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."
Any American who pays attention can observe the identical phenomenon
occurring in the US today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
the insurgency evolved into what the Iraq Study Group described
as a Sunni-Shi'ite
civil war 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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, 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 reality.
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
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in
the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall
Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National
Review. He is coauthor of The
Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: [email protected]