|Yeah, let's manipulate the audience.|
by Tom Winter, January 9, 2016
Remember that great crime drama, LAW&ORDER? I used to enjoy it. There’d be something horrible and you’d watch in fascination as step by step, the good guys trailed and nailed the perpetrator. I stopped watching it when I realized it was all done to a very tight formula, and that each show was a remake of every other. Here is the formula:
1. Present something so heinous, so outrageous that the viewer is outraged and angry.
2. The viewer watches with roused interest for every step that brings the bad guy closer to justice.
3. Close it out with the villain proven, trapped, and condemned, leaving our viewers with a feeling of satisfaction.
The formula works for military adventurism.
Remember Yugoslavia? Genocide! “Something must be done!” I believed it all, and so did you. And we bombed Yugoslavia into smithereens. And a Chinese Embassy. Unavoidable. Happens in war, you know. And I felt satisfied with all we had done.
My Serbian friends have another story to tell…
Then Saddam Hussein. Monster. Gasses his own people. Models himself on Stalin for crying out loud. And he’s got Weapons of Mass Destruction. And our President is “sick and tired” of Saddam not giving up those WMDs. I went along. So did you. We invaded and took down the monster. Great satisfaction and relief. But in taking down the monster, we created one.
Then Ghaddafi. Oh how awful. So awful, that I went along with our NATO no-fly zone, taking sides in a civil war, and seeing to it that the monster was undone. Yay! But now the country is in ruins and Libya is a Garden of ISIS…
Now, and for four years going, the monster is Bashar al-Assad. He gasses his own people. The latest round of incendiary news about his monstrousness (from Al-Arabiya, which is owned by Saudi Arabia, which supports the invading “moderates”) has gotten us steaming with hatred for Assad. After all, he’s killing the beseiged citizens of Madaya by starvation!
The internet. Thanks to the internet, and my life’s career in languages, I am not dependent on the Western Press for who I am supposed to hate. I read news from France in French, the news from Germany in German, the news from Greece in Greek, and the news from Ukraine, Russia, and Syria in Russian.
That gas attack in Ghouta in 2013 was pinned on the wrong guy. And Assad starving Madaya? Al-Arabiya TV two months ago showed a convoy of trucks with humanitarian assistance coming into Madaya.
But I have facebook friends who are seething with hatred for Assad, and want him taken down. Just like our hawks, without thinking ahead about the Garden of ISIS that will follow.
Looking for villains to seethe in anger about? Easy. The king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. You can see white-robed headsmen slicing off heads. They are good at it. It’s on youtube. Why aren’t the hounds of the western press working us up about this? Easy: we have no plans to take down Saudi Arabia.
Then there is Poroshenko. There is endless evidence that his regime is bombarding civilian populations. He is, to speak it plain, a war criminal if ever there was one. Why is our press giving him a pass? Because our War Department has no plans to take him down. Hell, he’s our guy.
And the consequences? The not thinking ahead? Madeleine Albright and Zbigniev Brzezinski have revealed the truth: death and desolation don’t matter, so long as State Department aims are met.*
*Lesley Stahl: We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
Madeleine Albright: I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it. In her book, she later said her answer was crazy. Yes, crazy to admit it. And Zbig, when asked "You don’t regret anything today?
Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea.