Mass Hysteria As a Way to Keep Up War Spirit

The most important thing to do is to make people think they are in danger

There has been a lot written and said about the possible war on Iraq lately. It seems that there is nothing to add. Everyone knows about the arguments of those, who stand both for the military operation and against it. Nevertheless, the events around Iraq still make headlines of almost every newspaper, magazine, and television program. One may envy politicians’ talent: they know how to make people be interested in the Iraqi issue. Although, one may talk about another side of the problem: the best way to attract people’s attention to something is to frighten them with a threat of something horrible. In this case a threat will have two sides to it: the fear of unpredictable consequences of the war on the one hand, and the fear of the unpredictable Iraqi regime on the other hand. It seems that the mass hysteria has become a much more efficient way to stand up for both political and economic interests.

There are a lot of examples to illustrate the displays of such hysteria, although those examples are not peculiar for being diverse. Let us assume that a man with a grenade was detained at an airport of a country. This news would not become a piece of super-sensation in a usual situation. Mass media would definitely pay attention to it, they would discuss it for several hours, but then it would soon be replaced with other news messages. Nowadays, when the world is on the edge of another war, media outlets would make it all turn hysterical: “Terrorists Still Have Groups of Gunmen at Their Disposal,” “Saddam Hid Mass Destruction Weapons in Iraqi People Houses” and so on and so forth. As a matter of fact, it is not important that a piece news about some man with a grenade does not have anything in common either with Saddam or with Osama bin Laden. The most important thing to do is to keep up people’s interest in the subject. The example that we provided is definitely exaggerated, but it does not change the point of the issue.

It is an open secret that British and American media outlets play the main role to maintain the pre-war psychosis. The political leadership of those two countries has always been standing for the war against the Baghdad regime. What else can be done to convince everyone in the need to sacrifice military men’s lives? One should make them think that they, as well as their children, are in danger. Needless to mention that it is not really hard to do that after horrible acts of terrorism in New York. This is the reason why the number of Iraqi war proponents is a lot bigger in comparison with the number of those people, who stand against the war. There is no other country of the world that has so many war-oriented people (not even in Great Britain – the closest ally of the United States). If you ask a common American citizen to explain the reason why he is a proponent of the military operation in Iraq, he or she will definitely say that Saddam is unpredictable, Saddam hides prohibited weapons, Saddam is a threat to America’s interests. The cliches of numerous Internet sites, newspaper, magazines, television programs got stuck in people’s minds, they work perfectly.

One could say that the situation is ridiculous, if it did not threaten to become a tragedy not only for Iraq, but for the whole world. At present moment the United States demonstrates the point of Stalin’s favorite aphorism: “If the enemy does not give up, the enemy should be defeated.” Needless to mention that the USSR was very good at detecting its enemies in the 1930s. Yet, the issues that we mentioned above are good to be applied to those people, who stand against the war too. They will be more unvaried in their argumentation. One should not expect anything else, for political and economic interests of the incumbent American administration can be seen in a very explicit way: it is forced to concoct more and more of something new in order to distract the public opinion from the Iraqi oil. We have to acknowledge that the present American administration has no match in this respect.

Back in 1999, when NATO bombed Yugoslavia, some travel companies of Western Europe organized trips to NATO bases, from which battle planes took off to perform air raids. Europe was lambasted a lot about that. It seems that it will never occur to arrange such trips nowadays, if the war in the Persian Gulf eventually takes place. This is not a geographical factor (Iraq is a lot farther than Yugoslavia). It is about the fact that the conscience of a lot of people changed after the events of September 11th. People are afraid to die in a stupid and senseless way – whether it is a terrorist act of an aircraft bomb. This fear proved to be tenacious of life, and the powers that be came to the realization of that very quickly. They started using it for the sake of their own interests and needs, taking into consideration the fact that it is not really hard to do it.

Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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