Lying to drag your people into war

Hermann Goring, Hitler’s Reichsmarschall, in 1946, shortly before he was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity, notoriously observed:
“Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. . . . Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same way in any country.”
I have some doubts about the truth of this.  I don’t think we can make a clear separation between evil leaders and angelic citizens.  However, it is true that leaders with an agenda of war, whether they be Nazi, Communist, Islamist, or whatever, may feel that deception is required to enlist citizens who might have moral qualms.
For instance, before Nazi Germany invaded Poland, the Nazis had a staged attack by Nazi forces posing as Poles on 31 August 1939, against the German radio station Sender Gleiwitz in Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia, Germany (since 1945: Gliwice, Poland).
In other words, the warmongering Nazis knew that some of their citizens might disapprove of an attack on Poland, so they made it look like Poland had provoked Germany.  Perhaps they also wanted to convince foreign countries that the invasion was self-defense.
In the U.S. some people believe that the Bush Administration wanted an excuse to attack Iraq, and so they purposely misled the American people into thinking the war on Al-Queda required a war on Iraq.  I believe this is nonsense.  I believe the Bush administration thought Iraq had WMD’s, and was an enemy and a threat to American security.
But deception is used by leaders who want to drag their people into war.
Currently, an Islamist president rules the country of Turkey, and his goal is to move his people into the camp of the anti-Western, anti-U.S. Islamists.
So how does he do this?
He lies.
Here is an excerpt from an article in the Wall Street Journal
“To follow Turkish discourse in recent years has been to follow a national decline into madness. Imagine 80 million or so people sitting at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. They don’t speak an Indo-European language and perhaps hundreds of thousands of them have meaningful access to any outside media. What information most of them get is filtered through a secular press that makes Italian communists look right wing by comparison and an increasing number of state (i.e., Islamist) influenced outfits. Topics A and B (or B and A, it doesn’t really matter) have been the malign influence on the world of Israel and the United States. For example, while there was much hand-wringing in our own media about “Who lost Turkey?” when U.S. forces were denied entry to Iraq from the north in 2003, no such introspection was evident in Ankara and Istanbul. Instead, Turks were fed a steady diet of imagined atrocities perpetrated by U.S. forces in Iraq, often with the implication that they were acting as muscle for the Jews. The newspaper Yeni Safak, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s daily read, claimed that Americans were tossing so many Iraqi bodies into the Euphrates that local mullahs had issued a fatwa ordering residents not to eat the fish. The same paper repeatedly claimed that the U.S. used chemical weapons in Fallujah. And it reported that Israeli soldiers had been deployed alongside U.S. forces in Iraq and that U.S. forces were harvesting the innards of dead Iraqis for sale on the U.S. “organ market.”
The U.S. ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman actually felt the need to organize a conference call to explain to the Turkish media that secret U.S. nuclear testing did not cause the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. One of the craziest theories circulating in Ankara was that the U.S. was colonizing the Middle East because its scientists were aware of an impending asteroid strike on North America. The Mosul and organ harvesting stories were soon brought together in a hit Turkish movie called “Valley of the Wolves,” which I saw in 2006 at a mall in Ankara. My poor Turkish was little barrier to understanding. The body parts of dead Iraqis could be clearly seen being placed into crates marked New York and Tel Aviv. It is no exaggeration to say that such anti-Semitic fare had not been played to mass audiences in Europe since the Third Reich. When I interviewed Prime Minister Erdogan (one of several encounters) in 2006, he was unabashed about the narrative. Erdogan: “I believe the people who made this movie took media reports as their basis . . . for example, Abu Ghraib prison—we have seen this on TV, and now we are watching Guantanamo Bay in the world media, and of course it could be that this movie was prepared under these influences.”

Global View Columnist Bret Stephens explains why Israel’s best friend in the Middle East is now an adversary.Me: “But do you believe that many Turks have such a view of America, that we’re the kind of people who’d go to Iraq and kill people to take their organs?” Erdogan: “These kind of things happen in the world. If it’s not happening in Iraq, then its happening in other countries.” Me: “Which kind of things? Killing people to take their organs?” Erdogan: “I’m not saying they are being killed. . . . There are people in poverty who use this as a means to get money.” I was somewhat taken aback that the prime minister could not bring himself to condemn a fictional blood libel. I should not have been. He and his party have traded on America and Israel hatred ever since. ”

The above excerpt does show its not just Erdogan thats responsible for the plunge into evil that Turkey has taken.  But he contributes.  Through lies.

Someone like Erdogan, or Hitler, or Kim Il Sung, prizes people who share his agenda as fully as possible – to the point where they will deceive and brainwash their own people for the greater good of the agenda.  Not all the people might buy the agenda – but if they are persuaded, they can make good foot-soldiers.  The elite are the people who so embrace the ideology that they don’t need to be deceived to implement the agenda.  In fact, the elite, from the viewpoint of these leaders, are the people who will themselves lie and even murder, for the agenda.

The leaders like to be adored. No matter how much misery they are responsible for, they want their people to think they are nice guys.

Consider this:

When Kim Il Sung died, in Pyongyang, we read, ‘citizens by the tens of thousands were seen beating their breasts and crying uncontrollably’.
When Stalin died, on 5 March, 1953, prisoners in the countless labour camps of the Gulag wept. He perished of a stroke in his dacha at Kuntsevo. He might, conceivably, have been saved, but his henchmen were too terrified – or too calculating – to do anything sensible except have leeches applied. When he was dead, Moscow Radio waited until 4am the next day to announce, after a roll of drums, that ‘the heart of the comrade-in-arms and continuer of genius of Lenin’s cause, of the wise leader and teacher of the Communist Party and the Soviet Union, has ceased to beat’.

That afternoon, his body was placed on an open catafalque in the Hall of Columns in the Kremlin, so that Party and people could pay tribute. The writer Ilya Ehrenburg announced: ‘He walks on the crest of the century. The mills of Turin stopped working; agricultural labourers in Sicily froze into immobility; dockers of Genoa ceased working . . . In New York upright people, surrounded by police, informers and ruffians, spoke with sadness: ‘The friend of peace has died’.’

Then things slid out of control. In spite of their rhetoric, Stalin’s colleagues had not realised that his death would release monstrous, inchoate, spontaneous grief. The queues which formed to walk past the bier, waiting outside the Kremlin in bitter March weather, soon stretched back for miles. After a time, they ceased to form lines and became a sea of millions of struggling human beings. Army lorries were brought in to form barriers, fatally compressing the mob. The young poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko was there.

‘The crowd turned into a monstrous whirlpool. I realised I was being carried straight towards a traffic light. The post was coming relentlessly closer. Suddenly I saw that a young girl was being pushed against the post. Her face was distorted and she was screaming. But her screams were unaudible against all the other cries and groans. A movement of the crowd drove me against the girl; I did not hear but felt with my body the cracking of her brittle bones.

‘I closed my eyes in horror, the sight of her insanely bulging, childish blue eyes more than I could bear, and I was swept past. When I looked again the girl was no longer to be seen. The crowd must have sucked her under . . . At that moment I felt I was treading on something soft. It was a human body.’

It is interesting to see today that a well-trained and formidable Iranian army, equipped with satellites, missiles, and soon nuclear bombs, is ready to cause us all sorts of mischief – and yet all this mischief is for a religion that their ancestors did not believe in.  Islam initially took Iran (Persia) by force of arms.  It is interesting to see that the same religion conquered formerly Christian Egypt, which is now has many ardent Jihadists.   As does Pakistan, a country whose population’s ancestors were Hindu, but now its population is proud to have nuclear weapons to offset Hindu India with.   Human beings can become ardent passionate believers in something that their ancestors fought.

China, an economic giant and “factory to the world”, with an impressive military and a navy that is harassing the ships of rival countries in the South China sea, also implements a policy of deception – you can see that by how it filters the internet from all wrong thoughts.
What can we do about all this?  Perhaps putting a lot of effort into getting the truth to people by radio or internet or some other way.

Sources:
Erdogan and the Decline of the Turks – WSJ – Robert Pollock June 2010
and
http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/rear-window-death-of-a-tyrant-even-stalins-victims-wept-with-grief-when-he-died-1414398.html

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