January 16th, 2008

A mind is a difficult thing to change: (Part 7B: the Vietnam photos revisited)

[Part 7A can be found here. The rest of the series is located by clicking on the category "A mind is a difficult thing to change: my story" on the right sidebar.]

The last thing I was thinking about during the buildup to the Iraq War were those two Vietnam-era photos. I was busy reading online about Iraq, trying to understand the situation there and to predict what might happen if we invaded or what might happen if we didn’t invade.

I no longer remember where, how, or why I came across the two Vietnam photos again. It was probably a random thing. Perhaps I found a link to them on a blog, perhaps somewhere else.

No matter. I saw something that caught my attention and clicked on a link that led to a piece about them. Just one of many articles I saw every evening as part of my online reading.

Here were the familiar images—the field execution, the napalmed girl. I hadn’t seen them in decades, but I remembered them well. I felt the shock and sadness again seeing them once more, even after all these years.

loan3.jpg

napalmgirl.jpg

But the story told by the article accompanying them was different. I no longer remember the specific website I encountered that day, but what it said about the first photo was essentially identical to this. The man being shot was alleged to have been “a Captain in a Viet Cong assassination and revenge platoon responsible for the killing of South Vietnamese policemen and their families.” He had just been captured—wearing civilian clothing—after killing a South Vietnamese officer and his entire family, an officer who had served under the South Vietnamese general wielding the pistol in the photo.

Eddie Adams, the AP photographer who took it, later made this statement about it:

I won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for a photograph of one man shooting another…The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera. Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe them, but photographs do lie, even without manipulation. They are only half-truths. What the photograph didn’t say was, “What would you do if you were the general at that time and place on that hot day, and you caught the so-called bad guy after he blew away one, two or three American soldiers?” General Loan was what you would call a real warrior, admired by his troops. I’m not saying what he did was right, but you have to put yourself in his position.

As Adams said, it’s not that what Loan did was right—although apparently, because of his civilian clothing, the Viet Cong had unlawful enemy combatant status and was subject to summary field execution under the South Vietnamese law of the time. It’s that the whole story, which would have enabled the Americans who saw it to put the photo into context and to have understood the circumstances surrounding General Loan’s act and to have evaluated it for themselves, had not been told—or had been so de-emphasized that most people didn’t catch it. What we saw instead was the brutal slaying of a small defenseless man, shorn of all history and looking like an innocent Vietnamese peasant.

And then there was the other photo. The story I now read about that one was also different than I remembered. My recollection was that the girl in the photo had been burned by our forces, or by South Vietnamese forces under our direction. The details weren’t clear (and probably never had been), but the message delivered was that the killing and burning of countless young Vietnamese children was our fault, that we regularly bombed innocent civilians indiscriminately and perhaps even purposely, without motivation or justification.

But now I read that the incident had involved no US military at all. It occurred after Viet Cong troops had attacked and captured a South Vietnamese village, setting up headquarters among civilians in the marketplace and driving them from the scene. South Vietnamese warplanes trying to protect the village from the invaders and wrest it back—bombing not the village itself, but the perimeter—had mistaken some of the fleeing people for the Viet Cong and napalmed them. This was how the little girl got hurt.

This was not a good thing, but it was the sort of thing that was unavoidable in a war of this type, in which the enemy hid among civilians.

And this was beginning to sound vaguely familiar—not to events in the past, but to events in the present. Bombing errors in the Afghan war, for example. Few and far between compared to successes, but covered heavily by the media.

And Jenin. Palestinian terrorists had callously hidden among townspeople there, and the inevitable civilian casualties had been blamed by the media on the Israelis, who had actually exercised every possible diligence to prevent them.

All of these details about the photo of the napalmed girl had apparently been reported in a “Stars and Stripes” article back in 1972, when the incident had occurred. But who read “Stars and Stripes?” Certainly not me.

As far as my memory of contemporaneous mainstream media coverage went, it was the photo, the photo, the photo that had occupied center stage, with only a cursory description of a firefight, and nothing about the enemy and what they’d done. To most readers, it had been as though the enemy didn’t exist; just US soldiers and their South Vietnamese victims. Even the leading role of the South Vietnamese military had somehow receded into the background.

How had this occurred? Part of the mechanism was that photos tend to affect people on a visceral level. They “read” a certain way, but the deeper story behind them is far more complex, and is not always clearly told. Even if told, however, it’s not always read. That takes time and effort, but it only takes a moment to glance at a photo and to think you understand it.

In the case of the photo of the girl, there was further confusion, some of it perhaps deliberate:

Other journalists who were not there, through assumption, sloppy work, or malice, have since reported that the attack was by US aircraft, and have further embellished the story with time.

As I read the article about the photos, I felt a sense of disbelief. I wasn’t quite sure what I was reading was correct. Surely, if this information about both photos were true, I’d have heard about it before this. After all, thirty years had passed.

I spent the next few hours searching the subject online and found quite a bit more information, but no serious or credible refutation of the stories I’d just learned. The facts therein did not appear to be in much dispute. I read the original article again, and then again, in a tensely concentrated state.

Then the strangest feeling came over me. I don’t even have a word for it, although I usually can come up with words for emotions.

This was a new feeling. The best description I can come up with is that it was a regret so intense it morphed seamlessly into guilt, as though I were responsible for something terrible, though I didn’t know exactly what. Regret and guilt, and also a rage that I’d been so stupid, that I’d let myself be duped or misled or kept ignorant about something so important, and that I’d remained ignorant all these years.

I sat in front of my computer and put my face down on the keyboard. I stayed in that position for a few minutes, energyless and drained. When I lifted my head I was surprised to find a few tears on my cheeks.

The experience was something akin to being married for thirty years, thinking your husband loving and faithful, and then by chance coming across evidence that he’d been living a double life all that time, with a wife and kids in another town. A sense of deep betrayal of a basic trust.

Photos are inherently emotional, and there’s no doubt that these were powerful photos, deserving of every prize they’d earned. If the point of publishing them had been to convey the idea that war entails violence and suffering, they succeeded admirably. And maybe this was what the photographers who took them were trying to say.

But that’s not a good enough message in and of itself. Killing is awful, yes. But not all killing is equally awful. And the press during the Vietnam War had been charged with the task of providing that all-important context.

Why did I only remember seeing photos that portrayed what we, or our allies, had done—photos stripped of all context and meant to maximize our feelings of wrongdoing? Photos that emphasized the victimhood of a Viet Cong terrorist, or made it seem as though we were targeting civilians when the civilians were actually being put at risk by the aggressive actions of the enemy in attacking and occupying a village?

And how was it that it had taken me thirty years to become aware of any of this?

If this knowledge had come to me prior to 9/11, I doubt it would have affected me so much. I’d always known on some level that the press was using the photos as antiwar propaganda. But I’d also felt that the cause for which the propaganda was being shown was just, and that the facts we were told were correct and essentially complete. This new knowledge of the way the press had actually used these photos and failed to properly convey the stories behind them during Vietnam had far greater significance that it otherwise would have, because there were now harmonic vibrations with a host of other incidents such as the reportage on Jenin that had already partially eroded my faith in the press.

To continue the affair analogy, this wasn’t just similar to learning of a brief and one-time fling on the part of a husband, something that was an anomaly that might be forgiven. It seemed possible that this was a pattern of deceit and/or purposefully misleading omissions, one I could no longer deny.

This idea reached critical mass during the process of reading and assimilating these articles, although it had actually been brewing for quite a while. The components were cognitive and emotional, and both were extremely intense. That synergistic effect accounted for the power of my response, the idea that this was a life-changing moment and that there was no going back. A bunch of unrelated pieces of information that had previously seemed disconnected and chaotic had suddenly fallen into place like the pieces of a puzzle and formed an image I could now read.

This image said: beware the press with an agenda. Some elements of the press seem to have had one then. Perhaps they had one now, as well.

And I found, to my surprise, that the agenda appeared to be substantially the same: to magnify our wrongdoings and those of our allies, to downplay those of the enemy, to simplify matters that were really complex, and to sensationalize.

[To be continued---soon, I hope.]

132 Responses to “A mind is a difficult thing to change: (Part 7B: the Vietnam photos revisited)”

  1. Dave Moelling Says:

    These photos were widely distibuted with that agenda in mind. It was considered “too painful” to repeatedly air photos of people jumping to their deaths from the upper floors of the World Trade Center. The people who consider themselves part of the agenda setting clique know very well how powerful the images were.

  2. vanderleun Says:

    The phrase “shorn of all history” pretty much sums up the agenda. An agenda to eliminate history or to make history be, in the minds of our impressionable and uncritical public. what we say it was and is. Especially when you can mint history that is “shorn of all history.”

  3. DC Says:

    The distorted press is justified to tell a larger truth. The big bad USA is responsible for the Viet Nam war because they propped up dictators so they could make money selling them weapons. Fear of communism was just a ruse. That’s what I was told, so it didn’t matter who dropped the napalm or why the defenseless man was shot.

    Today:

    Here is how Obama justifies his opposition to the Iraq war (from 2002):

    “What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income – to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.”

    from

    http://www.barackobama.com/2002/10/02/remarks_of_illinois_state_sen.php

    there’s this too:

    “What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.”

    and so naturally the lies of the press are justified, A picture must be painted in people’s minds so they will believe George Soros’s fraudulent Lancet study..

  4. Tom Says:

    Bravo, Neo. I remember well seeing those photos when 1st published. Since I was pro-war while my univ. prof. father and my (all younger) sibs were demonstrating against it, I thought Wow, the execution photo is gonna hurt; and the napalmed girl photo generated awe at the force of the image, and a war-is-hell thought.
    The antiAmericanism of American journalists is a malign but durable force. It is us, Americans, that they in fact are condemning with their propaganda.
    I fear to think how it will all end; they and their partners in education are dumbing the nation down, and I fear they will suceed. People simply want to, need to believe the news is the Truth, especially when it’s raining down on them all the time- home TVs kept on for sound; airport TVs; the newly outfitted gas station near my home has loud flat panel TVs blaring CNN above each set of pumps.

  5. Trimegistus Says:

    I’ve never quite understood why journalists turned en masse to such a stridently anti-American stance forty years ago, and have remained stuck there so long since.

    The idea of a conscious conspiracy directed from Moscow or wherever is silly — except that I honestly can’t think of any other explanation which makes sense.

  6. expat Says:

    I remember watching TV reports during Iraq I and observing the differences in coverage between German TV and British SKY News. And then if I stayed up half the night I could actually watch our military press conferences on CNN. SKY coverage was superior to German, which had a lot of expert interpretation that seemed to misrepresent what I had heard from our officers’ mouths. I remember being angry that they wouldn’t let us speak for ourselves and that as a news consumer I was denied the opportunity to come to my own conclusions. And of course, talk about strategy, tactics, and reasons for mistakes were much less important on German TV than talk about victims and similar PC themes.

  7. Fausta Says:

    Excellent post, Neo!

  8. DonS Says:

    Trimegistus,

    Consider that we had our MSM supporters of Stalin back in the day, and that during the Soviet pact with Nazi Germany, Hollywood wasn’t critical of the Nazis.

    We have had a 5th column for quite some time. Most are what some would call “usefull idiots”.

  9. DonS Says:

    The idea of a conscious conspiracy directed from Moscow or wherever is silly — except that I honestly can’t think of any other explanation which makes sense.

    McCarthy was in fact correct that the Soviets had active spys in Hollywood. Read this:

    http://www.reason.com/news/show/27732.html

  10. Vince P Says:

    What a wicked little article that was!

    When the plot twist of the article itself is revealed I felt so cheated.. I want to see it!

  11. nyomythus Says:

    The mind is a difficult thing to change, this is our condition; egotistical, fearful, temporal, organic, susceptible; we aren’t as much as we think we are, we aren’t there yet and may never arrive; I’m talking about humanity as a species. The only thing that advances us from the roots of our dissonant solipsism is the evolution of all that classical liberalism envelopes; reason and science, individual rights, liberal capitalism, autonomy and personal responsibility, and the forceful defense of these things unique, hard earned, and precious; also the globalization of these principles, and the extirpation of radical theism.

  12. Vince P Says:

    >and the extirpation of radical theism.

    Ah yes… this ole gem… every time it’s tried, the results have been wonderful… and yet people keep the dream alive.

    sick

  13. Tom Says:

    Vince: I take nyomythus’s “radical theism” to mean Islam, and characterizing that as such seems fine to me.

  14. nyomythus Says:

    I know — but like Squirrel Nut Zippers put it, “Put a lid down on it, and everything will be all right.”

    This damned linky thing better work :\

  15. nyomythus Says:

    Exactly, the others have their moments, and will likely continue to have their moments, but not comes presently is quite like radical Islam, I dunno I may be mistaken; they might be nice guys if you get to know them.

  16. Vince P Says:

    Sorry if I misconstrued your statement ny. Not knowing that well , I didn’t have enough info to fill in teh ambiguity that your statement had.

  17. Matthew M Says:

    Book! Book! I think you’re ready for a proposal at least.

  18. harry9000 Says:

    I propose neo write a book on her journey.

    How’s that?

  19. harry9000 Says:

    Journey…heh heh heh…

    cue Starwars Darth Vader theme…

  20. Danny Lemieux Says:

    By the way, Neo, I believe that the S. Vietnamese general had the right to summarily execute the enemy combatant out of uniform under the Geneva Conventions. A solution to Guantanamo, perhaps?

    Having graduated from a “radical” university in the 70s, my theory is that members of the radical left (my classmates) actively sought to penetrate the media and education during that period and eventually drive out those that didn’t agree with them. This was classical Saul Alinsky radical anarchist agenda stuff (of which Hillary is an acolyte).

    Largely, they have succeeded in capturing these organs of propaganda. Thank God for the internet and talk radio.

  21. mrs whatsit Says:

    I agree, it’s time for a book. But then again, this IS a book — what could a book accomplish that this blog does not?
    Thanks, Neo, once again, for provoking genuine thought AND feeling. It’s not easy at all to do both at once.

  22. Denis Eugene Sullivan Says:

    Greetings:

    One day in 1969 during my tour of duty in Viet Nam, we were being resupplied in the field by a helicopter “log bird.” Along with our supplies was a media film crew of three.

    A little later, as we were “saddling up” to go out on a patrol, our company commander came over and asked if I wanted to take our visitors out with the squad. For some reason, my reply was “Do I have to bring them back?”

  23. Yaacov Ben Moshe Says:

    There is a book- Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting by Peter Brock Its a real eye-opener on how we were all manipulated to the oint of tragedy in Yugoslavia. But then the same charletans are out there doing the same stuff today.
    Follow this link:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17990696
    Its a great example of NPR’s monster machine. It is a short interview in which a scientist teaches a reporter a lesson in objectivity and responsible reporting.
    Here’s the crucial exchange between reporter Alex Chadwick and tiger researcher Alan Rabinowitz:

    CHADWICK: What did you think when you saw the recent demonstrations by the monks there in Myanmar, demonstrations that were put down quite severely by the military with the imprisonment of, well, reports of thousands?

    Mr. RABINOWITZ: Well, I wasn’t there so I really didn’t see anything firsthand. How it was handled by the government is something I actually can’t speak to because I’ve heard different reports. My own people in Yangon tell me that the crowds were not nearly as large as the media reported, that the shooting was not nearly as intense. But I don’t know what’s true and what’s not true.

    CHADWICK: You know, Alan, some people listening to this would say right there Alan Rabinowitz is crossing the line.
    Mr. RABINOWITZ: I know. I thought that as I was saying it.
    (Soundbite of laughter)

    CHADWICK: He is saying I don’t know what’s going on there when we have reports and videotape of people being shot and we have many reports of people being imprisoned, and how can you not know?

    Mr. RABINOWITZ: How can I not know – you do not have videotape of many people being shot. There’s no videotape of many people getting shot there. There’s videotape of a Japanese reporter getting shot. This is what I get very disturbed about, is that when it comes to Myanmar, people seem to want to deal in a lot of rhetoric, in a lot of pre-conceived notions rather than pure facts.
    Yes, this government is not the nicest government in the world, but what I have seen in that country doesn’t match up with what the media tries to portray is happening in that country. And I don’t quite understand why people love to hate Myanmar. I’m not an apologist for them. If anybody reads my books, they see that I talk very strongly about some of the bad things which are occurring in that country. But I balance everything. We’re talking about what – what’s happening that’s good and what’s happening that’s bad. And the government seems to respect that kind of balanced honesty.

  24. Vince P Says:

    Yaacov Ben Moshe: Thanks for sharing that.

    It’s exactly the mindlessness of the NPR host that led to NATO bombing Serbia and on the verge of creating a Jihad state in Europe.

  25. njcommuter Says:

    Neo, thank you describing your awakening. I wish it hadn’t had to be quite so rough. You are a much-needed voice; please keep up the great work.

  26. strcpy Says:

    “The idea of a conscious conspiracy directed from Moscow or wherever is silly — except that I honestly can’t think of any other explanation which makes sense.”

    There is an easy one – simply that journalism is predisposed to be this way. In many cases it doesn’t take an over arching effort from a group to do things – you will note most engineers are conservatives. Why? Because the type of mind that becomes and engineer is typically conservative.

    I would say the type of mind that goes through (and enjoys) what journalist do are generally out to do it to “make a difference”. Generally speaking people who are activist (and for the most part journalism is a form of activism) are on the left side of the political spectrum – always has been and always will be. There are exceptions, there are certainly activist conservatives and non-activist leftist but those are the exceptions.

    This is the same thing as to why the vast majority of protests are leftist – conservatives don’t protest, that isn’t the way a conservative generally thinks about solving an problem (along with most protests being a bonding experience for the participants, something conservatives do not tend to be interested in either). There are some, but they tend to be few and far in between.

  27. Mitsu Says:

    Hi,

    I haven’t been posting here for a while, because I found the discussions were getting overly bizarre for my taste, but I popped back over here and decided to read again, since I continue to find Neo’s posts quite interesting, and I’m really responding here primarily just to her.

    As I’ve written before, I’ve always been more partial to the left side of the political spectrum, but I actually think the most sensible political position is a sort of synthesis of left and right. I.e., I believe in free markets, but I think some regulation is nevertheless essential and effective. I believe war should be avoided if at all possible, but when necessary, one ought to go to war all out. Etc.

    But to me, most importantly, I don’t believe that one side or the other has a monopoly either on the truth or on mistakes. The fact that the left has been wrong in the past doesn’t mean the right is correct, the fact that the press has distorted stories in the past doesn’t mean they are always getting the story wrong in the same way. Times change and circumstances change.

    The press does distort stories, greatly. They tend to side with whatever seems to be the political tide of the moment, in fact. In the early days of the Vietnam war, they were not particularly critical of it. As public opinion turned against it, as the war dragged on, as the protests grew, the press turned against it, and critical stories became more prevalent.

    The same happened with the Iraq war. Any objective analysis of the press coverage prior to the war would conclude that the press was far more biased in FAVOR of Bush’s foreign policy than against it, at the outset. There was very little in the way of critical coverage. Only Reuters noticed how fishy most of the WMD stories, which were later discredited, were. The New York Times published article after article favoring the war, many of which have now turned out to have been filled with factual errors.

    This is not to say that I think the press doesn’t tend to lean liberal, overall — but it’s obvious to me that the errors are hardly all on one side. The press makes mistakes constantly. One has to read everything with a critical eye.

    I have to say that I find Neo’s story of her journey quite compelling, but the fact is, it strikes me as driven a bit by the shattering of illusions. But the fact that, say, a particular Vietnam image was wrong, or a particular news story was hyped or distorted — does this mean that the “other” side is right? I don’t happen to think so. There are far more than two sides. There are many other alternatives to “everything the press told us about Vietnam, or Jenin, or whatever, is 100% correct” than “the right wing view of the world is correct after all.” I’ve never bought into many of the ideas on the left, despite my overall sympathy for the left — yet I certainly haven’t found the right to be convincing (despite my adoption of many of its ideas as well).

    The Iraq war is I believe a case in point: it’s actually a war which I think might have been appropriate in many other circumstances — right after the first Gulf War, for example, it might have worked. But the timing, execution, and tactics I believe were absolutely terrible, and have hurt our security by diverting troops from more pressing national security matters.

    In other words: just because some stories about Vietnam or Jenin, etc., turned out to be exaggerations or misleading or false — doesn’t mean the Iraq war was a good idea. Every situation should be evaluated on its own terms, in my view.

    I do find Neo’s reasoning and writing very interesting and well thought out, despite my disagreement with her conclusions, though.

  28. Truth Says:

    I was busy reading online about Iraq, trying to understand the situation there and to predict what might happen if we invaded or what might happen if we didn’t invade.

    but by the rational assessment by millions of Muslims that they will never win freedom or justice through non-violent means, because the world’s powers will continue to put their economic and strategic interests – which are tied to the existing system and its local leaders – ahead of supporting the systemic transformation of the world’s economy and political system that would be necessary to bring about real democracy and peace.

    Mark LeVine, PhD, is a professor in the department of history, University of California-Irvine, and author of Why They Don’t Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil

  29. Vince P Says:

    Mark LeVine? Please can you come up with anyone more unserious?

  30. Truth Says:

    The recent success by Gen. David Petraeus, Man of the Year in Iraq looks he is following the Biblical commands

    A new command I give you:

    Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34).

    But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28).

    Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (Romans 12:14).

    We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it (1 Corinthians 4:12).

    Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21).

    Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).

    Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble (1 John 2:9-10).

  31. Vince P Says:

    In the West and the United States in particular, we are guided by the principle of seperation of a man’s personal religious conviction and the action he takes when acting on behalf of the State.

    Those in positions of authority in the State are not motivated by any sectarian dogma, instead they swear allegiance to the Constitution and ensure the secular law is obeyed.

    Therefore it is inappropiate to link Patereus and the bible.

  32. Rose Says:

    Finally the iconic photos essay!. thanks. As an Iranian/American I remember some seven years after the publication of your napalmed girl photo and in the height of anti American revoluton in Iran, while the Shah of Iran was steadily losing his grip on power, I saw another iconic photo published in an Iranian daily. It showed a child of two or three years of age, missing both arms, held aloft on a man’s(his father?) shoulder. The caption read: “an example of SAVAK’s attrocites! The boy’s arms were sawd off in order to extract confession from his father”. SAVAK was the Shah’s equivalent of CIA. Prime minister A.A. Hoveida, later to be executed by post revelutionary Islamists, dismissed the claim made by the journalists saying the photo was that of a child who was born without limbs. His statement did not give pause to his critics and journalists who were intoxicated with their revolutionary project. They continued egging people on, fueling further outrage amongst the population who were by now willing to believe anything negative about the Shah told them by their trusted journalists. The photo had the desired effect as it whipped further anti-Shah frenzy. The rest is history.

  33. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Mitsu.
    You missed Neo’s point. “Just because” a couple of photos turned out to have been misrepresented is not justification for the Iraq war. Neo’s not saying it is.
    Neo’s explaining how she came to discover she’d been lied to for so long, so completely.
    In fact, the truth of the execution picture had been available almost immediately and it’s unlikely anybody didn’t know it. But it paid a certain group to pretend it was some kind of random awfulness. In other words, lie.
    The truth of the fleeing girl took a bit longer to come out, but that wasn’t useful, either. In fact, there was a disturbed American who got some ink for several years claiming to be devastated by having been the pilot who dropped that particular bomb.
    It’s not mistakes, Mitsu. It’s deliberate lies. Lots and lots of deliberate lies.
    Your pretense to think it’s something else–a couple of mistakes–is far too late to the party.

  34. Vince P Says:

    Rose: you bring to my mind all the hand-wringing that Christiane Amapour was doing in the 90s to try to get the West to go to war against Serbia because of “reports” of genocide (that never happend)

    I think Kosovo will be our biggest mistake.. not Iraq (which I dont consider a mistake anyway)

  35. james hankey Says:

    Neo,
    A long time ago I told you that our generation would have to go for the nation to shake this strange enthrallment to Nam. I still belive that. Our generation has somehow rendered itself incapable of escape on it’s own.

  36. Truth Says:

    LeVine’s wide and deep knowledge of the politics and history of the Middle East and North Africa, its religions and its cultures, and its relations with Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States, enables a unique breadth of insight into the broader dynamics that have produced the events that dominate the news today. He remains singularly unafraid to write the truth, no matter who it upsets, based solely on facts and data he can confirm, as well as to challenge the actions and opinions of rulers and ruled, oppressed and oppressor alike. Such a philosophy allows his writings to challenge the accepted paradigms for writing about the region, and about hot-button issues such as globalization, terrorism, politics and popular culture. He is a radical voice of reason and honesty at a time when Left and Right remain locked within out-dated arguments and paradigms.

    Besides his academic, journalistic and consulting activities, LeVine has a long history of blending art, scholarship and activism.

    show us who is “anyone more unserious?” than this guy?

  37. Truth Says:

    The link
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-levine

  38. Vince P Says:

    The Tool-ery of Mark Levine:

    http://www.meaning.org/Levine_OReilly.ram

  39. steveaz Says:

    Thanks for the post, Neo.

    A modern parallel to the media’s ‘Nam lies is “Global Warming.” In fact, you could say that 1972′s “Napalmed Girl” = today’s “Polar Bears on an Ice Flow”

    Narrative #1 is “America is BAD.” Narrative #2 is “America is BAD.” Both photos show pre-adolescent vertebrate mammals in supposed mortal danger from America).

    Obviously, lie #1 = lie #2. To this American, it appears that the lies always point in the same direction.

    When will the liars get what’s coming to them? Maybe if we reject their Obama/Clinton pet-ticket in ’08 the propagandists will read the tea-leaves…and shove-off.

  40. Sergey Says:

    Ideology is more potent instrument of political action than any conspiracy, so this groupthink of schools of journalism makes simler explanation of prevalence of leftist agenda in media. But conspiracy controled from Moscow is real fact, too. There was a special department in KGB dealing with desinformation campaigns and ideological diversions. There are many bodies teaching this discipline, including military academy and Highest Party School. I even had to attend special seminar and lecture courses on counter-propaganda in HPS just before perestrojka. Those commies in Holywood purged by McCarthy were not spies, but “agents of influence” implanted there and obeing commands from Moscow to recruit celebrities for pro-Kremlin propaganda feats. A serious effort, with thousands professionals preparing massive desinformation campaigns.

  41. Karen Says:

    Excellent post. It is quite jarring to realize the full scope and history of the agenda driven news/photo accounts. Powerful propaganda, to be sure.

    Your rational voice is much needed in today’s writings. Thank you.

  42. Sergey Says:

    “LeVine has a long history of blending art, scholarship and activism.”

    As I have pointed many times, political activism and scholarship in the same field are not compatible. Those who “blend” them are fraudsters.

  43. Richard Aubrey Says:

    You might want to start with Instapundit on the recent NYT’s hysteria over violent crimes committed by veterans. The reactions are many, linked handily, and eviscerate the NYT. The NYT can only have been lying. Deliberately.

    Several months ago, the NYT ran an article about how women no longer see marriage as a necessity, citing the fact that 51% are not married. James Lileks commented that the thrust of the article was, “When I am old, I shall wear purple.”, and, presumably, haunt indie bookstores in the Village.
    But to get to 51%, the NYT had to start with girls aged fifteen. While it is true that many fifteen-yeaer old girls are not married, it is a stretch to say that it’s because of a dislike of the institution. At least, the article should have factored in the problem that it’s bloody illegal, too.
    They counted widows who, while not married, could be said to be unmarried because their husbands died, not necessarily because they are tired of marriage.
    And, to hit the magic 51%, they counted married women whose husbands were deployed.

    They lie and lie and lie.

    It’s not, Mitsu, a matter of a couple of photographs. But you knew that.

  44. Erik Says:

    Really fantastic article. I’m always so impressed by your eloquence and the depth of your insight. This was a really intense, emotional investigation of the press and your own feelings of betrayal.

    Sensational, but not sensationalized…

  45. Trimegistus Says:

    Mr. “Truth” quotes Levine, saying:

    “…they will never win freedom or justice through non-violent means, because the world’s powers will continue to put their economic and strategic interests – which are tied to the existing system and its local leaders – ahead of supporting the systemic transformation of the world’s economy and political system that would be necessary to bring about real democracy and peace.”

    But, “Truth” — isn’t that _exactly_ what the U.S. is attempting in Iraq and Afghanistan? Bush decided that supporting the systematic transformation of the economic and political systems in those lands was not only congruent with, but actually necessary for the promotion of America’s interests. So why are the Muslim fanatics opposing us?

    (Two answers to that question, actually. First, because Levine is a tiresome old Marxist trying to shoehorn a religious/nationalist movement into the model of a “class struggle” — the tipoff is that he puts economic transformation first. Second, because there really are some really evil bastards out there, who aren’t interested in the slightest bit in rationally promoting the greater good.)

  46. Dennis Says:

    I wonder how someone so unfamiliar with the truth uses it as a screen name? If you were really interested in the truth you would be more like neo seeking the truth no matter how it affects prior political assertions and thought, but that is not your agenda. Especially to one who continually tries to divert any discussion to themselves as one not representative of the truth.
    I must say that I have tremendous respect for many who actually are doing the research and challenging their own philosophies. Many of us who have done it come away with a far different picture of history and a better appreciation for others.
    I think that we spend our whole lives finding out how little we really know about anything no matter our education or knowledge.
    Kudos Neo

  47. Gray Says:

    The fact that the left has been wrong in the past doesn’t mean the right is correct, the fact that the press has distorted stories in the past doesn’t mean they are always getting the story wrong in the same way. Times change and circumstances change.

    Of course. Like the old proverb: “Once burnt, twice burnt; burnt again; roasted; incinerated; carbonized….”

    This is not to say that I think the press doesn’t tend to lean liberal, overall — but it’s obvious to me that the errors are hardly all on one side.

    I know! Like all those times the press reported that the military held fire and didn’t kill civilians when they actually did! And all those times the press reported that the economy was looking up for jobs and opportunities for women and minorities! And all those times the press debunked global warming!

    The Iraq war is I believe a case in point: it’s actually a war which I think might have been appropriate in many other circumstances — right after the first Gulf War, for example

    Yeah, the ‘Arab Coalition’ would have sat still for that kind of betrayal…. Furthermore, Saddam was still in compliance with the UN resolutions that left him in power at that point. There was no casus belli at all just after the war….

    But the timing, execution, and tactics I believe were absolutely terrible, and have hurt our security by diverting troops from more pressing national security matters.

    Hmmmm, interesting point…. How was the residence course at Command and General Staff College? Did I know you at the Officer’s Advance Course back in the 90′s?

    In other words: just because some stories about Vietnam or Jenin, etc., turned out to be exaggerations or misleading or false — doesn’t mean the Iraq war was a good idea. Every situation should be evaluated on its own terms, in my view.

    So that’s how an ostrich gets its head back in the sand! I’d never observed the actual mechanism….

  48. Gray Says:

    Besides his academic, journalistic and consulting activities, LeVine has a long history of blending art, scholarship and activism.

    You can blend poop, flour and eggs too, but you can’t call it a pastry.

    Even though Al Reuters might….

  49. Whispers in the airstreams » Blog Archive » The cost of learning Says:

    [...] Neo Neocon talks about a Gestalt prompted by a random link to the story behind two famous Vietnam War photographs. Things clicked. The idea that the presentation of the photographs was a part of an insidious agenda was placed in context of many other such propaganda moments in succeeding adventures. Why did I only remember seeing photos that portrayed what we, or our allies, had done—photos stripped of all context and meant to maximize our feelings of wrongdoing? Photos that emphasized the victimhood of a Viet Cong terrorist, or made it seem as though we were targeting civilians when the civilians were actually being put at risk by the aggressive actions of the enemy in attacking and occupying a village? [...]

  50. Talkinkamel Says:

    Vince P

    I think Kosovo is going to turn out to be our biggest mistake too—I’m interested in hearing what your reasons are for believing this!

    And Neo, this, and the preceding post, are truly excellent pieces of writing.

  51. NewEnglandDevil Says:

    Neo-
    Just a note to say thank you for your writing. Your journey parallels mine to some extent, though I am a generation removed from you. I shared a moment with you when the Afghanistan conflict went far better than originally anticipated. As opposed to the pictures you cite, I came to the same realizations you came to as a result of the pictures when I tried to resolve the differences between the way the media portrayed our troops as acting, and the actual moral fiber of the troops I personally know. I simply couldn’t come to the conclusion that our soldiers would (generally) act in the manner described by the media.

    NED

  52. Yaacov Ben Moshe Says:

    Of course, the Caliphatists have taken this form of warfare as their own and raised it to a level of art hitherto unseen. But not without help from a compliant western media.
    Dare I mention France 2’s al Durah affair and the Tidal wave of Blood that is still circling the earth from it? (http://breathofthebeast.blogspot.com/2007/11/enderlins-ocean-of-blood-why-second.html)
    This is what people like Truth are opening the door to when they speak of “blending art, scholarship and activism” in such reverential terms. Truth is actually a very apt name for someone with such ideas. Journalistic damage is rarely done by people with evil intentions – just people who think they know the “Truth”. In fact, printing news that is not factual in pursuit of activist goals is a particular hallmark of the left. Back in September http://breathofthebeast.blogspot.com/2007/09/yellow-press-is-alive-and-well-and.html I wrote:

    Yellow Press was born as an outgrowth of Joseph Pulitzer’s vision as a publisher that, in contrast to the generally accepted ideal of impartial journalistic integrity, journalism should be used to as a vehicle of social change. As Wikipedia has it “Pulitzer believed that newspapers were public institutions with a duty to improve society, and he put (his newspaper) The World in the service of social reform.” Of course social reform is one of the early code words for what we today call progressivism and which is, in reality prototypical socialism. Pulitzer was then, as the newspaper establishment in the U.S. is still (with some exceptions) a left-leaning, self-righteous band of socialistic sympathisers.

  53. colagirl Says:

    Thank you for this post, neo. And thank you for your honesty. It was worth the wait.

  54. Bob Foster Says:

    Yes.
    A few years ago a book was published called “A Better War.” I don’t recall the author’s name. It is basically a history of the Vietnam War after the Tet offensive of 1968. The American military was successful after the Tet offensive in breaking the back of the Viet Cong.
    The heart break is in the book’s account of the betrayal of the South Vietnamese and the 58,000 Americans who gave their lives to bring freedom to Vietnam by American politicians when South Vietnam was invaded by a North Vietnamese army in (I think) 1975. The Democratic-controlled Congress refused to allow any of the promised material aid to be delivered to the South Vietnamese.
    From that betrayal we have the other iconic photograph from Vietnam: the last helicopter leaving the roof the the American embassy, escaping the upraised arms of helpless, hopeless Vietnamese.
    I suppose “disgrace” is an old-fashiooned, outmoded term. I do hope we can avoid a repeat performance by the present Democratic Congress.

  55. Vince P Says:

    Talkinkamel Says:
    I think Kosovo is going to turn out to be our biggest mistake too—I’m interested in hearing what your reasons are for believing this!

    Ok.. I have a few different reasons, so I’ll start with the ones I’m sure about.

    1 – The amount of death and alledged genocide that “they” said was going on… was not going on. Yes there was killing of Albanias by Serbs but nothing like the scale that Halfwit (Albright) said

    2 – The KLA was doing just as much violence to the Serbs

    3 – Kosovo is a province of Serbia, thus it’s an internal matter.

    Now those reasons are enough for me to say the US overstepped its bounds. and I dont have to go into the muds of reality to state them and reasonable people could agree.

    But beyond those reasons there are many many more.

    For me the most important reason is this:

    The Serbs were protecting themselves against HUNDREDS OF YEARS of Jihad Islamic Domination which WW-II and Cold War temporarily froze.

    The Serbs understood prefectly well what would happen if they were in a bad stragetic position.

    Unfortunately most peolpe are ignorant of history and so they just the violence as some sort of imperialism.

    Secondly, Russia has traditionally be the patron of the Slavic countries. We really stuck our nose deep where it did not belong at all.

    We had nothing to gain in that region.. we have no tradition there.. no deep roots.. and the region was not a threat to us.

    I think we damaged our relationship with Russia profoundly by humiliating Russia and Serbia by having NATO attck Serbia

    Third: Going to war on behalf of Muslims does not earn us their gratitude or respect. So if Clinton did this war as a way to get some points from the Arabs, that was a flawwed premise.

    Fourth: We were supporting our enemies becuase our enemies have goals they want to achieve in teh balkins.. namely, the islamification of all the balkans. Iran is supporting KLA so is Saudi Arabia so is Al Qaida.

    And I heard little snippets here and there that we were engaged in some cooperation with IRan in helping the KLA.

    Fifth: Historical Betrayal. Serbia was on our side in WWII aginst the NAZIs.. and we dare to bomb them.. who the hell are we to bomb them??

    So.. we are wher we are.. on the verge of forcing the creation of a new Jihad state in the Balkins. We will piss off Russia even more. We will inculcate to the Jihadis in thinking Allah is opening the way to them for world rule.

    The Rape and Pillage of Kosovo may be one of our most shameful acts ever.

    ok that’s it for now.. I have to hit send or this will never go..

  56. pst314 Says:

    I’ve personally know some journalists over the years. Without exception they have been unwilling to admit that there is any problem with dishonest or biased reporting. And without exception they were liberals.

  57. N. O'Brain Says:

    Neo, it ain’t anything new:

    “I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast.”

    -William Tecumseh Sherman

  58. Bugs Says:

    I sort of don’t believe the conspiracy theories about newsies and photographers. I think they just have a set of attitudes and values that we don’t share %100. What makes that such a problem is that they seem to believe either a) their political orientation, beliefs, values, attitudes are actually moderate and most people agree with them, or b) their political orientation, etc., are outside the mainstream but superior to it. The first makes them ignore criticisms of their reporting as the ranting of non-mainstream cranks (i.e., us). The second makes them ignore criticism because they know they’re right and the moderates are wrong. Either way, they believe they are doing the world a favor by reporting things as they do.

    I agree with Neo and others about the nature of photography in the news today. Without context, what you get is simply “The Horror of War.” I think the photographers and reporters who do this have convinced themselves that unless they show us a constant stream of horrible images and reports of death, failure and hopelessness, we will forget how terrible war is and become militarists. Any depiction of war as other than unthinkable horror is, to them, pro-war propaganda. For many of them, there is no middle ground.

  59. The Thunder Run Says:

    Web Reconnaissance for 01/17/2008…

    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often….

  60. J. Peden Says:

    [Extended Bloviation Alert]

    I saw both of those photos back in the day, when I was actively “anti-war”. I thought we’d have to invade N. Vietnam to “win”, but would then only end up in a war with China, which would also invade, along with the Soviets through their continuing proxy support of anything Communist.

    So it looked more like a “no-win” war to me. I was trying to be rational and had also searched out the history of Vietnam as described by Joseph Butterfield in a long book called “A Dragon Enchained”. It seemed very credible and supported the idea that the Vietnamese had a long illustrious history of not wanting to be ruled by outsiders, which was emphasized quite dramatically when they forced the French, who we strongly backed, to actually surrender at Dien Bien Phu.

    And I really didn’t get the “blame the U.S.” message from the Vietnam era photos: as I watched the video on the nightly news I thought Gen. N. Van Loan must have had a damn good reason to execute that V.C. guy and felt sympathy and maybe even some admiration for the General!

    The only message I got from the photo of the burned girl was something I already knew, and I did not blame anyone in particular for what are the inevitable consequences of war.

    Iow, I was at least trying to be a Classical Liberal, in contrast those of the Faux Liberal Religion who now beset us. I saw some of them start to form-up immediately after the Vietnam War by becoming overt Communists, which at the time I thought was merely quite bizarre and possibly due to a rare but harmless personality defect.[Wrong!]

    One fellow I know quite well even became the leader of a/the San Francisco Communist Party. Then around 1984, thinking no one would notice his clever, invisible machinations, he quietly became a Democrat University Professor specializing in the History of Vietnam – I only wondered to myself, “who-the-hell would want to do that?”, given that the war was long over. Little did I know…. And around 1984 the Communist Party itself seemed to effectively disappear from the larger U.S. political scene, which I didn’t even notice for a long time.

    Hmmmm…. remember Marx’s first principle for attaining the Communist Utopia, the critical first majority, after which democracy would be abolished and the “minority” subjugated? It turns out that the Communists here simply became Democrats, because they realized they weren’t going to be a majority in the U.S. as Communists.

    Regardless, those particular photos didn’t communicate the correct blame-America message to me, although I am beginning to doubt the truth of much of what was reported back then given the MSM’s current performance, which now seems to easily rival the same kind of thing the MSM was trying to tar the whole U.S. Government with back then: the crass, ulterior motive, agenda-driven communication of lies and distortions based upon our own trust of those who are supposed to be acting in our interests.

    Funny how that psychological dynamic – or devious propogandistic tactic – works, and it explains to me why the Faux Liberal Progs manage to get nearly everything exactly 180 degrees wrong. I say they either hate and fear themselves and/or life, or else have a self of control only, where the ends=control justify and are also the means=control, especially thought control. In either case the Progs literally have nothing better to do. The rational analysis of reality is their target. The radical Islamics are their soul mates.

  61. Mitsu Says:

    Like I said, my point is that the press is famous for distorting stories. But they do it on both sides. It’s not some monolithic entity which always tried to thwart conservative aims. I don’t think Neo is claiming it is, by the way, but I do think this deserves to be said. The press has been known to distort things in favor of conservative positions, when conservatism appears ascendant, and in favor of liberal positions, when the tide turns. This is the nature of the beast — they follow the whims of political favor, for a wide variety of mostly bad reasons. So yes — I do think one ought to be critical of the press, but it’s hard to be very impressed with specific examples of press distortion when that’s just the way the press always is.

    I remain very skeptical of the spin machines of both right and left, because both have been egregiously guilty of lies and distortion. The run-up to the Iraq War is a perfect example of this! And, it may be that the current anti-war sentiment in the press is also a distortion. But that’s the way the world works. I’m not about to change my political views just because I found out the press distorts things. That is not to say I don’t sympathize with Neo’s transformation — I keep saying I do admire her writing and reasoning, even if I disagree with how far she took it. I am simply saying that the press distorts on both sides, and it is worth being skeptical of the impulses to distort on both sides.

    There are powerful interests on both the right and the left who are vying for public support. They both have the resources and the ability to put out misinformation.

  62. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Mitsu.
    It’s always worth being skeptical.

    But the press does not evenly distort. One study after another shows that.
    As you know and hope we don’t.

  63. Jennifer in OR Says:

    New reader-Here from Dr. Sanity’s site. What a wonderful post -I appreciated the history lesson, the excellent writing, the personal story. And great follow-up discussion from so many. I’ll be back!

  64. David M Says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the – Web Reconnaissance for 01/17/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  65. Talkinkamel Says:

    Vince P

    Many thanks for responding—those are all good reasons, and conclusions I’d come to on my own (I was aware, for instance, that the Serbs were our allies in WWII, and even sheltered downed American pilots.)

    Just adding my own two-cents’ worth (not as good as vince’s post, but just as an amusing coda), I remember at the time how popular our glorious little war against the Serbs was, especially in the MSM. At the time, it seemed that only myself, my older brother and a weird goth/fantasy mag I was reading at the time, were against it. By gum, we were teaching those evil Serbs a lesson, showing that the American military wasn’t just a band of murdering thugs, and—oh yeah—that we didn’t support just Israel, and, by gummety-jingo-gee, Moslems would see what we were doing for the oppressed Albanians, and like us! They’d really LIKE us!

    It didn’t work out that way.

    There were also few protests, I recall, over the fact that we went in there without UN approval, or the morality of bombing helpless Serb civilians (including kids), or bombing Serbian churches filled with priceless Medieval art, or bombing Serbs on their holiest day (Easter)—the very same sort of stuff the Left goes ballistic over, when the subject is the WoT, and we’re fighting Moslems.

    What we did was wrong. It’s going to cause us endless trouble in coming decades.

  66. Gray Says:

    I’m not about to change my political views just because I found out the press distorts things. That is not to say I don’t sympathize with Neo’s transformation — I keep saying I do admire her writing and reasoning, even if I disagree with how far she took it.

    So that means when Neo was a lib it was based on certain ‘truths’ and ‘evidence’ she was immersed in at the time, when she saw counterevidence and truth, her opinions changed.

    Alternatively, as you point out, your leftist beliefs are independent of any outside influence and cannot be changed by truth, evidence or reason because truth, evidence and reason are distorted either left or right depending on who is in power.

    It takes a lot of intellectual honesty and moral courage to ‘take it as far as she took it’. Not everyone is capable of that….

  67. Mary C. Says:

    I love Neo’s mind changing posts which mirror my own mind changing experience. I too was hit over the head with 9/11 and it transformed me. It was probably a change that was on its way and that began with child rearing. When I adhered to the “progressive” rules for child rearing as published in those abhorrent books and magazines, alls I got out at the other end was one spoiled brat! As I realized this (and it didn’t take long), I immediately reverted to the “conservative” child rearing as practiced by my parents and began to use all the phrases my parents did. Why did I ever think I should do it differently? Now my children still have issues, but at least they know they have the power and responsibility to fix their own problems. HMM – sounds like they have one foot in maturity. And I am not plagued by guilt in the least. As my family was discussing a possible Iraq assignment for my husband, my daughter said (tongue-in-cheek I believe because she said it with a smile), “Don’t you think about how your absence will affect my future and what problems will I have later because of it?” I responded, “In spite of what they are teaching you in that public school over there, there are no victims in this house. And you will know your father did an important service for this wonderful country and did his duty.” By the way, I think we keep her in public school because it is useful practice for countering all the BS she will encounter in the future.

  68. Mitsu Says:

    >the media does not distort evenly

    I already admitted that I agree the media have a liberal bias, on the whole. I simply am pointing out that the idea that the media are ALWAYS biased in the same direction is obviously false. It’s biased in both directions, perhaps more often in a liberal direction, but for fairly long, consistent periods, it can be biased the other way. You have to read between the lines in all cases.

    My argument is very simple. Let’s say you have one “side”, call it A, and another “side” call it B. You’re a fierce partisan of A, and then you discover, much to your surprise, that some things A said were false. Does that mean B is now right?

    I am saying both A and B are right some of the time, wrong some of the time. I happen to think A is more right than B, more often … so I side with A most of the time. The fact that A is sometimes wrong, however, doesn’t mean that it’s ALWAYS wrong, or sometimes is misleading doesn’t mean it’s ALWAYS misleading. There is a third way: C.

    As for liberal versus conservative child-rearing — I think again this is a similar case. Just because following a certain set of rules failed for you doesn’t mean that the opposite set of rules is the best approach. Keep in mind that other liberal parents have perfectly fine kids. In fact — blue states, overall, have lower rates of divorce, lower rates of teen pregnancy, lower rates of domestic abuse, better results in terms of education level, lower rates of death by firearms, etc., than do red states. That’s hard statistical reality. Massachusetts, the most liberal state in the country, has the lowest divorce rate in the country. Obviously not every liberal has a great family, but on average, liberalism clearly works pretty well as a way of raising a family.

  69. Vince P Says:

    Mary said: Now my children still have issues, but at least they know they have the power and responsibility to fix their own problems.

    THat was really funny.. thanks for th elaugh

  70. Truth Says:

    Gray Says:
    It takes a lot of intellectual honesty and moral courage to ‘take it as far as she took it’.

    Gary with all due respect of your view, I think most the humans looks for the bright side of the life and the good things, so people or humans have their own control to changing themselves although its hard for some (race or ethnics, etc,) to do so but we living in very open world now ( we can say big village ) where the truth not hard to discover between the lines of reporting or news’s the only power for change in human is the wellness to change and adapting new behaviours and views.

    How that fits with rest of humanity that’s another issue should be discussed.

  71. DonS Says:

    I wonder how someone so unfamiliar with the truth uses it as a screen name?

    Well, Pravada means “the truth” in Russian, right?

  72. Chris White Says:

    Richard Aubrey – You misrepresent Mitsu’s comments, which call for skepticism and balance, to perpetuate the notion that a deliberate conspiracy exists throughout the media to foster a specific leftist political agenda.

    Truth and Vince P offer dueling partisan blog links, neither is likely to accept the other’s sources, let alone the reasoning behind their views.

    Gray offers a series of challenges that amount to asking why the press doesn’t offer simplistic and ideological views congruent with those of the neocons who congregate here.

    N. O’Brain offers a wonderful old quote that basically calls for no free press, only a press that supports and reports what the government and military want it to.

    As someone who, like Neo, remembers both of those photos from the days when they were news, I remember them very differently than she does, although they still have a punch even after all these years. I remember knowing that the first was a summary field execution of a Viet Cong fighter and, while it’s brutality made me flinch, for me it remains an image of how vicious the conflict between the different factions of Vietnamese was at that time. The message I took from the image of the girl was that naplam was being used as a weapon of terror. That remains the way I see those images.

    I am curious as to what the position is around here on media ownership; and how such media outlets as FOX, the various newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets of Rupert Murdoch, etc. fit the meme of the media as some vast left wing conspiracy set in motion by Stalin that continues to sow the seeds of anti-Americanism. Most of the outlets for what is generally deemed the MSM are in the hands of a dozen or so major conglomerates (AOL Time Warner, Disney, General Electric, et al). If there is a dominant bias in the media it is in favor of global corporatism, the status quo and those politicians in which they’ve heavily invested their lobbying budgets.

  73. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Chris.
    You misstate my position. Nobody I am aware of speaks of a conspiracy, although it has recently been discovered that the WaPo and NYT call each day to apprise each other of their front page stories, which, amazingly, frequently match.

    You don’t need a conspiracy if everybody is thinking the same in the first place.

    Example. On Pressthink, some months back, we kicked around the NYT’s mistake of “Purple Star” for “Purple Heart”. The journos all thought it was an innocent mistake. Since so few of the population are in the military, there’s no reason to think journalists should be aware of that arcane bit of military trivia. IOW, they were so far removed from real life they had no idea of how far they were removed from real life. Nor did they think such a howler should affect how people looked at them.

    This, after the layers of fact-checkers and hard-eyed editors.

    Examples abound.

    See the NYT on the criminal records of vets. It’s been sliced, diced, vivisected, dissected and debunked. Not only did they get it wrong, they must have done so deliberately. Anybody with internet access could have done the work. But the meme was too important.

    Anyway, Chris, next time you accuse somebody of thinking there’s a conspiracy, you’ll know you’re lying like a rug, and so will everybody else.

  74. Vince P Says:

    Chris White Says
    Truth and Vince P offer dueling partisan blog links, neither is likely to accept the other’s sources, let alone the reasoning behind their views.

    I couldnt find a link for Truth. I feel confident in my website (it’s not a blog).

    It’s a place for me to find reference material regarding Islam , framed in the context that the American stage/scale of this war’s likely name is the Islamo-American War , though I think of the overall war as the Third Islamic Global Jihad War.

    I strongly recommend the section on my home page called “Learn About Islam

    Islam 101 – Explains what Islam is exactly and how Muslims view their faith

    Historical Quotes about Islam

    What Americans Should Know About Jihad

    Islamic Mein Kampf

    Islamic Time Capsule – ISLAM in Time Magazine. 1923 – 1967 (See how Islam recovers from the destruction of the Caliphate)

  75. MartyH Says:

    I think my original post got eaten for too many links.

    Basically, I was trying to refute Mitsu’s “blue state good/red state bad” post above.

    If you are going to use stats to “prove” that being a liberal is better than being a conservative, (or visa versa) you do not do it by state. California is viewed as liberal, but large parts of it are conservative. The correct analysis would be rural vs. urban. Remember the red/blue maps by county after the 2004 election? That’s a good proxy for conservative/liberal split. I looked at murder rates for the fifty largest cities. Thirty seven were above the national average of 5.7 murders/100,000 residents.

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004902.html

    I glancd at forcible rape-it appeared that nine cities were below the national average.

    The obvious conclusion is that cities are more violent than rural areas.

    Finally, a note about Mass’s vaunted divorce rate. The marriage rate is fourth lowest in the country as well. People who don’t get married don;t get divorced. It does not mean that Mitsu is wrong; it just means that the data he cites does not support his conclusion.

  76. Gray Says:

    Gray offers a series of challenges that amount to asking why the press doesn’t offer simplistic and ideological views congruent with those of the neocons who congregate here.

    If my ideological views are based on facts and events I have personally observed, and if I ask why the media doesn’t present those facts and events truthfully, am I just asking the press to offer views congruent with mine? Or am I asking for truth?

    Say I saw a black cat in a window and I form a belief: “There’s a black cat in that house.”.

    Then I read a story in the paper that says “all the cats in that house are white”.

    Am I asking for the press to conform to my simplistic and ideological views if I say: “You guys are full of it, I think there is a black cat in there. I saw it!”

    Then, of course, some dope comes along on the internet who says: “You just want them to report that all cats are black ‘cuz you are a black cattist.”

    I argue: “No, I don’t believe all cats are black, I simply saw a black cat in the window of that house. They either haven’t told the whole story, they got it wrong, or they are lying ‘cuz they are white cattists.”

    Neither the press reports nor the internet dope change the basic facts of the event: I still saw a black cat in the window and therefore I still reasonably believe there is a black cat in that house.

    “It was a white cat and the Zionist Cabal in the White house painted it black: their army of occupation shot all the white cats….”

    “Black cats aren’t ‘black’ they are just very, very dark gray, meaning they are part white as well. Why can’t you neocons see the nuuuuuuuance? That was a dark gray cat you saw, so the press is right, the cats in there are white. If black cattists were in power, they would say it was black.”

    “Black cats are black ‘cuz they were roasted in hell.”

    “Black cats trap more solar heat in their fur and contribute to Global Warming. I am very, very concerned. Someone must ban the Greenhouse Cats.”

    Hahahahaha!

    I still saw a black cat in that window…..

  77. Beware the press with an agenda « Tizona’s Weblog Says:

    [...] If you’re old enough to remember Vietnam, you’ll remember seeing these photographs that Neoneocon describes. I remember them well, and at the time, I was upset but suspicious that we weren’t being [...]

  78. Ariel Says:

    I have personally experienced a newspaper lying its butt off to fit their agenda. I was accurately quoted, verbatim in fact, except that everything before and after was left off the quote. It gave the exact opposite meaning, which fit their agenda to a tee.

    I have also witnessed a death at a local river, a diving accident. The news account was so inaccurate that not even Rashamon could explain it.

    Both articles, the outright lying and the incredible, sloppy and lazy reporting, have left me nothing but cynical about reporters and their organizations.

  79. Danny Lemieux Says:

    Mitsu, with all due respect, you sound like someone tormented with a sore butt from way too much sitting on sharp fences. It’s good to try to see both sides of the issues but at some point one must draw a line in the sand and come to a conclusion. You’re not a fellow Episcopalian, are you?

  80. Pros and Cons » For those who keep saying there’s “no political progres in Iraq”, here is some countervailing consensus building, even as the kvetching continues Says:

    [...] starting to sound like a consensus to me. (Still don’t buy it? Scan this. This piece is especially worth reading by the historically or pop culture minded, if not directly on point, [...]

  81. Mitsu Says:

    >sharp fences

    Funny. I’m not an Episcopalian, but I have been following the controversies in your church. Quite interesting.

    >marriage rate is fourth lowest in the country

    Actually I looked into this. Yes, the marriage rate is low, but it turns out this is also a side effect of the low divorce rate (something which some conservative “debunkers” of the low divorce rate in Massachusetts failed to notice). That is to say, Massachusetts has a low “marriage rate” because people tend to get married only once. In fact, the percentage of the population which is married in Massachusetts is higher than average; more than, for example, Texas. The reason there are fewer weddings is simply because there are fewer second and third marriages.

    That is to say, Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country whether you measure it per capita or per married population. States with low divorce rates also have low “marriage” rates — because they have fewer second and third marriages. If you look at the rate of *first* marriages in Massachusetts it’s just as high as any of the red states.

  82. Mitsu Says:

    >draw a line in the sand

    And as for this — I do draw conclusions. They just don’t happen to always agree with one of the two major “sides” in this country. I happen to think both sides are right and wrong, at different times. The strange thing is — I like the fact that in a democracy, power tends to shift back and forth between the two sides. It doesn’t always produce the best policy, but it tends to self-correct mistakes made by either side, over time. That’s why, though I tend to support Democrats, I’m very glad that Republicans exist on the other side. The adversarial system works far better than a system in which one party has monopoly power, in my view.

  83. Ymarsakar Says:

    I’m not saying what he did was right, but you have to put yourself in his position.

    In the realm of propaganda impacts, the photo speaks more loudly and more often than the photographer that took the photo. No, “you don’t have to put youself in his position”. That’s the point. When people are given a choice, they go down the path of least resistance. The path of least resistance for enemy propaganda is the side that demoralizes their enemies and reinvigorates its allies. People want to believe horrible things about their side, because they fear it is true. And it is this fear that creates the path of least resistance for enemy propaganda to flow along. Half of America feared things were as bad as the photos implied. The other half of America wanted things to be as bad as the photos implied. Add them together and you get reality, altered by a system of warfare that used little to no actual munitions. If the range of a katana is up close and personal while the range on a sniper rifle is long ranged, then the ultimate in long distance weaponry would be thermonuclear MIRVs and propaganda operations.

    Another thing people should consider in relation to the ramifications of Vietnam is how many troops Vietnam would have sent to aide America in Iraq if America had not ran away from Vietnam and killed the Vietnamese from across the oceans. How many thousands of guerrilla veterans would Vietnam have provided so that American troops would not have had to relearn the lessons of insurgency and counter-insurgency with a price tally in the hundreds of fatalities and thousands of crippling injuries?

    It takes work to beat a man to death with a bat. It takes a lot less effort to kill a man with a ranged weapon like a firearm. It takes even less effort and skill to order the launch of a nuclear weapon in the US. Compared to all that, the number of people the Left killed by sitting back and drinking wine trumps almost every labor saving tool of violence around. Both Americans and Vietnamese fell and the Left didn’t even work up a sweat. They, the Left, don’t even need to do anything. It’s like blowing up a dam, just let the water drown all your enemies for you. Why go and do the work of beating them to death or shooting them. The VietCong goes to all the trouble of killing women and children, but it is the Left that has taken slaughtering civilians to new heights. It is the Left that creates new mass murderers and sociopaths every day, of ever year. Leftist ideology is the ultimate in labor saving killing. Their devotion to pacifism and peace has been so great that they have gone beyond the need to kill. They kill just by existing.

    That is top notch pacifism there.

    Palestinian terrorists had callously hidden among townspeople there, and the inevitable civilian casualties had been blamed by the media on the Israelis, who had actually exercised every possible diligence to prevent them.

    Sherman already told us to not turn our backs on reporters. They’re on the enemy’s side. Period. Those that aren’t on the enemy’s side, are very easy to discern from their compatriots. You can’t ignore someone just because he happens to be on the enemy’s side but isn’t carrying a firearm. Bush tried that and I wouldn’t recommend copying him.

    Other journalists who were not there, through assumption, sloppy work, or malice, have since reported that the attack was by US aircraft, and have further embellished the story with time.

    When you get paid by the enemy and have your destiny hitched to the enemy’s cart, you start to attempt to help the enemy. They are the ones that preserve your career now, after all. It is a natural human instinct to obey the boss.

    One reason why most reporters and almost all Leftists don’t find associating with the enemy a problem is due to the fact that Leftists have no honor. They have no conception of honor. The idea that there are innocents they should protect, an objective truth they should report, or that they have some kind of debt and loyalty owed to their own nation is preposterous to most Leftists. Honor is for the little people that will willing follow laws that disarm them and make them prey for predators. Honor is for people willing to follow the rules, something the Left has never believed in. They make their own rules.

    After all, thirty years had passed.

    Death does what governments are incompetent at. Which is censoring and covering up the truth. Dead men tell no tales, Neo. That goes double for dead women and children.

    The facts therein did not appear to be in much dispute.

    Propaganda has always focused on the interpretation of fact rather than the disputation of factual evidence. Much more efficient that way. It is not, after all, a court of law in which each side disputes the facts.

    All anyone has to do to render the context or facts meaningless is simply prevent the jury from hearing it. You can’t do that in a courtroom because courts have laws. Wars do not. There is no law or rule constraining the media in 2008, except their conscience. And we already know the media don’t have a conscience.

    Then the strangest feeling came over me. I don’t even have a word for it, although I usually can come up with words for emotions.

    Could be catharsis or epiphany.

    A sense of deep betrayal of a basic trust.

    The world starts spinning and your first instinct is to grab for a foundation, to get a grip on a changing and foreign world. Some people knowingly and willing grab for what they know to be false and a con game, simply because they want stability, any stability will do even a fantasy. Other people, like you Neo, go back to their core values and philosophical axioms, shedding all the derived bridges that lead to trust in Democrats or the media or other such things that have proven to be mirages. It is a desperate attempt to go back to basic foundations of what one knows to be true, in the face of so many things that have proven false and untrue.

    But they do it on both sides.-Mitsu

    Just because you sit on the sidelines and sell weapons to both sides doesn’t mean the media is the same.

    I simply am pointing out that the idea that the media are ALWAYS biased in the same direction is obviously false.

    That has nothing to do with the topic of the media’s allegiance to America’s enemies. Deception doesn’t mean you are biased towards one thing, that being things that are false. Deception also means you are biased towards the truth, truth that make good deception even better.

    Nothing you can say about which way the media “bias” is pointed towards, will do anything to offset the media’s allegiance to their own power and status. Fixing real problems should be a priority in your writings, Mitsu, somewhere. You’re always concerned about which way the wind is blowing; that’s not a nice priority to have when the cost is facilitating mass murderers and terrorists.

    You misrepresent Mitsu’s comments, which call for skepticism and balance-Chris

    The denial of the media’s support of America’s enemies and the denial of the number of American soldiers and foreign allies the media has killed is not really skepticism or balance.

    I remember knowing that the first was a summary field execution of a Viet Cong fighter and, while it’s brutality made me flinch, for me it remains an image of how vicious the conflict between the different factions of Vietnamese was at that time.

    I’m amazed that Leftists still think to this day that if they can only sit on the fence for just a little bit longer, that the blood on their hands will go away. American internal politics trumped Vietnamese viciousness in the end, for it was only American internal politics that killed far more than the Vietnamese ever could have by themselves. There’s only so much you can do before that glaring circumstance comes back to the fore. Whatever viciousness you saw in the Vietnamese, Chris, it was nothing compared to what was going on in your mind and the minds of your compatriots.

    You don’t need a conspiracy if everybody is thinking the same in the first place.

    A team doesn’t need to have daily 1 hour meetings to be able to work together either. In fact, not meeting all that often would actually help teamwork.

    In the end, perhaps Mitsu will finally figure out which direction the arrow of destiny is pointing, thus allowing Mitsu to make his pragmatic choice between good and evil and Mitsu’s inbetween compromise. And then Chris can realize that a general’s decision to execute an executioner so that future women and children of his officers will stay alive, for Chris’ benefit of course, is a decision eclipsed by the number of executions the Left decided was proper for the Vietnamese.

    That remains the way I see those images.-Chris

    The ability to ignore propaganda operations must be a nice way of not having to deal with being vulnerable to propaganda.

    If there is a dominant bias in the media it is in favor of global corporatism

    George Soros, Warren Buffet, and all the other funders of Leftist trust funds are only some examples of why global corporatism is Leftist and anti-capitalist in nature. The UN itself is the perfect example of a world reaching corporation, and you almost can’t get any farther to the Left, at least in terms of government corruption and oppression.

    The history has already been told of big companies willingly seeking to be part of government regulations, so that upstart small time competitors are bankrupted by the new regulations and legal fees that big corporations have no trouble handling.

  84. Fred Says:

    “A sense of deep betrayal of a basic trust.”

    This is understood to be perhaps the single most important thing in politics. This is why they picked the slogan “Bush lied — people died”.

    My own first sense of betrayal was learning that President Johnson had simply lied when he said that the treaty of 1954 guaranteed a free and independent South Vietnam. When I learned that, I began to listen to the Communist side as well as the US government.

    The things that misled you were the media, not the official statements of the Communists, who apparently knew enough to stick to what could be verified. It’s been a long time and I’m no longer so sure of this. If anybody has facts to contradict this, I’d like to know.

    In practical terms, the purpose of political parties and ideologies is to pick in advance who you can trust, so you don’t have go investigate all th eissues in detail.

    The only way to avoid betrayal is to avoid trusting whole parties and ideologies, and be more independent. The consequence is that one more often has to say “I don’t know”.

  85. Chris White Says:

    Ymasakar, without any offering any objective evidence, begins from the position that reporters “are on the enemy’s side. Period.” When he speaks of “the enemy” he seems to be talking about some kind of on going, centrally directed, international force that directs all ‘leftists’ to follow. This strikes me as both anachronistic and paranoid.

    He further states, “you get paid by the enemy and have your destiny hitched to the enemy’s cart, you start to attempt to help the enemy.” While he points to George Soros and Warren Buffet, the paychecks of very few reporters get paid by Soros and Buffet, rather they’re paid by General Electric, Disney, AT&T, Sony and so on. Does this mean that GE, Disney et al are actually fronts for the anti-American international Left?

    Apparently it does since Ymasakar offers his intriguing and contrarian analysis that “global corporatism is Leftist and anti-capitalist in nature. This turns upside down the opinions of nearly everyone who has ever ventured one, from any position on the right/left spectrum, regarding the relationship between global corporations and capitalism. I sincerely doubt, for example, that Bill Kristol or Dick Cheney would agree that global corporations are anti-capitalist.

    I wonder whether any of those commenting here heard any of the two evening series by Terry Gross on her NPR program Fresh Air this week in which she interviewed military leaders, prominent Iraqis, journalists and policy analysts — asking whether and when America should get out of Iraq and how we should do it; probably not, because NPR is dismissed out of hand here as a leftist propaganda machine.

    I listened and heard what each of the following had to say; Lt. Col. John Nagl, (commander of the 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Div.), Ali Allawi (former Iraqi government official), Gen. Sir Michael Rose (commander of the U.N. Protection Force in Bosnia in the 90′s who called for Blair’s impeachment), Kanan Makiya (Iraqi-born professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern studies at Brandeis University who called for Saddam’s removal and advised the Bush administration before the invasion), Peter Galbraith (former U.S. ambassador to Croatia and a senior diplomatic fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation), Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (chief of staff for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a critic of the Bush administration since leaving the State Department), Carl Conetta (co-director for the Project on Defense Alternatives, a defense-policy think tank), William Kristol (editor of The Weekly Standard, and a prominent neoconservative intellect), Yanar Mohammed (Baghdad-born activist and director of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq), and Lawrence Wright (a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine who sits on the Council on Foreign Relations).

    Now, this to me is excellent journalism. Ms. Gross offered knowledgeable individuals with a wide range of opinions an opportunity to express their views in a context that enables listeners to compare and contrast the various positions. Isn’t this what we want from a free press?

  86. Vince P Says:

    Terri Gross is a far-left hack. How you could suffer through all those interviews.. good god.

    Last timeI listned to her was maybe about a year after the war. And she had on some of the original planners .. she treated them with such a contempt and antaganism, it was beneath anyone..

  87. Huan Says:

    nice post.

    the media tends to want to think for us.
    we are all better off thinking for ourselves.
    no wonder trust in the media continues to dive.

  88. Chris White Says:

    Vince P – So what Ali Allawi, William Kristol, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, and the others had to say isn’t the point? Two hours of diverse voices having the opportunity to give their opinions on this important topic is dismissed because you have a bad opinion of Terry Gross. I take it you prefer Bill (Shut up!!!) O’Reilly’s calm and fair interviewing style. The problem does not seem to be with the guests, nor the divergent views they offered, rather it seems to be that you find anything in the press expressing other than uncritical support for whatever official statements come from the White House qualifies as leftist propaganda.

  89. Vince P Says:

    What I’m saying is.. I have no interest in a forum where the ‘moderator’ is ideologically strident. And I dont trust her. She’s a bitch when she wants to be.

    If I want to know what Allawi thinks I’ll buy his book that I been thinking of buying. If I want to know what W Kirstol thinks I’ll go to his articles. Etc.

    I’m sure you found the program interesting.. I’m sure it was. I probably shouldn’t have chimed in with my negativity… I have TGDS.

  90. Chris White Says:

    Vince, you say I have no interest in a forum where the ‘moderator’ is ideologically strident. Does that include Limbaugh, Hannity, Stossel and O’Reilly? Or do you only find people you identify as from the far left ‘ideologically strident’? As for me, Amy Goodman is an ‘ideologically strident’ leftist whose style of interviewing and typical guests make me reach for the salt shaker (as in taking what I hear withmore than a pinch of salt). This scepticism goes for O’Reilly et al from the opposite side of the spectrum. Terry Gross, Jim Lerher and so on have always seemed most concerned with drawing out whatever their guests have to say and allowing listener/viewers to draw their own conclusions. Perhaps that is what you find so troublesome, that they allow different voices on their shows and listener/viewers to draw their own conclusions.

  91. Vince P Says:

    >Does that include Limbaugh, Hannity, Stossel and O’Reilly?

    I dont have a TV (no cable) and I don’t listen to Limbaugh.

    In any case, those are opinion shows. Terri Gross is purported to be an interview show .. it’s not about the host. She gets nasty when she’s interviewing people she doesn’t like.

    >. Perhaps that is what you find so troublesome, that they allow different voices on their shows and listener/viewers to draw their own conclusions.

    LOL.. Yeah that’s the reason. Whatever you say.

  92. Benny, Jonah, Jenna & Narratives - more hot links | The Anchoress Says:

    [...] range? Neo-neocon researched the stories behind those two powerful images and discovered they did not actually involve America at all…but that’s not the narrative around them. As I read the article about the photos, I [...]

  93. John Cunningham Says:

    A year or two ago, Time or Newseek ran an article about a Vietnamese Communist spy who had so infiltrated and
    manipulated the MSM that the MSM was doing the propaganda work of our enemy. This is a Communist tactic of the first order. I don’t mean to sound paranoid,
    but behind every political lie is a Communist fomenting
    anarchy, revolution and a chance to spread their gospel.

  94. Chris White Says:

    Talk about a mind being a difficult thing to change.

    I listen to a two part series exploring whether and when a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq should take place on Terry Gross’s program. She presents a series of one on one interviews with the list of guests found in one of my comments above. Kristol made the case for a permanent presence in Iraq; Allawi for eventual withdrawal, but at a date uncertain; Yanar Mohammed wants to see withdrawal begin immediately and offered a cogent and compelling case that sees the increased sectarian divisions and rise in Islamist militancy in Iraq as a direct although unintended consequence of the occupation … and on it went through each guest.

    I’d be happy to accept precise figures offered by someone with a stopwatch but of the two hours of air time (less the roughly ten minutes or so of intros, outros, and music bumpers) Gross might have used ten to fifteen minutes asking questions and engaged in conversational give and take. That leaves 90 minutes or so shared by ten people worth listening to on this important topic.

    Even if Terry Gross had been a leftist bitch, caustic and dismissive of Kristol and a fawning sycophant with Yanar Mohammed … and she most assuredly was not … what would that matter? Isn’t the point of an interview program to present guests and offer them a platform from which to present their opinions? Listen, one after the other, to ten views that cover the full spectrum and then be able to think about the issue and make up one’s own mind; isn’t that exactly what Neo says she wants from the media?

  95. Vince P Says:

    Helllo Chris… I’m not dismissing all the great people she interviewed.. I reject being enticed to the views of those people due to their being packaged by Terri Gross. I know what most of these people already think.. just bcause I didn’t get it packaged to me via NPR doesn’t mean I haven’t been exposed to them. I dont know why you assume that just becaue I dont like Terri Gross then I am automatically shutting off my mind to anyone she interviews? All I’m saying is, I dont need her to get to the ideas of the people.. especially the biased and in some cases, belligerent way she interacts.

  96. Ymarsakar Says:

    When he speaks of “the enemy” he seems to be talking about some kind of on going, centrally directed, international force that directs all ‘leftists’ to follow.

    I’m not in a position where I have to explain why the Democrat party supports slavery and KKK lynchings in the Civil War, but then suddenly supported Civil Rights in the 20th century. Leftists are tools to be used, first by the Soviets and now by the Islamic JIhad, the ideological children of fascism and communism. There are a lot of international forces going on, Chris, and there is no single conglomeration that can control all of them at any one time. Lemmings can’t be controlled so much as directed where to go and suicide.

    Does this mean that GE, Disney et al are actually fronts for the anti-American international Left?

    Supposedly Bush, elected officials in Congress, and the American people pay the paychecks of bureacrats. Does this mean that bureacrats serve Congress, Bush, or the American people just because they owe their jobs to such? The logic demands a yes from you, Chris, but yes is not the right answer.

    This turns upside down the opinions of nearly everyone who has ever ventured one, from any position on the right/left spectrum, regarding the relationship between global corporations and capitalism.

    When you are arguing a subject the way the Leftist propaganda machine wants you to, then you are in a no win situation. If you deny Leftist propaganda, you are seen as defensive and suspicious. If you don’t deny Leftist propaganda, people are convinced you are guilty anyways simply because they hear more negative news about you than positive. Turning the entire philosophical foundation upside down is the only way of defeating insurgents. Getting out of a no win situation should be a priority for the US in her fight with her enemies, both internal and external.

    I sincerely doubt, for example, that Bill Kristol or Dick Cheney would agree that global corporations are anti-capitalist.

    You actually expect us to believe that Kristol or Cheney’s opinions are something you use to justify your positions, Chris? Doesn’t that make you a political equal opportunity arms seller? I mean, seriously, after all the talk of Dick Cheney and Haliburton, you are going to use the statements and beliefs of your target victim as a way to justify why you are right? The Left rails against global corporations that are capitalistic and supports global corporations that are anti-capitalistic. So Cheney and his relationships to his business associates do not really support your side’s way of viewing the world, Chris.

    In reply to your comment about interviews, propaganda is not about crossfire or debate. There may be a good reason why you think propaganda is absent or present because some interview you saw had a multisectional outlook, but that’s a reason you are going to have to find, not us, Chris.

    Now, this to me is excellent journalism.

    And for all I care, it can stay excellent journalism since propaganda operations do not require everyone to be on board. Just as terrorism and guerrilla warfare does not require the support of everyone in the indigenous target population.

    The excuse the journalists use to report bad news, such as bombings, is that regardless of all the positive stuff that goes on, a negative news item sells and is “new” and is full of impact. Why should a different standard apply to journalistic malfeasance, corruption, and incompetence? Why should their so called “positives” be used as justification for why their negatives don’t exist? Why should even their few saving graces cover up for their vices? They don’t use such a standard of behavior and ethics against the media’s enemies, opponents, and target audience. Is it simply convenient to give criminals and terrorists what they never would have given their victims, is that how it is, Chris?

  97. galensmark Says:

    OK…I’m way late
    Just found your site today (hat tip Dr. Sanity).
    Ne, I’ma Vietnam veteran (68), and this is the greatest articulation of the inaccurate perceptions, created by the American media, I have ever seen anywhere. Made me weep.
    Thank you and God bless you.

  98. Truth Says:

    I listen to a two part series exploring whether and when a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq

    Read the answer

  99. Chris White Says:

    A key element in the overarching story of Neo’s change of mind, her passage from liberal to neo-conservative, is the close minded, quasi-religious, unwillingness of her overlapping personal and professional liberal cohorts to accept her changing views. She found herself subject to ridicule or being shunned for having the temerity to entertain views that ran counter to their own.

    As someone who considers himself an independent (admittedly a progressive one), who has never belonged to a political party and who finds it more productive to seek out different views rather than stay in a comfort zone where everyone is in agreement, I was happy to discover Neo’s blog. I presumed at first that since she was once a liberal and had been disappointed by the narrow minded insistence on conformity of thought she found among her former cohort that this would be a setting in which ideas of all sorts and diverse opinions could be offered within a context of respectful give and take.

    I was soon disabused of that Utopian notion. Rather this venue seems more and more to me home to a neoconservative mirror image of the censorious and rigidly orthodox liberal group Neo left behind. I suspect that it is, if anything, even more vicious and extreme than the social and professional circles Neo fled due to the freedom allowed by the relatively impersonal and anonymous nature of the blog format versus actual face-to-face social encounters. Any comment that presents a view that does not absolutely reinforce that of the group is quickly set upon and attacked for stupidity or cupidity, for being a dupe or a traitor.

    Here Neo has offered as a piece of the story of her conversion the very different reactions she had to a pair of iconic images from the Vietnam era at the time of their original appearance and then after thirty years when she was well into her change of mind. She goes on to use this experience to ask, in effect, why the press did not make her see the images when they first appeared the same way she sees them now. Whether the images initially appeared in conjunction with printed articles that placed them in context is forgotten or ignored, as are the different ways people saw and interpreted them based on their own views of the war at the time. The images took on a life of their own after they were first published and have accumulated layer upon layer of different meanings and uses through the years that further obscure their original context.

    So now these images and Neo’s original way of seeing them, contrasted with her current interpretation of them, are offered to indict the press for reporting on current events in the Middle East in ways that the most strident voices here deem traitorous because they do not reinforce the narrative that supporters of a hard line toward the Arab Middle East want to see from coverage of events there. Despite the way on going coverage by “the press” brings to light specific errors or deliberate distortions when they do occur; despite the willingness of “the press” to being embedded with troops in Iraq rather than covering events independently; despite “the press” accepting what is essentially censorship in areas such as the prohibition on showing flag draped coffins; and most critically despite the width and depth of the spectrum of views that one can find in “the press” … nevertheless many of the comments here seem to deem “the press” nothing more or less than the monolithoic propaganda arm of some vast international leftist effort to crush America.

    It may only take one therapist to change a light bulb, but the bulb has to want to change. Around here there are far too many bulbs militantly opposed to change and they’ll relentlessly attack anyone who threatens to bring a different perspective to the conversation.

  100. Vince P Says:

    So now these images and Neo’s original way of seeing them, contrasted with her current interpretation of them, are offered to indict the press for reporting on current events in the Middle East in ways that the most strident voices here deem traitorous because they do not reinforce the narrative that supporters of a hard line toward the Arab Middle East want to see from coverage of events there.

    Not quite. We just want the truth to be reported , or minimally, sought.

    The Press has the tendency to believe whatever tall tale the arab-side tells them and reports it uncritically as fact.

    This was especially true during the Second israel-lebanon war. There’s a whole record of photos being doctored, dead bodies being staged, the same woman having her house be destroyed almost every day (and always a new house).

    It happens in Iraq when Wire Services hire local arabs who then feed the Wire Service enemy propganda that gets put into the nightly news.

    And I reject your notion of “narrative”… There’s the facts and there’s spin. I dont have a narrative in the middle east. I may have a narrative about what I want to happen in the future, but there is no narrative about the past.

    Time after time the press has discovered that stories they put as true becauase the arabs told them so have turned out to be false. I cant think of any examples of this done by the Israeli side (unless there’s some action taken by their secret or special forces)

    Despite the way on going coverage by “the press” brings to light specific errors or deliberate distortions when they do occur; despite the willingness of “the press” to being embedded with troops in Iraq rather than covering events independently; despite “the press” accepting what is essentially censorship in areas such as the prohibition on showing flag draped coffins; and most critically despite the width and depth of the spectrum of views that one can find in “the press” … nevertheless many of the comments here seem to deem “the press” nothing more or less than the monolithoic propaganda arm of some vast international leftist effort to crush America.

    That’s your own bizarre extrapolition , evidence of the way you perceive conservatives think. which is to say you think conservatives think the way letists do.

    Wrong.

  101. Israpundit » Blog Archive » Media distortion driven by agenda Says:

    [...] of the Beast comments on this question and links to an article by Neo-Neocon who does [...]

  102. Bob Agard Says:

    Marvelous writing. I have linked to it and your post about diplomacy.

  103. Ymarsakar Says:

    She goes on to use this experience to ask, in effect, why the press did not make her see the images when they first appeared the same way she sees them now.

    The difference between you and her is that she isn’t conducting a propaganda operation, she is communicating. You’re conducting a propaganda operation, Chris, in order to convince people of your views, which you never openly state.

    As another nail in the coffin of the wrongness of Chris tm, we have this post about big government and local business.

    I’m a big Amazon user. I think it’s a lazy guy thing. I know what I want, I don’t want to window shop at the mall or go to the hassle of actually driving and parking and wandering around in the mall lost (and I don’t even have any kids). What really got me using Amazon big time though, was their Amazon Prime program where you pay $79 a year for free shipping on everything sold by Amazon (though not some third party sellers). It’s simply a great site, great idea, and has completely revolutionized the way I shop.

    France, however, doesn’t see it the same way. Michael talked about France’s aversion to capitalism and the free market a few days ago, and now we see it in action. France has declared free shipping illegal. In 1981 France passed a law making it illegal for book sellers to offer more than 5% discount on the list price, (who wants big discounts on books right?). This was done to protect French book stores from competition from supermarkets and other new retailers. Amazon.fr has run into trouble with their offering free shipping on orders of €20 or over (it’s $25 in the US), and a court has ruled that this violates their protectionist law.

    The world is turned upside down just for you, Chris.

    Link

    So now these images and Neo’s original way of seeing them, contrasted with her current interpretation of them, are offered to indict the press for reporting on current events in the Middle East in ways that

    You already know that you are the one using these images to indict Neo’s words, Chris. Stop pretending here and start being a conscientious propagandist.

  104. Danny Lemieux Says:

    I, for one, appreciate your postings, Chris. They offer great insights into your world view which I truly do try to understand.

    And, as a neo-conservative, I actually love watching WTTW’s Jim Lehrer news hour, to your earlier points, and I have heard many good news reports on NPR.

    It doesn’t mean that I agree with these points of view, many of which I consider extremely destructive to humankind.

    I can enjoy reading your points of view, but it does not give you a pass – if I (we) disagree, we can be outspoken about that. I have a question for you – why is it that Liberals seem so certain that “being reasonable” is meeting someone half way? We’re not dealing with school ground politics, here. If you keep redrawing and erasing lines in the sands of your beliefs to be “reasonable”, you won’t have anything left with which to reason. It’s OK to stick for your beliefs, but you should be willing to stand up and defend them rather than take umbrage whenever you are challenged.

  105. Chris White Says:

    You’re conducting a propaganda operation, Chris, in order to convince people of your views, which you never openly state.

    My first comment in this thread clearly states my views on this topic. I recounted my own memory of the Vietnam images from the time of their publication and how I see them today. I said that I think, “If there is a dominant bias in the media it is in favor of global corporatism, the status quo and those politicians in which they’ve heavily invested their lobbying budgets.” ['they' referring to the corporate owners of major media outlets]

    Later I used the example of a recent Terry Gross series as an example of how one can easily find in the media knowledgeable individuals discussing important matters (in this case Iraq) from different perspectives enabling one to make up their own mind about those topics. I also referenced media figures from each side of the political divide that I mistrust and from whom I do not expect to get facts, only ideological spin.

    In short, my view is that I reject the position that there is a monolithic “Press” that is leftist or anti-American and dedicated to disseminating propaganda to those ends. This does not mean that I presume all of the press is unbiased and I am well aware that certain journalists and publications have political agendas. It is rather that I see in the vast number of media options available exactly what one would hope for in a free and independent press, which is enough diversity that one can discern fact from spin and make up one’s own mind on important issues.

    You may (and obviously do) have a different opinion, which is just fine. It is disingenuous, however, to claim I’m ‘conducting a propaganda operation’ just because my views differ from those you or Neo or anyone else here holds.

  106. OBloodyhell Says:

    > Trimegistus Says:
    January 16th, 2008 at 5:37 pm
    I’ve never quite understood why journalists turned en masse to such a stridently anti-American stance forty years ago, and have remained stuck there so long since.
    The idea of a conscious conspiracy directed from Moscow or wherever is silly — except that I honestly can’t think of any other explanation which makes sense.

    I often wondered, myself, about this. Then I read an excellent history piece in American Heritage:
    WHAT WE LOST IN THE GREAT WAR
    I recommend reading it, then realize, if you look back at it, that, after WWI, all liberals turned on The West (and America, as the be-all end-all of Western Culture).

    Before that, liberals did not hate the West. H.G.Wells, the epitome of pre-WWI liberals, even forsaw that wars would happen in The Time Machine — but somehow, when confronted with the reality, they turned against their culture, and lost all perspective. Certainly the Depression didn’t help, either — it solidified a set of attitudes which might have faded away without the amplification the Depression provided.

    …But it’s all this massive, vile hangover from WWI.

    My U.S. $.02 — and worth every pfennig.

  107. OBloodyhell Says:

    harry9000 Says:

    January 16th, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Journey…heh heh heh…

    cue Starwars Darth Vader theme…

    From the precursor statement, as long as you don’t queue up “Oh, Cherie” followed by “The Theme from Bevis and Butthead”, I’m down wit’ dat.

    (8oP

    .

  108. Vince P Says:

    You should read “Cube and the Cathedral”.. it’s premise is that the shocks of WW-I destablized Europe to such an extent that people turned away from everything that represetned the previous order, including religion. In the Europe that organized itself after WW-II, religion is replaced by welfare secular state.

    This loss of faith and other things has led to the situation where the Euro populations aren’t even at replacement level fertility rates, and that Europe will probably not survive the tidal wave of Muslim immigrants hellbent on preserving Muslim way of life.

  109. Vince P Says:

    OBloodyhell : I just finished reading the link you gave.. that’s a agreat article.

    It pretty much conforms with what I said in my last comment. in 1992 when your piece was written i dont think anyone realized the demographic collapse that was imminent.

  110. Chris White Says:

    The 1992 American Heritage article is indeed an excellent read. I wonder, however, if I read it the same way as others here. Somehow, I suspect we might not. The conclusion with its four lessons is quite compelling.

    “Before the war Westerners believed not only in the superiority of Western culture but in the innate superiority of the white race … The Great War taught us that all human beings are equally human: equally frail and equally sublime.”

    “The second lesson … was to hammer home forever the truth first uttered by William Tecumseh Sherman thirty-five years earlier. “I am tired and sick of war,” the great general said in 1879. “Its glory is all moonshine.… War is hell.” … If wars have been fought since, they have been fought by people who suffered few illusions about war’s glory.”

    “The third lesson is that in a technological age, war between the Great Powers cannot be won in anything but a Pyrrhic sense. In the stark phraseology of the accountant, war is no longer even remotely cost-effective.”

    “The final lesson is that it is very easy in a technological age for war to become inevitable. … This all too vividly demonstrated fact has induced considerable caution in the world’s statesmen ever since—if not, alas, in its madmen.”

    The question then becomes, are we at risk of forgetting, or perhaps I should say unlearning, these lessons. Does anachronistic nostalgia for the vanished age of Edith Wharton lead to longing for a return to the days when Westerners believed themselves and their race superior? If the comments here that focus on “the loss of faith” and the tidal wave Muslims are any indicator I’d say the lesson that “all human beings are equally human” is being lost.

    Gen. Sherman has been quoted here regarding his opinion on newspapermen. Does his take on war itself hold a similar place of honor here?

    If we believe the rhetoric that we are in the beginning phase of a grand, existential struggle with the Muslim world ought we not ask whether either side can win it “in anything but a Pyrrhic sense”?

    The final lesson about the speed and ease with which we can make a war inevitable, with its approval of the ‘considerable caution of statesmen’ and warning about madmen seems to be the lesson we most need to relearn, and quickly.

  111. The Return of the Twisted Spinster » Everything you know is wrong Says:

    [...] tale of two photos. Even now, with the truth about the Vietnam War trickling ever so slowly out into the world, [...]

  112. Sally Says:

    There’s no question the “Great War” changed the West profoundly, but I doubt it should still be blamed for the ongoing hostility to, or subversion of, such Western values as individualism, capitalism, industrialism, etc. that continues to afflict our “liberal” elites and their mass of sheep-like followers like CW here. No, that’s rooted in a far more sinister set of contrary values and cultural/psychological afflictions. To see how perverted those have become, consider the four “lessons” the author has drawn, and then CW’s illustrative spin:

    The Great War taught us that all human beings are equally human: equally frail and equally sublime.

    - Whether or not it actually taught that, what it certainly did not teach was that all cultures or ideologies are equal, as our contemporary liberal relativists would have.

    … [wars that have been fought since the Great War] have been fought by people who suffered few illusions about war’s glory

    - True enough, and that includes our present war in Iraq — which is quite a different matter from the blind and potentially disastrous hostility to that war displayed by so many liberal leaders and followers.

    The third lesson is that in a technological age, war between the Great Powers cannot be won in anything but a Pyrrhic sense.

    Irrelevant to the present conflict, of course, except in the sense that occasionally even a Pyrrhic victory is preferable to abject defeat and submission — a sense that is altogether lost within the cowardly confines of so much current liberal culture.

    The final lesson is that it is very easy in a technological age for war to become inevitable. … This all too vividly demonstrated fact has induced considerable caution in the world’s statesmen ever since—if not, alas, in its madmen.

    - And, again, regardless of the origin of this “lesson”, there has indeed been “considerable caution” demonstrated by our own statesmen, including both our previous and current Presidents — a “caution” which is all the more impressive in the context of the sweating fear, the contemptible opportunism, and the cut-and-run policies of our current liberal Congress.

    So when CW speaks of lessons “we” need to re-learn, he’s really just speaking for himself and his ilk.

  113. Chris White Says:

    Sally once again uses me as a screen onto which she projects her distorted vision of all the ills she attributes to liberals and ‘The Left’. As someone who has never been a member of a political party and has run his own business for over twenty years I hardly reject individualism, (small “c”) capitalism or industrialism.

    It is true that I do not accept these ideals uncritically, understanding that each of these virtues becomes a vice if allowed without checks or balance to advance to their absolute limits. Individualism in the extreme becomes anarchy destroying all societies and cultures, even the very culture Sally reveres. While I am a strong advocate for capitalism, I think the form it takes among quasi-sovereign mega corporations is well on the way towards capitalism’s negative absolute limit, that of de facto monopolies viewing the planet and all its peoples merely as the raw materials from which to extract the maximum profit in the shortest time for elite investors. This is related to industrialism; we are materially far better off than our ancestors by virtue of industry, but in certain specifics it goes well past its optimum, such as when machines advance to the scale that, for example, the mountains of West Virginia can … and are … being leveled to extract all their coal while simultaneously polluting the land and destroying the culture and health of the people in the region.

    Sally repeats the final line of the first lesson about all humans being equally human, then notes that she is not convinced of this lesson and goes on to obliquely aver the superiority of Western culture; at least she is careful to avoid the topic of race.

    As for the next three points about war she turns the author’s lessons on their heads. It has often been noted here that Iraq is not THE WAR, but rather a single battlefield in what neo-conservative elites have set forth as a global, existential, long war. Her pejoratives are all directed at those who question whether there can be an effective military solution to the related (yet ultimately very separate) problems of terrorism and radical fundamentalism among Muslims.

    I am curious whether Sally read the linked article or just the quotes from it in the comments. As I said previously, I have doubts whether everyone who posts comments here would read the article in the same way. I ask that because of how it relates to Neo’s topic here, the media. Virtually any journalism that goes beyond reporting a single, simple, fact … ‘there was a suicide bombing yesterday outside a Sunni mosque in Baghdad’ … becomes subject to interpretations and will probably be understood differently depending on the mindset of the person hearing it. I imagine even this simple sample ‘fact’ will be understood very differently by a Sunni woman, an American soldier or an Iraqi diplomat.

  114. Cold Fury Says:

    A warning…

    Seeing shouldn’t necessarily be believing:
    A bunch of unrelated pieces of information that had previously seemed disconnected and chaotic had suddenly fallen into place like the pieces of a puzzle and formed an image I could now read.
    This image …

  115. Sally Says:

    And CW once again tries his familiar old tactic of watering down any idea to the point of odorless, tasteless banality, and then pretending that he’s saying anything at all. You might think of it as a kind of Goldilocks version of “thought” — everything should be not too hot, not too cold, not too individualist, not too collectivist, etc., but instead everything should be — wait for it — just right! What an insight, huh?

    In fact, of course, this is simply what marks the likes of CW as the sheep, as opposed to the sheep dogs who herd them and keep them in line. Having no real ideas or principles of his own, other than the “just right” principle (the “optimum”!), he can only repeat whatever his bien pensant media chatter, consoling himself that, well, at least he’s not “extreme”. And he isn’t, of course — that kind of neither-one-nor-the-other-nor-anything is too superficial and trivial to matter much from any perspective.

    Oh, and re: Sally repeats the final line of the first lesson about all humans being equally human, then notes that she is not convinced of this lesson and goes on to obliquely aver the superiority of Western culture; at least she is careful to avoid the topic of race.
    – all you can say is that his reading comprehension must have itself been severely damaged by his diet of intellectual pablum. What I actually noted was that I was skeptical of the notion that the Great War itself had much to do with this lesson, self-styled “liberals”, “progressives”, and Democrats in particular being noted racists both before and after it. And I certainly didn’t mean to be “oblique” in averring the superiority of Western culture — it was, after all, one of the principle themes of the essay itself, as even someone with impaired comprehension should have noticed.

  116. Ymarsakar Says:

    If we believe the rhetoric that we are in the beginning phase of a grand, existential struggle with the Muslim world ought we not ask whether either side can win it “in anything but a Pyrrhic sense”?

    You should ask yourself why you think Sherman fighting in the Civil War made a Pyrrhic victory.

    My first comment in this thread clearly states my views on this topic.

    Dodge. Your views are about Neo’s validity and correctness, not about what you thought of those photos.

    This topic is not your topic, I recognize. Your topic is how your analysis is corrrect concerning Neo and whoever else you include in your target bracketing.

    In short, my view is that I reject the position that there is a monolithic “Press” that is leftist or anti-American and dedicated to disseminating propaganda to those ends.

    Is an American Marine dedicated to warfare and causing people to die and suffer, Chris? Is that what you think organizations are dedicated to? No, what the press are dedicated to is truth, credibility, power, status, and respect. What they do is similar to what the UN does, in terms of how it relates to their stated goals and dedicated standards. Don’t try to confuse the issue about what the Press does with what they claim they are doing. Or even what you claim they are doing.

    t is rather that I see in the vast number of media options available exactly what one would hope for in a free and independent press

    Microsoft also has numerous number of “options” for you too, Chris. If you buy into that kind of advertisement, that’s your loss.

    So instead of determining whether the press is informing the American people about the truth, you look at the number of media options and say “case closed”. Must be easy to solve problems in your head, Chris.

    which is enough diversity that one can discern fact from spin

    You’re making the assumption that you can discern fact from propaganda, Chris. And you can’t.

    [I am not] conducting a propaganda operation-Chris

    You act like you don’t know what a propaganda operation is. Did you really buy into the propaganda about propaganda?

    Let me remind you of something your brain rejected as inconsistent with reality.

    She goes on to use this experience to ask, in effect, why the press did not make her see the images when they first appeared the same way she sees them now.-Chris White

    Who is this she? Is it the photographer of the photos that is ostensibly the “subject” of this post? No, it is Neo. She goes on to use this experience to ask what Chris says she is asking. That’s called propaganda, in that you are seeking to manipulate data points and facts to produce an interpretation favorable to your team, Chris. And your team would have to be your ideological preconceptions and prejudices.

    Neo’s not asking that the press make Neo realize what she now realizes, that would be contradictory to the press’s objectives on hurting America for people to realize that this is one of the media’s top goals. Your interpretation of Neo’s viewpoint is skewed because of your propaganda operation, Chris. You are interested more in distortion than actually understanding what Neo is communicating.

    The only notable question Neo would have asked the press is why didn’t the press emphasize the context for these photos, to ensure that people remembered the story behind the picture instead of the picture. It wasn’t as if people would have forgotten the picture if there were words that came with it.

    Propaganda and comprehension of what people think and mean are contradictory actions, Chris, in case you didn’t notice. When you are seeking to comprehend and understand, you cannot also be propagandizing.

    Then the strangest feeling came over me. I don’t even have a word for it, although I usually can come up with words for emotions.

    This was a new feeling. The best description I can come up with is that it was a regret so intense it morphed seamlessly into guilt, as though I were responsible for something terrible, though I didn’t know exactly what.

    Your reasons for thinking Neo is asking for the Press to “make her see the images when they first appeared the same way she sees them now” is not legit. Do you really expect Neo to want the press to provide her the experiences she had a few years ago back when she was living during Vietnam?

  117. Vince P Says:

    I found Hillary’s Wellesly’s Thesis, which is about her then-idol Saul Alinsky.

    http://gopublius.com/hillary-clintons-wellesley-thesis/

    The ideas she expressed should alarm everyone. Her desire for power for its own sake… and how she believes that she must create divisiveness to achieve her goals. Who does she think she ? The Clintons are poison.

    American Thinker has done a great job analysing this:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/01/hillarys_oedipal_problem.html (small excerpt):

    While Hillary’s father was a fervently anti-Communist Goldwater Republican, at Wellesley College, Saul Alinsky, a Marxist radical, became Hillary’s father substitute. Switching from a Goldwater Republican to Saul Alinsky was her way of breaking with her real father and rejecting her younger self. She wrote:

    BEGIN QUOTE
    “My senior year at Wellesley would further test and articulate my beliefs. For my thesis I analyzed the work of a Chicago native and community organizer named Saul Alinsky”
    END QUOTE

    Hillary’s thesis was titled, “There is only the Fight, An Analysis of the Alinsky model” (italics added)

    As she wrote:

    BEGIN QUOTE

    “If the ideals Alinsky espouses were actualized, the result would be social revolution.

    “The key word for an Alinsky-type organizing effort is ‘power.’ The question is how one acquires power, and Alinsky’s answer is through organization… For Alinsky, power is the ‘very essence of life, the dynamic of life’ and is found in ‘…active citizen participation pulsing upward providing a unified strength for a common purpose of organization….’” (P. 7-8)
    END QUOTE

    What is the “social revolution” Hillary and the radicals-cum-insiders want? Hillary doesn’t want to merely make law or implement policy; she wants to re-shape humanity in her own image. She explains:

    BEGIN QUOTE

    “A radical is one who advocates sweeping changes in the existing laws and methods of government. These proposed changes are aimed at the roots of political problems which in Marxian terms are the attitudes and the behaviors of men.” (p. 6)

    “Alinsky: ‘In order to organize, you must first polarize. People think of controversy as negative; they think consensus is better. But to organize, you need a Bull Connor or a Jim Clark.’” (italics added)
    END QUOTE

    See the whole thing

  118. Truth, Honor, Hot Iron And Cold Water, « Sigmund, Carl and Alfred Says:

    [...] A Mind Is A Difficult Thing To Change, Part 7A, Jenin Jenin and Part 7B, The Vietnam Photos Revisited, are two of the most posts documenting Neo’s journey from the New York City liberal [...]

  119. Bonnie Says:

    neo said:
    But now I read that the incident had involved no US military at all. It occurred after Viet Cong troops had attacked and captured a South Vietnamese village, setting up headquarters among civilians in the marketplace and driving them from the scene. South Vietnamese warplanes trying to protect the village from the invaders and wrest it back—bombing not the village itself, but the perimeter—had mistaken some of the fleeing people for the Viet Cong and napalmed them. This was how the little girl got hurt.

    This was not a good thing, but it was the sort of thing that was unavoidable in a war of this type, in which the enemy hid among civilians.

    ————————————–
    that’s rich. The military WAS OURS bought and paid for. And here we go with the “enemies” again. Enemies because the US couldn’t buy out their national aspirations so it was OK to kill them. Just call them “enemies”. A footnote: Christian converts were protected. They also recieved financial aid. It paid to convert, it paid to resort to national treason.

  120. Vince P Says:

    Bonnie is one of those frauds who while living in the west and enjoying it, publicly dispises it.. Why she doesnt leave and live with the people she cares so much about is not a mystery.. she’s lazy.

  121. Robert Says:

    A few of the above commenters have wondered why the media and liberals in general turned against America.

    How do liberals think? Democrats are wrong on just about every issue. Give a modern liberal a choice between Saddam and the United States he will not only take Saddam, but will side with him. The question becomes why? They’re not evil. They don’t mean to side with evil, and always doing wrong. So perhaps its stupidity? But they’re not stupid. The modern liberal looks back at the history of the last 50,000 years and finds that none of the policies have eliminated war, poverty & injustice. And the thing that creates all of those is the attempt to be right. So we must do away with the “thought of being right.” The best way to eliminate the attempt to think one is right is to work always to show that right isn’t right.

    “Imagine no country, (not great countries, not good countries, but no countries), imagine no religion… “Lennon.

    Tear down what is right and elevate what is wrong, until there’s nothing left to believe in. Nothing must be better than something else. There can be no good. And no bad. Then there would be no reason to go to war, because no one is right, and no one is wrong. Undermine the U.S. to show that its not worth fighting for. Elevate the Islamofacists – in fact, never refer to them as Islamofacists, or even terrorists. They are insurgents. Or like Michael Moore said, they’re no different than our Minute Men. America caused 9/11, not 9 Muslims. You get the point.

  122. Ymarsakar Says:

    The military WAS OURS bought and paid for.

    Narcissism isn’t what the military was created to fight.

  123. dzt Says:

    Re: this–

    I was busy reading online about Iraq, trying to understand the situation there and to predict what might happen if we invaded or what might happen if we didn’t invade.

    but by the rational assessment by millions of Muslims that they will never win freedom or justice through non-violent means, because the world’s powers will continue to put their economic and strategic interests – which are tied to the existing system and its local leaders – ahead of supporting the systemic transformation of the world’s economy and political system that would be necessary to bring about real democracy and peace.

    Mark LeVine, PhD, is a professor in the department of history, University of California-Irvine, and author of Why They Don’t Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil.

    I worked at Asia Times (the source of the above Levine article) for quite a while. It purports to promote an “Asian point of view” (the owner is a Thai Chinese) but in actual fact, the key editorial decisions are made by two white South Africans, both with fairly typical extreme left-wing political views. I used to sit at work day after day and watch the news editor reject what I thought were very interesting article pitches because they didn’t suit his agenda of painting the US as the villain in every international story. Furthermore, he was not above editing writers’ work specifically to point the finger at the US.

    I’m not that familiar with Levine or his politics, and the article quoted by “truth” contains a lot of statements I would agree with (to be fair, the leftist tenor of this paragraph is rather cherry picked compared to the source article as a whole). But to describe Muslim behavior vis-a-vis the US as a “rational assessment” strikes me as pretty delusional. It seems to me that an irrational infatuation with violence as an end in itself (or as a means to 72 virgins) in the Muslim world is, at the very least, a major cause of the conflict between Muslims and seemingly everyone else (even Buddhists). And there are many on the left who are willing to do almost anything to avoid acknowledging that fact: they believe that the very weakness and backwardness of Muslims means they are victims, who by definition, are morally superior and deserve sympathy and protection. The possibility that the woes of Muslims are self-inflicted never occurs to them.

    Parenthetically, I would note that the Muslim states which have the closest relations with the West and are the least associated with violent anti-Westernism, in either its Baathist or Islamic-fundamentalist forms, are in fact the most prosperous in the region (e.g. the UAE, Kuwait). This in itself is a compelling argument against the thesis Levine puts forth in his paragraph.

  124. Vince P Says:

    LeVine is a hippy apologist for Muslims. He used to be a talking head on cable news for a while but haven’t seen him in a few years

  125. Artfldgr Says:

    This was a new feeling. The best description I can come up with is that it was a regret so intense it morphed seamlessly into guilt, as though I were responsible for something terrible, though I didn’t know exactly what. Regret and guilt, and also a rage that I’d been so stupid, that I’d let myself be duped or misled or kept ignorant about something so important, and that I’d remained ignorant all these years.

    your words are similar to others who found out they were useful idiots. tools of their own destruction. i am sorry you felt that.

    however, realize that preventing that feeling can create a dissonance so strong in people, that they will deny it till they are marching through the gates.

    Lenin called them “useful idiots,” those people living in liberal democracies who by giving moral and material support to a totalitarian ideology in effect were braiding the rope that would hang them. Why people who enjoyed freedom and prosperity worked passionately to destroy both is a fascinating question, one still with us today. Now the useful idiots can be found in the chorus of appeasement, reflexive anti-Americanism, and sentimental idealism trying to inhibit the necessary responses to another freedom-hating ideology, radical Islam. – Bruce C. Thornton

    and here is sowell on
    Useful idiots
    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell090100.asp

    all one has to do is study the dark side of psychology. of which most are also in denial even though they may be looking at some of it in the morning paper. not realize things like desensitization, and jamming… or love bombing…

    ask not what your teachings can do for or in the hands of sociopaths. one only has to see how kinsey (a sexual psychopath. how else did he get his figures as to sexual children?) redefined us to have a perverse view of children. we no longer can even look at family images without seeing pedophiles in ourselves. after all, in order to find them, one must think like them and then remove all images that might stimulate them because when you think like that they do what?

    kinsey… meade… boas… friedan… the list goes on of the leftists that spent their time lying and promoting an agenda… why else celebrate “if it was rape then it was a good rape” of a 12 year old in the vagina monologues?

    most have no idea of the history… they are good people who have abdicated their responsibilities, and are to scared and its too much work to actually choose a side on merit. now it might be too late to do so.

    they fear the feeling you had more than than they fear the monster they are making.

    there is plenty on each of those names above. but they still shape our culture heavily… just as i read a document today on feminist bioethics from stanford… they refer to tuskegee. however do they realize that the study was funded by leftists?

    imany people still are using kinsey to justify many of the sexualization programs (lukacks – hungary) in a scientific way. but one only has to read his sexual behavior in the human male and realize that he had to be abusing babies to get his data.

    so kinsey a ligitimized sexual predator, is our “father of the sexual revolution”.

    Meade whose work was also a lie is the mother of what? oh yeah.. “mother of the world” (time 1969)

    then there is is dewey, the communist spy that was the ‘father of modern education’.

    friedan, a CPUSA writer, is the “mother of feminism” ny times 1970 (feminism in its modern form being a communist ideology. thats what the leaders say)

    ah… the place is full chock a block of useful idiots.
    you cant swing a dead cat without knocking dozens of them out

    and they will not wake up till its way too late, and when its too late here, its too late for everyone forever. arent you glad we dont take this too serioiusly?

  126. Michael Says:

    How very odd it is to read these comments after nearly two years. Probably Chris White and Mitsu still believe now what they did then. OTOH, an awful lot of people have lost their doubt on a number of topics. For example, we now see that, indeed, some corporations support statist solutions to problems, even manufactured problems, like “global warming.” They intend to cash in on whatever the governments of the world decide to do. GE is ready to start selling carbon credits. Insurance companies, so reviled by the President, are supporting his health care nationalization schemes, because they are sure that they can get the contracts to administer the program. Bush and Cheney “lied us into war”, although no one can tell us, now, how they were supposed to benefit. Cheaper oil? More expensive oil? We’ve had both. Something to do with Halliburton? They lost money on their government contracts, and Cheney had donated his stock to charity when he took office, anyway. Iraq was still unwinnable back then, except that now we have pretty much won. We are causing the fighting, even in places from which we have withdrawn, or only damping down the conflict, which will flare forth again as soon as we withdraw. Somehow, both are right? The leftward bias of the media is ever more shameless. “Rightward-leaning”Fox news falls right in with the other talking heads, wondering what could have caused a man to shout “Allahu akbar” and open fire on people. Stress, maybe? So he talks the jihadi talk for years before, and they still can’t figure out his motive?

    And still, every day, more and more Americans learn that the media lie to them, about things that they, individually, know. The party line, for example, is that Fox news organized the TEA party demonstrations. Millions of Americans went, and joke about how we are still waiting for our ‘astroturf’ checks. Democrat congressmen complain that all the questions about their health care bills are the same, as if the average American is too stupid or too lazy to read the bill. Don’t even get me started on climategate. My epiphany was in 2000, when my knowledge of election mechanics and voting machines, gained as a Democrat poll worker, showed me all too starkly how they were trying to steal the Florida election. The comments that this will generate will be all too predictable, various repetitions of the party line. I can’t convince anyone who did not have the experience, but, this is my experience. Neo learned her lessons the same hard way, in different circumstances, but, as with the examples I cited before, we have the experience of catching the leftist establishment in a major lie about a matter of fact, known to us. This is still happening, every day. We are still disorganized, loosely led, but, we are figuring out the facts. They may have fooled us about everything else, but, on this one topic, whatever it is, we know that they are lying.

  127. Pull up a chair, take a load off, and read about intellectual growth and political discovery « Psssst! Over Here! Says:

    [...] learn and always question our assumptions and received wisdom, and to be careful about relying on visual media like war photographs as a source of reliable [...]

  128. Remembering Vietnam « The Daily Bayonet Says:

    [...] An absolutely riveting piece on the subject of photographs and faith is NeoNeoCon’s A Mind is a Difficult Thing to Change: (Part 7B: the Vietnam photos revisited). [...]

  129. maureen tabor Says:

    neoneo: I identify. Jan 16, 2008 you put your head down on the keyboard and “when you lifted your head [you were] surprised to find a few tears on [your] cheeks.” that made me cry just now. thank you.

    Last night while reading about Abraham Lincoln, I was inexplicably moved to get out of bed and get down on my knees, as I did when i was a little girl, and pray. I prayed for humanity, not for myself. I wondered why I had not been on my knees for so many decades; it felt good. I learned my faith on my knees. I put my face in my hands “and when I raised it I was surprised to find a few tears,” to quote you. Today I found so many good things on the web – and your blog is one of them. thank you. ~ MT

  130. Patrick Woolley Says:

    Jean,

    Do you know that you can meet and talk with Kim almost anytime. She is an inspirational speaker who now lives in Toronto. The pilot who dropped the bomb was american in support of Vietnamese manouvers. He had been wracked with guilt over this fog of war mistake. Kim has met him in person in offered her love and forgiveness. They are real people with real experiences. (not propaganeda tools for the left). She also has a book

  131. neo-neocon Says:

    Patrick Woolley: no, the pilot was NOT an American. Kim is a real person with a real story all right, although she sometimes is used as a propaganda tool of the left. But John Plummer, who is also a “real person” who claimed to be an American who ordered the bombing, is a liar and imposter, as well as a tool of the left:

    At a Veteran’s Day ceremony last year in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Kim Phuc said in halting English that if she ever meets the pilot who dropped the bomb she would urge him to join her in working for world peace.

    “I am that man,” John Plummer hastily wrote on a scrap of paper that was passed up to her. Minutes later the former Army captain was embracing Phuc, sobbing that he was sorry. Responded Phuc, “I forgive you.”

    A heart-rending tale, one that has since gained heavy media attention. But Plummer’s part in it isn’t true. Neither Plummer nor any other American piloted the plane that day, June 8, 1972. The pilot was a South Vietnamese air force officer.

    Since the ceremony at the Wall, Plummer, a 50-year-old Methodist minister in rural Purcellville, Va., has revised his tale, though continuing to exaggerate it.

    Appearing on ABC’S “Nightline” in June, he told Ted Koppel that he “ordered” the raid on Phuc’s village of Trang Bang. An October cover story under his byline in Guideposts, an international religious magazine, referred to “the attack I had called.” And in a documentary that aired last month on the Arts & Entertainment Network, he said: “Every time I saw that picture, I said, ‘I did that. I’m responsible.’ ”

    In fact, the North Carolina native flew helicopters, not fixed-wing aircraft of the type that dropped the napalm, though at the time he was in a staff job. Nor did he have the authority to order his own country’s planes into action, let alone South Vietnamese aircraft, say his former superiors. Plummer, they say, was a low-level staff officer. The entire operation was run by South Vietnam’s military, with Americans playing only an advisory role.

    In an interview at Bethany United Methodist Church, where he is the pastor, Plummer conceded that he was neither the pilot nor the one who ordered the attack. He said he never intended to deceive anyone but was caught up in the emotion at the Wall that day.

    He attributed his later comments — to “Nightline” and others — about ordering the attack to “semantics,” saying the Guideposts article contained words he did not write. He continues to have a “very real feeling” that he was responsible for the airstrike, he said.

    “I think I could have been misinterpreted, but I did not intentionally misrepresent my role,” Plummer said. “When I used the words, I was thinking about the story of Kim and me. All I was thinking about was telling the story of Kim’s forgiveness.”

    See also this.

    And see also this.

  132. Bobbi Says:

    I notice many of the things your learning fall in line with your “uncle” who wanted to stay in America and make America like the USSR

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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