Alexander's Column

Anatomy of a BIG Lie: 'Phony Soldiers'

By Mark Alexander · Oct. 5, 2007

“There is no vice … so contemptible; he who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and a third time, till at length it becomes habitual…” –Thomas Jefferson

Regular readers are aware that, since The Patriot’s founding a decade ago, we’ve included a short section within Friday’s Digest called, “The BIG Lie.” It’s a section we’ve reserved for egregious examples of Leftist disinformation.

There is an old maxim that if one repeats a lie often and loud enough, it will eventually be perceived as the truth.

Adolf Hitler defined that dictum in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf, writing that a big lie must be so “colossal” that the public would be confident that no national leaders “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

After Hitler became the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party, his chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, used the Third Reich’s big-lie apparatus to fortify the Nazi campaign against Jews. Goebbels blamed the Jews for Germany’s inability to recover from World War I, and this big lie led to the Holocaust – the wholesale murder of some six million men, women and children.

After Germany’s WWII defeat, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and subsequent Communist leaders perfected the big-lie propaganda machine with media “dezinformatsia” campaigns. The primary organ for disseminating this disinformation was the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Pravda, which in English means “the truth.” Even the name is a big lie.

Here in the U.S., the organs of Leftist disinformation have assumed equally impressive identities: The New York Times, The Washington Post, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and NPR, and the list goes on. (For a weekly recounting of the MSM’s biggest whoppers, please see the “Dezinformatsia” section of our Wednesday Chronicle.)

Most recently, the Democrats' dezinformatsia machines were running overtime to discredit Gen. David Petraeus, commander of our Armed Forces in Iraq. In advance of his congressional testimony about the progress of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Leftmedia gave endless play to those Demo-gogues who have bet their 2008 electoral prospects on failure in and retreat from Iraq.

On the morning of Gen. Petraeus’s testimony, the Democrats' most effective web-based organ of disinformation, MoveOn.org, was given a deep discount by the Democrats' most effective print-based organ of disinformation, The New York Times, to run an appalling full-page lie under the heading, “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?”

Democrats and the George Soros-funded MoveOn thought they could, with impunity, brand one of our nation’s most distinguished warriors a traitor. By extension, they branded as traitors all American forces fighting jihadi terrorists in Iraq and around the world. However, Leftist politicos and MoveOn grossly underestimated the new media’s ability to expose such a colossal lie and grossly overestimated the public’s tolerance for such accusations once brought to their attention.

In short, the Left got caught in a big lie and was severely rebuked.

In an effort to offset that rebuke, Democrats and their radical cadre have fabricated another big lie – this one targeting Rush Limbaugh.

Rush, of course, is the arch-nemesis of the Left. He broke ground for conservative perspective on the radio, much as Fox News did for television and The Patriot did for the Web.

To recap: Rush had been responding to an on-air caller who noted that the MSM has continually dredged up a handful of troops – some real, some fake – to provide antiwar statements to support the Demos' desire for defeat and retreat. Rush agreed, noting that some of these anti-warriors, in particular Jesse MacBeth, have flat-out lied about their military service. He rightly dubbed them “phony soldiers.”

For the record, Jesse MacBeth, the prototypical anti-OIF poster boy, was in fact born Jesse Al-Zaid. Al-Zaid claimed to have served in Iraq, even receiving a Purple Heart after being shot. He claimed to have witnessed atrocities committed by “fellow soldiers.” But it turns out that Al-Zaid never completed boot camp, being discharged after 44 days because of his “entry level performance and conduct.” He was not a Green Beret, never in Special Ops, never in Iraq – though he even attempted to defraud the VA of more than $10,000 for “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Al-Zaid, whose protest diatribes have been circulating for several years, is indeed a phony soldier.

But the truth never deters the Left’s big lies.

Their so-called “watchdog group,” Media Matters for America, removed from context the two words “phony soldiers” and blast-broadcasted the big lie that Rush had branded that label on the handful of anti-OIF protestors who actually served in Iraq. In lock step, that smear was dutifully regurgitated by the MSM and then picked up by opportunistic Demo-gogues in Congress, desperately seeking a reversal of charges after their disastrous attempt to question the patriotism of Gen. Petraeus.

Chief among the most despicable of those propagating this dezinformatsia campaign from their Senate soapboxes are John Kerry and Tom Harkin.

Kerry, like Jesse Al-Zaid, embellished his military record and then used his “hero status” as a platform to falsely accuse ground troops in Vietnam of all manner of atrocities. (He is the target of a national petition to indict him for acts of treason, which now has more than 200,000 signers.)

Kerry’s most notable commentary on Iraq in the past year was his assertion that American service personnel are “stuck in Iraq” because they are too stupid to get a better job.

This week he led the charge against Rush, saying, “In a single moment on his show, Limbaugh managed to question the patriotism of men and women in uniform who have put their lives on the line and many who died for his right to sit safely in his air conditioned studio peddling hate.”

This is the same Jean-Francois Kerry who, back in 2005, accused U.S. forces in Iraq of “going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, uh, uh, uh, you know, women…”

Iowa Demo Sen. Tom Harkin, who also falsified his military record by claiming to have been a Vietnam combat pilot when he actually flew repaired aircraft from Japan to U.S. bases in Vietnam, perpetuated the lie, saying, “I must say that as a veteran, I find it offensive that Rush Limbaugh would attack the patriotism and the dedication of any soldier fighting in Iraq. … I also find it disturbing that his offensive comments have not been condemned by our Republican colleagues or by the Commander in Chief, all of whom are so quick to condemn a similar personal attack on General Petraeus several weeks ago.”

Of course, as Limbaugh said in response, “Why should they condemn something that wasn’t said? You know what ought to be condemned here is [the Left’s] wanton inability to find the truth.”

Further perpetuating the big lie – and further wasting the taxpayers' hard-earned money – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his cadre of MoveOn Demos sent a letter to Mark Mays, CEO of Clear Channel Communications, which broadcasts Rush’s program via more than 1,200 stations. The letter demanded that Mays condemn “Limbaugh’s hateful and unpatriotic” remarks.

Further, former Democrat presidential wannabe, General Wesley Clark, who has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, is demanding that Rush be removed from the Armed Forces Radio network.

In the House, Lefty Mark Udall introduced a big-lie resolution condemning Limbaugh, and 26 Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors.

And what of Media Matters, the propaganda organ that launched the lie?

My colleague, National Review essayist Byron York, offered this analysis: “Media Matters is much more than a traditional media-watchdog group. Indeed, it is probably more accurate to view Media Matters as part of the constellation of groups that have come together on the left in the last year or so, all aimed at electing a Democratic President. Their [donors list] reads like a Who’s Who of those who have financed the new activist Left.”

“Constellation of groups”? In other words, a Socialist propaganda network that would make even Goebbels blush with pride!