Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Bill Grigsby: Iraq As Prop In ‘Plan For Victory’

Iraq As Prop In ‘Plan For Victory’


By Bill Grigsby

The White House is focused on victory. But not in Iraq—that’s been outsourced to the in-house PR professionals, who recently produced a glossy, 35-page, ‘Plan for Victory’ brochure. The naïve observer could be forgiven for thinking this was actually a ‘Plan for Victory’ in Iraq. Keep in mind, though, this is from the people who brought you torture, extraordinary rendition, the Mission Accomplished Video, Fallen Heroes Theatre, attacks on Al Jazeera’s offices, journalists on the public payroll, a private army of well-paid mercenaries, rigged elections (at least stateside …), deficit and debt packaged in unfunded mandates, depleted uranium, white phosphorus, widespread domestic spying, an accounting system that would do Dennis Kozlowski proud, amber alerts, and . . . no WMDs.

The brochure reads more like a hastily concocted media guide for the journalistically impaired. Or compromised. But we’re to believe it’s the product of careful planning over the last few years. Who in 2003—or now for that matter— was calling the insurgents ‘rejectionists’ or ‘Saddamists,’ inspired by al-Qaida (much like the movie ‘Gone with the Wind’ inspired commemorative plaque artists)? This sounds like an ad for the Franklin Mint. What next? Nuclear bunker busters inspired by Bill Murray’s character in Caddyshack? The ‘Plan for Victory’ Brochure (PVB) includes the word ‘victory’ roughly 36 times, just in case you missed the Victory Plan photo-op backdrop and weren’t clear that victory is, well, victorious. Other words, focus group-crafted for quick, uncritical media consumption and repeated often, include:

Security: 107
Terror/ists: 102
Strategy/strategic: 81
Enemy/ies: 66
Democracy/democratic: 48
Victory: 36
Insurgents: 14
Rejectionists: 13
War on terror: 9
Saddamists: 8
Freedom: 8
Tyranny: 7

There were also in the PVB some notable omissions and slights:

Oil: 5
Al Qaida: 5
Bin Laden: 4
Weapons of mass destruction: 2
Smoking gun: 0
Mushroom cloud: 0
Soft bigotry of low expectations: 0
Privatization: 0
Permanent U.S. military bases: 0
Depleted uranium: 0
Stop-loss orders: 0
Draft: 0
Waterboarding: 0
Civilian casualties: 0
White phosphorus: 0
Yellow cake uranium: 0
mercenaries: 0
Halliburton: 0
Financial audit: 0

Act now and receive an additional ‘eight strategic pillars’ (inspired by the five pillars of the Muslim faith!) at no extra cost. Yes, that’s right—all for the low low price of $1 to $2 trillion, according to conspiracy kook and Nobel Laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz.

This PVB is shorter than an NFL team media guide. But it allows President Bush to look those hard-hitting journalists in the eye and say “I got my assignment turned in! Whoah! Was that Nadlee Holloway?”

And watch the room clear. Yet holding the White House accountable to even this pitiful brochure would be like trying to count flies on a roadside carcass. BushCo seems to have put more thought into the brochure’s font styles and sizes than it has in the bombings, general chaos, civilian casualties, power blackouts, detainee torture, and private profiteering that constitute the daily realities on the ground in Iraq for soldiers and civilians.

Then again, maybe Iraq isn’t the most important war on BushCo’s to do list. The White House seems to be gearing up for another war—the midterm election campaign, and the haunting specter of impeachment or slow death by investigation if the GOP doesn’t hold on to the House and Senate. When it comes to elections, we already know the GOP is willing to cheat, smear, disenfranchise, and appeal to the basest human instincts to incite fear and bigotry. And from a practical standpoint, it just so happens that campaigning is one of two areas where President Bush has exhibited flashes of competence (the other being brushclearing photo-opps). And shouldn’t we, as Americans, be able to say on occasion, without choking, ‘heckuva job, Dubya?’

It’s the little things that tip their hand, like the recess appointment of Hans von Spakovsky—no stranger to election controversies—to the Federal Elections Commission through 2006, which is sort of like having Donald Rumsfeld as keynote speaker at a conscientious objector convention.

If BushCo is indeed mobilizing for the campaign, what sorts of campaign strategies can we expect? Look for discretionary funds to target competitive House districts and Senate states. Karl Rove’s Smear Strike Forces will start swift-boating democratic candidates and White House critics. The first assault has already been launched by hatchet journalist L. Brent Bozell III against Rep. John Murtha. Bozell should know—he came within an eyelash of receiving a purple heart himself when he received a paper cut folding his own personal air fleet of ‘Shock and Awe’ fighters.

More things to look for include tight audience control at “public” (i.e., televised) events. Hot-button state referenda to drive the homosexual and flag-burning posses out on election day. Increased levels of secrecy, er, ‘executive privilege.’ More efforts at the state level to disenfranchise marginalized groups. A moratorium on e-voting reform in at-risk states, or any election reform for that matter (say, has Kenny Boy Blackwell made good on his promise to clean up Ohio’s elections yet?). Tighter circling of the wagons, to out the disloyal shills and enforce ‘message discipline.’ This would include stepped-up intimidation of potential whistleblowers—at least while the White House quietly turns the federal personnel system inside out with ‘performance-based’ criteria. Which may require some category even beyond Rangers and Pioneers.

Eagerly await more TV News Wallpaper with subtle messages for TV news consumers. You should assume that mean-spirited democrats and Hollywood’s liberal elites will continue their relentless persecution of sacred and politically charged symbols like Christmas, Easter, the ten commandments, school prayer, capitalism, Elvis, heterosexual couples, white males, hard-working CEOs, our men and women in uniform, democracy, freedom, decency, the flag, baseball, motherhood, Dale Earnhardt, etc.

And if those don’t work, if approval ratings really go south, there’s always Iran. And just in case this isn’t enough to slap together a midterm elections brochure (MEB), read GOP propagandist Frank Luntz’s spin lexicon for 2006. One thing is pretty clear—this will all take place in lieu of actual governance, which is being outsourced to the private sector and paid for with trade deficits, oil and gas leases, tax cuts, declining wages, and IRS audits zeroing in on the lucrative $13,000 and under income market. Just call it part of a neocon.

The BushCo political machine has already displayed a willingness, even zeal, to break laws and destroy reputations that threaten ‘victory.’ The stakes are much too high to leave this to the whim of the American electorate. One can only hope that a few enterprising, unattached, currently-not-dating journalists with little or no regard for their safety and lots of backup copies are investigating connections between domestic spying and election rigging.

And that all people who care about democracy can be bothered to pay attention this time around. Because the campaign season has brought to the fore Iraq Noble Cause no. 24: avoiding impeachment.

*************

Bill Grigsby

Bill Grigsby is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Eastern Oregon University

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Philip Temple: Hang On A Minute, Mate
Peter Dunne quietly omits some salient facts when arguing for retention of MMP’s coat-tailing provision that allows a party to add list seats if it wins one electorate and achieves more than 1% or so of the party vote... More>>


Cheap Grace And Climate Change: Australia And COP26

It was not for everybody, but the shock advertising tactics of the Australian comedian Dan Ilic made an appropriate point. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a famed coal hugger, has vacillated about whether to even go to the climate conference in Glasgow. Having himself turned the country’s prime ministerial office into an extended advertising agency, Ilic was speaking his language... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Funeral Rites For COVID Zero
It was such a noble public health dream, even if rather hazy to begin with. Run down SARS-CoV-2. Suppress it. Crush it. Or just “flatten the curve”, which could have meant versions of all the above. This created a climate of numerical sensitivity: a few case infections here, a few cases there, would warrant immediate, sharp lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, the closure of all non-vital service outlets... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Labour's High Water Mark
If I were still a member of the Labour Party I would be feeling a little concerned after this week’s Colmar Brunton public opinion poll. Not because the poll suggested Labour is going to lose office any time soon – it did not – nor because it showed other parties doing better – they are not... More>>



Our Man In Washington: Morrison’s Tour Of Deception

It was startling and even shocking. Away from the thrust and cut of domestic politics, not to mention noisy discord within his government’s ranks, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison could breathe a sign of relief. Perhaps no one would notice in Washington that Australia remains prehistoric in approaching climate change relative to its counterparts... More>>



Binoy Kampmark: Melbourne Quake: Shaken, Not Stirred

It began just after a news interview. Time: a quarter past nine. Morning of September 22, and yet to take a sip from the brewed Turkish coffee, its light thin surface foam inviting. The Australian city of Melbourne in its sixth lockdown, its residents fatigued and ravaged by regulations. Rising COVID-19 numbers, seemingly inexorable... More>>