At the outbreak of war, passion spreads throughout a society like a firestorm. We have had many such storms in the United States. One occurred during WW I. A previously isolationist nation went to war with extreme vehemence. Young men were aggressively seeking to enlist, to the point where they would hide health defects that would normally keep them out of the conflict.
From the German perspective, their cause was encouraged to be seen as noble and necessary by their propagandists. Horrific sacrifices were made by those who went to the slaughter. Combatants were driven, by propaganda from their own respective leaders, to kill and maim each other in mass.
Critics of the war were denounced as cowardly, stupid or enemy agents.
The German “Hun” was portrayed as the epitome of evil, with many alleged charges of atrocity, while the glory of joining the fight was broadcast far and wide.
After the war was over, many did not come home, and many who did were crippled, often with missing limbs. During the shock of realization, people questioned why we really needed to participate. The reasons were no longer clear.
What became clear was that there had been a massive propaganda campaign aimed at both the American and British publics, by the American and British governments. In the U.S., The Office of War Information produced outright lies, exaggerations and half-truths to arouse the anger and hatred of the American public.
After the war, British Member of Parliament, Arthur Ponsonby, wrote the book Falsehoods in War-Time, which catalogued major lies spread by the Allied governments. People in Western countries were appalled.
Yet all subsequent wars have been successfully marketed by the same methods. George H.W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq was preceded by a massive propaganda campaign. The most infamous event of this campaign was the testimony of a Kuwaiti girl named Nayirah al-Sabah. She testified that Iraqi soldiers had taken babies out of incubators and let them die. Her story was a total fabrication.
At the time of her testimony she was known only as Nayirah; there was no word that she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador. She was chosen to testify by the infamous P.R. firm Hill and Knowlton, as a persuasive spokesperson, and trained for the performance. The deception wasn’t discovered until after the war. This outright lie was a major cause of American acceptance of the war, and the ramifications continue today.
Current awareness of media mass manipulation is low. Our modern world is submerged in an invisible sea of spin which echoes through the network of media outlets which are owned by an interwoven web of corporations.
We must evaluate what is now being stated by the media. Is it a realistic analysis of the situation, or are we being pushed into another fire storm? Who benefits and who is harmed? As we are at odds with a major nuclear power, the stakes have never been higher.
We have no fight with the people of Russia, thousands of whom are protesting the war and praying for peace.
It is our mutual leaders, who are entangled in an endless struggle for dominance, who are creating this crisis. May they wake up to the unfathomable responsibility that they hold in their hands at this very moment, to prevent a cataclysm for our precious blue green planet and the countless billions of living entities that inhabit it.