To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.
Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.
[ ]…In turn, members of this group have echoed administration talking points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because they feared jeopardizing their access.
[ ]…Kenneth Allard, a former NBC military analyst who has taught information warfare at the National Defense University, said the campaign amounted to a sophisticated information operation. “This was a coherent, active policy,” he said.
[ ]…Five years into the Iraq war, most details of the architecture and execution of the Pentagon’s campaign have never been disclosed. But The Times successfully sued the Defense Department to gain access to 8,000 pages of e-mail messages, transcripts and records describing years of private briefings, trips to Iraq and Guantánamo and an extensive Pentagon talking points operation.
These records reveal a symbiotic relationship where the usual dividing lines between government and journalism have been obliterated.
Internal Pentagon documents repeatedly refer to the military analysts as “message force multipliers” or “surrogates” who could be counted on to deliver administration “themes and messages” to millions of Americans “in the form of their own opinions.”
Part of a much longer expose at the NYT. In fairness there has been some criticism, if mild by a few of these same spokes persons. In a way that would make the majority of their opinions have a little more resonance. When Senator McCain criticized the Bush tactical management of the Iraq occupation that was a very safe criticism. Even most Republicans bought into McCain and other Conservatives consoling narrative that the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq wasn’t wrong, it was simply mismanaged. This story follows on the heels of much huffing and puffing by Conservative bloggers about this news report from McClatchy, Pentagon institute calls Iraq war ‘a major debacle’ with outcome ‘in doubt’
The war in Iraq has become “a major debacle” and the outcome “is in doubt” despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon’s premier military educational institute.
[ ]…At the time the report was written last fall, more than 4,000 U.S. and foreign troops, more than 7,500 Iraqi security forces and as many as 82,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed and tens of thousands of others wounded, while the cost of the war since March 2003 was estimated at $450 billion.
“No one as yet has calculated the costs of long-term veterans’ benefits or the total impact on service personnel and materiel,” wrote Collins, who was involved in planning post-invasion humanitarian operations.
How dare McClatchy publish excerpts from that report now and according to those right-wing bloggers distort its findings – that makes McC the usual pro-terrorist, appeasers, surrender monkeys…ad nauseum. One of the authors of the report Joseph Collins issued a statement on McClatchy’s report,
The central finding of this study is that U.S. efforts in Iraq were hobbled by a set of faulty assumptions, a flawed planning effort, and a continuing inability to create security conditions in Iraq that could have fostered meaningful advances in stabilization, reconstruction, and governance. With the best of intentions, the United States toppled a vile, dangerous regime but has been unable to replace it with a stable entity. Even allowing for progress under the Surge, the study insists that mistakes in the Iraq operation cry out in the mid- to long-term for improvements in the U.S. decision-making and policy execution systems.
The dead-enders have had their Iraq wet dreamed condemned. That there are half degrees of difference in condemnation will not penetrate the tin-foil of the remaining members of the Bush Cult that believe Iraq is the front in the war on terror. If Iraq was on track to be the front that ends all radical Islamic terrorism in our lifetimes then one shouldn’t need a cadre of mis-information specialists flooding the air waves spoon feeding the American public lies and distortions. Which brings us to our Shrill Wing-nut blog of the week. From A Newt One, War News: McClatchey News Anti-Americanists,
These poor excuses for journalistic integrity couldn’t get a story straight if their lives depended on it. And, by the way, it does. They just don’t or won’t see the threats from the enemy. They are very similar if not identical to the chronic malcontents at SmolderingMutantBlobs. Every time I read such disingenuous TP worthy trash written by members of the anti-Americanist class of fools, I always question their motives, their Patriotism and their social integrity. We all know their motives – lose the war at any cost in order to be able to say, “See? We told you so.” We all know to whom and to what they swear their allegiances to – anyone that hates the United States; anyone that will replace the United States Constitution with some morphed socio-commie tripe; anyone that will rid this land of Traditional Americana; anyone that will replace a thriving Capitalist Economy with a failed socialist “everyone is equally poor” economy; anyone that can defeat the United States.
Newt’s mind couldn’t wrap itself around the report itself, a product of the National Defense University (Lieutenant General Frances C. Wilson, USMC, President, National Defense University, Ambassador Richard A. Roth Senior Vice President, National Defense University, Colonel Michael R. Helms, United States Air Force Chief of Staff, National Defense University) or any of the facts contained in the report (pdf). Much easier to ramble on in a series of incoherent epitaphs at a news organization. If Newt could have presented a simple fact or two as is incumbent on someone that makes such outlandish statements maybe someone other then the other rabid right-wingers he linked to would take him seriously. I wonder about his definition of patriotism and American values. When did it become an American value to manipulate the United States into a costly and counter productive war. Mcclatchy has published a lot of news and while I haven’t read every story if they had written an article that was pro Islamic radicalism, or pro communism or that expressed hatred toward the U.S. I think I would have caught it myself or had it brought to my attention. The blogger seems concerned about freedom and the Constitution, but I couldn’t find a single post that was critical of Bush using the Department of Justice for partisan dirty tricks, or protesting the use of presidential signing statements for Bush to use as a way to side step legislation passed by Congress – a co-equal branch of government, or violating the Geneva Conventions. The Newt One, and this is understatement, seems like most of his right-wing comrades grossly uneducated about anything that resembles the U.S. its laws, traditions and culture.
The struggle is always between the individual and his sacred right to express himself and…the power structure that seeks conformity, suppression and obedience. ~ Justice William O. Douglas