America is addicted to war. But its citizens rarely see the brutal realities of the U.S. military industrial complex up close. That is because our pliant media hides the carnage from the public, refusing to report on the victims of the war machine, and uses euphemisms like “surgical strikes” and “enhanced interrogation techniques” to mask the barbarity meted out by Washington around the world.
A recent study from the Costs of War Project at Brown University found that the post-9/11 wars have been responsible for some 4.5 million deaths worldwide, with at least 38 million also displaced from their homes.
Our guest today has literally written the book on how the harsh realities of America’s global empire are blocked from our views. Norman Solomon is a journalist, activist and media critic who co-founded activism website RootsAction.Org. He is the author of the new book, “War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine,” which has been endorsed by a wide range of academics and public figures, from Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky and Medea Benjamin to Naomi Klein and Amy Goodman.
Solomon contended that, while the United States has suffered serious military setbacks and embarrassments in the 21st century, the military-industrial complex driving the war machine has gone from strength to strength, telling “MintCast” host Alan MacLeod that:
Raytheon, Boeing and other military contractors never lose a war. It is always extremely profitable [for them]. But in terms of geopolitical positioning, it is very difficult to maintain an empire in decline, which is not a bad description of the United States in the last decades.”
While the U.S.’ “forever wars” in West Asia might finally be dying down, tensions with Russia and China are being consciously ramped up in Washington, leading to an extremely dangerous standoff against two nuclear-armed nations. Russia and China have, between them, thousands of nuclear warheads, and a conflict with either, Solomon told MacLeod, could end the world. As he said:
The U.S. is on a collision course with sanity around the survival of humanity in the nuclear age, ginning up [passions] rather than engaging in diplomacy over the conflict in Ukraine, and the consequences, to put it mildly, are not only horrific in the present, but potentially omnicidal.”
News organizations, for Solomon, are kept in check by their corporate structure, which ensures that executives make the calls and corporate advertisers pay the bills. Thus, any news or opinions that challenge the corporate-dominated status quo are likely to be quashed or ignored. Journalists like Chris Hedges, Phil Donahue and Jesse Ventura lost their careers over their opposition to war, while others who cheerlead America’s brutal campaigns are rewarded with promotions. Thus, the system filters out radicals, troublemakers, or those who simply want to tell the truth, leaving only alternative media as a source of more accurate reporting.
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Also, be sure to check out rapper Lowkey’s video interview/podcast series, The Watchdog.
Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.org, The Guardian, Salon, The Grayzone, Jacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.