Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Bush's Speech

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Bush's Speech

That is a link to a transcript of former President George Bush's address to the nation in 1991 that the United States was attacking Iraq, and that Operation Desert Shield was at that point becoming Operation Desert Storm. One of the things that stood out to me was what he said at the end.

"Listen to Hollywood Huddleston, Marine lance corporal. He says, "Let's free these people, so we can go home and be free again.'' And he's right. The terrible crimes and tortures committed by Saddam's henchmen against the innocent people of Kuwait are an affront to mankind and a challenge to the freedom of all.
Listen to one of our great officers out there, Marine Lieutenant General Walter Boomer. He said: "There are things worth fighting for. A world in which brutality and lawlessness are allowed to go unchecked isn't the kind of world we're going to want to live in.''
Listen to Master Sergeant J.P. Kendall of the 82nd Airborne: "We're here for more than just the price of a gallon of gas. What we're doing is going to chart the future of the world for the next 100 years. It's better to deal with this guy now than 5 years from now.''
And finally, we should all sit up and listen to Jackie Jones, an Army lieutenant, when she says, "If we let him get away with this, who knows what's going to be next?''

In my opinion, Bush used real soldiers in Iraq to justify or validate what he was saying. I think that if he didn't have quotes from actual soldiers, there would be some doubt in people's minds that invading Iraq is a good idea. Some people would be left thinking, "I wonder how the soldiers feel about it." With actual proof of how some of them feel, Bush probably felt validated to an extent.


Blogger Mike Moore said...

While I think its clear that former President Bush used selected quotes from servicemen to effectively support the war effort, I doubt that he required or sought any validation for this effort by the troops he ordered into combat.

3/30/2006 3:21 AM  
Blogger Hezellig said...

Yeah, and if you sift through the mass media garbage out there right now, you can find quotes from soldiers that have returned from the present conflict in Iraq. Why do we take movie star's opinions of the situation over there before actual servicemen? Where are the stories about running water and schools and garbage removal services in villages that have never had those things before? Talk about selective reporting and propaganda...

3/30/2006 6:37 PM  
Blogger Mike Moore said...

The fact that credence on geo-political matters is given to either movie stars or soldiers speaks to the ignorance of the population. Neither acting ability or army enlistment has anything to do with forming a comprehensive mid-east strategy.

Calls for "positive stories" by war supporters is a propaganda tool that goes back at least until the time of George Creel. To write a story about the improvement of social services in Iraq would in itself be a piece of propaganda since all non-partisan observers admit that health, education, water, sanitation, and electricity conditions are well below pre-war conditions, and even further below pre-sanction conditions.

4/01/2006 8:46 PM  
Blogger Hezellig said...

First - I didn't say I was for the war and second, when was the last time you were in Iraq?

Again, someone on this site is using propaganda as a dirty word. If a report is truthful then it is truthful. Anyone on the opposing side of that reporter can say it is propaganda but that doesn't alter the truth.

The fact is, we are not given both sides of the story in Iraq and no one with a functional brain can argue that we are. So, are the news stories propaganda? Are the quotes from soldiers propaganda? Are the videos of beheadings propaganda? Is the vast empty spot in the financial district of Manhattan propaganda? It doesn't matter what you call it, it is either truth or not. Lending creedence to the news stations just because they have enough money for a satellite isn't any less ridiculous than listening to eye-witness accounts.

I don't want "positive stories", I want to know what real people think of the situation not highly agenda-ized (cool new word, huh?) public figures. Let's hear what Joe Baghdad has to say.

4/05/2006 10:05 PM  
Blogger A. Mattson said...

Well, quite a string of comments. A good post and some debate. That's great.

Back to the original post: both the pro-war and anti-war advocates use the images and words of soldiers to give their arguments authenticity and crediblity. The anti-elitest sentiments of many Americans makes it tempting for both conservative and progressive elites to package their messages in populist rhetoric and mobilize as many "common man" spokespeople as they can round up.

On the otherhand it is important to hear from both G.I. Joe (and G.I. Jane) as well as Joe Baghdad.

On the second issue raised in the comments: We all want facts from Iraq that tell us both what has been accomplished and what is not. You are both right, there are some positive stories to be told about what we have managed to construct in Iraq. On the other hand, the big picture is bleak. Both should be reported accurately. Anti-war people who ignore the accomplishments are to be criticized, just as the Bush administration's attempts to paint a rosy picture need to be countered with good hard reporting.

4/05/2006 10:16 PM  

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