Iraq: A Test Case of Imperial Violence
The U.S. attack on Iraq demonstrates once again that propaganda can be an effective tool for war mobilization. The Nazis understood this very well. Hitler said, “The broad mass of a nation will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.” Then he added, “By shrewd and constant application of propaganda, heaven can be presented to the people as hell and vice versa, the wretchedest existence as paradise.” The Bush Administration, with its stage managed photo-ops and ever shifting spiral of assertions and allegations, was able to convince a large number of Americans that Iraq was responsible for September 11, had ties with al-Qaeda and posed an imminent threat to the U.S. None of these claims, or the many others that cascaded from Washington, was based on evidence. Yet many Americans, egged on by the media, went along. Most of the rest of the world, in stark contrast, was not at all convinced by the Bush PR campaign.
Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. The legendary MIT professor is a major contributor to 21st century linguistics. In addition to his pioneering work in that field he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. Chris Hedges says he is “America’s greatest intellectual” who “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.” He is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. At 90, he still gives lectures all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, including Propaganda & the Public Mind, How the World Works, Power Systems and Global Discontents with David Barsamian.