Sunday, August 29, 2010
Group Therapy: The Strategic Industry
Perhaps the best example of media’s role in limiting citizens role in governance stems from America’s detonation of a uranium bomb over Hiroshima and a plutonium bomb over Nagasaki. Indeed, this incident formed the basis for media’s present role as the world’s real strategic industry, eclipsing the psychological effect of nuclear weapons.
The financial risk of any of the actual determining factors behind the Japanese bombings being understood by the American public was so great, that the freedoms and responsibilities of American citizens had to be subjugated to the needs of the ‘nuclear class’ through military/intelligence intrusion into civilian affairs, about as subtle as a made-for-television coup d’etat.
A thick layer of overt news and subliminal advertising was fed to Americans, effectively limiting their ability to oppose the strategy of threatening nuclear attack against other countries’ populations through weapons production. A generation of television and newspaper promotion of security threats have altered individual Americans’ fight or flight response to nuclear weapon’s threat to self preservation and self determination.
Though brief periods of high citizen response/participation, the Vietnam War era in particular, have interrupted the effectiveness of media operations such as televised Nixon and McCarthy investigations, citizens within the reach of US network television no longer play a substantial role in how their country interacts with the world. If they did, those who don’t profit from weapons production would likely oppose such policy.
Since Washington began flaunting its then-unmatched military might with impunity to law, morality or public opinion, the United States has changed drastically.
After Hiroshima, US citizens were effectively dissuaded from playing a role in governance, often characterized as communists for trying to bring attention to the choice of weapons spending over education, health care or economic development. At the present juncture, they so deeply lack confidence in the ability of themselves and their class to help guide government, that they have effectively surrendered to the small clique of nuclear weapons profiteers – your modern day neocons – and all but relinquished their citizenship responsibilities.
Admiral Leslie Groves, the military commander of the Manhattan Project, once stated that Washington’s nuclear development program was created to counter an ally, the Soviet Union, not America’s World War II enemy Germany. This tendency paralleled the politics of the time quite closely.
US investment in German industry delayed Washington’s entry in World War II for years. But American media’s extremely positive view of Franco’s Spain, and Italy under Mussolini during the 1930s and 40s provides an even clearer indication of America’s approach to world power at that time. On the other hand, the attraction of middle and working class Americans to the cooperatives and self-governance theory behind socialism, carried along with it a threat of higher wages, the bane of capital.
The melding of weapons ideology and far right political philosophy is no nuclear accident. Find one important neoconservative spokesman who has never collected fees as an adviser or board member of a contractor involved in the Pentagon’s nuclear missile or anti-nuclear missile program, and you’ll see the roots of the new politics. This point is further elaborated in the dichotomy over the stated motives of the neoconservative movement and their financial incentives.
It’s hard to identify a single strategic goal of neoconservative op-ed writers and political campaign operatives that does not bring them personal profit. (Neoliberals share this same profit motive, but present it with more moderate public relations strategy). Fostering democracy in Iraq is not profitable, and has not been attempted; limiting nuclear proliferation among purported enemies would lessen fear, and enliven citizen participation, but improving the personal security of the American people would only free them of concern for the terror du jour and risk their beginning to look for ways to improve their domestic conditions.