by Thomas Milton Albert, Ph.D., thomasa@ThomasAlbert.com
During George W. Bush's campaign to become President, controversy arose when it was discovered his television advertisement [paid for by the Republican National Committee] of scare tactics against the Democrats included a subliminal component that equated the democrats with bureaucRATS who interfere with doctors and prevent senior citizens from getting the prescription drugs they need.
Quicktime version of the television advertisement
Bush said he was convinced the advertisement did not contain what Bush repeatedly mispronounced as a "subliminimal" message.
Here is the text of the advertisement:
Under Clinton-Gore, prescription drug prices have skyrocketed, and nothing's been done. George Bush has a plan: add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. "Every senior will have access to prescription drug benefits." And Al Gore? Gore opposed bi-partisan reform. He's pushing a Big Government plan that lets Washington bureaucrats interfere with what your doctors prescribe. The Gore prescription plan: bureacrats decide. [The word "RATS" drops down ominously from above to form the word "bureaucrats" in the center of the picture.] The Bush prescription plan: seniors choose."
Note that the advertisement begins by blaming the Democrats for the rise in prices of prescriptions drugs. Now, a year after Bush took office, medical insurance rates continue to climb at the same rate (approx. 15% each year).
Psyop (psychological operations or psychological warfare) is an official component of the United States war establishment. When George W. Bush's daddy was President, one tactic to offend the Muslim opponent and assert U.S. cultural dominance was to blast heavy metal rock music at Iraqi soldiers.
A recent example of propaganda "psyop" or military "mindbending" are the leaflets that a B-52 Bomber dropped on Afghanistan on 3 January 2002. These leaflets show Bin Laden in Western dress.
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5 Jan 2002: ... There were concerns last night that showing bin Laden in Western clothes could backfire. Millions in the Islamic world already believe that the Pentagon faked the video showing bin Laden confessing to the September 11 attacks.
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Why would the "experts" in psychological warfare resort to ploys
that are likely to backfire?
When they condemn bin Laden for wearing Western clothes, what are they saying about the Western world itself?
Let's look at other psyop examples:
Here, the United States claims to be a friend of Afghanistan. But in the following leaflet, the United States appears as two piercing, frowning eyes LOOKING DOWN. The U.S. thereby incarnates it's own emblem: the Eagle, a bird of prey. Unfortunately, this leaflet also says that United Statesians are superior to Afghans, which undermines the "friendship" message of the previous leaflet.
The following leaflet is demeaning to the Afghan, but does portray bin Laden in a role of calm, self-assurance, and mastery. The symbolic key in the mind of the U.S. military is the Saudi headdress, which would appear foreign to an Afghan. However, in Afghanistan, bin Laden did not appear in such garb. Again, the United States military is so eager to convey a symbolic message that it FALSIFIES the representation of bin Laden..
Whether the United States falsifies its representation of bin Laden as a Saudi sheik or a Western businessman, the United States undermines its credibility by it eagerness to falsify.
While dissimulation might well be part and parcel of Western advertising, marketing, and business practices, the United States psychological warfare "experts" appear to be insensitive to how Islam regards depictions of human beings. Whereas every Catholic church has multiple images of Jesus (the God-figure), no mosque displays any image of God, or even Mohammad, or any prophet. This is because Muslims take very serious what was originally a Jewish fear that representations of animate beings could lead to idolatry.
The following leaflet bears a dual message.
At one level, the metaphor of Afghanistan as a complex woven tapestry shows cultural sensitivity.
On another level, however, it gives new meaning to the phrase "carpet
If Afghanistan is nothing but a rug to the United States, the United States can walk all over it.
If Afghanistan is but a rug, it can be made (or re-made) rather quickly. This is quite different from recognizing the deep history of Afghanistan.
Who are the Psychological Warriors?
This official U.S. military logo for Psychological Operations displays lightening bolts moving down from an area to a superior area of light to a lower area of darkness. The evocation the violence of psychological warfare indirectly claims to be a form on enlightenment. We, the United States, originate the ideas in our field of light, and transmit them into inferior peoples dwelling in dark continents. There is, perhaps, an implicit racism in this visual metaphor.
A final thought. The United States War Establish, in its use of psychological propaganda that does violence to other culture's sensitivity to truth and tradition, unwittingly undermines its own project, and once again allows itself to fall into the stereotype of a duplicitous Crusader, an invader, an arrogant master.
[This material is freely available to all and has no copyright.]