Here’s How Pentagon’s Millennial Propaganda Works
by Christian Sorensen
August 23, 2017
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 amended the Smith-Mundt Act and effectively killed any nominal restraints on the use of propaganda against domestic audiences. Since then the Pentagon has had free rein to win over U.S. hearts and minds, spending extra effort to target the millennial crowd. Late Night with Seth Meyers is just one example of many illustrating how well the Pentagon has stepped up its game.
The Pentagon has stepped up its propaganda game in the Internet age. Tapping into the millennial mind requires more than hackneyed advertisements and catchy slogans. It requires celebrity, humor, and flattery. Seth Meyers, the host of Late Night, is happy to help out.
How does millennial propaganda work?
Meyers sets the stage by framing those in uniform as “our nation’s armed forces,” when in reality they exist to fight for corporate interest, to take out regional competitors of Israel, and to keep the oil flowing. The U.S. war budget is a direct transfer of roughly $1 trillion each year into war corporations. In other words, the funds are public but the profits are private. Members of the U.S. military are anything but “our nation’s armed forces.” [AD note: John C. Whitehead was one of the members of a commission that changed the role of the US military – turning them into super globo-cops. That was part of the plan for defense industry conversion. End of the cold war was supposed to be end of war. But that’s the way they were playing it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_C._Whitehead]
Meyers then effectively portrays the Secretary of War, a position occupied at the time by Ashton Carter, as an avuncular soul. Carter performs well. He switches fluidly between grinning buffoon and goodhearted protector. This is a deliberate deception. Carter spent most of his life in service of the war machine, using his formidable brainpower to provide research, policy analysis, and academic backing.
Nowhere is the Pentagon’s environmental destruction mentioned. Nowhere is Carter’s body count mentioned. Civilian deaths in Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and the Philippines, are deliberately excluded when pulling the wool over the eyes of sensitive millennials. Nowhere does this slick propaganda piece mention Carter’s coopting of Silicon Valley, his support for the Egyptian dictator, his expansion of USAFRICOM, or his avid love for the Saudi regime. Well done.
Jokes abound. They’re well placed, designed to obviate any criticism of Pentagon policy. Meyers jokes about invading sovereign nations, which the Pentagon actually does with unamusing regularity. Meyers jokes about weak nuclear security, even though lapses in the security of the U.S. arsenal are no laughing matter. (Upon discovering terrible security practices, the Pentagon just declares the status of its nuclear incompetence a secret.)
Meyers frequently reminds the viewer that the Pentagon is home to “two-hundred and eighty four bathrooms,” but conveniently omits the fact that numerous extra bathrooms were included in the building’s design in order to comply with Virginia’s racist segregation laws (Carroll, p. 4). Meyers should have instead stated that the Pentagon is home to 24,000 bureaucrats who would better serve the country and the world by becoming teachers, doctors, farmers, and firefighters.
Seth Meyers remarks, “One of the great things about the Pentagon are all the interesting items they have on display.” He then shows the personal property of a leader whose country the Pentagon destroyed during an illegal war. Not included in the display cases are: 1) the corpses of the more than 1 million Iraqis who lost their lives as a direct result of the Pentagon’s actions; 2) splintered shells of U.S. ordnance launched from unmanned aerial vehicles against civilians and gangs in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and throughout the Greater Middle East; 3) soil and water samples from towns the Pentagon polluted; 4) the bodies of U.S. pawns who died overseas, images of which Pentagon policy conceals unless families of the deceased request an exemption; 5) pictures of the thousands of veterans who have taken their own lives after being used and abused by the U.S. war machine.
During the question and answer session, Secretary of War Ashton Carter admits that he wants to appeal to the 18-24 year old demographic. He then calls the U.S. military the “finest fighting force the world has ever known,” yet the Pentagon hasn’t won a single war in the lifetime of a twenty-four year old.
Hats off to the tag team of Carter and Meyers. Their ruse has worked, judging by the live audience’s reactions and the enthusiastic comment section below the video. The Pentagon dictates the terms, and the U.S. populace largely accepts its disinformation and outright lies. The lesson is clear: we have to learn to see through the Pentagon’s propaganda if we ever want to live in a world without war.
Christian Sorensen, a Newsbud Contributing Author & Analyst, is a U.S. military veteran.
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