Thursday, January 10, 2013

the boogie person

Remember the Polish threat? When Hitler was gearing up to take on the world in 1939, he needed an excuse to attack Poland, immediately east of Germany and the only thing standing between Hitler and his real objective, Soviet Russia.

So after cleverly drawing up a mutual pledge of non-aggression with Russia, Hitler proceeded to manufacture a series of phony offenses supposedly committed by the Poles against German sovereignty and dignity -- the "Polish aggression" that touched off WWII.

Now I know most of us would like to believe that the government of our own country would never stoop to those kinds of cheap tricks -- making up phony offenses to hang on an intended victim of US aggression, as a pretext to launching a long-planned attack. We persist in this belief in spite of our common acknowledgement of the phoniness of the "weapons of mass destruction" accusations so recently used against the unfortunate dictator and US boogie person of the nineties, Saddam Hussein,

Today Saddam is dead and his country a smoking, stinking ruin thanks to us, and all things old are new again, for the US has gone back to its once and future boogie person, whoever happens to be in charge in Iran at the moment. And I was reminded again yesterday by this story in правда that there is no end to the sinister plotting against us and sneaky aggression of these malevolent Persians. The third and fourth graphs of this masterpiece of journalistic sleight-of-hand are most instructive:

The skill required to carry out attacks on this scale has convinced United States government officials and security researchers that they are the work of Iran, most likely in retaliation for economic sanctions and online attacks by the United States.

“There is no doubt within the U.S. government that Iran is behind these attacks,” said James A. Lewis, a former official in the State and Commerce Departments and a computer security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

So on the basis of zero evidence, and an opinion drawn not from the State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency, but from a "computer security expert" working in a think tank, we avoid having to deal with a mysterious crime, for we have instead an attack with a built-in motive and a definite perpetrator.

This is modern journalism 101: how to cook your presentation to give the reader his daily dose of two-minutes' hate, and provide one more pretext, if another is needed, for justifying the whacking of this Polish threat, if and when the time comes.

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