If you repeat a lie often enough, people truly do believe it. And when an unquestioning media joins the cheer parade, truth will not be the winner. This is the only conclusion to be drawn from a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, taken two years after the Iraq invasion. The two most startling facts are:
“Fifty-six percent of Americans still think Iraq did possess WMDs shortly before the war, though none has been found; that’s sharply down, though, from the 89 percent who thought before the war that it had such weapons”; and
“Six in 10 Americans also continue to think that before the war Iraq provided direct support to the al Qaeda terrorist group.”
A recent study also confirms that the US media are routinely self-censoring information about Iraq. This reluctance to show the true horrors of war, and the effects of the occupation, allow media consumers to feel comfortably distant from the carnage. As a Pentagon official told Jeffrey Alan Smith in his book War and Press Freedom, there would never again be any war if we let people see graphic imagery of war and civilian casualties.