war profiteers, fraud, waste, and abuse related to the meltdown of the U.S. economy, and still does.

Any neuro-psychological exam to determine memory loss or Alzheimer symptoms will include testing to see if the patient can CONNECT THE DOTS. Given the inability for most Americans, manipulated by politicians, and mainstream media to be unable to connect the dots between billions spend on corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan and the meltdown of the U.S. Economy, we as a people suffer from cognitive impairment (look it up on Google).

Danny notes such cognitive impairment in that, “At the same time, fraudulent schemes that helped bring down Wall Street are barely covered even as many experts say the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan must be factored into any assessment of why the US economy is still in collapse mode. These trillions [wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan] are usually not factored in.

The failure to “connect the dots” in the US is not, unfortunately, an anomaly.

What Peace Protests there are remain under media blackout.

The only way that Peace protesters anywhere in the world are going to get attention is if they do something newsworthy which in most cases means being violent, aggressively confrontational, and louder than Tea Baggers.

However, the Peace movement by nature is based on the teachings and beliefs of Gandhi and Martin Luther King NOT the Spanish Inquisition, Adolph Hitler, Al Queda, and Osama Bin Ladin. Unlike the Tea Party movement that promotes gun toting, loud, and aggressive protest to intimidate, the Peace movement promotes and practices non-violent civil disobedience as taught by Gandhi in India’s struggle for independence from Britain, and King’s struggle against another racists America.

Fact of the matter is that to mainstream media today peaceful non-violent protest is BORING, that is why during this past observance of the 7th anniversary of the Iraq War more attention was paid to the RACISTS face of the Tea Party movement than the non-violent protests of the Peace movement ironically happening at the same time in Washington, DC.

Not providing media coverage of Peace Protests does not make them go away and Peace Protesters like Tea Baggers – VOTE!

“There are still [PEACE] protests underway;” Danny notes, “there were vigils in Boston, and a protest largely against the fighting in Afghanistan [was] planned for Washington.” But Danny also notes that he views the mass anti-war movement which mobilised millions before the war erupted seems to have run out of gas.”

Veterans Today Editorial Comment: Danny bases this assessment on but one aspect – mainstream media failed to cover it. We believe that although the Peace movement may have run out of steam due to a split over desire to support a President many had hopes in. Just because Peace protests are not covered by mainstream media is really not a measurement of how effective they are or will be in the future. Peace protest are not going away because CBS, ABS, NBC, CNN, or FOX has a black out on them at the bidding of Congress or any administration. Once those smart enought to see there is NO HOPE in Barrack Obama the Peace movement just may come back with a vengeance. Danny also focuses only on DC when the protests were held in DC, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, and smaller towns and hamlets across America in groups numbering from the thousands, to a few hundred, to a half dozen people on some street corner. Just because Peace protesters did not clash in large numbers with Police to get attention, just because Peace protesters do not tout guns, just because Peace protesters do not hurl hate and racists slurs does not make their efforts any less passionate. I’m afraid that just because the Peace movement today is Boring, everyone including mainstream media and politicians are taking the Peace protesters for granted.

We noted this morning (13 April) a media frenzy over police brutality near a college campus when police on foot and horseback brutally attacked one, just one, so-called violent student acting up after a basketball game near campus – one kid. However, we also know for a fact that there has been police brutatlity against Peace protesters using large numbers of police and charging horses, swinging batons or nightsticks into a peaceful crowd who did not resist nor fight back. Did it get any media coverage at all during the Democrat and Republican conventions of 2008 – NOPE, due to a political media blackout that continues TODAY.

Unfortunately, the only way that Peace protesters are going to get the attention they deserve from mainstream media that is now given the Tea Party movement is to get just as potentially violent and angry as them. To being throwing slander, slurs, and angry words at politicians, the police, or anyone who disagrees with us. Something most level headed Peace movement leaders or activists like me would dread. Better to be boring and vote the bums out than turn the American people against any Peace movement. Voting the bums out in fact is about the only thing we have in common with the Tea Party movement.

Why does the media barely cover the Peace protests that remain?

With the Obama administration sounding more and more like the Bush administration when it comes to the nuclear threat posed by Al Queda, but at least the Bush administration successfully conned the American people and Congress into believing Saddan Hussein had nuclear capability, we seriously believe their remains collaboration between mainstream media and our national leaders in Congress and the administration (any administration) to keep a media black out on any opposition or question of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In this respect we believe our government has way too much to hide.

Danny notes that the “media barely covers what [Peace] protest remains – much of it largely fired up by former Soldiers confessing to crimes they say they committed. When “our troops” were dying, they were honoured; now that many have turned on the war, they are ignored.”


JOURNALISM IS NOT DEAD!

On this we passionately agree with Danny Schechter, “as for journalism, it is the alternative media and “citizen journalists” who still shine light on what seems like a war without end, along with international broadcasters especially Al Jazeera.

‘Victory At Last’ – revisionist history before history is made.

On the site Gather.com, Danny found this intelligent thought:

“There’s a temptation as we begin to end our combat presence in Iraq to search for the happy ending. Newsweek, for example, recently ran a cover photo of President Bush with the infamous “Mission Accomplished” banner in the background, declaring that now; finally, we have ‘Victory At Last’.

“But that’s an awful revision of history. We have an obligation to insist on uncompromising truth rather than the versions that make us feel better about ourselves. Tens of thousands of dead people demand it.

No “mission” was accomplished in Iraq because we went to war on false pretences. We failed the moment we invaded.

One website, Truthout.com adds that some Americans continue to be shocked, have never been awed, and have not yet adjusted to the senseless loss of national blood and treasure. The editors there are angered by the damage to American honour and our reputation.

Operation Enduring Occupation

They write: “Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom – the latter unleashed seven years ago today – have morphed into a single Operation Enduring Occupation, set to bankrupt this country financially as well as morally, to destroy our own security as it has that of the over 31 million people who populate Iraq.”

What more is there to say?

Danny closed by asking, What more is there to say? Unfortunately, most mainstream US media outlets have moved on, preferring to forget and downplay what happened in Iraq and their role in the war and occupation.

Credit for this post minus the Veterans Today Editorial comments go to:

– News Dissector Danny Schechter is a documentary filmmaker who also writes and lectures on media issues. A two-time Emmy winner, he’s produced and directed many TV specials. He is exec editor of the supersite MediaChannel.org and founder-exec producer at Globalvision, an independent TV production company, where he created the award-winning series South Africa Now. Schechter formerly worked for ABC’s 20/20 and was one of the first producers hired at then-start-up CNN.

Among his projects have been the film In Debt We Trust, and several books on the role played by mainstream media in selling and exploiting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan including his book Embedded: Weapons of Mass Deception – How the Media Failed to Cover the War on Iraq.

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