Tuesday, February 01, 2005

"U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote"

Take a look at an object rescued from the memory hole. It's a New York Times article from the era of the Vietnam War: Peter Grose, "U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote" (September 4, 1967, p. 2). Its lead paragraphs read:
United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.
Sounds familiar?

Here is an image of the clipping:
U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote
The corporate media's coverage of the January 30, 2005 elections in Iraq bears eerie resemblance to what they said about the September 3, 1967 elections in South Vietnam.

"Demonstration elections" today follow the script developed through Washington's long experience of staging them, down to such details as how to report voter turnouts. Notice that the reported 83% turnout in the 1967 presidential election in South Vietnam very closely matches the 80% turnout that "the American officials hoped for" (Grose, September 4, 1967), just as the estimated turnout figure of 8 million voters in the 2005 elections in Iraq is virtually identical to the "respectable" turnout desired by Washington and dutifully predicted by the Independent [sic] Election Commission of Iraq.

There is a difference between 1967 and 2005, however: the corporate media are cheerleading for Washington now more strenuously than they did in 1967. The New York Times article shown above speaks merely of "a constitutional process." That's a humbler euphemism than wild slogans -- "historic" elections for "freedom" and "democracy"! -- splashed in the post-election coverage of Iraq with abandon.

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