There is only one thing worse than a radical leftist propagandist publishing paranoid drivel about the Iraq war in 2003. That would be a gaggle of propagandists from the "loony Left" publishing a collaborative of conspiracies and contortions of fact. Tell Me Lies is an apt title for this volume of essays penned by thirty-seven delusional thinkers. Their analyses range from humorous to frightful.
Let's start with the frightful. The obscure journalist John Pilger shockingly claims that Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and General Shaul Mofaz, "along with their predecessors, have caused a degree of suffering of which Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda can only dream." The book gets worse from there. Despite Saddam Hussein's path of destruction and murder, a former British think tanker named Mark Curtis claims that "Iraq presented no threat." Douglas Kellner, who holds a philosophy of education chair at the University of California, Los Angeles, believes that "U.S. television networks framed the terrorist attacks [of 9/11] to whip up war hysteria, while failing to provide a coherent account of what happened." He further asserts that "Bush's rhetoric, like that of fascism, deploys a mistrust and hatred of language."
There are a few examples of humor. In an amusing essay entitled, "War Is Sell," Laura Miller, John Stauber, and Sheldon Rampton accuse the Middle East Forum and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy—two think thanks that I have worked for—of being part of a vast conspiracy to promote the invasion of Iraq. Their reportage was news to me. Equally amusing was Mark Steel's belief that a coming "war on Iran will begin with George Bush announcing: ‘fellow Americans, get on up like a sex machine. We will not rest until I've been taken to the bridge.'" Whatever that means.
Perhaps the most offensive essay was that of Phillip Knightley, entitled "History of Bunkum," alleging that the "occasional shots fired at ‘media sites'" during the 2003 Iraq war, "are not accidental and that war correspondents may now be targets"—particularly if they disagree with the Pentagon's perspective. In other words, Knightley accuses the Pentagon of homicide.
Miller, the editor of this compilation, is the author of several books dealing with northern Ireland and is a member of something called the Stirling Media Research Institute. How he is qualified to write about Iraq is unclear. He believes that media activism is not enough, recommending a larger struggle against the current world order. That struggle, he writes, "involves civil disobedience."