Manipulating public opinion to wage war: Part 5/5

For Vietnam (1953 – 1975):  In 1965—soon after the so-called Tonkin Gulf Incident (the Vietnam War’s Pearl Harbor that was the propaganda to drum up support for war)—only 25% thought the war was a mistake. Source: DailyKos.com

In fact, Anup Shah writing for Global Issues, says it required massive propaganda to create the belief that U.S. involvement in Vietnam was because non-communist South Vietnam was invaded by communist North Vietnam and that the regime in the South was democratic—but there never was a democracy in South Vietnam.

This was all untrue. In addition, many think that the Vietnam War was lost due to the media revealing atrocities but this was also untrue.  Noam Chomsky says the American elite typically regarded Vietnam as a “mistake” or tragedy.

Television news in particular was said to have helped America “lose” the war. Yet, television news coverage was arguably poor, and full of news-bites, rather than detailed documentaries. … The Vietnam experience highlights a multitude of factors that contributed to what can only be termed as propaganda for Cold War ideological battles: a mixture of ideological goals, geopolitical and military goals, and issues to do with the nature of reporting and the structure of the media and how it worked, combined with cultural norms, all impacted the way that things were reported, not reported, portrayed, or misrepresented, and this ultimately provided legitimacy for a war that saw millions killed. Source: Global Issues.org

Gallup reported that in 1965, soon after the so-called Tonkin Gulf Incident, 61% of American’s polled said that sending U.S. troops to fight in Vietnam was not a mistake. But by 1971, 70% would say yes—it was a mistake—to the same question.

Again, we hear the echo of President Abraham Lincoln’s words: “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” In 1965, the majority of the American people were fooled but by 1971, only a few were still fools.

For the Gulf War—also known as Operation Desert Storm (August 1990 – February 1991)—we learn under the first President Bush that short wars with decisive victories provide less time for the public to change its mind. … In addition, President George H. W. Bush (1989 – 1993), remembering the lessons of Vietnam, sought public support … and he got it.  The vast majority of Americans and a narrow majority of the Congress supported the President’s actions. Source: US History.org

But the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, had his Pearl Harbor on 9/11, and he squandered the public support by relying on false reports of Weapons of Mass Destruction to declare war on Iraq. But this false propaganda succeeded leading to Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003 – 2011).

“Being able to exploit the national anguish and anger over 9/11 was a critical ingredient, of course. But the success of the war-selling campaign was testimony to what a determined use of the opinion-molding capabilities of the government of the day, including the bully pulpit of the presidency, can accomplish.” Source: The National Interest

After Powell’s speech at the UN about WMDs in Iraq, a Gallup poll concluded that 79% of Americans thought the war was justified. However, by 2007, 65% would disapprove of the Iraq War thinking it was not worth fighting, and in March 2013, another survey found that 51.9% of the American public felt that the Iraq War had been a mistake—after all, you cannot fool all of the people, all of the time.

Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan (2001 to present): In 2001, Gallup reported that eight of ten Americans (80%) supported a ground war in Afghanistan. But by March 2012—more than a decade later—sixty-nine percent of Americans thought that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan.

Return to Manipulating public opinion to wage wars: Part 4 or start with Part 1

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Manipulating public opinion to wage war: Part 4/5

World War One (1917 – 1918) was deeply unpopular. “once public opinion polling did start appearing in the 1930’s, early surveys on World War One showed only 28% of the country thought entering the war was a good idea, while 64% opposed it.”

In the years after World War I Americans quickly reached the conclusion that their country’s participation in that war had been a disastrous mistake, one which should never be repeated again. During the 1920s and 1930s, therefore, they pursued a number of strategies aimed at preventing war. Source: neh.gov

And Support for World War II (1941 – 1945) was also not widely popular. Even as public opinion in favor of war increased after France fell to Nazi Germany during World War Two, only 42% of the country thought entry into the war was a good idea, while 39% of the country still considered it a mistake.

In fact, entering this war was unpopular until Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Then it was clear that the US couldn’t stay out of the Second World War.

Once the war began in earnest, America increased the flood of propaganda, utilizing especially the radio and visual media, most specifically posters. … Since American leaders realized that the best hope of winning the war was through increased production and labor, many posters were circulated urging increased labor and production as well as conservation of materials for the war effort.… During World War II, America produced some of the most successful propaganda campaigns in history. The pushes for increased production, labor, and conservation may well have won the war for America. Source: thinkquest.org

Next, the Korean War (1950 – 1953): When Americans were first asked (by Gallup), in August 1950, if deciding to defend South Korea was a mistake, only 20% thought it was, while 65% said it was not a mistake.

But by the following January, opinion had shifted dramatically, and 49% thought the decision was a mistake, while 38% said it was not—13% had no opinion.

Over several months, as Gallup asked the public if “going into war in Korea” was a mistake, opinion remained relatively stable, with more Americans saying it was than saying it was not. Six months later, as truce talks were being conducted at Kaesong, Americans were feeling more positive—42% felt the war was a mistake, while 47% said it wasn’t. But the numbers shifted again six months later in February 1952, when a majority said the war was a mistake for the United States, soon after a POW exchange proposal by the United Nations was rejected, and riots in the United Nations’ overcrowded Koje-do prison camp resulted in the deaths of many North Korean prisoners.

Soon after Eisenhower was elected president in 1953 and truce talks began again, the American opinion shifted yet again, with half of Americans saying the war was not a mistake, while a low of 36% said it was a mistake.

Continued on July 12, 2013 in Manipulating public opinion to wage wars: Part 5 or return to Part 3

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_______________________

 Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Manipulating public opinion to wage war: Part 3/5

The American Civil War (1861 – 1865) “was absolutely an important moment in the history of the press,” says Penn State’s Risley. “The practices, technological development you begin to see during the war—the importance of the telegraph, the use of illustrations, for example—and the growth in demand for newspapers, so many of these things came together during this remarkable and tragic event.”

The demand for newspapers in both the North and South soared during the Civil War, says Risley, whose book is Civil War Journalism (Praeger, 2012).

This demand for information continued after the war and pushed more newspapers to broaden their readership. “America really became a nation of newspaper readers during the war.” The Civil War also showed officials how powerful the press could be in shaping public opinion, and government officials often struggled finding an even-handed approach in their handling of the press.

“Abraham Lincoln recognized that the press played a role in public opinion and he used the press effectively,” says Risley. “But, he wasn’t afraid to shut down newspapers, something that would not have been acceptable today.” Source: futurity.org

Perhaps more importantly, newspapers were responsible for editorializing the war.  They were the propaganda machines of the day. Though not universally true, many newspapers published biased accounts of events, “factual” testimonials of enemy atrocities, articles proselytizing for specific political and military goals, and emotionally charged letters from citizens affected by the conflict. A quiet war for public support was waged both in the North and the South with the newspapers serving on the front lines. Issues like conscription, use of slaves as soldiers, and the validity of total war were hotly debated in the papers. The newspapers controlled the ebb and flow of public opinion and a particularly popular circulation could determine the outcomes of city or state politics.Some newspapers were known to falsely report casualty rates or results of battle to bolster public morale. Source: OregonState.edu

But if the Civil War taught the government about the importance of the media, The Spanish-American War (1898) may have been the first true “media war”.

Today, historians point to the Spanish-American War as the first press-driven war. Although it may be an exaggeration to claim that Hearst and the other yellow journalists started the war, it is fair to say that the press fueled the public’s passion for war. Without sensational headlines and stories about Cuban affairs, the mood for Cuban intervention may have been very different. Source: pbs.org

Continued on July 11, 2013 in Manipulating public opinion to wage wars: Part 4 or return to Part 2

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_______________________

 Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Manipulating public opinion to wage war: Part 2/5

The contrast between the War of 1812, and the Mexican-American War demonstrates the important use of the media to manipulate public opinion—something America’s leaders were still learning.

The War of 1812 to March 1815 was also known as the Second War of Independence

The United States entered the war with confused objectives and divided loyalties and made peace without settling any of the issues that had induced the nation to go to war. Source: history.army.mil

Why? Because the prosecution of the war was marred by considerable bungling and mismanagement.  This was partly due to the nature of the republic.  The nation was too young and immature—and its government too feeble and inexperienced—to prosecute a major war efficiently.  Politics also played a part.  Federalists vigorously opposed the conflict, and so too did some Republicans.  Even those who supported the war feuded among themselves and never displayed the sort of patriotic enthusiasm that has been so evident in other American wars.

It is this lack of success that may best explain why the war is so little remembered.  Americans have characteristically judged their wars on the basis of their success.  The best-known wars—the Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II—were all clear-cut successes. Source: pbs.org

Then we have the Mexican American War (1846 – 1848) where public opinion was divided at first. Many accused President Polk of provoking a war. … The Mexican War was not popular among certain people, especially in the north. They thought it was meant to expand the territory of slavery. … In the end—thrilled by sensationalized newspaper accounts of American victories— the public embraced the war. Source: archives.nbclearn.com

As you can see, the government needs the media to popularize a war.  It also helps if the war is short. Long wars tend to lose public support.

Continued on July 10, 2013 in Manipulating public opinion to wage wars: Part 3 or return to Part 1

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_______________________

 Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Good News Twice in One Day

Early this morning—before I went out to work on the patio-fence with more than one gate project that I’m building from scratch—I checked my e-mail and discovered that my suspense-thriller, Running with the Enemy, had been awarded an Honorable Mention in General Fiction at the 2103 New York Book Festival.

A good way to start the day.

Fast forward several hours—I finished working on the project about 3:00 pm, took a shower, and then logged-on to check my e-mail only to discover that Running with the Enemy had been named Runner Up (2nd Place) in General Fiction at the 2013 Beach Book Festival.

A good way to end the day.

In twelve days on June 22, the 2013 New York Book Festival will be held at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan—just steps from the Empire State Building.

When Running with the Enemy picked up its first honorable mention at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival, I attended the free seminars and the private award ceremony, but I’m not planning on buying a ticket to fly to New York at this late date. With the lowest nightly rate for the Radisson at $385.00 and flights to New York from San Francisco costing $583 – $2,072 (depending on the airline you book a flight with), I’m staying home. The grand prize winner wins $1,500, but an honorable mention and a runner-up do not come with a cash prize.

However, if you live near New York and you are a writer, poet, author and/or an avid reader, you may want to take advantage of the free seminars. The San Francisco event was well worth my time, and I’m planning on going next year. The price of a BART ticket to ride into San Francisco from where we live is about $10 round trip.

NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL DAY SCHEDULE
– this event is free –

  • 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. The Art of Marketing and Promotion – An examination of what it takes to get your book noticed in a crowded marketplace. 
  • 1:00 p.m.-2:10 p.m. Writing About Your Life – “Write what you know” is one of the most debated axioms of an author’s life. A panel that drew on their experiences and career paths discusses what it takes to put it all down in book form.
  • 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Children’s Books in a Modern Age – Authors/publishers of award-winning books from the San Francisco Book Festival talk about their books and the market.
    Panelists: 
  • 3:40 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Dr. Neal Hall – the poetry winner of the San Francisco/New York/New England/Paris and Los Angeles festivals reads from his work and answers questions.
  • 4:10 p.m.-4:45 p.m. The Future of Books – The rise of eBooks, the shrinking retail scene, the consolidation of big publishing and the explosion of the online world. A discussion on where everything appears to be heading and how you can leverage these developments.
  • 4:45 to 5 p.m. A Conversation with the New York Book Festival grand prize winner

The grand-prize winner of the 2013 New York Book Festival was Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora by Emily Raboteau (Atlantic Monthly Press). The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata was the winner of the general-fiction category and it was first published in Indonesia in 2005 selling more than five-million copies. The English translation of Hirata’s novel was published by Sarah Crichton Books (February 5, 2013)

The grand-prize winner of the 2013 Beach Book Festival was Inside Linda Lovelace’s Deep Throat by Darin Porter published by Blood Moon Productions, March 12, 2013. The winner of the general-fiction category was Rosi’s Time by Edward Eaton, published by Dragonfly Publishing.

The private-award ceremony will be held June 21 at the Grolier Club in Manhattan.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Censored but not Silenced: Part 5/5

Disclaimer: Before I conclude this series, I want to make it clear that I support the existence of Israel and its right to defend itself with America’s help, but I do not believe in the neoconservative political agenda of nation building by exporting democracy using America’s troops, bullets and bombs.

But—at the same time—I do not think it is a good idea to allow Iran to develop the bomb. If Iran wasn’t using its nuclear program, as it claims—to build nuclear bombs—why not follow China’s example and build thorium reactors that do not need weapons grade plutonium to generate electricity, but that is another topic. If you are interested, I recommend reading China blazes trail for ‘clean’ nuclear power from thorium.

Does that mean I support America going to war against Iran? Yes, but not to build a democracy but to make sure Iran never has a nuclear weapon. There are too many of these bombs already. Instead of building more, we should be dismantling them, because a conventional war isn’t as total as nuclear war.

Keep in mind that today’s nuclear weapons are much more devastating than what was dropped on Japan at the end of World War II. If you have no concept of that horror, I refer you to this site where there is an info-graphic that will show you. Click on Ingeniously Charting The Horrifying Power of Today’s Nuclear Bombs.

In addition, there are 17,300 of these modern nuclear weapons stockpiled by nine countries: Russia has 8,500; the United States 7,700; France 300; China 240; United Kingdom 225; Pakistan 90 – 110; India 80 – 100; Israel 60 – 80, and North Korea has less than 10.  Source: Ploughshares.org: World Nuclear Stockpile Report

_______________

Censored but not Silenced continued:

Neoconservatism is a branch of American conservatism that advocates assertive promotion of democracy, and American national interest in international affairs including by military means.  Neoconservatives also believe it is okay to lie to the public to achieve their political agendas—and I think that lies and any form of censorship go hand in hand.

To follow this reasoning further, Rupert Murdock, a billionaire and a known neoconservative has “hired Jews as his closest advisers. His support for Israel has been absolute. Arguably, it is his support for Israel, and for neoconism in general (for many years, he owned and funded the losses of the Weekly Standard), that helped solidify rightwing support for Israel.” Source: The Guardian.co.uk

Is it possible that Murdock—or other wealthy neoconservatives—are supplying the money behind the IMED where Julie Lenarz is a fellow?

Before answering that question, you may want to read a post by Andrés Perez-Alonso, Neoconservatism, the Israeli Lobby, and other Power Relations, on a Website/Blog that has 1,536 linked sites compared to the 38 linked Julie’s Think Tank.

Andrés says, “The historical neoconservative commitment to Israel has been so pronounced that even traditional conservatives like Russell Kirk have charged them with mistaking ‘Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States’.”

This—of course—bring me to the fourth group with another political agenda that would do almost anything for an American war in Iraq and then later in Iran. This political agenda is based on an old proverb that is both ironically Arabic in addition to being Chinese. It is a foreign policy doctrine commonly used to interact with a significant enemy through an intermediary rather than through direct confrontation.

The proverb says: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

What better way to defend the survival of Israel than to have the only super power on the earth wage wars in the Middle East against your enemies while manipulating the flames of conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites in addition to working behind the scenes to encourage an Arab Spring that has led to clashes between Islamic factions and/or rebellions and civil wars in Muslim countries like those in Libya, Syria, and Egypt. I would not be surprised if a political faction in Israel was behind the Lebanese Civil War that raged for fifteen years. An Islamic Middle East at war with each other and/or at war with America is not focused on the destruction of Israel. Instead of Blood for Oil, this is American Blood traded for Israel’s survival.

Return to Censored but not Silenced: Part 4  or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

Censored but not Silenced: Part 4/5

I have learned that it is best to be suspicious of political nonprofit organizations with impressive names that promise to achieve wonderful things and make the world a better place. They might be wolves in Sheep’s clothing.

For example, libertarian and/or conservative think tanks launched with support from the infamous Koch Family Foundation are: Citizens for a Sound Economy; Citizens for the Environment (the Koch brothers do not believe carbon emissions are causing global warming and want little or no restrictions on what causes air pollution); American’s for Prosperity (the Koch brothers advocate a smaller federal government, lower taxes and less federal oversight of the private sector); Patients United Now (against Obamacare); the Cato Institute; the Institute for Justice; the Institute for Energy Research; the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, and the Heritage Foundation, etc.

All of these think tanks have conservative/libertarian political agendas. They also have impressive names. If you want to learn more about the Koch brothers and their political beliefs, I recommend clicking this link.

I discovered that The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy (IMED)—where Julie Lenarz is a fellow and where she publishes opinion pieces that she then uses to support her other opinions posted on Julie’s Think Tank—was founded in 2009 by Sam Westrop.

And the IMED does not reveal its key funders. Instead it states that it receives no money from any government and relies on individual donations. Source: powerbase.info

Transparency is important so we all know where the money is coming from. Without transparency, it is possible to hide the real political agenda of an organization like the IMED.

However, there is another way to discover the alleged political agenda of the IMED by focusing on the people in charge.

Powerbase.info lists Jonathan Sacerdoti as one of the leading directors. If you click on the powerbase.info link, you will discover that Sacerdoti is a strong supporter of Israel.

For example, powerbase.info said: “Sacerdoti appeared on BBC news programs four times in two days between 14-15 November 2012 and was described as being from the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy giving the impression that he was a neutral expert on the region. Each time he defended Israel’s attacks on Gaza and each time no alternative perspective was given by the BBC.”

Sam Westrop is another leading director, and powerbase.info says he is a climate change denialist (Do you see a possible link to the Koch brothers, who are also climate change denialists?).

In addition, Westrop has a history of being involved in pro-Israeli politics. Powerbase.info says, “Westrop has also reportedly stated, after visiting Jordan and Syria: I did not find the Arabs romantic. I found them interestingly hostile. A mentality of very irrational hatred was evident everywhere, venom regurgitated by government propaganda. Decades of despotic rule have kept a perpetual mob mentality. There is not the ability for the individual to think about what the reality of their relationship with Israel may be.”

Then along comes Julie Lenarz—with Julie’s Think Tank—who allegedly dismisses and/or censors comments that do not support her own opinion and the alleged political agenda of the IMED that may be one and the same.

Then after considering Julie Lenarz own beliefs and support for the Iraq War, I wondered if there was a link between the IMED and American neoconservatives. More on this in the last post of this series.

Continued on March 6, 2013 in Censored but not Silenced: Part 5 or return to Part 3

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

Censored but not Silenced: Part 3/5

The “Blood for Oil” theory that some claim was the main reason for the Iraq War was not the only reason behind the war, and I pointed this out to Ms. Lenarz in the allegedly censored comment.

There are at least two other major factors that have nothing to do with oil.

First, President G. W. Bush’s White House was dominated by neoconservatives who had (and still have) an agenda to export American style democracy by using the U.S. military—better known as building democracies using America’s bullets and bombs to force countries to become democracies.

A post written by Jacob Heilbrunn and published by The National Interest says, “It seems, in other words, that neocons in the administration (of G. W. Bush) were arguing that what the CIA was warning about was a bunch of hooey. They had their own pet cause—nailing Saddam Hussein, creating a democracy in Iraq …”

Second, on Jan. 17, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower gave the nation a dire warning about what he described as a threat to democratic government. He called it the military-industrial complex, a formidable union of defense contractors and the armed forces. Source: NPR.org

And today, the military-industrial complex in the United States is a growth industry that depends on war to thrive and continue to make profits. In the allegedly censored comment, I pointed out to Ms. Lenarz that the United States Defense budget is the largest in the world. Without war, there is no excuse for this huge expense. Total global defense spending is $1.738 Trillion and America’s share of that is $711 Billion or almost 41% of the global total.

In addition, I wrote that the private sector weapons industry in the United States is the largest in the world.  This sector sells weapons to other countries and/or political organization—including brutal dictators—and controls 41% of the global market.  Second place goes to China with 8.2% of the weapons market, and Russia is in third place with 4.1% of sales. The United Kingdom, France and Germany combined have 10% of the global weapons market.

Therefore, I pointed out to Ms. Lenarz, there are three different private sector/political organizations that may have lobbied for a war in Iraq:

1. The oil industry

2. neoconservatives (with many working in the G.W. Bush White House) wanting to build democracies with America’s troops, bullets and bombs

3. the weapons industry

In the next post, I want to focus on the The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy.

Continued on March 6, 2013 in Censored but not Silenced: Part 4 or return to Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

Censored but not Silenced: Part 2/5

What is it that I allege was censored by Julie Lenarz?

The comment I’m talking about was a response that Ms. Lenarz made to a comment made by pabilos30 who said (February 21, 2013 at 7:35 am) : “Are you blind, the only (main) reason the US went into Iraq in the first place was to get leverage on the most valuable energy resource on this planet – Crude Oil. Sure Halliburton who CEO from 1995 – 2001 was none other than Dick Cheney. Halliburton oil services are now the main facilitator of Iraqi crude, of the 2.9 mbl/d total production over 70% of this is now exported to the US….. Now tell me the Bush didn’t go in for the oil!!!”

Julie replied to pabilos30 (February 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm): “Drop the ad hominem and people might start taking you seriously. Also, the “blood for oil” conspiracy is dead. http://instmed.org/2013/01/06/iraq-the-blood-for-oil-conspiracy-is-dead-2/

My allegedly censored comment pointed out that pabilos30 did not use an “ad hominem” when he or she said “Are you blind”. My thinking is that “Are you blind” is a question/interrogative and not a logical fallacy/ad hominem, a personal attack on Ms. Lenarz.

In fact, I do disagree with some of pabilos30’s claims. After all, I don’t think Ms. Lenarz is blind. I just think she is wrong. If I were to say, “You are so wrong”, before I offered my evidence, would she accuse me of an ad hominem attack?

I then suggested that Ms. Lenarz did not understand what a logical fallacy was and referred her to three books and a Website to learn.

  • The Structure of Argument by Rottenberg
  • Informal Logic by Walton
  • A Concise Introduction to Logic by Hurley
  • Professor Kevin deLaplante’s Critical Thinker Academy

Second, I focused on Ms. Lenarz’s “blood for oil” conspiracy is dead defense and pointed out that the support she offered for this claim was written by her and posted on the Website/Blog of the The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy where she is a fellow.

Lenarz’s argument in that IMED post was that “invading Iraq was an extremely expensive undertaking for the US-led coalition with no guarantee or prospect of considerable profitability.”

I pointed out that the cost of the Iraq War was not paid for by any oil companies. I said that there is no tax in the United States to fund its wars. Wars are fought with mostly borrowed money that ends up growing the National Debt and that debt—if it is ever paid off—will be paid by U.S. tax payers and not by oil companies.

And the American government is not in the business of making a profit, but oil companies are, and the oil reserves in Iraq are a known commodity. It isn’t a question of if they are there but that they are there proving that the Iraq War that the US tax payers will eventually pay for will benefit oil companies in the long run.

After all, oil reserves in Iraq will be the largest in the world according to recent geological surveys and seismic data. The Iraqi government has stated that new exploration showed Iraq has the world’s largest proven oil reserves, with more than 350 billion barrels. Officially confirmed reserves rank Iraq as third largest in the world at approximately 143 billion barrels. Henry Thompson at Aubrn.edu says “Selling this oil at an average profit of $75 per barrel for the next 100 years will generate $15,000 trillion income.”

And the Iraq War Cost the United States about one trillion dollars. There is a HUGE difference between one trillion and $15,000 trillion.

Continued on March 5, 2013 in Censored but not Silenced: Part 3 or return to Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Follow”.

Censored but not Silenced: Part 1/5

I think I have been a victim of censorship. Am I wrong?

As much as we may claim to value the freedom to express our opinions, censorship in Western democracies does exist in one form or another. For example, it exists in the private/corporate sector; it exists in the public schools, and it exists among citizens who host Websites and Blogs, etc.

Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index 2011/2012 ranked Finland as number one for freedom of expression compared to 179 countries.

The United States, billed by many of its citizens as the land-of-the-free and a country that prides its freedom of expression while criticizing other countries such as China, is ranked 47th, and the U.S. has more people in prison than any country on the planet. In some parts of the United States, you can actually go to prison for life if you only steal a piece of candy or swipe a slice of pizza.

Reporters Without Borders says, “The United States (47th) also owed its fall of 27 places to the many arrests of journalist covering Occupy Wall Street protests.”

In fact, there is a long history of censorship in the United States. For one example of several, Civil Liberties says that in 1798, President John Adams made it illegal to criticize a government official without backing up one’s criticisms in court. Twenty-five people were arrested under that law.

Civil Liberties says, “The right to free speech is a longstanding U.S. tradition, but actually respecting the right to free speech is not.”

“A recent report from Google indicates that even western democracies have been trying to censor politically conflicting websites. Countries like Spain, Poland and even Canada have all submitted requests for the removal of content from the search engine.” Source: Business Insider

Back to the comment where I alleged that I was censored on another Blog that has a link to a nonprofit political organization with an alleged hidden political agenda.

I can only guess that I may have been allegedly censored because my position on the issue being discussed was stronger than the host’s opinion. Julie Lenarz, the host, specializes in Foreign and Security Policy and holds a BA in European Politics and an MA in Conflict Studies from the London School of Economics.

She is also an adviser on Foreign and Security Policy, a fellow at The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy and current affairs blogger.

The Commentator.com says: “Julia Lenarz is author of the popular blog, Julie’s Think Tank.”

Of course, the claim that Julie’s Think Tank is a popular Blog is questionable, because its Alexa rank was almost 5.5 million with only 38 sites linked in (on February 22, 2013).  There was no data for traffic rank in the UK or US.

But what is popular to one individual may not be popular to another and everyone has a right to an opinion even if he or she may be wrong.

This we do know—there is big benefit to censor the opposition, because then you control the conversation and may advance your own political agenda.

In the post in question on Julie’s Think Tank, Lenarz’s position on the Iraq War was clear: She supported the war in the beginning and still feels it was moral and just to oust Saddam and his brutal regime. I left several comments for this post, and then wrote about this issue in a three-part series on one of my Blogs in a post titled The Noble Nightmare.

Before I share my reasons why I think Lenarz allegedly censored one of my comments, I want to focus on what it means to be a fellow in a political, nonprofit organization.

A fellow can be a participant in a professional development program run by a nonprofit. This type of fellowship is usually a short-term work opportunity (1–2 years) for professionals who already possess some level of academic or professional expertise that will serve the nonprofit’s mission. Fellows are often given a stipend as well as professional experience and leadership training.

A key phrase to remember from that description is: “that will serve the nonprofit’s mission”, and after some research, I now question what the real mission is for the Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy, but more on that later.

Continued on March 4, 2013 in Censored but not Silenced: Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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