War and Peace Notes: Grand Lake Screens New Documentary on Media’s Role in U.S. Wars

By Judith Scherr
Tuesday August 07, 2007

Thursday, the community will have a chance to see the Bay Area premiere of War Made Easy, a film narrated by Sean Penn and based on Norman Solomon’s book by the same name. The film exposes the role of the media as cheerleader for the war in Iraq and shows, using archival footage, how the media played an almost identical role during the War in Vietnam and earlier wars. 

One of the tried-and-true media techniques Solomon points to in the film is comparing the demonized leader in question to Hitler. Another practice is to repeat over and over again that the U.S. loves peace, does not like to fight, but is compelled to, in order to save the poor innocents of the country in question. The media also sell the war by focusing on interesting aspects of advanced warfare technology. 

And it shows how dissident journalists are marginalized. 

War Made Easy will be shown Thursday, 7 p.m. at the Grand Lake Theatre, 3200 Grand Lake Ave., Oakland. Solomon and filmmaker Loretta Alper will be on hand after the movie to answer questions. Tickets are $12 to benefit the National Radio Project’s Making Contact. 


Barbara Lee speaks 

Rep. Barbara Lee has been exceptionally busy of late in her efforts to turn the nation toward peace.  

On Aug. 1, the House passed Lee’s bill barring funds from being used to establish permanent bases in Iraq or to exercise control over Iraqi oil.  

On July 30 the House passed Lee’s Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act, which strengthens states’ rights to divest from companies whose business is supporting the genocide in Darfur and bars such companies from receiving federal contracts.  

The previous week, Lee led a bipartisan group of 70 representatives in writing to President George Bush and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi advising them that they will vote for money for Iraq only if it fully funds the withdrawal of U.S. troops.  

In part, the July 19 letter said: “More than 3,600 of our brave soldiers have died in Iraq. More than 26,000 have been seriously wounded. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or injured in the hostilities and more than 4 million have been displaced from their homes. Furthermore, this conflict has degenerated into a sectarian civil war [for which] U.S. taxpayers have paid more than $500 billion…. 

“We agree with a clear and growing majority of the American people who are opposed to continued, open-ended U.S. military operations in Iraq, and believe it is unwise and unacceptable for you to continue to unilaterally impose these staggering costs and the soaring debt on Americans currently and for generations to come.” 

Lee will discuss recent legislative activity today, Aug. 7, 6 p.m. at the Piedmont Community Center, 711 Highland Ave. 


Events marking Hiroshima 

With thoughts on today’s war in Iraq, the 62nd anniversary of the U.S. dropping the bomb on Hiroshima was memorialized Sunday evening in a lantern ceremony at Aquatic Park, sponsored by the Berkeley City Council and numerous peace organizations; on Monday, children memorialized the event by making orgami peace cranes at the Berkeley Public Library; others gathered Monday to protest ongoing weapons research at Lawrence Livermore Labs. 


Next week: ‘Shut Up’ 

Aug. 17, at 7 p.m. at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists Hall 

1924 Cedar St., singer-songwriter Hali Hammer will perform live music to introduce Shut Up and Sing, a documentary about the Dixie Chicks, who spoke out against Bush administration war-mongering and in response got hit with a firestorm of right-wing attacks. 





Photograph by Marco Sanchez 

A Japanese Lantern Ceremony for world peace was held in Aquatic Park Sunday.