Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Language of Empire

It isn't enough to cultivate a general imperialist culture. People, however superior they may feel themselves to be to the rest of humanity, are often wary of war and its consequences. And there will still be those who don't buy the imperialist culture, or accept it with some scepticism. So you have to get the language right. This calls for a good PR operation. Everyone, say hello to Freedom's Watch. They're on a $15m campaign to sell the case for war. A neocon slush fund involving senior figures in American right-wing politics like Ari Fleischer, the group is particularly focused on galvanising hatred of 'radical Islam' for war on Iran. Well, they privatised much of the military effort, so why not the propaganda as well?

Although there was a brief moment when American public support for strikes on Iran registered 52% in polls, the latest indicate that they are opposed by 63% of the American public. So, the guys thought they'd put together a focus group or two and start devising ways to make the war appealing. Would you support it if Bush did it? What about Hilary? What about Israel? (What do you mean no? - antisemite!) How about if we use catch-phrases like "victory" and "failure is not an option"? Does that stimulate your patriotism glans? Does it get your desire for triumphalism flowing? Remember the parades? Flags on the streets, America's the greatest country in the world dooooood, remember all that? God, dontcha miss the elation? Let's get some more of that.

Meanwhile, it seems that the Iranian opposition is disintegrating under US pressure. The figureheads of the so-called Modern Right are driving a confrontation with the Iranian president, but not over the issues that appeal to most Iranians. Their concern is over nuclear power and the economic sanctions being driven by the US. They would like to get someone in who will take a more conciliatory line with the empire, although evidence is thin on the ground that it will make the slightest bit of difference in the long run. The conciliatory line that led Iran to help with the occupation of Afghanistan didn't get them off the Axis of Evil roll call, after all.