Caracas Chronicles and Madman Theory

The guy who wrote this blog post is a self-described “Fifth year medical student at ULA-Mérida. Dinosaur enthusiast.” He hopes that U.S. government military threats will scare the Venezuelan military into ousting President Nicolas Maduro. Dinosaur enthusiast indeed. As he sums it up his own piece 

“So please, Mr. Trump, don’t send the Marines…just make sure these FANB assholes think you will.”


Francisco Toro, who runs Caracas Chronicles, and who has regularly “informed” U.S. readers about Venezuela in the pages of the New York Times and Washington Post, commented as follows under the piece:


The “madman theory” is widely attributed to Nixon who wanted the Vietnamese to believe he was capable of using nuclear weapons to perpetrate an even bigger slaughter than the one the U.S. perpetrated in Vietnam. In fact, U.S. military strategists under Bill Clinton also advocated the madman theory. Noam Chomsky pointed out in this talk that, under Clinton, STRATCOM stated that it “hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed. That the United States may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be part of the national persona that we project” and that it is helpful “if some elements appear to be potentially out-of-control”.

A government committed to mass slaughters, and threatening to get “out of control” and do even bigger ones, requires a mass media that covers up its brutality. In a democracy, it just won’t do for the public at home to figure out the kind of blood they have dripping from their hands. The same applies to governments that fully collaborate with U.S atrocities abroad.  In the UK, as of 2013, a professional poll found that 59% percent of the public believed that 10,000 or fewer Iraqis (civilians and combatants combined) died as a result of the war that was launched in 2003. Credible estimates, based on scientific studies, place the death toll at 500,000 to one million. Only 6% of the respondents in the poll estimated more than 500,000 Iraqi deaths. Polls in the U.S. found a similar level of ignorance there and in the same direction – wildly underestimating the harm its government does abroad.

Asked by Media Lens to comment on the findings of the poll in the UK, Chomsky said

‘Pretty shocking. I’m sure you’ve seen Sut Jhally’s study of estimates of Vietnam war deaths at the elite university where he teaches. Median 100,000, about 5% of the official figure, probably 2% of the actual figure. Astonishing – unless one bears in mind that for the US at least, many people don’t even have a clue where France is.

Or Venezuela he might have added. When it comes to foreign policy, the public is at the mercy of what the establishment tells them – and the kind of dinosaurs who are handed a major platform by the establishment.

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