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The truth hurts

Dear Editor:

Tip of the hat to Cathleen Krahe for her comments about Iran’s culpability (“Look for good in Iran,” letters, March 5, The Aspen Times).

The current slant on Syria is quite similar. Brutal regime, Assad the villain, etc. Within the first two months of the start of the conflict, expatriate activists informed the press of the death of 5,000 civilians. Expressing doubt would be like Holocaust denial. Almost a year later we see actual photos of a burial procession of “martyrs” but just two coffins.

So where are the 5,000 bodies, the funeral rites and the mass graves? Did the Assad thugs just hang them from trees to let vultures eat them? Yet not a hint of skepticism except for a recent article in the New Yorker that few people read.

Today propaganda is far more sophisticated compared to the bombastic speeches by GoebbeIs. A leak goes to a favorite reporter and gets published in an important newspaper so it can be quoted (think Judith Miller and aluminum tubes).

l recall congressional testimony by an Army lieutenant colonel who had the assignment to locate Saddam’s mass graves. For a whole year every lead was investigated, but nothing turned up. No coverage that I recall.

Of course, the counterpoint was the famous phrase: “The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.” Another example: Much media attention is focused on “defectors.” Any soldier who leaves his post in the U.S. is considered a deserter subject to severe punishment.

In Syria, if they throw away their jackets but keep their weapons they become, by our reporting, innocent civilians or freedom fighters. Tony Judt, professor, writer and intellectual, in his last book before his untimely death, when questioned about the state of affairs on war and peace, said this: “Everybody lies. It is simply a question if he is your liar or their liar.”

I am not quite that cynical but do see the bitter fruit that such lies have harvested.

Stefan Edlis

Aspen


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