Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pentagon liars exposed

From MEET THE PRESS (NBC) 2005: Tim Russert talks to Wesley K. Clark, center; Wayne A. Downing; Montgomery Meigs, right; and Barry R. McCaffrey, foreground. (photo from New York Times)

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I woke up this morning to find Mr Daisy growling at the computer screen and gesticulating madly. I knew immediately, it was somehow related to Dubya and his friends. I was right.

Please check out the Sunday New York Times article about various news networks' so-called "military analysts" who, it turns out, have extensive connections to military contractors profiting off the war strategies they are being interviewed about. Are you surprised?

Analysts have been wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior military leaders, including officials with significant influence over contracting and budget matters, records show. They have been taken on tours of Iraq and given access to classified intelligence. They have been briefed by officials from the White House, State Department and Justice Department, including Mr. Cheney, Alberto R. Gonzales and Stephen J. Hadley.

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.

A few expressed regret for participating in what they regarded as an effort to dupe the American public with propaganda dressed as independent military analysis.

“It was them saying, ‘We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you,’ ” Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and former Fox News analyst, said.
It's an amazing, if predictably harrowing, investigative article. And it just gets worse:
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.”

Though many analysts are paid network consultants, making $500 to $1,000 per appearance, in Pentagon meetings they sometimes spoke as if they were operating behind enemy lines, interviews and transcripts show. Some offered the Pentagon tips on how to outmaneuver the networks, or as one analyst put it to Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, “the Chris Matthewses and the Wolf Blitzers of the world.” Some warned of planned stories or sent the Pentagon copies of their correspondence with network news executives. Many — although certainly not all — faithfully echoed talking points intended to counter critics.

“Good work,” Thomas G. McInerney, a retired Air Force general, consultant and Fox News analyst, wrote to the Pentagon after receiving fresh talking points in late 2006. “We will use it.”

Again and again, records show, the administration has enlisted analysts as a rapid reaction force to rebut what it viewed as critical news coverage, some of it by the networks’ own Pentagon correspondents. For example, when news articles revealed that troops in Iraq were dying because of inadequate body armor, a senior Pentagon official wrote to his colleagues: “I think our analysts — properly armed — can push back in that arena.”
Real scumbags. (Here is a complete video report.)

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The Disability Blog Carnival is over at Abnormal Diversity, so you should go over and read. The invaluable matttbastard (I remembered all the t's, mattt!) at bastard.logic pointed me to a rather wonky piece by Michael Bérubé, and I just MUST quote this one paragraph:
And I have to admit that I’ve been mightily vexed by this phenomenon in recent years. Not by Hillary Clinton herself, mind you – by the phenomenon of the avoidance of disability qua disability. It’s as if we Americans have been talking about disability all our lives, as Molière’s M. Jourdain has been speaking in prose, without realizing it. Remember that debate about SCHIP? You know, the one we lost on Bush’s veto? What the hell was that about? It was about disability, folks – about children suffering catastrophic illnesses and traumatic injuries for which their parents couldn’t (and their parents’ dastardly, moustache-twirling health-insurance providers wouldn’t) provide. Vets returning from Iraq with PTSD or TBI (post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury) and being warehoused and/or underserved and/or neglected by VA hospitals? Uh, well, once again, here we’re talking about disability. Why in the world do we frame these things as matters of “health” or “employment” or “veterans’ benefits,” when doing so prevents us from realizing that we’re all touching different appendages of the 8000-pound elephant in the room? The subject is disability, people. It’s about our common frailty and vulnerability. Get used to it.
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Left: Quilt by Sandi Garris, at Artisphere.


Some other fun stuff you should be checking out:

Thene blogs a fascinating online conversation about marriage.

Zen Denizen's amusing resume: Hire her today!

A BRAND NEW BABY GOAT on Smokey Mountain Breakdown!

Aishwarya blogs about the importing of cheerleading to India. (Hey, we're really sorry about that!)

Theriomorph says these photographs are old, but I have never seen them before. The pics show a sled dog and polar bear, making friends. Too adorable!

I had this Saturday off, so it's been a great weekend for me--as I browse my favorite bloggers, drink ginseng tea and stay out of the rain. Hope yours is going well, too.

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LATE EDIT FROM READER NAMED 'KELLY' (no link, or I would!): FYI - given the photo from the Times article you've got posted - you might want to let your readers know that one of the generals in the photo was not one of those enlisted by the Pentagon - in fact he was specifically not included, largely because of his criticisms of the Bush Admin and its handling of Iraq and Afghanistan...General Wesley Clark.

Thanks, Kelly!--D

5 comments:

karloff said...

It's been a great Saturday sitting around and listening to the rain.

Posted up a little tribute to you over on pax.:)

matttbastard said...

The invaluable matttbastard (I remembered all the t's, mattt!)

And for that (and many other reasons) I love you, Daisy.

:-)

OMG, that quote from the other MB (:-P) also stuck out for me. He really effing nailed it with that passage.

Aishwarya said...

*grin*
FWIW, I don't blame you.

Kelly said...

FYI - given the photo from the Times article you've got posted - you might want to let your readers know that one of the generals in the photo was [b]not[/b] one of those enlisted by the Pentagon - in fact he was specifically not included, largely because of his criticisms of the Bush Admin and its handling of Iraq and Afghanistan...General Wesley Clark.

ZenDenizen said...

Thank you so much for the job plug :)