"Norman Solomon has been exploring the hard questions for thirty years, asking in particular, why our media serves us so poorly in making sense of the choices we face. War Made Easy looks at the lies we tell ourselves as we annihilate life and liberty and call it freedom."
Paul Rogat Loeb, editor of The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear
You've heard it all before, and you will no doubt hear it again. "Our leaders will do everything they can to avoid war." "They attacked us." "Our enemy is a modern-day Hitler." "This is all about human rights." And, at some point after these and other pronouncements had echoed through the media for weeks or months, American troops marched into Vietnam, Panama, or Iraq. Since the mid- 1960s, American presidents have developed, refined, and perfected powerful propaganda machines for leading the nation to war.
In War Made Easy, nationally syndicated columnist, media critic, and author Norman Solomon cuts through the dense web of spin to probe and scrutinize the key "perception management" techniques that have played huge roles in the promotion of American wars in recent decades.
This user-friendly guide to disinformation parses the preludes to American military adventures past and present. It reveals striking similarities in the efforts of various administrations to justify, and retain, public support for war. This proven formula includes everything from demonizing the enemy and proclaiming the selflessness of American motives to disseminating inaccurate "facts" and dispatching armies of well-briefed pundits to repeat them ceaselessly in the media and brand any opposition as unpatriotic and anti-American.
Even more distressing than this heavily orchestrated approach to beating the war drum, Solomon says, is its repeated success. In virtually every instance, a president who wanted to go to war was able to do so with minimal political opposition, substantial cooperation in the media, and the support of most of the public.
War Made Easy is important reading for every American. In addition to documenting a long series of deliberate misdeeds at the highest levels of power, it lays out important guidelines to help us distinguish elements in a propaganda campaign from actual news reporting. By following these simple suggestions, every citizen can become a savvy media critic and, perhaps, help the nation avoid the next costly and unnecessary war.