Monday, March 12, 2012

The Beatings Will Continue...

For much of the last twenty years - especially since the internet blossomed beyond simple websites and bulletin boards -  communicating news and facts successfully through mass media has become a task of near constant repetition.

For local television stations this has been a large part of why stations that once had noon, five, and ten o'clock newscasts keep expanding, and now feature news at eleven in the morning, noon, four, five, maybe six, and a nine or ten o'clock newscast as well.

On the radio, news and infotainment programs - especially the ones filled with hate and based in propaganda - have taken to using the same techniques. As President Bush once said, "...you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

To the detriment of people all over the world - including themselves - the extremists who currently lead the Republican party have gotten very good at beating their propaganda drums on issues like cutting funding to social programs and giving unnecessary tax cuts to the wealthy.

Sadly, the latest drum beat from the far right is one they began quietly during the Presidential contest at the end of the last Bush Administration, four years ago - that America may need to go to war with Iran.

The ignorance of facts and blustering cocksure stupidity of the right when it comes to nuanced topics like diplomacy in the Middle East has been proven over and over again during the last ten or eleven years. Wisdom and concern for accurate intelligence should have been truly considered, and followed through, before the U.S. jumped from Afghanistan into Iraq. If that had been the case, then maybe a U.S. soldier who had been through four tours of duty in those war zones in the last eight years wouldn't have murdered two Afghan families in their homes over weekend, killing sixteen people - including nine children.

Maybe thousands of Americans, Iraqis, Afghanis and Pakistanis would still be alive or un-maimed, and American diplomacy in the Middle East might be given more respect.

Those obvious failures haven't prevented the right - including three of the four Republican candidates for President - from beating war drums and using dog-whistle politics to signal to their base that they'd like to take on Iran.

Americans, however, are in no mood to go to war again. They don't even want to finish the rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan right now.

In fact, last week, President Obama blasted the Republicans for talking so casually about potential conflict with Iran. This President has multiple reasons for not wanting war, not the least of which include the cost - both in dollars and blood - of what such a conflict would bring.

Obama also has significant support for not going to war with Iran from someone who knows the Iranians far better than any American - the former head of Mossad, Israel's intelligence service. Ex-Mossad Chief Meir Dagan said in a weekend interview with Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes that Iran's current leadership is not only rational but logical. Dagan also points out that if anyone wants the price of oil and gas to go up quickly, nothing will do that faster than sabre-ratling against Iran - which is exactly what the Republicans have been doing.

We understand why the current leaders of the Republican Party keep doing this. GOP leader Mitch McConnell said himself, more than once: their top goal is to make Obama a one term President. If that means they have to beat the drums of war with Iran and drive gas prices up, so what? To them, that seems to be a small price to pay to win the White House.

To many moderate Republicans, however, that kind of drumbeat may have put the radicals who currently control the Republican Party in the same category as their rhetorical leader, Rush Limbaugh - and is already leading moderate and sane Republicans to abandon their party.

If we're lucky, this fall, moderate Republicans may join the rest of us, including President Obama, in silencing the insane noisemakers at the polls.

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