War by any name is still war

Let’s imagine a world where you are the ruler of a town. All the people in your town are encouraged to get all their news and information from people connected to you.

There are plenty of other sources of information, but the people have been convinced the news they get from “official sources” is more Kent McManigal colorreliable, even when it should be obvious that’s not always the case.

You also have the help of highly visible people who comment on the information you release, to the exclusion of everything else, to make it seem as if yours is the only perspective out there. Anything else would be “aiding the enemy” or a “fringe opinion.”

Far away from your town is a small, insignificant village run by another guy very much like you. “Sir Ya” has done some nasty things to the people in his town; it seems to go with the job. But, since you have decided you need to go to war with this particular thug right now, he is the thug of the moment to anyone who will listen.

Everyone listens.

You eagerly, and with grave expression, report on, and the commentators pass along, any and all evil acts this other guy is suspected of committing.

Of course, the information you release is slanted against Sir Ya and is carefully calculated to make you look better than you are.

The other guy has used “chemical weapons” on the people of his town, so you propose to go to war and kill many of the survivors — using chemicals like gun powder — to “save” them. The irony will be completely lost on the people of your town, and on the popular commentators you depend upon to spread your narrative.

People don’t remember the rumored, and ultimately imaginary, “weapons of mass destruction” or baby-eating from every past lead-up to war, and this makes your scheme easier to pull off. You will succeed in getting your war, one way or another.

Sure it’s crazy, but the people in your town won’t see it because of how you have slanted the information. The same old story could be told of every time you and your predecessors decided to sacrifice the children of your townspeople for some political capital and to ensure a “legacy.”

You’ll call your war something like “humanitarian aid” or “rescuing his people.” It makes the coming death and destruction more popular with the townsfolk. It makes the returning broken bodies and minds of the town’s kids something to revere and honor rather than regret.


Farwell’s Kent McManigal champions liberty. Contact him at:

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