We live in country where you can still be called a commie if you don't agree that Stalin's terror killed 20 or 30 million people, even though the actual number is under a million
. We also live in a country in which one cannot admit in public that George W. Bush's Iraq adventure achieved a very similar, and perhaps higher body count. (Stalin's terror is here defined as the 1937-38 period, while the Iraq disaster took place over a longer period of time, and must include the victims of what was, in large measure, a civil war.)
by John Pilger discusses our inability to deal with certain truths. It was written for a British audience but deserves to be read by Americans as well:
On Harvey's Today programme I referred to a poll conducted by ComRes last year that asked people in Britain how many Iraqis had been killed as a result of the 2003 invasion. A majority said that fewer than 10,000 had been killed: a figure so shockingly low it was a profanity.
I compared this with scientific estimates of "up to a million men, women and children [who] had died in the inferno lit by Britain and the US". In fact, academic estimates range from less than half a million to more than a million. John Tirman, the principal research scientist at the MIT Centre for International Studies, has examined all the credible estimates; he told me that an average figure "suggests roughly 700,000". Tirman pointed out that this excluded deaths among the millions of displaced Iraqis, up to 20% of the population.
The day after the Harvey programme, Today "countered" with Toby Dodge of the LSE – a former adviser to General Petraeus, one of the architects of the disasters in both Iraq and Afghanistan – along with Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a former Iraqi "national security adviser" in the occupation regime, and the man who led Saddam Hussein to his lynching.
These BBC-accredited "experts" rubbished, without evidence, the studies and reduced the number of dead by hundreds of thousands. The interviewer, Mishal Husain, offered no challenge to their propaganda.
Pilger goes on to note that
In the build-up to the 2003 invasion, according to studies by Cardiff University and Media Tenor, the BBC followed the Blair government's line and lies, and restricted airtime to those opposing the invasion. When Andrew Gilligan famously presented a dissenting report on Today, he and the director general were crushed.
On this side of the pond, 2003 was an even stranger time, perhaps the strangest that I can recall. America was in a fever. The lies broadcast on every television were so brazen and so constant as to make the standard reference to Orwell seem insufficient. Worse, the public's insistence on accepting
those lies was nothing short of manic. Nothing infuriated people more than a whisper of truth.
I'd like to believe that the fever was temporary -- and perhaps it was, the worst of it. But where are we now? The majority of the American people still accept codswallop from mainstream sources -- and those who don't, accept codswallop of a different sort from the likes of Alex Jones and Breitbart. The lies of the official media still have purchase because what passes for an alternative media (at least in this country) is so repellent.