Anti-War Index to pages on this site and external links
Norwich Stop the War Coalition
Paddy's Normal Home page

Peace, truth and propaganda

TONY BENN castigates the warmongers for their perversion of the language.

AS THE war moves closer, it is becoming harder and harder to believe a word of what we are told by the president, the Prime Minister or the media.

Perhaps the most obvious example is that, even at this late stage in the build-up of military forces, we are still assured by those who are actually planning the invasion of Iraq that "war is not inevitable" when the war has already begun as US and British bombers step up the bombing of Iraq's no-fly zones as part of military operations which they have long planned.

Bush and Blair have, in that sense, already answered the question that everyone asks - "Would you go to war without a UN resolution?" - by going to war without such a resolution, since those bombing missions have never been authorised by the United Nations.

Those who argue for peace in our dealings with Iraq are denounced as favouring appeasement, whereas, in Northern Ireland and in Palestine, Blair and Bush claim to be working for peace - even though Trimble, for the Ulster Unionists warns about appeasing the republicans and Sharon in Israel refuses to talk to Arafat on the grounds that it would involve appeasing Palestinian terrorists.

Or, to take further examples, Osama bin Laden, the world's most wanted man, was actually sent to Afghanistan by the United States as a terrorist to get the Soviet Union out and Nelson Mandela, one of the world's greatest freedom fighters, was once denounced as a terrorist by Margaret Thatcher.

President Bush promises democracy in Iraq when he has conquered it, speaking from the same White House which has backed every tinpot dictator in the world, including Marcos in the Philippines, Pinochet, who killed Chile's elected President Allende, Papa Doc in Haiti and Suharto in Indonesia, who was responsible for the slaughter of millions and for the invasion of East Timor.

We are also told that the war is to defend American values of justice and human rights, while, in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, which the US occupies against the wishes of the Cuban government, hundreds of people, including some British citizens, have been held in prison and, for all we know, actually tortured by the US for over a year, without being tried, charged or even allowed to see lawyers.

The UN, which was set up to represent the peoples of the world, has now apparently been replaced by a new entity, "the international community," which consists only of Bush and Blair or "a coalition of the willing" if you include small states which may be bribed with billions of dollars into voting for the war.

And, if by any chance, a security council resolution calling for war is vetoed by a France, China or Russia, as provided for in the UN charter, the Prime Minister says that he would disregard it as "unreasonable," although the US has used the veto 70 times to protect Israel.

It makes you wonder whether, if the Prime Minister actually lost a vote of No confidence in Parliament, he might be inclined to disregard it on the grounds that it was unreasonable.

But the corruption of language by political leaders goes way back and involves replacing words that may not be popular with other words that are thought to be more acceptable to the public.

For example, we used to have a War Office, but now we have a Ministry of Defence, nuclear bombs are now described as deterrents, innocent civilians killed in war are now described as collateral damage and military incompetence leading to US bombers killing British soldiers is cosily described as friendly fire.

Those who are in favour of peace are described as mavericks and troublemakers, whereas the real militants are those who want the war.

It is certainly arguable that President Bush is a maverick president of a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction which the US has used to bomb 19 countries since 1945, costing many, many hundreds of thousands - possibly millions - of lives.

Such actions are justified on the grounds that they were peacekeeping operations.

When Israel sent troops into the Lebanon, it was described as an incursion, whereas, when Iraq sent troops to Kuwait, it was an invasion.

Next week, when Bush launches his quarter-million strong army into Iraq, it will be presented as the first step in building a new world order and those who oppose it, including the Pope, may well be criticised by Mr Blair for having "blood on their hands."

The president and the Prime Minister tell us every day that the time is running out for Saddam and that he has his last chance to disarm, but, when he actually begins to destroy his missiles, this important act of disarmament is dismissed as another cunning trick to mislead us and divide us.

When Labour MPs vote for peace, they are described as rebels who are defying their leader, but, if the Prime Minister goes to war without the authority of the UN or Parliament, the media will welcome it as providing proof that he cannot be swayed by the emotional response of the British people, as if war and the killing it involves is not a suitable subject for emotion.

People are beginning to realise that, every day, we are being systematically told blatant lies to keep us quiet so that the killing can begin - and our worldwide anti-war movement is not only for peace but also for truth, without which peace is not possible.

This is the moment when we all must stand up and be counted.

Anti-War Index   Next Page

Anti-War Index to pages on this site and external links
Norwich Stop the War Coalition
Paddy's Normal Home page