Saturday, June 19, 2004

The Betrayal of Dissent: "I was struck, especially after 9-11, by writers who claimed to be protecting the “Left” by tarring those who questioned US foreign policy as naï ve, deluded, or dangerous. I think immediately of Thomas Friedman, Leon Wieseltier (sp?), Michael Kelly, Todd Gitlin, Michael Walzer, and George Packer, claiming moral and political authority by hanging the “extremist” placard around the necks of dissidents who raised issues over the rush to war."

It strikes me as ludicrous to describe people like Thomas Friedman as 'leftist'. The corporate media and its hired hacks is simply not worth reading - if you are reading it there is your mistake. It was long ago pointed out by Chomsky how the system works - the so-called 'liberal' press performs a crucial propaganda function by indicating the limits of the debate. That is its only function. Once you have perceived that the game is up and none of it can be taken seriously.

The only interest is, rather like the study of Kremlinology, how far what the media is saying indicates the thinking of the ruling elite. A prime example is the huge media ding-dong about torture and Abu Ghraib. The significance of the leaks and the massive media exposure of this event is not the fact of torture (that could hardly come as any surprise to anyone who was paying attention or who has a clue about the nature of war and occupation) but the serious dissension among the US elite about the incompetent conduct of the war and Bush's whole policy, which is regarded as risky and dangerous even within the constraints of imperialist/colonialist thinking. Had the war been a success in its own terms, there would never have been this kind of negative media. The deepening crisis for the United States, however, is what if the ruling clique refuses to play by the established rules? Damn the media and the 'liberals', we've decided we're staying in power.

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