A first read and seemingly nothing new. A few minutes, hours and now a couple of days to contemplate. The scenario now sickens us to the bowels.
- 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 administrationâ€™s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.
The effort, which began with the buildup to the war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.
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. â€œThis was a coherent, active policy,â€ he said.
Five years into the Iraq war, most details of the architecture and execution of the Pentagonâ€™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 GuantÃ¡namo 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.
In interviews, participants described a powerfully seductive environment â€” the uniformed escorts to Mr. Rumsfeldâ€™s private conference room, the best government china laid out, the embossed name cards, the blizzard of PowerPoints, the solicitations of advice and counsel, the appeals to duty and country, the warm thank you notes from the secretary himself.
â€œOh, you have no idea,â€ Mr. Allard said, describing the effect. â€œYouâ€™re back. They listen to you. They listen to what you say on TV.â€ It was, he said, â€œpsyops on steroidsâ€ â€” a nuanced exercise in influence through flattery and proximity. â€œItâ€™s not like itâ€™s, â€˜Weâ€™ll pay you $500 to get our story out,â€™ â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s more subtle.â€
The access came with a condition. Participants were instructed not to quote their briefers directly or otherwise describe their contacts with the Pentagon.
As it happened, the analystsâ€™ news media appearances were being closely monitored. The Pentagon paid a private contractor, Omnitec Solutions, hundreds of thousands of dollars to scour databases for any trace of the analysts, be it a segment on â€œThe Oâ€™Reilly Factorâ€ or an interview with The Daily Inter Lake in Montana, circulation 20,000.
Omnitec evaluated their appearances using the same tools as corporate branding experts. One report, assessing the impact of several trips to Iraq in 2005, offered example after example of analysts echoing Pentagon themes on all the networks.
— nytimes.com/2008/04/20/Washington, (4/20/08)
As the US ran hard up to the war and after the invasion, we figured these retired military types were just trying to make some extra money by appearing on every TV news show on the planet. They could give what we’d call an “educated guess” about what was happening, about certain strategies and how situations might play.
We figured at worst, these retired military bozos were just loud-mouthed dumb shits.
We had no idea they were liars, cheats and as a blogger on the liberal dailykos called them: traitors.
Even as the “Generals’ Revolt” in 2006 broke, the Pentagon worked their in-house mouthpieces to dull the outcry from the former officers about Decider George’s totally botched operation in Iraq.
And on the other side of the coin: Gen. William Odom. We like to call him “Wild Bill” Odom because he looks nothing like someone who’d be called “Wild.” The name is similar to “Speedy” — attached to a slow person. He doesn’t look like a “wild” type guy if seen on PBS.
We call Odom “Wild Bill” out of the greatest respect.
He’s been on the mark a long time:
- I said before the war in February that if we invade Iraq, this will serve primarily the interests of two people: Osama bin Laden, because it will make Iraq safe for al Qaeda, and it will allow him to have access to kill Americans, which he cannot do in the U.S. very effectively; the second party that would benefit greatly would be the Iranians.
Saddam Hussein invaded Iran, and they fought for eight years, and Iranians hated that regime as much more than we did. Therefore it was very much in their interest, and it is clearer now that a Shiite majority will probably end up in control in Iraq, and it will not be pro-American, and it probably will be an Islamic religious republic.
— democracy now.org/2005/10/4/ret_army_general_William_odom_u, (10/4/05)
Earlier this month, in testimony before the US Senate Committee Foreign Relations On Iraq, Odom again called on the US to leave Iraq quickly: “The only sensible strategy is to withdraw rapidly but in good order. Only that step can break the paralysis now gripping US strategy in the region.â€
The operative words now from Odom’s testimony is “in good order.”
Why can’t people listen to words of wisdom from a guy that knows his shit instead of all those TV generals mouthing Decider George’s wayward notions.
Wild Bill is telling the truth.
And soon, however, everyone will acknowledge what Odom’s been saying, but by then the blood of US GIs will be knee-high.