A lot of people want to believe that the current war on Iraq is some kind of aberration -- a radical departure from the previous baseline of U.S. foreign policy. That's a comforting illusion.
Yes, the current administration in Washington is notable for the extreme mendacity and calculated idiocy of its claims. But -- decade after decade -- the propaganda fuel for one U.S. war after another has flowed from a standard set of lies.
Evil that warrants the large-scale killing of war needs a face. But that face cannot belong to some amorphous mass of an enemy population; in fact, it's a ritual for the president to offer assurances that civilians who may be caught in the crossfire are not among the Pentagon's targets. The bull's-eye must be painted on someone who links the nascent war to an indisputably justified one of the past.
For this purpose, Hitler's name has been pressed into service, intermittently, for decades. Pointed mentions of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust open floodgates of emotion, connecting a present-day foe with a regime that slaughtered millions of people near the fulcrum of the twentieth century. What helps to do the trick is the message that while horrors of the past cannot be changed, they can be prevented in the near future.
At a press conference on July 28, 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson spoke...
Obsession with seeming unequivocal and immovable has been frequent in the Oval Office. During the Vietnam War, such fixations were indifferent to the fact that the war was losing the U.S. government moral credibility around the world. But from the outset, Lyndon Johnson invoked credibility as an argument for staying the course. "If we are driven from the field in Vietnam, then no nation can ever again have the same confidence in American promises, or in American protection," President Johnson said on July 28, 1965...
In a review in the June 29th Los Angeles Times, Russ Baker calls War Made Easy "a must-read for those who would like greater context with their bitter morning coffee, or to arm themselves for the debates about Iraq that are still to come."
There are also more excerpts (first and second) from the book.
Norman Solomon's book tour currently includes a July 10th talk in Wilmington, Delaware, a July 11th mid-day event in Philadelphia, a July 14th event in New York City, and August events in the Bay area.