A Free Press or a Ministry of Truth?
In his novel 1984, George Orwell portrayed
a future time in which the explanations of recent events
and earlier history are continually changed to meet Big
Brother`s latest purpose. Previous explanations
disappear down “the memory hole.”
Sound familiar? Any American who pays attention can
observe the identical phenomenon occurring in the US
Think about the Bush Regime`s changing explanations for
the failed US occupation of Iraq. Shortly after Bush`s
May 2003 announcement of “mission accomplished,”
the mission revealed itself to be very much
unaccomplished. Americans were told that the cause of
the snafu was a small Sunni insurgency of two or three
thousand at the most inspired by “die-hard Baath
party remnants.” Remember the
propagandistic deck of cards identifying the most
wanted down to the less wanted? Americans were assured
that once Saddam Hussein and his relatives and henchmen
were rounded up, our troops would be pelted with the
promised flowers instead of roadside bombs.
When the roundups, trials, and executions failed to fix
the problem, the “die-hard” explanation
disappeared. A new explanation, with no continuity to
the old, took its place.
The new explanation was that Syria was allowing
foreigners to cross its border into Iraq to commit
jihad against the American troops. This explanation
lasted until it became all too clear, despite the
propaganda, that the “foreign fighters” were remarkably
well accepted by, and concealed within, the Iraqi
communities that were suffering all the collateral
damage of the conflict.
When it came time for the US to create an Iraqi
government, it was evident that it would be one
dominated by Shi`ites. Then, for a limited time, it was
permissible to recognize that the insurgency was
popularly based in the Sunnis.
As the insurgency evolved into what the Iraq Study Group
described as a Sunni-Shi`ite civil war [
PDF ] with US troops
unclear on which side they stood, the Bush Regime and
the captive media began blaming Al Qaeda for the
escalating violence. Americans were assured by the
Ministry of Truth that there wasn`t a civil war, just
outsiders stirring up conflict. This enabled Big Brother
to deny that there was a civil war and to revive fear of
terrorist attacks in the US and UK, the new Oceania.
The Al Qaeda explanation was soon discarded into the
memory hole. The explanation implied that Oceania`s
invasion of Iraq had greatly expanded the ranks and
strength of Al Qaeda, thus contradicting big Brother`s
claim that his war in Iraq was making Oceanians safe by
stamping out terrorism. The Al Qaeda explanation had to
depart for another reason as well. Cheney, Israel, and
the neocons, the rulers of the new Oceania,
plan to attack Iran, and so the insurgency in Iraq
is now being blamed on Iran.
The Ministry of Truth has accommodated the latest
explanation, just as it did all others before, without
remarking on the funeral of the previous explanation.
All of a sudden, a new explanation appears and is
repeated until it, too, goes down the memory hole.
The American and British media work the same way as the
Ministry of Truth in Oceania. A day arrives when the
“truth” no longer serves the empire or hegemonic
power or center of moral purpose in the world, or for
short, the regime. When that day arrives, a new
explanation appears and is repeated until it, too, is
discarded down the memory hole.
In recent weeks Americans have been fed a series of
reports from official sources that Iran is arming both
Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Experts, both within the government and without, who
have been made more attentive by the Bush Regime`s false
charges of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, have
disputed the news reports.
But the reports keep on coming. As I write, the latest
story is that the US military “discovered a field of
rocket launchers near a US army base south of Baghdad
armed with 34 Iranian-made missiles.” Can you imagine?
The insurgents went to the trouble of lugging powerful
missiles within striking distance of a US base and just
left them there unfired to be discovered by the
Americans. To further serve Cheney`s plan to attack
Iran, the media report states: “Earlier this month,
US commanders stepped up the charges [against Iran],
claiming that senior leaders of Iran`s special forces
and of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia have
trained Iraqi fighters and provided other support.”
finds Iranian rockets aimed at Iraq base,
Agence France Presse, July 14,2007]
Notice that none of the explanations fed to Americans
over the years have ever mentioned, even as a faint
possibility, that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq
might be the cause of the violence in Iraq.
Allegedly, the US is a free and open country with a free
press and a government accountable to the people. Yet,
the information fed to the American people is as
thoroughly false as that fed to the citizens of
Oceania by Big Brother through the Ministry of Truth
in Orwell`s famous novel.
In Orwell`s novel, despite the totalitarian power of the
government, nothing happens to people as long as they
accept the government`s intrusive monitoring of their
lives and do not become interested in truth or facts..
In such a world, truth and individuality pass out of
human consciousness and become unimportant. Citizens
survive by accepting Big Brother`s ever-changing
This is what the mainstream media in the US and UK are
enabling the new Oceania to accomplish. It is pointless
to complain about a few
Judith Millers here and there at the New York
Times, or the obvious warmongers at the Weekly
Standard, Fox “News,” and Wall Street Journal
editorial page. The entire corporate media is behaving
as a Ministry of Truth.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Paul Craig Roberts
him] was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration.
He is the author of
Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington;
and the Soviet Economy and
Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy,
and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of
The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice. Click
here for Peter
Brimelow`s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.