They did not Drink the Koolaid?

20generals_span "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.”

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.”"  NY Times


Yes, and those who did not "play ball" were systematically excluded from access by the Pentagon.  The MSM picked up those cues (presumably transmitted by the Administration) and stopped talking to many of the best people. 

I was invited to one briefing at the Pentagon.  At the meeting, many of those mentioned in this article were present.  The purpose of the meeting was to give Rumsfeld the chance to explain the Abu Ghraib mess.

I asked some awkward questions and was not invited again.  pl

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51 Responses to They did not Drink the Koolaid?

  1. Jack K says:

    The demise of TV news and upsurge of content-rich blogs like SST is a good thing for the USA.

  2. VietnamVet says:

    You sure can ask some awkward questions.
    The one that is never asked by corporate media including NewsHour is why has the federal government ceased to serve its citizens.
    One answer is that it is run by radical ideologues who know that “Greed is good. Government is Evil”. They have no second thoughts on authorizing torture or lying. Agitprop by military consultants builds the corporate bottom line.

  3. egl says:

    “I asked some awkward questions and was not invited again. pl”
    I am not surprised. Your independence is one of the key reasons that I am a regular and grateful reader.

  4. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    Just read the NY Times story. What a sad day.
    No wonder the Pentagon is unable to cope with the reality of PTSD and TBI. Dealing with reality is not part of the game.
    We reap what we sow.

  5. Montag says:

    So these Greenroom Generals get $500-1000 per appearance to catapult Pentagon propaganda onto an unsuspecting public? Well, the price used to be 30 pieces of silver. Inflation, no doubt.
    Your experience reminds me of the story of when Napoleon played chess with a young French Lieutenant. The young man assumed that The Great Man wanted a fair game and wound up beating him. Napoleon didn’t take defeat well, expressing his displeasure by breaking the chessboard over his importunate subordinate’s head. To quote the robot C3PO it’s always prudent to, “let the Wookie win.”

  6. Paul says:

    At best, some of the characters can be classified as whores. That they are serving as mouthpieces for a criminal enterprise (and they all knew it) might be fodder for more serious charges. Treason has many variables. Remember that part of the oath: “…enemies, foreign and domestic..”?
    A huge uproar ensued when a left-leaning blog affixed “Betraeus” to that allegedly brilliant phony. Given the Times’ story, that moniker might now stick.
    The trial lawyers will soon have a field day associating the “quid pro quo” (ID/IQ contracts) conveyed to the private companies these chaps represent.
    Where is Gates in all of this: hunkered down with his hat pulled over his ears?
    This episode is a black eye to the majority of the loyal Americans serving out of a sense of duty.

  7. I often don’t agree with you, but you always force me to think. That’s why I keep coming back.
    If only folks in the Pentagon prized that quality.

  8. emptywheel says:

    Colonel Lang:
    I’m wondering–do you remember what the awkward questions were, and would you be willing to share what they were?
    I think it’d illuminate what kind of issues they refuse to deal with.

  9. Well, the Times article is at least a sign of hope. Turning on the lights in the kitchen at 3 a.m. to document the cockroaches before they scuttle away.
    I agree with commenters above that the internet, especially the political blogosphere, is another sign of hope for democracy and the free flow of information. If our paid commercial press won’t fulfill its function of watching the government, then unpaid commenters step into the gap, essentially as a public service. Col. Lang, for one, could make plenty of $$ commenting for Fox if he would parrot the talking points.
    So let’s all be grateful for these green shoots of liberty, and keep nourishing them with our attention and support.

  10. jon says:

    It’s called propaganda. It’s purpose is to confuse and deceive. Our military (among other branches of the government) is happily practicing it on our citizenry. Which is illegal.
    Col., the decision was the Pentagon’s loss. And it was all of our’s loss as well.
    As has been painfully revealed over the past few years, the ‘leadership’ systematically stifled and avoided being exposed to any contradictory information and analysis, in order to foment an unnecessary war. The used the same methods, inversely, to avoid recognition of and action upon the gathering al Qaeda threat prior to 9-11.
    Propaganda’s not new, and neither are its misuses. History is replete with examples of what befalls leaders who surround themselves with yes-men. 5 O’clock Follies, anyone?
    It is also our fault, for accepting a situation where we are shielded from truth. We prefer to let others make hard decisions, trusting only that life will go on as before.
    Although it was exceptionally obvious at the time that information and news was being gamed to maneuver a willing country into preemptive war, our fourth estate was entirely silent on the subject. When Colin Powell and Condi Rice (among others) spun on their heels to retract statements that Iraq was at best a nuisance and not related to 9-11, there was no discussion or investigation, no followup questions. Only slavish stenography.
    The First Amendment is still important. Media have a crucial role to play. If they can’t do their job, then they should not enjoy reduced postage rates or free use of the airwaves. They should cede the field to those who will do the work.
    The NYT can be counted on to be a vigorous defender of the First Amendment, in their own interests. Their responses to Judy Miller and other stovepipers was late, meek and halfhearted. And it has not been accompanied by any new skepticism for what they are fed, nor any enthusiasm to uncover and broadcast the truth. Yet they wonder why they are losing market share.
    When Dan Rather brought an old story about George W. Bush’s National Guard service, or lack of same, to national TV, a howl erupted over the originality of some documents. And Rather got his ass handed to him. But nowhere near as much effort was expended on trying to find out the actual truth of W’s wherabouts and activities during the time in question. Sort of like the difference between wearing a little flag pin and having any demonstrable acts of patriotism to your credit.
    We have not been well served by those elected and anointed to represent, serve and inform us. The stables must be cleaned. There will always be a place for circuses, but it’s time they resume being a sideshow.

  11. lina says:

    The public should demand that every analyst/expert who appears in broadcast or print media have their associations and consulting relationships labled at the time they are delivering their opinion. The only way to discern fact from fiction is to disclose everything.
    If I want to stop consuming sodium nitrate, I need to read the label to see if any has been added to the can of soup I’m about to eat.

  12. I believe it was Col. William Greener (Ret.) who first served Richard Nixon at the Internal Revenue Service during the Economic Stabilization Program and then went to DOD as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs who constantly lectured his staff and others that the real purpose of appointees and staff doing Public Affairs work in the Excecutive Branch was to be expert at Counter-Propaganda. Interesting choice of words. I believe all governments learned from the totalitarian dictatorships of the last century, and in particular, the skilled Joesph Goebbels, that truth is not something that is loved by governmental entities. Exactly, how much of the Pentagon’s Public Affairs budget and staff is devoted to Col. Bill Greener’s counter-propaganda or is it just propaganda. Chicken or Egg? By the way public affairs should never be confused with the highly technical subject of Emergency Public Information, warning, notification, alerting, issuance of PAR’s (Public Action Recommendations–e.g. shelter-in-place or evacuate) although clearly both Public Affairs and EPI can get innocents killed, just that the latter one is at least trying to help them survive. And of course would be interesting to know how many Public Affairs personnel, news personnel, and the Congress know the difference. Interesting that many Schools of Journalism and other sources of news personnel, print and media, don’t know the difference.

  13. Serving Patriot says:

    “We reap what we sow.”
    And we will be reaping the whirlwind for a long, long time to come my friend.
    And not just overseas – but here at home as well.

  14. Farmer Don says:

    The USA is at war. Is this not to be expected?
    The amount of reaction to this story will help gauge the mood of the Country.

  15. Mad Dogs says:

    As I commented over at Emptywheel’s place:

    The NYT’s article reads like:
    1. Pick on the former military “analysts”. They’re easy targets with little ammunition to shoot back with (though I’m in no way excusing the former military “analysts” for shilling for shekels).
    2. Pick on the Administration. They too, are easy targets these days, and like the “analysts”, have little ammunition left with which to shoot back.
    3. Pick on the complicit corporate MSM enablers? Not so much ’cause that would mean fingering themselves as “Propagandists for Profit™. Don’t want that to take hold with the unwashed masses. Ain’t good for business if we figure out the truth.

    I certainly don’t approve of what these former military “analysts” do, and with respect to the Pentagon itself, it is against US Federal law to make and direct propaganda at the US public, but given all the evidence of the Bush/Cheney Administration’s proclivities towards being above any law, I’m less than sanguine about anyone holding them to account.
    But, and it is a big but, I’m totally appalled at the lack of self-criticism, heck, even the total lack of self-awareness of the NYT and its fellow corporate MSM propaganda enablers.
    To me, the story totally misses the fact that the messengers are willingly complicit in the delivery of the message.
    As I also commented on over at Emptywheel’s place:

    Shorter corporate MSM enablers including the NYT: “We’re just the medium, we’re not the message.”
    To which I call @%#&*!
    Marshall McLuhan spoke the truth! The MSM are Propagandists for Profit™!
    Even shorter MSM: “Trash is cash!”

  16. Walrus says:

    What little respect I have left for America is shrinking faster day by day.
    I fail to understand how you can recover from this spiral dive to nothingness.

  17. crf says:

    This is amazing.
    Some of those “analysts” do not actually believe in democracy, in practice.
    One of them doubted the evidence presented at a private briefing by the government about wmds, and questioned their handler, who then admitted that the evidence was insubstantial.
    And then he, and everyone else there shut up about it! Those people at this analyst briefing on wmds and the case for war were some of the only people who possibly could have told the public about this situation. It was their duty to do this as citizens in a democracy.
    Instead, fast forward to today, when a new administration is about to take over, and now they are spilling this, and other info to the Times. Presumably they think their sudden truthfulness about the total corruption in Bush’s pentagon will ingratiate themselves with the next (democratic? anti-Bush at any rate) administration. In other words, they still don’t really care about democracy, they only care about their next job opportunity.
    “Yes. Stalin is Dead. Now we renounce Stalin.”
    They are (ex) military men. And yet they are quaking cowards when tasked to do their democratic duty.

  18. Tara says:

    Those you have led and continue to lead salute the fierce integrity of your character.

  19. searp says:

    Have to understand the media, and “commentators” participation in same, as nothing more than an entertainment business.
    Pat Lang isn’t alone in his clear-eyed assessments, but the media must have access, so that trumps reality, every time.
    In other words: it is more important to be able to say you have good Pentagon contacts than it is to actually add value to the discussion.
    The analysts in question either don’t have good contacts or aren’t getting the straight talk. Plenty of O7s, active and retired, hate the Iraq war and are more than willing to say so in private.

  20. …“message force multipliers” or “surrogates”…
    Considering an earlier post on SST, let’s translate this into simple English:

  21. Brian Hart says:

    A betrayal of public trust.
    Paid liars masked as independent military analysts.
    Media complicit in psyops.
    Willing stooges traded integrity for access at the Pentagon.
    Give them their thirty pieces of silver. Be gone.
    Shoddy body armor, unarmored vehicles, contractor corruption, political corruption, torture, thrived within their shadow of deception.
    When historians at West Point write papers about why it lost the trust of the American people. They need look no further.
    The military lost trust because it betrayed trust.
    So much that is good and true within our country betrayed.
    For what? For what?

  22. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    After reading the NYT article this morning, my wife reminded me of the McClatchy story of 4-17-08 “Pentagon institute calls Iraq war ‘a major debacle’ with outcome ‘in doubt’” by Jonathan Landay and John Walcott, and we wondered how the Pentagon is going to direct its “analysts” to spin this sudden eruption of reality about the conflict in Iraq.
    The report Choosing War: The Decision to Invade Iraq and Its Aftermath was prepared for the Institute for National Strategic Studies of the National Defense Institute by Joseph J. Collins and published by the National Defense University Press in April 2008. It can be found at:
    I’ve cited below the opening section of the McClatchy article:
    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.
    The report released by the National Defense University raises fresh doubts about President Bush’s projections of a U.S. victory in Iraq just a week after Bush announced that he was suspending U.S. troop reductions.
    The report carries considerable weight because it was written by Joseph Collins, a former senior Pentagon official, and was based in part on interviews with other former senior defense and intelligence officials who played roles in prewar preparations.
    It was published by the university’s National Institute for Strategic Studies, a Defense Department research center.
    “Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle,” says the report’s opening line.

  23. condfusedponderer says:

    Jack K,
    while you are rather correct about ‘Agitprop’, you are wrong about Volksverhetzung. Agitprop and Volksverhetzung are not the same.
    Agitprop is agitation and propaganda – as for the propaganda part you are perfectly right, as for agitation you’re probably right.
    Volksverhetzung however, § 130 StGB, is a much more specific criminal offence on Germany’s criminal code, where the term is described as:
    (1) Who, in a way that is suitable to disturb the public peace,
    1. preaches hate against parts of the population, or incites to acts of violence or wanton destruction
    2. who denigrates the human dignity of others by maliciously denouncing, defaming or insulting parts of the population…
    Penalties are higher if

    1. the act is directed against a racial, religious or ethnic minority
    2. the act glorifies, justifies national socialism or denies the genocide the Nazis committed,
    3. is committed in print
    4. or broadcasted.

    Using both terms synonymously is unwise because conflating Volksverhetzung with lesser evils belittles the particular viciousness and dangerousness of the offence; it’s also simply false.

  24. PeterE says:

    Do you think the article will discredit all those military analysts mentioned in the article and cause the networks to drop them, or at least monitor the analysts’ financial ties, etc? I think the answer to my question is “No”. Instead, the NYT or the journalists responsible for the article will be vilified.

  25. Cujo359 says:

    It’s a sad day, alright. This process has effectively shut out dissenting voices like Col. Lang’s, and at tremendous expense for both us and Iraq.
    What’s worse, the folks who most need to learn from this will be the ones saying that, once again, the NYT has shown its “liberal bias”.

  26. michael palmer says:

    Nauseating….sounds like most of the bunch was nothing but military/industrial/media whores doing what whores do.

  27. spaniel says:

    I thought this brouhaha was first reported back around spring of 2006 when the seven or eight general officers were publicly railing against both the administration and the Pentagon bureaucracy.
    These O6-O8 talking heads of the bureaucracy were the counter-balance to retired LTG Van Ripper, MG Batiste, and others.

  28. Jack K says:

    Conflation of terms is a pet peeve of mine, so I appreciate and generally concur with your comments. Thanks.
    However, I used the term to imply that the psyops on the American people during the 02/03 marketing phase of the Iraq war is analagous to Volksverhetzung. How else to explain that the American public conflated Iraq with AQ, and was incited to support acts of violence on a part of the (world) population?

  29. James Pratt says:

    The New York Times is caught in a dilemma about Iraq these days. Unlike Vietnam, I believe the ownership of The Times has been in favor of the Iraq War all along as indicated by the clear pro-war bias of the reporters assigned to cover it for the last six years. But The Times also has an interest in maintaining its credibility as the paper of record, so facts that reveal their favored war as a fiasco promoted by liars have to be printed.

  30. Dick says:

    Farmer Dan, you struck a nerve. It seems you were being facitious when you said “America is at war.” Anyway, I’ve heard that so much from this administration/Pentagon in their propaganda directed towards the American people. It is probably the most inane talking point of the past 7 years. What is war? Well, this administration has made it a simple tool to further their agenda in Iraq, which has changed, for our consumption, numerous times over the years, but always with the underlying motive of OIL never really disappearing from the blogs. Really, why are we there? This “war” angle is the most ridiculous manifestation of their efforts. WWII was a real war: after the Battle of the Bulge, US forces were hard pressed for manpower – there just did not exist a pool of freshly trained recruits in the numbers that the generals hoped for. Why? Because we actually were at war and every human (American) resource was already in use. Korea was a war, and America fought it to the maximum allowable (i.e. prudent) limit. Then came Vietnam, another war. The draft was in effect, and if you didn’t have a deferment (fair or not), then you went. It was a war because of that, and we had half a million troops there for a time. Now comes Ballsy Bush, and by golly we are at WAR!!! Well, look around you here in the good ole USA. Unless you have a direct connection to the GI’s actually there, who’s to know? Oh, but that is why we don’t feel it here – ’cause if we don’t stop ’em in Iraq, sure ‘nough they will make us feel it right here at home. So pony up the billions of bucks and rest assured – Bush and his Dick will keep us safe, as they conduct this “very necessary war.” Or this: how about if we ramp up the forces for a concentrated police action (no, not a “war”) and get Bin Laden once and for all, and vindicate those families of 3000 9/11 victims, and send a message to the wannabe terrorists, and not be at war, unless we have to have a REAL war. But, then there’s the OIL. Looks like it really is up to the American voter – you want Bush’s “war” or face the reality of the new era of expensive fossil fuels. The latter is more fair to our future and our kids future. Yeah, I’ve had it with this gd “war.”

  31. Will says:

    i will try my hand at it parsing the deutsch words since google translate was no help.
    agitprop would simply be propganda for agitation or action purposes- to achieve a result.
    would be “folk for hate support”= hate crime against the people”= hate crime
    remember the german v is a f and the w is v.
    to show off my Latin I knowledge, In a similar vein in latin, the j is a y and the c is a k- e.g. yulius kaisaar.

  32. Will says:

    In the US the MSM cleary commit Volksverhetzung against the Palestinians.
    Recently my local paper, which only comes out three times a week, but is so right wing that it with no shame or apology carries the Ann Coulter column. Yechh.
    It carried a ringing editorial denouncing Prez Carter’s meeting with Hamas leaders, damned him w/ laying a wreath on Arafat’s tomb. It then resurrected some bus bombing incident attributed to Arafat. So it damned both Hamas and Fatah.
    Meanwhile the letters to the editors reflect supportes of this clown running against Rep Walter E Jones, Jr. (R) up for re-election. They accuse Jones of being unpatriotic for wanting to bring the troops home. Jones has zealously supported improving veteran care and bucked the Republican leadership when they tried to gut the VA budget several years ago.

  33. dano says:

    I think of some other former and retired military men who could have served as analysts but were so far off the Pentagon message that they were rarely heard from except by those of us who sought them out. Zinni, Odom and Ritter come immediately to mind.

  34. zanzibar says:

    I kept thinking to myself during the pre and post Iraq war why the corporate media were lining up hacks to provide expert commentary – now we know some of the extent of domestic information operations. The collusion between the Administration and the oligarchs is endemic. I am now convinced that the veins run deep and all we see is the tip of the iceberg. I am also convinced that the depth of treason against the American people is such that none of the perpetrators will be held accountable or brought to justice as that would uncover something massively systemic.
    This did not just happen over the past 8 years but has been building over decades. The nexus between the corporate and political elite is longstanding however they have been getting more and more brazen and now are showing us the finger and saying “you can do nothing” we have “full spectrum dominance”.
    All this became so apparent when the American people spoke in 2006 and Pelosi and the Democrats stated there would be no hearings to determine if there were any constitutional violations that constituted an impeachable offense. We will see that the next Administration, Democratic or Republican will say we need to move on and none will be held accountable for even grievous issues such as treason or war crimes.
    No different than the Greenspan “put” that has continuously placed taxpayers at risk to bailout the excesses and misjudgments and even fraud of financial elites, we have inexorably moved down the slippery slope ever since the non-prosecution of the Nixon era “crimes” to allowing all those that perpetrated Iran-Contra to go scot free that those same characters learned that they could go to extremes with no repurcussions. And that’s what we have seen particularly over the past 6 years.
    We have crossed the rubicon. Can we ever return? How much more extreme will the next episode be like?

  35. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    The Bush Administration out of the gate was organizing its propaganda machine to deceive our republic into an unnecessary war.
    1. For example, this from 2002 per the Pentagon “Office of Strategic Influence” linked to the Neocons:
    The New York Times reported today that the Pentagon’s Office of Strategic Influence is “developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations” in an effort “to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries. The OSI was created shortly after September 11 to publicize the U.S. government’s perspective in Islamic countries and to generate support for the U.S.’s “war on terror.” This latest announcement raises grave concerns that far from being an honest effort to explain U.S. policy, the OSI may be a profoundly undemocratic program devoted to spreading disinformation and misleading the public, both at home and abroad. At the same time, involving reporters in Pentagon disinformation puts the lives of working journalists at risk.”
    2. Not much new under the sun one might say considering the following per WWI by Arthur Ponsonby (1871-1946) from his book “Falsehood in Wartime”:
    ” The object of this volume is not to cast fresh blame on authorities and individuals, nor is it to expose one nation more than another to accusations of deceit. Falsehood is a recognized and extremely useful weapon in warfare, and every country uses it quite deliberately to deceive its own people, to attract neutrals, and to mislead the enemy. The ignorant and innocent masses in each country are unaware at the time that they are being misled, and when it is all over only here and there are the falsehoods discovered and exposed. As it is all past history and the desired effect has been produced by the stories and statements, no one troubles to investigate the facts and establish the truth.
    “Lying, as we all know, does not take place only in war-time. Man, it has been said, is not “a veridical animal,” but his habit of lying is not nearly so extraordinary as his amazing readiness to believe. It is, indeed, because of human credulity that lies flourish. But in war-time the authoritative organization of lying is not sufficiently recognized. The deception of whole peoples is not a matter which can be lightly regarded…..”
    Text at:

  36. taters says:

    Col. Lang,
    I’m in your state – in Portsmouth. Please pardon my lack of commenting as of late, we’re on the road and it’s been a string of one nighters. As always, you and SST remain a vital source of information and inspiration. And so much more.
    I strongly agree with you.

  37. John Howley says:

    A large part of the blame lies with editors who were not sufficiently skeptical and did not vet conflicts of interest.
    Another dollop of blame lies with ourselves, the viewers. In times of fear and stress (911, mushroom clouds, etc) we prefer not to hear authority figures questioned. When we are afraid, we tend to “cling” to authority. A natural reaction but an unfortunate one.
    And so the temptation to deploy fear is great for political leaders. (See Machiavelli for further details.)
    The NYT article also contained this gem:
    Many also shared with Mr. Bush’s national security team a belief that pessimistic war coverage broke the nation’s will to win in Vietnam, and there was a mutual resolve not to let that happen with this war.
    This was a major theme, for example, with Paul E. Vallely, a Fox News analyst from 2001 to 2007. A retired Army general who had specialized in psychological warfare, Mr. Vallely co-authored a paper in 1980 that accused American news organizations of failing to defend the nation from “enemy” propaganda during Vietnam.
    “We lost the war — not because we were outfought, but because we were out Psyoped,” he wrote. He urged a radically new approach to psychological operations in future wars — taking aim at not just foreign adversaries but domestic audiences, too. He called his approach “MindWar” — using network TV and radio to “strengthen our national will to victory.”

  38. condfusedponderer says:

    Jack K, Will,
    Volksverhetzung has first the hate element, and second a domestic element. I think that at their worst Anne Coulter (‘all liberals are traitors for whom hanging is too good‘) and her ilk commit the elements of the crime.
    What you both refer to is certainly propaganda, and at times rather vile one, but the vilification doesn’t target parts of the US population. That is more than a technical or semantic difference:
    It doesn’t disturb the public peace and order in the US – it doesn’t pit one part of the US population against an other and creates the risk of inter communal violence. The danger and the ‘unwert’ (roughly: damnability) inherent in that is in the essence why Volksverhetzung is so specific a crime: It is a crime against the own people.
    Bad in their own right, defaming other peoples and countries, or inciting or even preparing for war of aggression are different offences. What you describe is classical demonisation in domestic propaganda, but focused outwards – it targets foreigners in foreign countries.
    So far so bad. But it isn’t Volksverhetzung. Using the label loosely, and falsely, will gain you nothing. You don’t even need it for your argument. Much like comparing or equaling politicians to Hitler, it’s a waste of time.
    The salient point here is that the Pentagon during Bush’s presidency, in all likelihood in violation of the law (surprise!), is engaging in domestic propaganda, aimed directly at the US audience, and that retired Generals as ‘military analysts’ still try to play with what they apparently see as their old team, rather than providing honest views for the US audience. Doing so they fail as citizens.
    In any way, one can get there without labels.

  39. Montag says:

    I’ve been trying to think what questions could have been asked at that meeting which would be construed as being off-the-Reservation. Of course the most potentially egregious, considering that Rumsfeld was there, would have been of the unhelpful, fish-rots-from-the-head variety:
    “Say, didn’t Les Aspin resign when a national disgrace like this happened on his watch?”

  40. W. Patrick Lang says:

    The discussion at this meeting was a re-statemnt of the things that were in the press then concerning Abu Graib.
    My questions were not about that. I critiqued the Rumsfeld reorganization of the Army in some detail. that was not appreciated. pl

  41. Ralph says:

    Did you hear that Hillary Clinton offered to provide a nuclear shield umbrella for all of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf in an offhand comment on Friday (4/18/08)? This was discussed on the David Gregory show on MSNBC today, 4/21/08. Joe Scarborough former Congressman and Eugene Robinson, an assistant editor at the Washington Post, both thought this was a shocking statement for a presidential candidate to make. Robinson said such a drastic change in doctrine should not be made in such a casual offhanded manner.

  42. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    The key, it seems, is to never sell out.
    “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” W.S.

  43. Curious says:

    What I want to know,
    why can’t pentagon makes stuff up and lie for free online, just like everybody else?
    Why do they have to waste tax payer money for something that obviously doesn’t pass chuckle test.
    (anybody still remembers zarqawi letters, endless success of killing no.2, Saddam talks to Al Qaeda, Major operation in north east propince. etc. etc…?)
    The lies weren’t that good, it wasn’t even entertaining.
    If we gonna spend public money on Propaganda, can we AT LEAST have it come with swelling music and giant military parade and crazy leaders giving froothing speech with funny military gesture?

  44. Margaret Steinfels says:

    And then, we must recognize the degree to which lower levels in DOD, the military, and middle-level bureaucrats in the State Dept. probably believed all of this. Or are they more skeptical than the rest of us?

  45. snadh says:

    Pat, if the dial is turned to prick mode: why bother with the observation, the latent sentimentality? This was done to sprinkle some candy, to reward true patriotism. What did Livy say? Down with the defeated. Something.

  46. Cujo359 says:

    I don’t know how you feel about such things, Mr. Lang, but I’ve passed on to you an award called the Thinking Blogger award. If ever a place deserves that appellation, this one does. Here’s a link with an explanation of sorts.

  47. rjj says:

    my [perhaps too] free paraphrase of M. Steinfels post: who knew?
    I have been wondering that. Terry Gross’s interview with Lincoln Chafee last week suggests the answer is, “many if not most people” and early on. In his case it was from day 1 after the SC decision. He is unlikely to have kept quiet about his experience with Cheney, and the grapevine in DC is as efficient as in any small town.
    Another too free paraphrase, this time of Chafee: The Democrats failed the country. They have given us anorchy (sic) [an- = without; -orchy = possessing testicles].

  48. stephen pelletiere says:

    Congratulations. It took courage to do what you did back then in writing that Koolaid piece.
    Steve Pelletiere

  49. condfusedponderer says:

    Think of 4GW what you will, here’s a nice one by Fabius Maximus on Information Operations. His bottom line: Armies fight best on their home ground.

    Our government’s ability to understand and manipulate public opinion in Iraq has proven to be minimal, but it does so with grace and skill at home (…) The closer to home, the more effective are one’s operations.

  50. pat,
    Congratulations. It took courage to do what you did back then when you wote that Koolaid article.
    Steve Pelletiere

  51. VietnamVet says:

    The NewsHour Thursday night had a clip of their Pentagon Pundits. I thought I saw you. They denied theirs were briefed. Their report then quickly dissolved into he said, she said; talking heads; one saying it was all propaganda and the other that it is Standard Operating Procedure; both true but explaining nothing.
    The crashing economy tops the news and Iraq slides into bloody oblivion. None dare tie the two together. During the drive to work on the radio the American Trucking Association economist said that there is a direct correlation between the value of the US dollar and the price of oil. To stop the slide of the dollar, interest rates have to rise and the federal government has to stop deficit spending by raising taxes and stopping the flood of money to the DOD for two Middle East occupations. Any federal money left has to be spent for real national security within the USA for Energy Independence.
    Not likely when corporate media ignores the obvious.

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