Tomdispatch: Dahr Jamail, How to Control the Story, Pentagon-style
If, four decades ago, the Vietnamese were "gooks," "dinks," and "slopes," the Iraqis of the American occupation are "hajis," "sand-niggers," and "towel heads." Latent racism abets the dehumanization process, ably assisted by a mainstream media that tends, with honorable exceptions, to accept Pentagon announcements as at least an initial approximation of reality in Iraq.
Whether it was "incidents" involving helicopter strikes in which those on the ground who died were assumed to be enemy and evil, or the wholesale destruction of the city of Fallujah in 2004, or the massacre at Haditha, or a slaughtered wedding party in the western desert of Iraq that was also caught on video tape (Marine Major General James Mattis: "How many people go to the middle of the desert.... to hold a wedding 80 miles from the nearest civilization? These were more than two dozen military-age males. Let's not be naive."), or killings at U.S. checkpoints; or even the initial invasion of Iraq itself, we find the same propaganda techniques deployed: Demonize an "enemy"; report only "fighters" being killed; stick to the story despite evidence to the contrary; if under pressure, launch an investigation; if still under pressure, bring only low-level troops up on charges; convict a few of them; sentence them lightly; repeat drill.