Historical documentarian Ken Burns PBS show, The War
, is a wonder of myth making, certainly from the start, which is a good place to start. See a few notes below on the perpetuation of war myths and the questionable timing of dragging out the “Good War “ for the present “terror” war's failures
, and more failures
, and even from a different view, failures still
. Perhaps all wars are failures to another extent. Former British parliament member and longtime activist, Tony Benn, once said it best, "All war represents a failure of diplomacy." And certainly a failure of hope, decency, and the imagination. Not for Burns. He specializes in the Good War. It's his bag. And he's a liberal. Moving on...
In terms of the film documentary medium as grand narrative historiography (it's on the TV, it must be true, and on PBS no less)...Journalists Christopher Hayes and Sean Gonsalves have challenged Burns on perpetuation of myths and falsehoods to a degree...HayesGonsalvesMore on the WWII myths
Very worthwhile points to consider in light of the present. However, there still stands a big elephant in the historical room. No talk of the Pearl Harbor myth...and Sean Gonsalves did not return either of my letters of inquiry...that's even too close to the bone for him, I guess...he'll go so far demythologizing, then stop. I'm not sure how that's possible.
Why is Pearl Harbor important? Because it’s a myth...the myth of America, defender of truth, democracy, justice, a nation that only enters war if attacked/provoked, exceptional and triumphant in all things, living manifest destiny. America believes its own exceptionalist
mythology. After 9/11, the links to Pearl Harbor were ubiquitous. A powerful myth, indeed. But...Irony Alert- Pearl Harbor was known about and allowed to happen to get into war with Germany (in addition obviously to Japan). But, yes, you read that correctly. And Germany had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor. And Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Connecting any dots yet? Why is Osama not on the FBI's Most Wanted List for 9/11? They said they don't have hard evidence
to convict him and the early videos of "confessions" have been exposed as frauds...which is obvious since the FBI won't use them as evidence!
At any rate, to stay on point here...
Links of interest...not always a big fan of Lew Rockwell, but this is a good book review on some of the aforementioned myths on his libertarian site...Libertarian critique of WWII myths
And this well-documented page on the Pearl Harbor, Mother of all Conspiracies...there's that word!MoC
That word "conspiracies," of course.Conspiracy Reality
For more on understanding the power of rhetoric see JFK & Gangster Government-- Michael Parenti's classic speech on a democratic people's need to confront "conspiracies” here... Parenti on Conspiracy Culture
Also, there's historian and author Bob Stinnett's interview on his work Day of Deceit. Stinnett's FOIA request uncovered myths of the Pearl Harbor sneak attack while at the Independent Institute
. Stinnett wasn't the first to do so. The Army actually concluded much the same in 1944. So, why do Hayes and Gonsalves not include this research, if even historiographically, if even to suggest the idea that the historical myths of exceptionalism and Pearl Harbor are not in synch with all of the facts? Isn't that what journalists are supposed to do?
These people don't even look at the Old Pearl Harbor, let alone the possibility of a New Pearl Harbor in 9/11, like the Project For the New American Century pined for in 2000- with their Rebuilding
America's Defenses document.
I'm not talking about "conspiracies" or conclusions here, but rather how sloppy, or intentionally selective research, furthers myths and falsehoods about the past, thus enabling them into the present. These WWII myth makers and myth breakers do not look at the generationally defining historical event that got America into The War- Pearl Harbor- like many in the present don't look at how we got into the current two illegal wars- 9/11. We owe it to ourselves to do better and face the possibility of continued deception perpetrated against the public. We need more transparency and more daring journalists. Those that call for such things and real investigations about 9/11 are not all just “conspiracists” but seekers of knowledge and explanation unattached to outcomes. To ask is not to conclude prematurely or posit alternative, unproven notions into some Lacanian hole at Ground Zero. Those that hurl unsound theories without evidence are merely repeating the same patterns of obfuscation laid out by the government itself. Further, to notice inconvenient facts, propagandistic trends, and patterns of official lies is not to create them. Shooting the messenger doesn't refute the potential efficacy of the message that questions the grand narrative. Conspiracy doesn't only exist in the mind of the paranoid. We should recall...
"Sometimes paranoia's just having all the facts" author, William S. Burroughs
Our resident journalists have also studiously ignored Prof. David Ray Griffin's connection with The New Pearl Harbor
and it's roots as propagandistic terminology outlined in the architects of the terror war, aka (and as mentioned above), the PNAC
and their year 2000 "Rebuilding America's Defenses" publication about post cold war global strategies. Again, more dots, but little connecting...this at least deserves some public hearing and debate one would hope.
In temporary conclusion-- A Memo to PBS...their Kenny boy pans and Burns history along with the present by peddling the old myths of "The Good War." Burns show isn't a total wash, but it does little to challenge the narrative of exceptionalism and jingoism. Truth is, war is the ultimate human failure. We need to remember that while we look at this so-called war on terror in the present and how we got here. 9/11 is a good place to start.