Conflict Sales

The hard fact is that every state and every politician must sell some kind of conflict to their constituency. This is necessary as for an incoming politician it creates power; while for a ruling one, it consolidates their power and keeps inner bickering at bay.

When the enemy is external, there is a war to be sold. When enemy is internal though; it is prejudice or bigotry against an out-group that needs marketing. Not building a conflict consensus is very corrosive to any power apparatus as it fragments opinions and can bring people out in streets against the establishment. So every politician and every state has to have the sophistication and the craft to build public opinion around the conflict that they want to perpetuate.

Say you are a politician and want to start a war; now there are two parts to building this war consensus in your corner.

Part 1 is how the State/Politicians sells it:

Essentially the three dimensions of public perception framing are: 1) Words 2) Actions 3) Morals or its WAM as we call it. You have to have coherent WAM for yourself and for the person you want to sell as the enemy.

Here then are your framing options/WAM for discrediting the opponent and building yourself up:

With regards to their Words, your options to call their statements as: Pack of lies, Propaganda, Official Rhetoric, Usual Deception and double speak, Twisting of facts.

Some ways to frame their Actions are: Acts of terror, Act of War, Killing of Innocents, Continuing Attacks, Threat to World Peace..

With regards to their Morals you can label them: Evil, Terrorists, Criminals, Traitors, Haters.

Now to sell yourself as good guys here is your WAM for building a high moral ground:

Your Words: Incontrovertible proof, friends and allies agree, testing our patience, breaking our peace resolve

Action Framing: Necessary war, Collateral Damage, liberated the area, repulsing the attackers,

Moral Imperatives: Freeing the population from tyranny, bringing liberty, peacekeepers, Supporting Democracy.

Now all the facts and events that occur on ground, will not fit conveniently into this framing (you good and they evil) so necessarily you will have to be selective about them; sometimes even filter them/edit them or distort them to support your WAM.

Part 2 is how mainstream media carries the conflict forward:

Since media largely depends on its advertisers and its access to state facilities, hence it cannot antagonize there two constituencies by going against the state version of events. Hence pressure on media to tow the state line is immense and largely they help carry forward the narrative (WAM) emanating from the state or ruling politicians.

So say a war is to be sold, army experts will be called outlining strategy, explaining hardware etc. Army briefings will be covered in detail.

Any expert who in times of conflict presents a contrary opinion is WAMmed as either unpatriotic (not supportive of troops on ground) or a loony.

In case the other side of the conflict is to be presented by showing the war from the other party’s perspective or their hardships or causalities (to maintain a show of media objectivity) it is always to be brief, in passing and buried under details.
All war selling, international or internal; all political campaigns, all religious rhetoric from bigots from any dispensation follow the same narrative logic as outlined above. This is propaganda lesson101.

Once you understand this; it is so much fun to identify any power grabbers’ WAM as also their make-believe outrage; while delivering their WAMs.

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