“Elephant Violating a Church” contemporary figurative painting
Most Americans are aware that our general population is the least-eductated of all the Westernized nations, yet few have ever taken the time to reflect on how this situation may be affecting their own political views.
In 2003, the American public was more or less evenly divided on the invasion of Iraq: roughly half were against the war, and roughly half were in favor of it. If you limited the survey to only people who had ever read a non-religious book on Middle Eastern history before September the 11th, the division was completely one sided: over 90% opposed the war, at least as far as I could tell from the months I spent asking people questions.
Why are we in this situation?
Here is something significant that I noticed. It can be easily verified from newspaper and radio archives:
In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the French press was filled with discussion on the issue, with all sorts of detailed analysis based on their own experience with domestic Islamic terrorism and their years of colonial administration of Algeria and other Muslim countries. Believe it or not, not everything they said was against the invasion or anti-American. They had many excellent and well-thought-out recommendations, such as how we needed to plan for the peace and ensure sufficient troop stength to prevent the country from descending into chaos and looting, which could cost a lot more than extra troops from the start by keeping us there longer.
How did our news media report on this very important and well-informed discussion in France? There was little or no coverage. Instead they talked about “Freedom Fries” and how the French were a joke, especially in wars, etc. They talked about “shock and awe” and how we were going to “kick some butts in Iraq.” It sounded more like a pep rally before a football game than news coverage of an impending war.
Most of the US news media is of poor quality because it is aimed at an audience that isn’t very educated.
We also have one news channel in particular that regularly misrepresents alternative points of view. They usually find the most-extreme voices in the opposition and pretend like these views are shared by anyone who questions the policies of the Bush Whitehouse. If an expert or college professor is invited on the channel, then he or she will usually be an ultra-liberal with all sorts of crack-pot ideas. The guest will usually not be any of the tens of thousands of people who could better represent the opposition.
This news channel has the audacity to claim that its content is balanced and free from spin, yet its purpose is clear: anyone who disagrees with our current foreign policy must be misrepresented and ridiculed. There must not be any real discussion of issues.
To me, there is sigificant evidence that at invasion of Iraq would not have been possible politically without this particular news channel. To me, they are liable for every life and every dollar lost in Iraq.