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>The War on Truth > >John Pilger > >07/31/03: In Baghdad, the rise and folly of rapacious >imperial power is commemorated in a forgotten cemetery [...] >Americans, says Time magazine, live in "an eternal >present". The point is, they have no choice. The >"mainstream" media are now dominated by Rupert >Murdoch's Fox television network, which had a good war. This is wrong. It's true that the media is biased and propagates lies. It's true that it is a challenge for people to overcome this. But they do have a choice -- and it's importnat to understand this, and understand the power the individual has *IF* one chooses to use it. Some personal history -- a necessity, I imagine, to understand my perspective. Just why I am as I am is mysterious, and that -- the dilemma of free will vs genes and environment will likely always be a mystery to us -- but if we accept that a human can attain to free will, then we must consider it's application and practical consequences, and not lightly acquiesce to a state of "no choice". I was a high school dropout, from a very bland and suburbanized New Jersey system dedicated to molding all into neat industrial units of production -- the very ideal of the 19th century factory system under which the US public school system was founded. For the afore mentioned mysterious reasons, that system attempted to feed me the intellectual porridge of the workhouse, but unlike even the courageous but hapless O. Twist, I did not ask for more, but refused to eat, and ran from the halls. "NO! I shall not believe nor accept." I lived through the Vietnam War era, Watergate, the Iran Contra affair, and other lesser evils and deceptions. Although largely uneducated, at least in the conventional sense, and politically uninformed, it was quite difficult to ignore the outcomes of these events, nor to gain a sense of the tru nature of power, politics, government, or the media. There were those -- many of them (my former sheepish classmates among them) -- who did ignore it, but I remain convinced that they had to work at it, trading truth, awareness, and humanity for a bit of shallow security and complacency, the better to fit in with their family, friends, co-workers, and above all the "powers that be". And yet, through it all, there were always those who saw, knew, understood, and objected -- some quietly, and some with vigor, but always choosing to remember, learn, and know the truth (which sets one free). I have had a strange life with many distractions, which can be unremarked upon for the most part, but I will pick up the story some ten years ago. I was in the middle of personal crisis and circumstantial turmoil at the time, and while noting in passing that there was a war in gulf, I devoted little energy or attention to it -- I had other exigencies. But even then, I understood it was the same old game of death and destruction. I had no need to root out obscure facts, but merely observe, and see how it all fit into the same old pattern -- the media blitz, the governmental propaganda, the slick speeches, the untold details, and, of course, the obvious motivations of the wolves -- walking and quacking like proverbial, albeit deadly, ducks. Over the past decade or so I have had family die off, uprooted myself to a new location, been struck with a nasty disabling disease which depleted my funds and necessitated my grappling with the absurd Social Security system to get disability, dropped cable TV (which in this area is just about all one can get, except for PBS and rather badly received broadcast networks), and any decent newspaper. I still don't have access to the web unless I go to the library. Last year I finally bit the bullet and got a subscription to The Nation, and bought another for the local library in this "boyhood home of Ronald Regan" town in the middle of the conservative heartland -- but by that time, I already knew. I heard the propaganda, but *chose* not to be taken in. I had once voted for Nixon -- I had been fooled. But "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me". If I, in all my ignorance, and lack of connection and resource, could find the truth, then how can I believe that "Americans have no choice". All around me are people with satellite, cable, internet, and money to buy dozens of books and subscriptions -- and yet they "do not know". But it is not a matter of having no choice. It is a matter of either not having the courage or the intent to know. I have point blank told some of these people the truth, and still they choose not to know. There are others in the area who have not been fooled, who choose truth over comfort. There are those in the school system who yet resist and strive to be human and free, even in the face of disapproval from their families. Certainly free will canbe perverted and repressed, and the severely abused child has little chance of growing into a free human being. Yet many of those who do not know have their wills seemingly intact, and have not become mere automatons, but rather *will* to be ignorant. It's a mystery. But let us not say that the bulk of the people have no choice. For to do so is to deny hope for change and reason for responsibility. This, even, is the very essence of the *true* American conservative: personal responsibility. It is the essence of the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The essence of liberty itself. I am (relatively) poor, and I am (relatively) sick -- but I AM free! My mind is my own and not the mere echo of the media and established political, academic, and religious powers. If we accept that "they have no choice" then surely "taming the Iraqis" is just a matter of broadcasting the proper propaganda to them, and further limiting the free press. Surely they must already be docile and contained considering the repression of the former regime? But, it would seem, they are not contained! They *choose* to understand and resist. They *choose* to be free human beings -- at the least in spirit and mind. One might think that in spite of themselves the Americans might see a good example in this and learn -- that the Iraqis might, indeed, liberate the Americans from their self-imposed slavery of stupefaction! So mote it be! ________________________________________________________________ The best thing to hit the internet in years - Juno SpeedBand! Surf the web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER! Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today! _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk