Dictations

Words of Mass Destruction

How many changes have been rung on this one phrase: Weapons Of Mass Destruction. We are told we must eliminate the threat of, degrade his capacity to employ, send a clear signal that we will not tolerate the existence of Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction. Secretaries Cohen and Albright both inserted the key phrase into every possible sentence, sometimes more than once, and as journalists picked up the rhythmic chant, most of the American people obediently goose stepped their way to the same beat.

The technique of indoctrination is not new. There are two essential ingredients: first, the selection of a vacuous phrase, which—because it is meaningless—cannot be challenged; then the repetition of the mantra in every conceivable context until the words acquire the hypnotic force to quell both rational argument and moral scruples.

What do journalists have in mind when they obediently repeat "Weapons of Mass Destruction (WOMD)"? Our immediate thought is of nuclear weapons, even though Saddam's nuclear capacity was eliminated first by the Israelis and then by the U.S. Air Force. Well, if not nuclear, then biological and chemical weapons. But in all three categories of WOMD, the United States is the unchallenged leader, followed by Russia, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and South Africa.

"But," honk the gaggle of goslings trailing after Madeleine Mother of...

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