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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.
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 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.
Again: I 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 shredded.