Sunday, May 31, 2009

Propaganda Succeeds

Tell someone something long enough, often enough, emphatically enough, and however implausible the claims may have seemed initially to the reluctant ear, they gain the respectability of possibility, and finally solid acquiescence in practical acceptance. Repetition and determination make the most originally unassailable propositions of belief equate with an accepted truth.

This is all the more easily achieved when addressing a collective for whom the maligned entity is a stranger, an outsider, not within the norms of perceived social mores, and acceptance. Which is why skillful and ongoing propaganda colouring Jews as parasites on society, as sub-human heralds of misery, as mendacious money-grubbers found a ready acceptance in fascist Germany, enabling the Nazis to round up and ghettoize Jews.

Which is why so little sympathy for the plight of Jews was expressed by the larger community, despite that, in Germany, Jews were completely assimilated, ingrained in German lifestyles and values. In an environment of instability, economic uncertainty and societal upheaval it is always useful to point the general population in the direction of the scapegoat and heap accusations readily accepted.

More latterly, Tutsis were treated to the dehumanizing effects of propaganda by the militant Hutus, setting the stage for a genocidal maelstrom. Propaganda is used by governments the world over, to various degrees. But the manipulation of peoples' minds, values and sense of human justice sees its apogee in the learned skills of terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas and their enabler Iran in portraying Jews as interlopers and enemies.

Themselves on the pious side of justice and humanity, eagerly seeking peace against an insatiable, blood-thirsty enemy, one whom they target and provoke, then reel back in purported horror when their victim strikes in self-defence. A self-defence that becomes a vicious slaughter of innocents undeserving of their dire fate at the hands of a merciless enemy, goes the propaganda, eagerly received by a readily-manipulated world.

Little wonder that the Taliban has been found to indulge in propaganda in Afghanistan, encouraging the belief among Afghans that the Taliban have their best interests at heart, they are agents of peace. Whereas the Western powers, allied with the government of Afghanistan is committed to killing innocent civilians, most particularly women and children. "They are the cruelest in the world", goes the Taliban line.

And since Afghans do see what appears to be evidence of coalition forces in their country mounting attacks that so often result in damage to civilian infrastructures, and far worse, the deaths of innocent civilian bystanders, it's clear to them that it is the foreign presence that is at fault. "We are being out-communicated by the Taliban", stated U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reporting to a Senate appropriations subcommittee in Washington.

Making it imperative that the coalition forces not only face action on the military battlegrounds of Taliban choice and selection, but in addition mount information tactics of their own to counteract those of the Taliban insurgents. Necessitating the installation of satellite transmitters across the country, to mount anti-insurgent messages. Broadcast and print media 'operation centres' to be established at coalition-run bases.

With specialized public affairs officers staffing them. Welcome to the new world of conflict.

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