Norman Solomon

Sputnik, 50 Years Later

The Launch of Techno-Power
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[This is an excerpt from Norman Solomon’s new book “Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State.”]

A story could start almost anywhere. This one begins at a moment startled by a rocket.

In the autumn of 1957, America was not at war ... or at peace. The threat of nuclear annihilation shadowed every day, flickering with visions of the apocalyptic. In classrooms, “duck and cover” drills were part of the curricula. Read more »

Political "Science" and Truth of Consequences

Scientific findings are usually filtered by power, self-interest, and ideology.
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[This article is excerpted from Norman Solomon’s new book “Made Love, Got
War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State.”]

Contempt for the empirical that can’t be readily jiggered or spun is evident at the top of the executive branch in Washington. The country is mired in a discourse that echoes the Scopes trial dramatized in “Inherit the Wind.” Mere rationality would mean lining up on the side of “science” against the modern yahoos and political panderers waving the flag of social conservatism. Read more »

War at the remote

Artifice comes in many forms
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It’s a popular notion: TV sets and other media devices let us in on the violence of war. “Look, nobody likes to see dead people on their television screens,” President Bush told a news conference more than three
years ago. “I don’t. It’s a tough time for the American people to see that. It’s gut-wrenching.”

But televised glimpses of war routinely help to keep war going. Read more »

The Martin Luther King you don't see on TV

After civil rights achievements, calling for an end to war
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It's become a TV ritual: Every year on April 4, as Americans commemorate Martin Luther King's death, we get perfunctory network news reports about "the slain civil rights leader." The remarkable thing about these reviews of King's life is that several years - his last years - are totally missing, as if flushed down a memory hole. Read more »

While McCain Walks in McNamara’s Footsteps

The senator’s “very cautious optimism” is in fact a ghastly reprisal
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The media spectacle that John McCain made of himself in Baghdad on April 1 was yet another reprise of a ghastly ritual. Senator McCain expressed “very cautious optimism” and told reporters that the latest version of the U.S. war effort in Iraq is “making progress.”

Three years ago, in early April 2004, when an insurrection exploded in numerous Iraqi cities, U.S. occupation spokesman Dan Senor informed journalists: “We have isolated pockets where we are encountering problems.” Nine days later, President Bush declared: “It's not a popular uprising. Read more »

The P-U-litzer prizes

Presenting the stinkiest news coverage of 2006
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Competition has been fierce for the fifteenth annual P.U.-litzer Prizes. Many can plausibly lay claim to stinky media performances, but only a few can win a P.U.-litzer. As the judges for this un-coveted award, Jeff Cohen and I have deliberated with due care. Read more »

Powell, Baker, Hamilton -- Thanks for Nothing

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When Colin Powell endorsed the Iraq Study Group report during his Dec. 17 appearance on “Face the Nation,” it was another curtain call for a tragic farce.

Four years ago, “moderates” like Powell were making the invasion of Iraq possible. Now, in the guise of speaking truth to power, Powell and ISG co-chairs James Baker and Lee Hamilton are refueling the U.S. war effort by depicting it as a problem of strategy and management.

But the U.S. Read more »

Is the USA the Center of the World?

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Some things don’t seem to change. Five years after I wrote this column in the form of a news dispatch, it seems more relevant than ever:

WASHINGTON -- There were unconfirmed reports yesterday that the United States is not the center of the world.

The White House had no immediate comment on the reports, which set off a firestorm of controversy in the nation’s capital.

Speaking on background, a high-ranking official at the State Department discounted the possibility that the reports would turn out to be true. Read more »

The new Iraq-war media offensive

How powerful institutions like The New York Times are feverishly spinning against a pullout of U.S. troops
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The American media establishment has launched a major offensive against the option of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

In the latest media assault, right-wing outfits like Fox News and The Wall Street Journal editorial page are secondary. The heaviest firepower is now coming from the most valuable square inches of media real estate in the USA -- the front page of The New York Times.

The present situation is grimly instructive for anyone who might wonder how the Vietnam War could continue for years while opinion polls showed that most Americans were against it. Read more »