Building Agendas for War

[Editor's Note: This speech was recorded and edited by Charlotte Hatch for San Francisco Liberation Radio and is posted here with her kind permission.]

At the end of July, longtime AlterNet writer and respected media critic Norman Solomon gave a talk at the Women's building in San Francisco to promote his new book, War Made Easy.

The premise of the book is disturbingly simple: There are at least 17 standard justifications that the government uses to send the country war, over and over. Even more disturbingly, the media parrots these justifications until they are established as fact through sheer force of repetition.

In his wide-ranging speech, Solomon recounts some of his personal encounters with the anti-war movement and the media's attempts to discredit them. He also touches on each of the well-worn justifications for going to war:

  • America Is a Fair and Noble Superpower;
  • Our Leaders Will Do Everything They Can to Avoid War;
  • Our Leaders Would Never Tell Us Outright Lies;
  • This Guy Is a Modern-Day Hitler;
  • This Is About Human Rights;
  • This Is Not at All About Oil or Corporate Profits;
  • They Are the Aggressors, Not Us;
  • If This War Is Wrong, Congress Will Stop It;
  • If This War Is Wrong, the Media Will Tell Us;
  • Media Coverage Brings War into Our Living Rooms;
  • Opposing the War Means Siding With the Enemy;
  • This Is a Necessary Battle in the War on Terrorism;
  • What the U.S. Government Needs Most Is Better PR;
  • The Pentagon Fights Wars as Humanely as Possible;
  • Our Soldiers Are Heroes, Theirs Are Inhuman;
  • America Needs the Resolve to Kick the "Vietnam Syndrome";
  • Withdrawal Would Cripple U.S. Credibility;


After listening to Solomon's speech, you can also download the 30-minute question and answer session.

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