Weapons of Mass Deception

| June 30, 2003

?From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August,? White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card told the New York Times last September. ?Card was explaining,? say John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton in their new book, Weapons of Mass Deception, ?what the Times characterized as a ?meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress, and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein.?? Timing is key in marketing. In their book, Stauber and Rampton show how it was far from coincidental that the president asked the United Nations Security Council for the resolution the White House needed for war with Iraq on the first anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Many Americans may not be aware that the U.S. government employs behind-the-scenes public relations firms and propaganda techniques?from disinformation to lies?to push its political objectives. Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush?s War on Iraq, due in bookstores July 28, will be the first book to expose the Bush administration?s sophisticated public relations campaign promoting the invasion of Iraq in what was actually termed a ?product launch? by the White House. PR Watch, a leading watchdog organization on public relations practices, says that in the book Rampton and Stauber ?take no prisoners as they reveal?headline by headline, news show by news show, press conference by press conference?the deliberate, aggressive and highly successful public relations campaign that sold the Iraqi war to the American public.?

Not only has the U.S. military been unable to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, evidence is mounting that the government trumped up and even forged ?evidence? to justify the preemptive attack. Given a choice between verifiable information and politically spun sound bites with a feel-good coating, will Americans begin to look further than their TVs for the truth? As Noam Chomsky says of Weapons of Mass Deception, ?Their work is a major contribution for those who want to take control of their own future, not be passive subjects of manipulation and control.?
?Anne Geske

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