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!OT Re: [casi] John Pilger, July 31

>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
>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

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