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Why does the “war on terror” need spin?

Published by marco on

Basically, if this ‘War on Terror’ is so simple, why the need for spin? AlterNet published Why Bush Needs to Spin the War. The basic issues of current events are being dictated to us in a fashion suitable for kindergartners. How many people are sick of the word ‘evildoers’? In the same vein, The Newsday has an opinion piece discussing the increasing involvement of ad execs and Hollywood in the PR campaign for this war.

From the Online Journal comes a piece called The Greatest Sedition is Silence, which covers much of the legislation that has been passed in the last two months. This includes the massive corporate tax-cut, the airline bailout, the impending insurance bailout, the failure to federalize airport security, The USA/Patriot Act, and the repeal of the Presidential Records Act:

<q>On November 2, Bush signed an executive order that will forever seal all presidential papers. This executive order further states that any president may bottle up the papers of any former president, even if that former president wants them released. … The audacity of this action is staggering. Even the stupefyingly naive must see through this farce for what it is: a betrayal of the Freedom of Information Act meant solely to protect members of this current administration for being called to task for their actions.</q>

This discussion at Plastic has many very good analyses of the ideas in this article (use a filter level of 3 for best results).

Of course, the necessity for spin is seen by some as a distraction from the real issues (warning: serious conspiracy theory crap coming up). In the Newsday letters section for today (11/13/2001), you’ll find J.S. Greenberg’s letter (Intelligence Warning):

<q>What could have helped a president more than an act of war if his popularity were falling, his legitimacy as president doubted by a majority, and the economy were failing? It doesn’t seem possible that the intelligence community had no hint of Sept. 11. At first we were told that other terrorist acts on that day were aborted. Later that was rescinded when it was perhaps realized by our officials that it indicated the plots were known − some aborted − some not. … A better case can be made that the CIA, FBI, and Bush knew something before Sept. 11 and did nothing. It’s not too early to ask: What did Bush know, and when did he know it?</q>

Robert Jensen, of CounterPunch thinks that spin and patriotism won’t help. The only long-term solution is to stop thinking of this as ‘foreign affairs’ and think of ourselves as citizens of the world. His article, Saying Goodbye to Patriotism is long, but worth it because it’s reasoning is decent and it puts forth some thought-provoking ideas.

<q>What makes the grief of a parent who lost a child in the World Trade Center any deeper than the grief of a parent who lost a child in Baghdad when U.S. warplanes rained death on the civilian areas of Iraq in the Gulf War? Or the parents of a child in Nicaragua when the U.S. terrorist proxy army ravaged that country? … But the real lesson of September 11, which I believe we will eventually learn, is that if we are to survive as a free people, as decent people who want honestly to claim the ideals we say we live by, we must say goodbye to patriotism. That patriotism will not relieve our grief, but only deepen it. It will not solve our problems but only extend them. I believe there is no hope for ourselves or for the world if we continue to embrace patriotism, no matter what the definition.</q>