September propaganda push?
An urgent update to our extensive post yesterday on preparations for a war with Iran.
Prof. Barnett Rubin of NYU has gotten wind of an all-out propaganda push to be launched on the sixth anniversary of 9/11. He cites a well-connected contact in Washington:
My friend had spoken to someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions. He summarized what he was told this way:
They [the source's institution] have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this–they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is "plenty."
Of course I cannot verify this report. But besides all the other pieces of information about this circulating, I heard last week from a former U.S. government contractor. According to this friend, someone in the Department of Defense called, asking for cost estimates for a model for reconstruction in Asia. The former contractor finally concluded that the model was intended for Iran.
Rubin's post cites the similarities to the push for war with Iraq five years ago, right down to ther former White House chief of staff Andy Card's assertion that, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August.'' No, you just test-market it in speeches to veterans' groups, as Bush did this week to the American Legion and Cheney did in late August 2002 to the VFW.
One potential difference this time: I don't see a six-month run-up to war the way we had with Iraq. Let the debate drag on too long and that 35-40 percent threshold could diminish in fairly short order. Pounce quickly and the "support the troops" meme will boost that figure to at least 50 percent until things start going sour. And they will.
This much is certain: We'll know by mid-September whether this scenario is in fact playing out. Until then, please arm yourself with knowledge about how politicians whip up mob hysteria for all sorts of nefarious purposes: Pick up a copy of Bill Bonner's new book, co-authored with Lila Rajiva, Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets. It's Amazon's #1 seller in both the Business and Finance categories even before tomorrow's release date. I'm about a third of the way through, and I assure you it's worth your while.