Manufacturing Consent for an Attack upon Iran

"Prejudice, which sees what it pleases, cannot see what is plain." - Aubrey T. de Vere.

Tony Blair live at the Iraq Inquiry
Tony Blair live at the Iraq Inquiry

Manufacturing consent

One of the most important books of the last 100 years is Manufacturing Consent by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky.

The book is an analysis of the media industry, and the various ways in which our news is distorted to create or maintain a particular world-view.

We believe we have a free press. What Herman and Chomsky show is that the press is effectively a propaganda outlet for the state-corporate interpretation of events.

The phrase “the manufacture of consent” was originally used by Walter Lipmann in his 1922 book Public Opinion. In fact the term “public opinion” when used by Lipmann is a euphemism for propaganda, since the book is about the control and manipulation of public opinion, not about attempting to follow it.

Lipmann’s basic idea is that the “bewildered herd” have to be lead by a political elite who use the power of the mass media to construct a version of reality which is in the interests of the elite. The book is a detailed exposition of how this can be achieved. It remains an influential book in the Public Relations industry.

Dodgy dossiers

We all remember the ways in which the news was spun in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003: the weapons of mass destruction to be deployed within 45 minutes, Saddam Hussein seeking nuclear material from Niger and all the rest, none of which turned out to be true.

You also may remember that when Tony Blair appeared before the Iraq inquiry he said that he would have taken us to war anyway, regardless of the excuse.

The reason I am reminding you of this is that we are again subject to a propaganda onslaught, this time about the nuclear threat posed by Iran.

A new International Atomic Energy Agency report talks of the “possible existence of undeclared nuclear facilities and material” in Iran.

On the basis of this George Osborne has just announced that Britain will stop business transactions with all Iranian banks, while the USA is putting sanctions on its petrochemical industry.

It’s that small word “possible” I would like to draw your attention to.

In fact the report acknowledges that low-grade nuclear material produced as a by-product of Iran’s atomic energy programme is accounted for and is not being diverted for weapons manufacture.

Nothing has substantially changed since the last IAEA report, with the exception of material from a solitary laptop, allegedly supplied to the Agency by a Western intelligence source, whose provenance has not been established.

All of this is following on from that frankly insane report in October about a plot to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador using hired Mexican drug-trafficking assassins.

It’s at this point that I’d like to remind you of the dodgy dossier - information gleaned from a disaffected taxi driver, and cut and pasted from the internet - which made up the bulk of evidence in the run-up to the war on Iraq.

This is what Herman and Chomsky are referring to when they talk of “the manufacture of consent”. This kind of information doesn’t have to be true, it merely has to be repeated often enough and loud enough for people to start to believe that it is true.

Facts

Now let’s strip away the rhetoric and look at the facts.

Since 1945 the United States has invaded or been involved in conflicts in 70 separate countries.

Iran has invaded no country in the last 200 years.

The United States has military forces stationed in 150 countries around the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf States, all of which border Iran.

Iran has no armies stationed anywhere outside its own territory.

Twice since the Second World War the United States has made direct military interventions on Iranian soil: once in the form of a coup de’etat against the democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, in 1953, and once by backing Iraq’s brutal and bloody invasion in 1980, during which chemical weapons were deployed.

Iran has never invaded the United States.

The United States has an arsenal of 5,113 nuclear warheads.

Iran has no nuclear weapons.

I’ll leave it up to you to work out who the actual threat is.

More by this Author


Comments 69 comments

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Yes, and you can add to the US nuclear arsenal in the Gulf the 250 or so warheads possessed by Israel. But of course that's OK because they are inherently peaceful. . .


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

True Paraglider. I left Israel out of this particular equation for the sake of simplicity, but it's fairly clear that any attack upon Iran will be instigated by Israel.


fen lander profile image

fen lander 4 years ago from Whitstable

Thanks CJ. Another illuminating piece.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Cheers Fen.


politicalzealot profile image

politicalzealot 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

I absolutely agree that the efforts are already being made to build the case to go to war with Iran. I would also point to the story about Iran plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador on US soil. In my opinion, the story is a classic false flag and was part of the plot to paint Iran as the next threat.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I mention the assassination plot in the story. I wouldn't even call it a false flag operation: more like someone's late night fantasy written down on the back of a napkin. Just laughable, that's all, and an insult to the Iranians, who, however else we might think of them, aren't stupid.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Well, I have to agree that Noam Chomsky would indeed be an known expert on manufacturing propaganda.

And we all know that Iran is the poster child of innocent and benign.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I'm not discussing whether Iran is "benign", I'm discussing whether it is a threat.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Most of the free world believes that Iran has been a threat for years and will become a nuclear threat if allowed.

You, and Norm Chomsky, beg to differ. Understood.

BTW, Saddam Hussein was indeed seeking yellow cake in Niger, contrary to Wilson's claims:

http://www.anncoulter.com/cgi-local/article.cgi?ar...


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Unless we have a new threat, and quickly it will be hard to justify the continuing need to expend trillions in the name of defense, won't it? In my not so short life I've watched a continually changing parade of "boogey" men dangled before us as the new raison d'etre for the hawks. And still the "people" fall for it every time. The only thing that never seems to change is human stupidity and our astounding ability to forget anything that preceded the current ten seconds.


Talisker profile image

Talisker 4 years ago from UK

I very much like your section on 'Facts' as the facts are very suprising to the average news watching westerner. It's amazing how some things are so well hidden from the public, and those that are shown are vehicles of propaganda rather than honest reports.

I'm new to all of this, but find it fascinating, though rather frightening.


Hillbilly Zen profile image

Hillbilly Zen 4 years ago from Kentucky

While working for a local television station, I saw firsthand how news is manipulated, both on local and national levels. I can only imagine what occurs on a global level. America cannot afford to engage in yet another invasion - our economy, military and morale are already stretched to the breaking point. Good Hub, CJ, thank you.


ronaldoh profile image

ronaldoh 4 years ago from England

They have cleared the way by pulling more troops out of Afghanistan, and letting us 'know' Bin Laden is dead.


Pam F 4 years ago

Good post: very relevant and even more depressing.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I like that Will Starr. You divide the world into two. You put "most of the free world" (presumably including yourself and Ann Coulter) on one side, and me and Chomsky on the other. I take that as a compliment. If I were to choose which side I wanted to be on I’d take Chomsky’s side every time, because then I would know I was on the side of the truth.

Yes Immartin, that's the meaning of "the manufacture of consent" that it is there to serve the weapons industry, which is the method by which public money is funnelled into private hands: what Chomsky calls "the welfare state for the rich".

Glad you like the facts Talisker. You can check them out if you like. They are all true.

I'd love to hear more on your experiences in the local TV station Hillbilly Zen. It must have given you quite an insight into the workings of the propaganda system.

ronaldoh, but I think they will be surprised if they do venture an attack on Iran: unlike Iraq or Afghanistan, it is not a defenceless country. I suspect the start of WWIII, unless we can stop it, that is.

Thanks Pam. Look forward to seeing it up on Think Left.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"You divide the world into two."

Hardly equal halves. Most of the world readily recognizes the danger of a nuclear Iran. Only a few dismiss that obvious danger.


AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

I have no liking for Iran but it does seem as if someone is trying, as you say, to manufacture a desire for war with them. I would not be surprised of "evidence" were to emerge of an Iranian link to 9/11


AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

I recall reading the declassified CIA report on the Mossadeq coup in 1953 where it was stated that the coup was suggested by the BRITISH secrete service and enthusiastically adopted by the US, to the delight of the British who had far less money and fewer resources so could not do this themselves.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

It doesn't matter how many people are on my side Will, as long as we are telling the truth, and Chomsky is the nearest thing to the truth I've heard on this planet. You should try reading him.

You are right Alek: the coup was originally proposed by the British after Mossadegh nationalised Anglo-Persian Oil.


Mervyn Evans 4 years ago

Anybody that knows anything about the Middle East will tell you there will be no need for any Western interference when they actually make this Nuclear Bomb, ISRAEL will do the business, they won`t let it happen.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Yes Israel already has nuclear weapons, but the assumption here is that Iran has a weapon's programme. Given the level of threat, I'd be surprised if they WEREN'T interested in having nuclear weapons. However, there really isn't any evidence, and whatever else you say about the Iranians, they aren't stupid. They must know what the Israelis would do.


dave 4 years ago

It's funnier than that, Alek,Chris (if "funny" is the right word.

The British encouraged and were very pleased about the CIA's overthrow of Mossadeq. They were less pleased about the outcome.

I used to have a copy of the official history of British Petroleum (handed out free to all employees on its 50th anniversary)

It showed the history of Anglo-Iranian Oil (former BP) being thrown out of Iran. It included maps of all the oilfields before and after the nationalisation and the subsequent CIA backed coup.

Some 60 per cent or more of what were previously exclusively Anglo-Iranian (BP) oil concessions were handed over to American oil companies after the coup.

BP was mightily pissed off. but you know, honour among thieves and all that.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Dave, I suspect it was at this point that Britain finally ceded post-war dominance to the US.

Oh yes, and it's funny all right. Nicely ironical.


AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

Yes Dave, that made me laugh.

But why did no one ask what could go wrong or backfire?


Syzygy 4 years ago

I'd rather be on Chomsky's side too...but it is all too depressing. Didn't George W maintain that the only way out of recession/depression was a war? Meanwhile, the climate change data is becoming more and more urgent. Very timely and great post Chris.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I try not to be depressed Syzygy. Being dpressed only makes things worse. War was always the way out of recession, which surely must tell us something about our economic system. If you can get out of recession by blowing things up and then building them again, you can surely get out of it by missing out the first part and just building.


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

Another excellent hub, Chris, that gets my up vote! As you know I now have little faith in the alternative media too!


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

For years Chomsky was resticted to the small press and the independent media, as well as the Third World media, because he was unable to find a platform in the mainstream media. That has changed a little of late as more and more people have begun to realise that he was right all along. Glad you liked the piece Steve. It's another of my Whitstable Gazette columns, but extended slightly.


Shay 4 years ago

I think that the purpose of the sanctions and war talking, is to make the iranian people run againt their leaders, and change their insane regime. Usa and Israel are not seriously thinking do go for a war with Iran.


Kuna 4 years ago

I am always wondering how nobody goes for screaming bloody murder at people like this "WillStar" - guy.

I am always thinking about Nietzsche ,when i see such people and how he said,that not everyone deserves the vote.

Would that be wrong? Not allowing retards with no feeling for their responsibilitys as a human being to vote and save another million brown peoples lifes?

Even G.W. said ,that it would be a lot easier if this would be a dictatorship,didn't he?

So this must be the right way.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Shay, the problem is that when a country feels under threat the people tend to rally to their leaders, so even if this was the purpose of the war-talk and propaganda, it is likely to have the opposite effect.

Kuna: I believe that everyone has the right to a say. GW did indeed say it would be a lot easier with a dictatorship: he meant with himself as the dictator of course. Not that our so-called "democracy" is that far from a dictatorship anyway. It's an oligarchy, meaning the elites rule, with the media as their propaganda tool for keeping the masses in-line.


marwan asmar profile image

marwan asmar 4 years ago from Amman, Jordan

Excellent book "Manufacturing Concent". They have been after Iran for years. Will they nuke, its really a slipery slope because if they do, the other side will retaliate, that's if they have the weapons. If they don't then Iran will receive an incredible battering and the ongoing human waste will continue.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Yes, marwan, it's a very important book. An attack upon Iran would amount to WWIII in my estimation. Unlike Iraq or Afghanistan, Iran is a functioning society in which the population generally have a stake. It would be a quagmire to make Iraq look like a walk in the park.


marwan asmar profile image

marwan asmar 4 years ago from Amman, Jordan

You are right it might lead to WWIII. The problem here is that nobody seems to care, and they think such a war would be winnable, but is it I wounder! Can you really control nuclear radiation despite the technological precision, not really possible, unless they are willing to live with destroying half the country and live with the consequences of a nuclear winter and so on.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Currently Iran has no nuclear weapons, but with the degree of threat it is facing it would be surprising if it didn't want to acquire them. But I think most of this war-talk is a distraction, in order to keep our minds off the wholesale theft of our world by the 1%. Problem is with talking up war, it wcan often lead to actual war.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

A new, UN IAEA report challenges both Iran's denials and those of the Chomsky-far left:

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/c...

The left views Iran as the innocent victim and the capitalist nations as the aggressive bullies, so it closes its eyes and ears to the growing evidence.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Ah Will, you are back.

You obviously didn't read my piece as it deals specifically with the IAEA report. Also if you checked out some of the links above you will see that the report has been hyped. The new leader of the IAEA is a US stooge, unlike ElBaradei, who was generally understood to be independent, and who saw no such evidence. The IAEA report has no new evidence that is not suspect, as I made clear above.

Here is good piece from the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2011...

Also, while we're at it, earlier you accused Chomsky of being a propagandist. Who is he working for exactly and how much is he being paid?

Finally, can you actually refute any of the statements in my "facts" section of the hub, and have you forgotten already the fabricated evidence that lead us into that futile, bloody and costly war in Iraq?

I thought you were the man who wanted to look after the tax-dollars. Chomsky's argument is that the military-industrial complex and its cult of perpetual war is actually the means by which your tax dollars are syphoned off into the hands of the uber-rich.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Oh, I'm not at all surprised that you would adore Chomsky. You are two peas in a pod:

http://www.paulbogdanor.com/chomsky/200chomskylies...


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

You haven't answered me: who is he being paid by if he is, as you say, a propagandist?

I wonder if I looked into Paul Bogdanor's income whether I would find a state-corporate source?

And having thrown that text at me with its accusation of "lies" and then declaring Chomsky and I as "two peas in a pod" are you calling me a liar too?

The nearer someone gets to the truth the more hysterical and vicious the propaganda.

Read Chomsky and you'll find out why this would be.

I don't "adore" him. I find him a refreshing breath of honesty in a polluted world of corruption.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Duplicate


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"You haven't answered me: who is he being paid by if he is, as you say, a propagandist?"

A straw man since I never suggested he was being paid

I believe both of you have openly declared your communism. And yes, Chomsky is a known liar.:

http://www.paulbogdanor.com/chomsky/200chomskylies...


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

You are suggesting he is a propagandist and a liar. So why, if he's not being paid, is he spreading these lies?

Chomsky is not a communist. He calls himself a "Libertarian Socialist", which is a branch of anarchism, an honourable tradition in the United States, going back to the Industrial Workers of the World: the "Wobblies".

I suspect your Paul Bogdanor of being a highly paid propagandist and a liar, and you of being a dupe.

Stop relying on cheap smears for your argument. You can read about the way that the ruling class organise attacks upon the opposition in Manufacturing Consent, a world-changing book now widely ackowledged as the definitive work in its field.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

OMG!!!

First, awesome article!!!

I'm just enjoying the resident fascist cheering on the probable invasion of a nation that hasn't attacked anyone in hundreds of years, and denouncing one of the finest minds in America as a "communist" because ...that's all he knows how to do.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

OK, I've found out who Paul Bogdanor is: http://www.acpr.org.il/authors/bogdanor-p.htm

I think that says it all.

Yes Wesman, I suspect if there really is a war against Iran it will be something we all learn to regret. Iran won't be the pushover that Iraq and Afghanistan were. With or without nuclear weapons it will defend itself fiercely.


Hillbilly Zen profile image

Hillbilly Zen 4 years ago from Kentucky

Interesting that your facts were never refuted, nor your question answered. Also interesting how conservatives think they're psychic, apparently, and can speak for anyone who doesn't follow their misguided idealogy. It's the same old "the left" this, and "liberal communists" that. I dislike being stereotyped, and I really dislike it when some self-righteous soul puts words in my mouth. I'm quite intelligent and capable of speaking my own opinion. Iran is a potential threat, but not an imminent one. I don't believe that their regime is an "innocent victim", but if the US invades based upon these half-baked ideas, we will indeed be perceived as bullies, and rightly so. They should be watched closely, and I'm quite sure our government is doing just that.

CJ, I've told you I agree with the premise of this article, and I do. I don't agree, however, that Iraq and Afghanistan have been "pushovers". Almost 4,000 American casualties would prove otherwise.


Hillbilly Zen profile image

Hillbilly Zen 4 years ago from Kentucky

It's interesting, yet not surprising, that your facts were not refuted nor was your question answered, CJ. That seems to be the modus operandi; bob and weave, and when an absurdity is shot down, simply spout another. It's always "the left" this, or "communist liberals" that, without ever addressing the crux of the matter.

Perhaps some more radical liberals portray Iran as "innocent victims", just as some radical conservatives are salivating to declare war. I do not subscribe to either program. I'm a registered Independent who agrees more often with the left than the right, and I dislike being stereotyped. I really, really dislike having words put in my mouth by self-righteous souls just because I don't follow their misguided idealogy. I'm quite intelligent and capable of voicing an opinion based on fact, not on the rantings of some wingnut media monkeys.

Iran's regime is a potential threat, not an imminent one. Starting a war with them based on these half-baked ideas that are circulating would be utter insanity. You made an excellent point, CJ - it seems that the insubstantial reasons for the Iraq invasion have been forgotten. Iran should be watched closely, and I'm quite sure that our government is doing just that.

CJ, in a previous comment I said how much I liked this Hub, and I do. However, I disagree with your choice of words that Iraq and Afghanistan were pushovers. Almost 4,000 dead American soldiers would prove otherwise.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

OK Hillbilly, that was perhaps an inappropriate choice of words. Many British service personnel have died too, and something in the region of 600,00 Iraqis and countless Afghanis. What I meant was that both Iraq and Afghanistan were failed states before the invasion: that is they had no effective armies as such, and the invasions themselves were fairly straighforward. It was the aftermath and the insurgency that has caused all the misery. Iran, on the other hand, has a powerful army and a highly motivated population who would certainly resist an invasion. In other words, if you think the results of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were bad, an attack upon Iran qould be much, much worse....


Hillbilly Zen profile image

Hillbilly Zen 4 years ago from Kentucky

Urgh. Sorry about the duplicate. Lost my connection just as it was posting and decided to re-write it. Thanks for the clarification on your comment, and for mentioning the casualties that I left out.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Hi CJ -- Finally a moment to come back here and get caught up on your comments. You're handling them well. As for WillStarr's intransigence and inability to actually put forth a rational argument, only smear tactics and name calling: what would one expect from someone who quotes Ann Coulter as a source? (Puh-lease!) He is always quick to call everyone and everything who disagrees with him as "far left," a term one hears constantly on Fox -- which is where nine-tenths of his ideas and quotes come from. Quite frankly, he, like many others, is one of those for whom a political stand is similar to a cult and he is quite incapable of balance, consideration and intelligent judgement. Unfortunately, he does not recognize that he is also a victim of propaganda -- though quick to detect it in others. What you see here is very typical of his responses to anything but the most banal of "conservative" ideas -- one which is as tedious and boring as it is simplistic and sophmoric (actually it is mass-produced for him.) For myself, I usually allow such people four chances to post comments and then cut them off -- because they cannot give you an argument and only end up repeating the same old borrowed cliches over and over again.

Please allow me to praise your diplomatic skills in handling such. And for the record: you are bang on with this hub. In fact, not too many weeks ago, my husband and I were discussing exactly this issue after viewing yet another "news" story about Iran. Said he, "Looks like Iran is next..."


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Hey CJ -- I just left you a lovely, quite lengthy comment and it disappeared. Did you disallow it? Lynda


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 4 years ago from UK

Ok. Slightly off topic, but did you see in the weekend press that after years and years of fighting, a fund has been put in place to pay off members of the Taliban? Apparently Taliban fighters are being paid out by the British military if they'll simply promise to put down their weapons and go home quietly. Not sure how much truth to read into this tale, but it did occur to me that money talks from top to bottom. As you say, why do we need war to cure recession? You only have to put the money into the right hands, and the need for war simply vanishes. I hate the idea of consent to go to war being manufactured by a puppet media. The masses have been easily duped in the past, but I hope they will be less so in the future.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Okay CJ -- that's two now that have disappeared. Shall we see if this makes three -- at which point I shall give up altogether.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Immartin, I won't answer your post right now only to say that comments appear only when I've allowed them. I could change that as it seems to cause confusion. I'll answer yours and Amanda's posts tomorrow.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Okay. Fine. Just wondered as I've never before seen comments on the hub and then disappear. Usually they don't appear at all if the hub author has elected to approve them first. Curioser and curioser. Lynda

To Amanda: Not just the British military but the American too have tried paying off fighters -- which has worked as well as one would expect. They take the money and nothing changes. Allegiance can not be purchased, particularly not in Afghanistan. I wonder how the unemployed in the US feel about taxpayer money being used to pay off Taliban grunts.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

OK I've just altered the settings so that comments will appear straightaway.

I won't go into a discussion on individuals comments if you don't mind Immartin - though you are free to do so.

I'm following the I Ching in this, hexagram 17, line 1: "Once we are ready to listen to the opinions of others, we must not associate exclusively with people who share our views or with members of our own party; instead, we must go out and mingle freely with all sorts of people, friends or foes. That is the only way to achieve something."

I think this is the model for how we might change our world.

They've been talking to peoiple claiming to be the Taliban (and paying them) for ages Amanda, but this just shows how unimaginative they are are. Whatever else you might want to say about the Taliban, their philosophy is radical nationalism and they are fiercely patriotic. They are on record as saying that they won't talk to the current - in their words: illegitimate - Kabul regime until all foreign troops have left the country, which implies the people they are paying off aren't even the Taliban. Which makes the attempt to pay them off even worse, don't you think?


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 4 years ago from UK

Again, following your advice from the I Ching, I have to put aside my natural reaction to the peace bribe story, and consider the possibility that money might be all it would take to make (some) disaffected Afghans go home. My first thought when I read about it was, well, what's to stop these people taking the cash and using it to buy more weapons? I like the idea that young men might prefer to go home with a golden handshake than fight on, but I'm realistic enough to know that only some will take the soft option. I'd rather we were funding homes, schools, farms and industry in Afghanistan, than spending our money on bombs and bullets.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Trouble is the Afghans pride themselves on being fighters. Afghanistan is known as "The Anvil of Empires" meaning that no one has even been able to take it and hold on to it. It defeated Alexander the Great, in the ancient world, and then Britain and the Russians more recently. They are a fiercely tribal warrior people who hate the sight of foreign troops on their soil. Also Afghanistan has been at war now since the Russians invaded in the 80s. There's a whole generation of orphaned kids who know nothing but war. If the West wants to give them money for infrastructure, then fair enough, but we shouldn't be there, and we shouldn't be telling them what to do.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Hi again, CJ,

It also says a lot about Western mentality, this belief that money will buy human hearts and souls. We have no understanding of the Afghan way of life, or how they see the world. Afghanistan has proven to be a black hole to any force attempting to interfere, as your succinct little history shows. Perhaps we might reflect on the words of Gandhi: "No matter how evil a people's government it is to be preferred over a foreign power."

As to the I-Ching, I offer this only as a case study for this particular mentality. I am willing to listen to anyone providing they offer intelligent discourse and are able to consider other points of view. Living in the red state of Florida I run into the programmed sort far too often and have made a kind of private study. However, I respect your lofty view. And you are welcome to delete the comment if you wish. Writing it was venting enough.

I am fatigued by the overriding view that the West has not only the right but the "responsibility" to remake the entire world in their image. It comes down to this idea of the so-called free world versus the rest, when in truth the free world is no more free than any other so long as the people in it are not capable of individual and independent thought.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

No I plan to leave it up Immartin. Everyone is entitled to a view and I like the heatedness of the exchange. I'm not so lofty either. There are certainly times when I despair of being heard, but I'm willing to risk a certain amount of repetition for the privilidge of stating my case.

The problem with our "responsibility" to remake the world in our image is that other nations might not like what that image conveys to them. In truth, I don't think that's the reasoning behind all these wars, however. I think oil and resources have a lot more to do with it.

Great to hear your views.


madashell59 4 years ago

Once again we here the wickedness of the US against the peacefulness of Iran. WHAT! Iran has attacked many countries and still is in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen etc. using proxies of terrorist organizations. So stop with the Iran has not invaded any countries. Iran and their religious fanatical leaders are of grave danger to the world.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I think you are confusing countries there. The United States is in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen etc, or haven't you noticed that?

If a resistance arises because of an occupation - such as The Maquis in France during the 2nd WW - and another nation supports that resistance - such as Britain's support for the French resistance - then that is legitimate activity. One nation is an occupier, the other nation is a supporter of resistence, and every nation has the right to resist occupation. It's in the UN charter.

However, I think you are showing your ignorance here, as the terrorist organisation in all of those countries is Al Qeada, and if you check your history you'll find that Al Qeada are Sunni fundamentalists and implaccably opposed to Iran, who are Shi'ites.

All of which shows that Chomsky is right and the work of manufacturing consent has been very successful in your case.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

That's a completely brilliant comment!!!

I suggest folks check CJ's facts - and I promise you that he doesn't mind, as he's got them right.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks Wesman. The facts are right, as you say, and it's amazing how little people know about the actual world out there.


Erma 4 years ago

Great hub, I will definitely get my hands on this book. I heard on the news today that Britain is cutting off all diplomatic ties to Iran. And so the process of manufacturing consent continues...

To lmmartin, you are bang on in your description of certain hubbers on this site!! Very well put and I couldn't agree more.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Erma, you can get the book as a free download from here: http://www.filestube.com/m/manufacturing+consent+p...

Some aspects of it may be a little dated now, as it was written during the Cold War, so the official enemy then was "communism". These days, of course, it is "terrorism", but the effects are the same.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Glad to see this hub is still attracting discussion. It's important, and true.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks Paraglider. It's tailing off now but people are still reading it.


louromano profile image

louromano 4 years ago

very useful hub lot of good info thanks


CJStone profile image

CJStone 4 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks.

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