Truth and Fiction in the Propaganda Circus

Was the West’s response to the chemical attack in Douma justified?

Is there such a thing as “Truth” any more, and, if so, how do you find it?

Pretty well everything you see these days is propaganda in some form, and while people are becoming increasingly aware of the scope and influence of Russian fakery, we are noticeably less alert to the existence of our own public relations efforts and the way these affect our thinking on contemporary events.

prop“Public Relations” is just another term for propaganda, by the way. It was first coined by Edward Bernays in his book, Propaganda.

In case you haven’t noticed, we are in the midst of a propaganda war right now. Propaganda wars often precede actual wars. I think everyone really needs to be aware of the dangers facing us in our current situation.

Take the recent news from Syria: the chemical attack in Douma, and the subsequent missile strikes by Britain, France and the United States.

My friends were divided over the issue. Many said that the chemical attack was fake news. Some considered it a “false flag” attack, perpetrated by the jihadists themselves. Others were certain that the attack had taken place and that the Assad regime was responsible, but were divided amongst themselves about what followed. Was the Western response justified? Was it legal? Would it even make any difference?

Actually I’ve planted a couple of indicators here.

I called the people who were subject to the chemical attacks “jihadists”. This is a leading term. Had I been on their side I would have called them “rebels”. I also referred to the “Assad regime”. Had I been opposed to the Western response I would have called it a “government”.

Such are the subtle signs of political bias in this age of uncertainty.

I’ve read so many conflicting versions of the story now, that I’m really not sure what to think. What’s more, the interpretation of the events seem to be coming from such contradictory angles.

So we had Peter Oborne and Peter Hitchens – both of them firmly on the right – alongside former First Sea Lord Admiral West, former SAS commander Jonathan Shaw, and former British ambassador to Syria Peter Ford, all casting doubt on the official version of events; while many on the left were arguing that an attack certainly took place, thus giving tacit support to the missile strikes, regardless of the consequences.

It almost makes you nostalgic for the clarity of the Iraq War doesn’t it? Most of us were pretty certain those Weapons of Mass Destruction didn’t exist, and millions took to the streets world wide to protest. These days no one has any idea what is going on.

Is Assad a bad man? Or is he good man in a bad position? Are the rebels foreign backed mercenaries or freedom fighters? Is the West really interested in human rights or is it only counting the oil?

In fact thinking about Iraq might help to clarify the situation.

Saddam was certainly a bad man and he was known to have used chemical weapons against his own people; but did that justify the invasion and the mayhem that followed? Absolutely not.

The same applies to Syria.

Was Assad responsible for the chemical attack in Douma? Who knows? Personally I prefer to wait for the report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons before I make up my mind.

But did it justify the intervention of the West, the unleashing of tens of millions of pounds worth of high-tech weaponry, with all the risks that entailed, into a war zone, without UN approval?



From The Whitstable Gazette 26/04/18

The editor welcomes letters on any topical subject, but reserves the right to edit them. Letters must include your name and address even when emailed and a daytime telephone number.

Send letters to: The Editor, Room B119 Canterbury College, New Dover Road, Canterbury CT1 3AJ

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