The New York Times: An Accomplice In Ignorance and Slaughter

 Image by Phillip Maiwald.  Used with permission

Image by Phillip Maiwald. Used with permission

“Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

~George Orwell

The New York Timesrecent article detailing United States soldiers being exposed to Iraq’s pre-1991 stockpile of chemical weapons between 2003 and 2011 sure as hell reads like journalism. Its tidy 8,745 word count has the look and feel of impactful, in-depth reporting. With eight parts detailing the horrors that the American government knowingly wrought upon its own warriors, complete with saddening photos of the afflicted and informative maps and images, the piece provides the illusion of a tour-de-force expose on the criminal audacity of government. But educating the public is not the true purpose of this article, which can only be called journalism in the most superficial sense; what this article is, in reality, is a perfect assist to the ruling oligarchy’s strategy of “divide and conquer.”

The Times didn’t just bury its lede, they froze it in carbonite and dumped it overboard somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Of those 8,745 carefully-printed words, only 121 of them make reference to the US and its Western allies supplying these chemical weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein during his 1980-1988 war against Iran (a shade over 1% for those keeping score at home). One has to seriously consider that America’s actions cause far more harm to global peace and prosperity than good – unless one is working for the New York Times, that is.

There are only two relevant points here: One, that America fosters global instability by arming and enabling bloodthirsty dictators for as long as they benefit our weapons and banking industries, before donning a cape and tights and telling the world, “Don’t worry, we’ll save you from these bloodthirsty dictators!” (to further benefit our weapons and banking industries). And two, the bastion of peace and freedom that is the United States needs to be called out for what it really is — the latest in a long, murderous line of empires hell-bent on acquiring power at any cost.

But this is an election year, you see, and the timing of this article is designed to rattle the cages of people who can only see reality in shades of red and blue. Three days after this article was published, the Times offered up an Op-Ed demonstrating their accomplishment of this goal. Titled “Who Was Right About W.M.D.s In Iraq?,” the follow-up piece joyfully lays out the reactions of right-versus-left corporate media outlets. Conservative news sites knee-jerked a “Bush was right” onslaught, while Liberal ones bravely “embarked on a fact-checking crusade” to combat them. The Times was even sure to provide their readers a self-comforting right wing American Thinker quote to advance the line of bullshit that the left is virtuously “anti-war.” Truth is always the first casualty of war; conveniently for the Times, the United States’ official foreign (not to mention domestic) policy is to always be at war. Amazing how that happens, ain’t it?

With the United States once again supplying weapons to what it sees as the lesser of two evils in the Middle East, isn’t it dangerously irresponsible for one of the nation’s most influential newspapers to gloss over how disastrous this policy has been in the past? Three years ago the US and Western allies supported the violent overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi by “pro-West” rebels, leading President Barack Obama to triumphantly declare, “the dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted.” Today, Libya is in shambles, with hundreds of thousands of civilians attempting to flee as radical militant groups vie for control. The recognized government is in exile and there is a real fear that a second Islamic Caliphate will soon be established. Afghanistan, former home to one-time US ally Osama Bin Laden, is now cultivating record amounts of poppy, which in turn is funding another Taliban resurgence after eleven-plus years of war. When and if American troops ever leave, the country will rapidly plunge into a cesspool of warring tribes, none of them overly fond of the West. The situation in Iraq today can be directly attributed to the US’ intervention and support for Saddam Hussein, when we believed that Iran was the greater evil, which dictated that the lesser must be given money, guns and mustard gas, no matter what that meant for Iraqi civilians, or global security.

Aren’t the lessons of Gaddafi, Hussein and Bin Laden fresh enough in the public’s mind to warrant a serious article on how the US actually makes the world unsafe for democracy? Can anyone honestly believe that America is morally superior to the bogeymen it alternatively chooses to support or destroy on a whim (Gaddafi’s downfall wasn’t due to his being a brutal dictator, but the fact that after years of cooperating with the US, Libya began developing close economic ties with Russia and China, putting the West’s own African resource-grab at risk)? And isn’t encouraging citizens to choose between their own lesser of two evils at home just as irresponsible and destructive to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness?

You’d think so, but there’s one more relevant point I failed to mention earlier: the Times isn’t just placating an immoral government or obeying the command of insidious corporate monarchs, it is simply giving the people what they want — a distraction from reality’s complex multi-colored spectrum. Americans rarely acknowledge their geo-political ignorance, yet somehow find enormous comfort by wallowing in it. If we weren’t constantly told by the empire to blame each other for the accelerating collapse of our empire, then maybe, just maybe, we’d realize it is the Empire itself creating the conditions for global destabilization. Maybe we’d come to grips with the fact that “electing” psychopaths and con artists is the real National Pastime. Maybe we’d start asking ourselves, “Why the fuck do we keep doing this?”

Maybe, but then again, telling people what they don’t want to hear, and encouraging them to think, isn’t exactly the best way to sell online news subscriptions, is it?

So it goes.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of it’s author.

 

Patrick M Arthur is freelance journalist who has previously covered the Occupy Wall Street Movement and Major League Baseball. He is a member of the National Writers Union with his first book, “Occupation: Gonzo” due out soon.

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