Almost every theoretical type of propaganda was employed by Saddam Hussein. Some of the prominent types are agitation, white, black and vertical propaganda. As the example of mass funeral of dead babies illustrates, Saddam intended to appeal to the emotions of the audience, circumventing deliberation on fact and logic. It served to agitate the minds of sympathizers and rally them behind his cause.
Vertical propaganda is identified with government missives given to international press, which were full of exaggeration and fabrication of facts and events. For example, Saddam perpetrated misinformation about how American missiles targeted hospitals and civilian areas. This was dictated to journalists in a top-down fashion. After the media carried these dubious official stories without cross-checking facts, it was disseminated horizontally among Iraqi citizens as well as abroad.
There are also instances of misattribution of sources (black) as well as intended ambiguity with . . . Read More
Dwight Eisenhower’s warnings about the Military-Industrial Complex have proved prophetic in the years since. Addressing the nation on occasion of his tenure’s closure, he reminded Americans about the threat to democratic policy-making posed by this corrupt nexus. Levin-Waldman’s concept of the ‘iron triangle’ closely aligns with Eisenhower’s understanding. Indeed, the former President had to strike out Congress from his original Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex as his advisers deemed it to be too provocative (but factual nonetheless). In the Levin-Waldman model, we can substitute the Military as the dominant ‘interest group’, whose lobbyists are constantly pressurizing members of the Congress and Senate to get passed legislations favoring their industry.
The veracity of Eisenhower and Levin-Waldman claims are evidenced in budgetary allocations to the arms industry. The United States has by far the most powerful military in the world. Despite having no . . . Read More
American military intervention in world affairs has risen drastically since the end of the Second World War. The period following the Second World War saw America assume the role of a superpower that headed the western coalition in what was then a bipolar world. Since the collapse of Soviet Union in the late 80’s, America has had at its disposal the most potent military force. Its economic structure complements military spending, leading to a military industrial complex. Energy resources are a key motivator for the actions of this military industrial complex. The 2003 invasion of Iraq will have to be studied in this context. Understandably, there were questions raised about its legitimacy. There are those who claim it to be a venture to garner strategic oil resources of the country, while others advocated the threat of terrorism posed by dictators like Saddam Hussein. Supporters of the Bush Administration further argued that toppling Saddam Hussein was a just act . . . Read More
Samuel Huntington’s book The Clash of Civilizations has evoked a broad range of responses from political commentators both in the United States as well as abroad. Huntington asserts that the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989 had marked a new beginning in the history of international politics. While prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 major ideological, geo-political and economic conflicts were carried out on the European stage, the end of the Cold War has changed the dynamics and motivations of international conflicts. In the prevailing world order, the fight for supremacy in the realms of ideology, material wealth and territorial conquest have become secondary to the assertion of ‘civilizations’. Civilization as a term in historical discourse can be difficult to define, but Huntington narrows down the scope of this term. According to the author, of all the constituent elements that comprise a particular civilization, its identification with religion, . . . Read More
There were numerous stated motivations for the ongoing War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. But ever since intentions of war were mooted in the wake of September 11, 2001, many official statements of motivation have been discredited and disproved. The inefficient manner in which search operations for Osama-bin-laden was carried out showed that the American government’s interest lay elsewhere – namely the oil rich Iraq. The supposed presence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the hands of the authoritarian Iraqi leaders Saddam Hussein is also proven to be a fabrication. Hence, the real motivation for the ongoing War on Terror operations seem to be to secure strategic material interests of the United States. In this process, the consequences for Iraq/Afghanistan civil society and its local economy is given scant regard.
We could analyze the War on Terror operations within the framework of ‘Just War’ theory presented in the book “The Origins of War: . . . Read More
The invasion and occupation of Iraq since 2003 is a classic example of the power and effectiveness of propaganda campaigns. For some people, subsequent revelations about the lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) might have come as a surprise. But even before the invasion took place, many people across the world (including Americans) took part in mass protestations against what they sensed to be an illegitimate war carried out for unjust reasons. This is a reflection of the general public disillusionment with the functioning of government institutions. More importantly, it is an indication of the distrust of mainstream media sources and the information (misinformation) being generated by them. This viewpoint is reflected in other contemporary scholarship on the subject. Prominent among them is Nicholas O’Shaughnessy’s work, which has spawned a new discipline in social sciences – that of Political Marketing. In his book titled Politics and Propaganda: Weapons of Mass . . . Read More
The invasion and occupation of Iraq since 2003 is a classic example of the power and effectiveness of propaganda campaigns. For some people, subsequent revelations about the lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) might have come as a surprise. But even before the invasion took place, many people across the world (including Americans) took part in mass protestations against what they sensed to be an illegitimate war carried out for unjust reasons. This is a reflection of the general public disillusionment with the functioning of government institutions. More importantly, it is an indication of the distrust of mainstream media sources and the information (misinformation) being generated by them. Sadly, though, such expressions of disagreement and distrust only account for a politically aware minority, whilst a large majority of the population are subject to government propganda, orchestrated and implemented by major media institutions. Indeed, the ruthlessness and . . . Read More
An element of my personal philosophy of life is related to the dynamics of ‘contentment’. Since the whole canon of Western Philosophy is centered on the causes, states and conditions of contentment, it is fair to say that my contribution through this narrative is a minuscule one. Yet, I would like to voice my assessment of this universal human concern and try to refine my theory through the responses it will elicit from the audience. I have synthesized my personal experience with a larger political event and have studied them both in a philosophical framework. I hope that the audience will eventually agree with me as they see the logic and weight of my arguments given below.
I would describe my personal philosophy of life as closely allied to Epicureanism. Although this school of thought is grouped under Hedonism, it is markedly more moderate in the principles it espouses. As opposed to Hedonism, which is living life for the sole purpose of sensory enjoyment, . . . Read More
There has long been the contention that art, in all its various manifestations, should ideally by apolitical in its content. And this debate on the separation of art from politics has been as old as art itself. And those instances in which an overlapping of the two occur, controversy if not outright censorship ensues. A classic illustration of this phenomenon in recent history is the Iranian theocracy’s issue of ‘fatwa’ (essentially a death sentence) against Litterateur Salman Rushdie, whose novel The Satanic Verses was accused of disparaging the Islamic faith. Notwithstanding the veracity of the accusations directed against Rushdie, the controversial novel should not be dismissed as being blasphemous without due critical consideration of its content, for often times, it is the dissenting and disturbing voices that also speak truth to power. In the case of the Satanic Verses affair it is theocratic power that was disturbed. But in today’s geo-political . . . Read More