Our inner voice of reason has been extinguished and intuitively remote controlled. In both dystopian and utopian societies once ideas are imprinted in our brains and opinions formed, we become like horses with blinkers. Before the invasion of Iraq without substantiated evidence, Collin Powell presented a case that Iraq had the weapons of mass distractions. As here, fabrication of propaganda was used by those who exert power by distorting the historical development leading to the war and alter records to stomp out any contrary view from the one formulated by the Bush Administration coupled with ensuring absolute control over public opinion. With the aftermath of September 11, our nation was still in grief and vulnerable. In this setting, the public is emasculated and the administration preyed on our emotion and stopped at nothing to justify the means. Without factual knowledge, we bought into a distorted public opinion that Iraq has the weapon of mass destruction and waged our patriotic support for the invasion. Subsequently even after Powell reffed to his United Nation presentation about Iraqi’s weapon of mass destruction “as a lowest point in his life”, we still ignore the correction but rather maintain a sentiment by putting lipstick on a pig that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons, and yet today most Bush supporters still claim that WMD were hiding or moved before the invasion.
In a movie 1984, we observed people of Oceania seeing posters and television screens of “Big Brother” face announcing that they were at war with Eurasia and winning instead of Eastasia, as much as this information was misleading, people of Oceania they believed that to be true. In comparisons, the Bush Administration at the time leading to war in Iraq they used mass media as an effective tool to control people thoughts ensuring absolute control over public opinion. The belief was refined in a media by repeatedly uttering “Iraq,” “9/11” and “war on terror” in the same breath. (Paul R.Pillar). This propaganda was so successful that the public took on a rule of passive individuals and not able to think critically, merely following a belief that Saddam Hussein not only has an alliance with al-Qaeda but also had been directly involved in the 9/11 attack. According to Paul R. Pillar article The Iraq War and the Power of Propaganda the Bush campaign was “testimony to what a determined use of the opinion-molding capabilities of the government of the day, including the bully pulpit of the presidency”. (Paul R.Pillar)” Wilson job in a movie 1984 was to manipulate documents and photographs to ensure that history shows Oceania “Big Brother” government in a positive light. As much as Wilson knew this information was misleading, he still bought into a mindset that people of Oceania we well off and cared for by the government. In comparisons to Wilson is Condellesa Rice when she had foreknowledge a year before the invasion of Iraq that anonymous government nuclear expert had seriously doubted that the tubes on satellite photographs were for nuclear weapons (Benen). To make a case for war in Iraq, Condellesa Rice went on to promote a version of the story by choosing interpretation favorable to the Bush administrations. With Rice trademark line: “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud” without substantiated evidence the American public and United Nation took her statements as true. At this juncture, we were convinced and hooked by the perceived truth.
Furthermore, with an aftershock of September 11, the Bush Administration preyed on our emotion and stopped at nothing to justify the means of going to war. In an article that we discussed in class Trump’s Lies vs. Your Brain the author writes “Lies are exhausting to fight, pernicious in their effects and perhaps worst of all, almost impossible to correct… .and that when we are overwhelmed with false information our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies particularly when they come not singly but in a constant stream.” (Konnikova). As WMD’s lies hit our brains in a constant stream, we bought into the Bush Administration authoritative claims and seen an invasion of Iraq as a necessary response to avert emergence of the terrorist threat in the Middle East. In an article; Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds the author writes about confirmation bias and emphasize that people have the tendency to embrace information that supports their beliefs and rejects information that contradicts them. (Kolbert). For instance, after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the belief that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the invasion was closely associated with support for President Bush (Kull). As here we tend to avoid the assault on our identity and evaluate misperceptions of WMD’s by reinforcing such information with a directional bias. Yet, after Colin Powell correction, Republicans, as they align themselves with the Bush Administration, didn’t change their minds to conform with the truth. Accordingly, they ignored the correction but rather maintain a sentiment by putting lipstick on a pig that Iraq might had to move its nuclear weapons. Thielmann, who headed the office of Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Affairs in the INR until September 2002 when ask about accuracy of the information his own intelligence bureau had developed and Powell awareness of truth omission, he replied : I can only assume that he was doing it to loyally support the president of the United States and build the strongest possible case for arguing that there was no alternative to the use of military force. (Schwarz, Jonathan).
After all, armed with the preserved truth of alleged alliance between Saddam Hussain and Al Qaeda, our nation further agreed with the Bush Administration that there is the need to step-up efforts to enhance the country’s intelligence-gathering capabilities subsequently modeling 1984 Oceania where citizens are never sure whether they are being watched. To Emphasis, in 2013 a $52.6 billion budget— was brought to light last year when the Washington Post obtained a “black budget” report from Snowden, detailing the bureaucratic and operational landscape of the 16 spy agencies and that the National Security Agency alone has annually scooped up as many as 56,000 emails and other communications by Americans with no connection to terrorism. (Godon). In contrast to 1994 movie, not only that we see “Big Brother” government oversight and web surveillance but also a formation of dystopia characteristics where we are surrounded by the Thought Police. With patriotism imprint to our brain, our understanding of the effect of information on issue opinions going to war was stained. Afterward, the Bush Administration could effectively control the public opinion through uncertainty widespread symbols of Big Brother watchful face. Our inner voice of reason was extinguished and intuitively remote controlled. Henceforth We didn’t have to be physically in Abu Ghraib prison Baghdad or undergo Room 101 O’Brien “Big Brother” series of torturous interrogations against Winston, instead, our grief of September 11 became a potent weapon for the Bush Administration to oppressed our minds. Our backbones were broken as we orderly behaved obediently, in a process we let go of our privacy and unquestionably echo with senses of patriotism henceforth afraid to hold contrary views. With lies developing into preserved truth and ideological preferences that aligned with the Bush Administration we became victims of circles of certainties within which reality is imprisoned. Consequently, once ideas are imprinted in our brains and opinions formed, like Wilson I had to agree we added 2+2 to equal 5, we swallowed our opinions and gave up political process of check and balances that could be had demanded substantiated evidence and questioned lies used to push for war.
Benen, Steve. “The ’smoking gun’ wasn’t a mushroom cloud; it was a New York Times article.” The Carpet Bagger Report (October 04, 2014).
Godon, Philip H. “September 11 and American Foreign Policy.” Bookings Education Articles (2001, November 1).
Kolbert, Elizabeth. “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds.” The New Yorker (2017, February 27).
Konnikova, Maria. “Trump’s Lies vs. Your Brain.” (2007 February).
Kull, Steven, Clay Ramsay, and Evan Lewis. “Misperceptions, the Media, and the Iraq War.” Political Science Quarterly 2003: 569-598.
Paul R.Pillar. “The Irag War and the Power of Propaganda.” The National Intrest (September 14, 2011).
Schwarz, Jonathan. Huffing Post. com. 05 02 2013. 28 07 2017.