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Works Every Time

This turned up in my inbox this morning:

Nazi leader Hermann Goering, interviewed by Gustave Gilbert during the
Easter recess of the Nuremberg trials, 1946 April 18, quoted in Gilbert's
book Nuremberg Diary.

Goering: "Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship."

Gilbert: "There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

Goering: "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

To which I replied:

As Noam Chomsky has recently pointed out, most war protests in the past were re-active protests, i.e. they took place long after the start of the war. In every previous war, the population remained so uninformed as to the doings of their government in the wider world that all past pro-active/pre-emptive war protests lacked the sufficiently informed public necessary to overcome the predictable "rally-around-the-leader" effect and affect government policy.

Now, for the first time in history, millions of people around the world, coordinating with one another by means of communication technologies that did not exist at the time of the first Gulf War*, have organized huge public demonstrations opposing a war before it begins. People protested before the first Gulf War, and the mainstream media ignored them and the protesters' voices died in the wind. This time, the Corporate Media have come along for the ride, amplifying the voices of protest and making the architects of the war pay attention.

The United States population, as far as I've heard, supports the war more than the population of any other country. Yes, the "rally-around-the-leader" effect has worked once again, but not nearly as well as it has in the past. Last I heard, support for a unilateral assault on Iraq is down to around 50% in the US.

Personally, I think that bodes quite well for the not-too-distant future.

Take care.


* By popular convention, I refer to the conflict in which the US turned back the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait as the "first" Gulf War, though I think there's a very good case for calling the up-coming conflict Gulf War III; Gulf War I having been fought between Iran and Iraq (with Iraq fighting as the US proxy).


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 26th, 2003 07:51 am (UTC)
thank you for two interesting quotes. sadly, most of the us is still ignorant of the protests going on in this country and in the rest of the world. the media portrayals seem to say "everyone is with us except the french." on jay leno last night, dennis miller was saying "we should invde iraq, and then invade shirac." in contrast, celebrities that speak against war, like susan sarandon, tim robbins, janine garafalo, and sean penn have to pay for ad time. they have literally been shut out of the mainstream. my morning news seems like something out of Starship Troopers. yesterday, it featured a restaurant in kinston nc that changed the name of "french fries" on it's menu to "freedom fries." even with thousands protesting, there have been no pictures of marchers on television. not a single one. not on the nightly news, not on cnn, not on the major network's internet sites. on the day when the whole world turned out to protest, the only mention of the protests was bush saying "democracy is beautiful" and then dismissing the protests with a few pithy soundbites. business as usual, Goering would be proud. even with the upcoming "denial of service" attacks on the government pending, there is no coverage, except for a marginal tag for tonight's "Crossfire" which essentially belittles the idea as another crackpot scheme by those wacky leftists.
Mar. 4th, 2003 05:30 pm (UTC)
According to the TV news in Australia, the whole world is protesting against the war, even the US and Britain. I've seen plenty of images of US anti-war protests on the Australian TV news.

Starship Troopers went unseen by the majority of folks I think would have appreciated it's satiracal elements. Too bad.
Feb. 26th, 2003 03:23 pm (UTC)
i was at last month's march against the war in portland, oregon and there were an estimated 25,000 people or so. it was beautiful to watch the crowds snake through downtown streets.
Mar. 4th, 2003 05:45 pm (UTC)
Portland is an absolutely beautiful place. It reflects well on the US that it contains places like Portland, Oregon.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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