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Johnson & Walrath: Fantasy vs. Reality

Fantasy vs. Reality

By Richard E. Walrath and Patricia Johnson

Turning Iraq over to the Iraqis, known as ''giving them back their sovereignty'' as the Spin from the White House puts it, is a ploy to get the war off the front pages of newspapers and off the TV screen.

The so-called deadline, June 30, was not only met, it was a done deal completed a couple of days ahead of time to convince unthinking people that this was a real accomplishment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What it did do was reduce the coverage of the war in Iraq by almost half. Areas once controlled by United States troops are now controlled by Iraqi militia. The city of Baghdad is not as safe now as it was six months ago. Cities outside Baghdad have been the scenes of heavy fighting and greater loss of American lives, but they are no longer occupied by American forces.

The media covers the war in Iraq less and less every day because those who support it really don't want to see bodies being taken off planes at Dover airport. Showing a scene like this is "unpatriotic" we are told. WE must be strong and resolute like our leader who dodged the draft by joining the National Guard and then dropped out.

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, man drew pictures on the walls of his cave because he could not read or write. Then came television, and since then man is back to drawing pictures for people who don't or can't read or write.

In between were the printing press and radio, but both of these required more mental effort on the part of the user than TV. Reading requires mental effort to comprehend what is written.

Even radio requires the listener to pay attention and use his imagination to create the picture described by the words coming from the radio. There is a definite thinking process involved.

TV has come full circle and is back to the cave man's drawings. Words from the talking heads are not what affect viewers--it's the pictures and as long as the pictures are kept from the viewers the war in Iraq will be considered “just” by American voters.

When Richard wrote the above comments it reminded me of my first day in a psychology class. The professor handed us a piece of paper with the word fantasy written in calligraphy. While we admired the beautiful way the word was written, he asked us to turn the page upside down. Because of the manner in which the letters were formed instead of seeing the word fantasy, we were now able to read the word reality.

And that’s where the voters in the U.S. are today -- we’re caught in a web of words and pictures that blurs the fine line between fantasy and reality while promoting the agenda of the administration in office.

Henry Louis Mencken, prominent newspaperman, book reviewer and political commentator said it best "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

Cheney spelled it out for all of us – if the U.S. elects Kerry we’re dead meat – and, if we vote for the Bush/Cheney ticket we will basically be as safe as we were in our mothers’ womb.

No matter what the U.S. does or doesn’t do, we will never be safe again because we have attacked not one, but two separate countries. Even if the majority of the people in Afghanistan and Iraq want to be free –- a fact that remains questionable considering the continual attacks against coalition forces and contractors –- there will still be those who want revenge for the carnage inflicted upon their people and Americans throughout the world will be their targets.

Keeping the American public in the dark does not change the fact that we are targets.

If the media did not report the damage from Hurricane Charley, Frances and Ivan does that mean the hurricanes did not exist, people did not die, and billions of dollars in damage were not incurred? No, it means that the news was underreported and that is what is happening in this country. The damage from our attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq is being underreported and we are being spoon fed news.

On the anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was interviewed by CNN’s Larry King. Mayor Giuliani stated that immediately after the attack he was told 12,000 people had perished. Three years later we now know that the total number that perished in the WTC was 2,749.

As of September 10, 2004, 8,532 Americans have been killed or wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq, while 131 coalition troops have been killed in Iraq.

The reality is that during the past three years there have been three times as many coalition casualties as the number of people that perished in the WTC on September 11, 2001.

When does the violence stop?


© 2004 Richard Walrath and Patricia Johnson

Richard Walrath and Patricia Johnson are freelance writers and co-owners of Articles and Answers. Visit us online at

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