What's Left
September 8, 2002

Getting the Media Warmongers Before They Get Us

By Stephen Gowans

Most Americans haven't had the unique pleasure of reading columnist Marcus Gee, who writes on international affairs for the Toronto-based newspaper, The Globe and Mail.

Mr. Gee is a kind of echo chamber for whoever happens to be occupying the White House, Pentagon or State Department.

Didn't catch Bush's latest speech? No problem. In his next column, Mr. Gee will use Bush's phrases, arguments, even the President's illogic, without attribution. You don't need to hear what the commander in chief says. Just read Marcus.

Missed Rumsfeld's bluster, Cheney's prevarication, Powell's rationalizations. No worries. They'll show up in Gee's next column.

In fact, so closely does Gee follow the official Washington line, that when I read about the Office of Global Communications, somehow, Marcus kept obtruding on my thoughts.

According to the July 31st issue of Marcus's own newspaper,

"The office, which has been operating unofficially for months, will work with foreign journalists and broadcasters to create positive images of the US that do not appear to be propaganda." The office, the newspaper goes on to explain, reports directly to the White House.

Propaganda that does not appear to be propaganda, prepared by foreign journalists working with a US agency reporting directly to the President? Hmmm.

In his latest column, "If you wait for proof, you're dead," (does Marcus share Bush's speech-writer?), Gee wrote:

"Do we know for sure that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction? No. Do we know for sure that he would use them? No again. All we know is that he is a ruthless dictator who has tried for years to acquire the word's deadliest weapons and has shown no hesitation in using them when he does. Definitive proof will come only when a mushroom cloud rises above Tel Aviv or Washington."

Mimicking Bush's "If we wait for a threat to fully develop, we've waited too long," Gee finishes with, "Do we wait until then?"

Who knows whether Gee really works for Washington? It sure sounds like the White House press office is writing his copy; but what does it matter? Yes or no, the effect is the same -- he's still pushing the same line. (Still, if he's not on the payroll, he ought to look into it. You'd hate to think he's going to all the trouble of pitchforking Washington's manure for free.)

Anyway, following Mr. Gee's let's-echo-Washington's logic, I'm announcing the "Let's Get Marcus Before He Gets Us" campaign.

It's pretty simple. I kind of think Gee has it in for people like you and me. Hell, everything he writes is hostile to us. And I've got a hunch he thinks we're a menace. He's just waiting to give you or me a shot. So here's what we do. We get some really big, hulking guys, WWF types, and have them hang out in front of the Globe and Mail offices. When Marcus comes out for lunch, or to spit at a panhandler, or go for a jog, or whatever it is he does,  they lay him out. Yeah, deck him, right there. A pre-emptive strike. Sure, the act would be unspeakably violent. And yes, it would be immoral. And illegal. Definitely illegal. But look at it this way: Do we know for sure that he has the capability to harm us? No. Do we know for sure that he intends us harm? No again. Definitive proof will only come when one of us is lying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood.

Do we wait until then?

Now, I'm not really calling for anyone to give the Globe and Mail's resident warmonger a good smack on the head. That would be, well, reprehensibly violent, immoral and illegal -- like the all out war on Iraq Marcus thinks is so necessary.

Warmonger or not, Marcus deserves to live free from threat and harm. As you do. As I do.

As Iraqis do.

Sometimes, though, don't you wish Gee and his fellow media jingoes faced more danger for their contributions to building support for the slaughter of innocents than the prospect of carpal tunnel syndrome and a few paper cuts? Maybe then they wouldn't be so eager to act as cheerleaders for war criminals, mass murderers and guys with their sights on Middle Eastern oil who keep funnelling tax dollars to Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon.

Here's a thought. Instead of smacking him, let's send Gee to Baghdad to huddle in an air raid shelter with terrified Iraqis. Let's get him to cradle a frightened Iraqi child, as Mr. Bush's bombs rain down. If Marcus is going to be such a big fan of war, he might as well have a front row seat.


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