Breaking the Glass: Beyond Cataloguing Imperial Evils
was, as usual, a powerful piece, marshalling a wealth of damning
evidence that laid bare the corporate media's avid -- not to say rabid
-- eagerness to serve the desire of our ruling elites to finally break
the "recalcitrant tribe" of Persians and restore Washington's dominance
over that strategically situated -- and oil-rich -- land.
underestimate the simmering resentment still felt by American elites
from their "humiliation" during the 1980 hostage crisis -- which, as
you'll recall, only ended after the sainted Ronald Reagan gave the
Iranians everything they'd been asking for to release the hostages:
i.e., the money Jimmy Carter had frozen in American banks. What's more,
the severely conservative Reagan also cut deals to send the "mad
mullahs" weapons and spare parts for their military arsenal. (And we
won't even go into the brazen act of treason
Reagan's handlers committed in negotiating with the Tehran "terrorists" in the run-up to the 1980 election.)
psychosexual humiliation -- which has passed down to American elites
who were still in diapers (or not even born) when it occurred -- is but
one factor behind the relentless, maniacal, slavering drive toward war
with Iran which is suddenly filling front pages and prime TV time
In the main, it is simply the decades-long, thoroughly
bipartisan agenda of world domination that the American elite have been
pursuing since the end of World War II -- as Noam Chomsky outlines here
any case, while reading Greenwald's stringent stripping of the lies and
prejudices of a recent NBC report on the "Iranian threat," I kept
waiting for him to make the pivot to something beyond yet another
trenchant piece of media criticism. I kept saying, Yes, you're right,
the media are misinforming -- miseducating -- the American people in the
most egregious way, preparing them for yet another pointless war of
aggression and domination that will only degrade their own lives, and
kill thousands of innocent people ... now what?
honestly thought, as I
was reading along, that he would at any moment link to Arthur Silber's
recent articles (here
which lay out a specific, practical -- and non-violent -- plan
precisely for the kind of counter-education campaign that is needed to
combat the propaganda that Greenwald was rightly condemning.
understand it, Silber's idea is kind of jiujitsu: it uses the power and
procedures and tropes of our reality-distorting media to combat the
media's own pernicious effects. In other words, it would use the media to subvert the
media. Or, to put it more positively, it would return the media to its
more proper function of looking reality plainly in the eye and speaking
the truth about it.
Silber's plan -- which he offers merely as a
starting point, not an ironclad blueprint, inviting any and all creative
suggestions to make it more effective -- relies on high-profile figures
in the dissident media to leverage their public profile, their media
platforms and their extensive contacts to bring in the money needed to
launch a national campaign of truth-speaking, with hard-hitting print
and video ads that bypass the decorous filters of corporate journalism
to take the truth directly to the public.
And so, caught up in
the flow and logic of Greenwald's piece, I thought he would have to get
to that -- if not in a direct reference to Silber's campaign then
something very much like it. But instead, it was, in the end, just
another slam at our servile, power-enablinng, dysfunctional media.
I like a good slam at the servile ministers of our media as much as the
next person. Indeed, I've been enjoying them for lo these many decades,
going back to, say, James Fallows in the 1990s, to Chomsky and
Hermann's "Manufacturing Consent" in the 1980s -- even to some of Gore
Vidal's bitterly insightful pieces in the 1960s and 70s. I have in fact
spent my entire conscious life reading trenchant criticisms of how the
corporate media misinform and manipulate the American public into
support for the elite's destructive wars of domination.
I am entirely in
agreement with Silber when he writes:
Those writers and websites have offered
hundreds, even thousands, of articles over the years about the immense
destructiveness of U.S. foreign policy in general, and more particularly
about the devastation and chaos that would result from a criminal U.S.
attack on Iran. They have also published articles about the destruction
of civil liberties and the massive growth of the surveillance state.
I've written many such articles myself, including many dozens about Iran
and the Middle East. During this time, all the terrible problems to
which we've devoted so much attention have gotten steadily worse -- and
not simply worse, but much worse. How do I know this? I follow the news
-- and I read the dissenting writers and the alternative websites. They
tell me that all these problems become more nightmarish by the day, and
they tell me (and all of us) in excruciating, lengthy detail. Thousands
of articles document the gathering, worsening horrors -- and the horrors
constantly grow still more horrifying.
I do not want to be
misunderstood on one critical point. The articles I refer to (and the
alternative websites) have very significant value. They provide an
inestimable educational service, by setting forth history, facts and
analysis that are not available elsewhere for the most part. That is
crucial. Also, and very importantly, they offer a sense of community and
kinship to those who would otherwise feel isolated and alienated by the
depravity and cruelty that dominate our culture.
But I also agree when he says this:
But if we hope to alter the course of
events, even if all we can do is slow down what now seems to be a rush
toward disaster on an ungraspable scale, thus to buy ourselves more time
if we can, it cannot be disputed that all those articles are not enough
-- and they will never be enough.
And so I read the Greenwald piece looking for, hoping for, that pivot
beyond the customary criticism, the laying out of evidence (which, let
me add, is really all that I do here). Hoping, I suppose, that someone
who commands a far larger reach than a relatively marginal site like
mine or Silber's would at least reference something like the Silber
idea, if only to say: "Hey, here's a thought -- why don't we try
something like this?" Or "What do people think of this?" Or even,
"Silber suggests this, but I have an even better idea."
very much believe that the enumeration of imperial evils serves a
useful purpose. As I said, that's basically what I do here. But I also
believe -- more strongly all the time -- that this is not enough. Not
nearly enough. The historical record shows that the cataloguing of such
evils has not stopped them or lessened them or mitigated them at all.
From the time I began reading Vidal and Chomsky more than 30 years ago
to the powerful critiques of Greenwald and others today, things have
only gotten worse on the domination front. The system is more brutal and
brazen than ever; our society is more degraded; our liberties are more
There is only so much that talking at the margins can
do. We must look to those who have the platforms and networks and
leverage to put these issues into national circulation -- in a very
concrete, practical way, not just preaching to the choir but taking the
truth directly to those now starved of it.
If could do it, I
would. But I don't have that platform, that leverage. I have a few
hundred readers. I'm only rarely linked to any larger site. I can't get a
meeting with George Soros or some well-funded foundation or
organization that does have the money necessary to put something like
Silber's education plan into action. So while I continue to appreciate
and be informed by the trenchant media criticisms and evidence gathering
that fills the choir room of the 'dissident' blogosphere, I know that
something more must be done. We must somehow break through the thick,
cloudy glass that mutes the truth from the general public.
I hope that
those better placed to do it will take up this challenge and carry it