NLP and the News
3. Maps of the War on Terror
The President has been advised to change his maps. But the President said no.
You didn't hear about that? Well perhaps if I put it another way:
President Bush has been told, by an advisory group he created, that the war in Iraq is not winnable by sheer force of arms. He has been advised to invite other Middle East countries - specifically Syria and Iran - to get involved in seeking some kind of diplomatic solution, and to start paving the way for a complete withdrawel of American troops from Iraq.
President Bush elected to reject these suggestions and has instead ordered another 21,500 US troops to be deployed in Iraq in order to seek a military solution.
What is clearly happening here is a "clash of maps", so to speak.
Or a case of "insanity", from an NLP perspective.
I believe it was Einstein who said:
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Which became the NLP presupposition:
"If you go on doing what you're doing now, you're likely to go on getting the results you're getting now.
If you want something different you have to do something different, and keep varying your behaviour until you get the results that you want."
George Bush Jnr., however, has stuck steadfastly to the illusion that he could change the cock-up he has presided over for the last four years by going on and on doing the same old thing. Then he changed his mind, or did he?
On January 11, 2007, Bush Jnr. did publicly acknowledged that the strategy he had forced on the "Coalition" forces had failed miserably. And in the next breath, so to speak, announced his "new" policy - he planned a "surge".&nsp; Or in honest English, he olanned to send a further 20,000 plus extra troops into Iraq in a "strategic shift" to quell sectarian killings and hasten the day when US troops begin coming home.
Doing more of the same but with a not particularly large number of extra troops is a "strategic shift"? What PR expert made up that piece of nonsense?
In fact this was just another of the many "word plays" the Bush Jnr. administration have employed since 2003. Another recent example comes from Bush Jnr.'s announcement of this "inflexible strategy":
"Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me,"
Bush Jnr. said in a televised primetime address from the White House.
And what an interesting vocabulary we see at work there. Insanity has become "mistakes"! "Mistakes" which had already claimed the lives of over 3,000 US soldiers and cost US taxpayers more than $430 billion.
It is often said that the first victim of war is truth, and despite the fact that both Blair and Bush Jnr. claim to be convinced Christians, the Iraq war has been no exception.
And why would it be an exception. As Edward Bernays and the other members of the WW1 Creel Commission quickly discovered, propaganda is all about telling stories, be they in pictures or in words. Either way the point is to change the "man in the street"'s perception of reality to suit the purposes of whoever is paying the bills.
In WW1 it was President Woodrow Wilson who wanted to turn the US population into a nation of war mongers. Nowadays, we may not know exactly who is writing the lies. But we have plenty of evidence about the fact that they started well before the war itself.
There was, for example, the spectacle of Colin Powell sitting in the UN, giving supposed details of direct evidence that Saddam Hussein was manufacturing, or at least had the facilities to manufacture, the notorious "weapons of mass destruction".
But hold on, is ANY rocket or bomb potentially a "weapon of mass destruction" - as compared to a bullet which is unlikely to kill more than two or three people even if you have them lined up one behind the other and close together, and the bullet doesn't get deflected along the way?
Of course the term was supposed to imply "chemical" or "biological" weapons, as though only a fiend like Saddam Hussein would possess such despicable weapons. "He" was different from "us", so naturally whatever weapons "he" had were a "genuine threat" (as in the case of the Kurdish massacre some years before), whilst we - Britain and America - have huge stockpiles of these weapons, and ongoing research programs for who not what totally non-belligerent purpose.
Colin Powell was the ideal patsy to present this information because, out of the entire Bush Jnr. administration, he was the one person with any credibility. And Powell did apparently try to warn us that his information wasless reliable, but by using a very two-edged form of ambiguity. That is to say, it seemed at the time that he gave hardly information at all without prefacing it with some kind of statement that this was his BELIEF.
For those who listened, it surely seemed strange that this ex-senior member of the military, though showing all kinds of alleged evidence, hardly ever (never?) came straight out and said: This is how it is, but only "This is what I believe to be the case."
An honest man in a thoroughly invidious position? Well we certainly know now, as Powell himself has admitted, there was hardly a scrap of truth in what he said to the members of the UN. It was, as Shakespeare, put it: "A tale of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
And yet it worked.
On the one hand Powell, intentionally or not, sounded a warning about the flimseyness of his evidence. But on the other he sent the message, again we know not whether accidentally or on purpose, the message "This is what I believe." And if we questioned the integrity of such a fine upstanding man, who on earth could we trust?
Likewise, in Britain, intelligence reports were "sexed up" by the "New Labour" administration and feed to the British parliament in order to gain a vote that would allow the British military to become involved in the invasion. But the whole performance was a lie of ommission!
We were told that Saddam Hussein had so-called "weapons of mass destruction." We were told that he had weapons that could be readied for action in 45 minutes. We were told he had weapons that could attack British military bases on the island of Cyprus.  BUT were NEVER told (AFAIK) that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction which could be readied in 45 minutes AND which could reach as far as the British bases in Cyprus.
It was left to members of parliament and the British media to take the implication presented by announcing the three pieces of information at the same time. Which they duly did.
It has yet to be determined to what extent the British government knew for a fact, prior to the invasion, that Saddam Hussein had neither weapons of mass destruction NOR the equipment needed to produce them.
The propaganda was aimed solely at invoking fear in the population, and judging by polls at the time, a very significant number of people fell for the scaremongering, hook, line and sinker.
In short, the words shaped our mind maps, NOT according to whether they were true but according to our perception of whether they were true.
Other tricks followed, like the quite amazing US-UK self justification scam.
By that I mean that the US administration were determined to attack Iraq, but almost certainly knew the invasion of a sovereign state purely on their own determination would be illegal. In Britain we knew perfectly well that the planned invasion was illegal, but we sent a top legal official to the States where, it would seem, he was persuaded to declare that the war would be legal. At this point the American administration declared the war legal on the grounds that the British had said the war was legal!
(Note: We can now offer an explanation of how this actually worked:
According to international law, it has long been accepted that a country need not wait until it has actually been attacked before it acts to defend itself. It must, however, be able to show that it is genuinely "in imminent danger" of being attacked.
The American administration tried to make that claim by asserting that Saddam Hussein was hand in hand with Al Qaeda, who were allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York. It was clear that what little evidence there was on the subject showed that Saddam had no interest in supporting extremist religious groupswhose aims would most likely have conflicted with his own interests.
The British government initially argued that the war was necessary IF Saddam really did have weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) then the British government would (reluctantly?) support the American
But to return to the redefining of words, one major ploy - still in use - was the claim that anyone who opposed the invasion inside Iraq was an "insurgent".
Now maybe I have a very unusual dictionary (though I don't think so) because it defines "insurgent" as someone who rebels against the properly constituted ruling body. But the only insurgents in Iraq have been - the "Coalition" forces.
Whatever we may think of Saddam Hussein, he was, at the time of the invasion, the legal ruler of Iraq; and the people who sought to overthrow his rule were not the people of Iraq, Iran, or any other Muslim nation. They were the invading forces from the USA, the UK, Spain, Holland, etc., etc. And four years of fighting, religiously-motivated bombings and mounting chaos have done nothing to change that fact.
And yet the Western news reports, night after night, still trot out the same old story - that "Coalition" forces are fighting an "insurgency". Presumably in the desperate but forlorn hope that we will feel and believe that we are fighting a just and legal war, long after it has become clear that we have at last seen through the misdirection and lies.
And these word games aren't merely crude propaganda. They are doubly dangerous insofar as they help to conceal the fact that certain important, possibly even more important maps are missing from the scene.
The maps of "the enemy".
If you'd like to let us know your thoughts on this subject, please write to: