Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Devil on Duty

In recent articles highest circulation German newspaper Bild calls Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinedschad „der Irre von Teheran“ (the Madman/Lunatic of Tehran, see example1, example2).
Before, Saddam Hussein had been dubbed „der Irre von Bagdad“ by German journalists. Still before, Slobodan Milosevic was the recipient of this title (among other most hair-raising such as Monster, Sociopath or Butcher of Belgrade. The vocabulary of war propaganda is relatively stable for short periods of time. To call a foreign Head of State a lunatic is an old feature of war mongers among the news- and statesmen (see Morelli's principle 3) - the devil on duty. In recent years certainly George W. Bush has been the devil on duty par excellence, any good search machine displaying a huge load of results when searching for „bush devil“.

Morelli's Principle 3 of war propaganda -„The Devil on Duty“ - is certainly not to be understood as saying that each demonizing of a politician is done with the intent to invade his country but rather the other way round: having the intent to potentially starting a military conflict goes hand in hand with demonizing mostly one political leader (instead of a whole population) of the opponent.

Most famous, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on 20 September 2006 during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, when, after recommending Chomsky's „Hegemony or Survival“ at lenght, referring to G.W. Bush:

The case gave rise to an extra enty at wikipedia. The whole speech with English voice-over U.N. Interpretation can be watched at the U.N. Webcast service (only with Real Player, the devil's between 02:28 and 03:17).

Knowing about the various hegemonic U.S. undertakings and propaganda against Venezuela under Chavez, his application of „the devil on duty“ becomes more coherent (but not more rational).


Anonymous said...

Obviously every state is playing with words when it comes to protecting its own interests. Iran noway is an innocent lamb in this propaganda game! See

base2014 said...

Moreover, how would it be for us if one state invades another calling its people "just men and women", "distinguished gentlemen" or "morally outstanding" - we just want to kill you? It's the same on an individual basis. Would you harm somebody while telling him how much you love him? Only in ironic mode. You cannot sell a war (against a country) or a fight (against a person) by praising the opponent to the skies. Morelli's 3rd principle is therefore kind of trivial, but not entierly so. It's maybe one in a row of necessary conditions to start a war (or to predict a war).
Concerning your link to the alleged Bruni insult, various online news portals say their source is AFP (Agence France-Presse) and/or the Iranian newspaper Kayhan. Did you check the source? There seems nothing about Bruni in the English online version: Do you know Farsi?

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