U.S. propaganda = USSR propaganda?

From Noam Chomsky in an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

Goodman: Vice President Cheney is saying this war can be won.

Chomsky: There’s an interesting study being done right now by a former Russian soldier in Afghanistan in the late 1980s. He’s now a student in Toronto who’s comparing the Russian press and the Russian political figures and military leaders, what they were saying about Afghanistan, comparing it with what Cheney, others and the press are saying about Iraq and not to your great surprise, change a few names and it comes out about the same.

They were also saying the war in Afghanistan could be won and they were right. If they had increased the level of violence sufficiently, they could have won the war in Iraq — in Afghanistan. They’re also pointing out — of course they describe correctly the heroism of the Russian troops, the efforts to bring assistance to the poor people of Afghanistan, to protect them from U.S.-run Islamic fundamentalist terrorist forces, the dedication, the rights they have won for the people in Afghanistan, and the warning that if they pull out it will be total disaster, mayhem, they must stay and win.

Unfortunately, they were right about that too. When they did pull out, it was a total disaster. The U.S.-backed forces tore the place to shreds, so terrible that the people even welcomed the Taliban when they came in. So, yes, those arguments can always be given. The Germans could have argued if they had the force that they didn’t, that they could have won the Second World War. I mean the question is not can you win. The question is should you be there.

Very fascinating and telling, if true.


  1. Ian

    I’m sure the USSR didn’t do it first. Propaganda by its very nature misleads in order to bolster support for the government. I take everything said by the government with a grain of salt. You can’t tell what’s true out of the mouths of the Republicans or the Democrats. They take huge amounts of lobbying dollars, are always having partisan bickering, have their own personal vested interests (Cheney and Halliburton for example), and then some things are “classified” and the world would end if we knew them (yeah right). You can’t tell through all of that what really is the truth from our government, what our politicians true intentions are, or any of that. You just have to hope that at the end of the day, they try and do the right thing. To blindly support the government, for partisan reasons or just patriotism, is, well, blind.

    The truth is, you can’t really know whats happening in Iraq unless you are there. We get some reports saying X number of civilians have died in the Iraq war, and some saying Y, and we may never know the truth. You can choose to believe X or Y I guess. It seems some really die hard conservatives choose the values the government gives (lower), and those who are mad at the government or just being partisan dicks who oppose conservatives choose the higher number by whatever “independent” group gives it at the time. Fact isn’t up to interpretation, thats why its fact.

    Take a look at http://www.conservapedia.com which is an altogether hilarious site. Its the wikipedia for conservatives, because the world on a user edited site it too liberal for them, users of all political beliefs. These people take themselves seriously too, it isn’t a joke. If you clicked on a link about public healthcare in the Hilary Clinton entry, it went to the communism entry. While that is mildly humorous, you can’t honestly take this as fact. (Note: Its since been changed as it was ridiculed on quite a few sites). I don’t see how people feel like they can choose a “flavor” of fact or truth to believe. We have this whole “interpretation” of information in this country, when it comes to the Constitution, the Bible, and now apparently general fact itself. People feel like they need to see the world in a way that fits with their beliefs about it, not how it actually is. People don’t crave the truth, they want what makes them comfortable, which is why propaganda works so well. They want to believe that their government is righteous and incapable of horrible things. They don’t need facts.

  2. Chris

    Great post, hard to argue with anything you had to say there.

    I had never heard of that Conservapedia before. I think that’s Stephen Colbert’s Wikiality and Truthiness taken to the extreme.

    I just think it’s striking that as a species, we haven’t learned from our past mistakes. It really is depressing.