Saturday, April 19, 2008

Propaganda from the Pentagon

The New York Times just released a long, long article detailing the Pentagon's extensive efforts to use retired military personnel as part of a propaganda campaign in support of the Iraq War and the administration's views after the war began. Not that it's too shocking but it was somewhat surprising to me how blatant they were about it. Many of these supposedly independent analysts had business interests that could benefit them by using the access. Essentially the government wined and dined them, gave them access to military leadership at the highest levels and in return the analysts would spit out, in some cases word for word, the talking points the military wanted out there.

There's way too much to summarize the entire thing but this part was interesting to me. The hand picked analysts are sitting down to a private meeting with intelligence experts before the war.
Some analysts said that even before the war started, they privately had questions about the justification for the invasion, but were careful not to express them on air.

Mr. Bevelacqua, then a Fox analyst, was among those invited to a briefing in early 2003 about Iraq’s purported stockpiles of illicit weapons. He recalled asking the briefer whether the United States had “smoking gun” proof.

“ ‘We don’t have any hard evidence,’ ” Mr. Bevelacqua recalled the briefer replying. He said he and other analysts were alarmed by this concession. “We are looking at ourselves saying, ‘What are we doing?’ ”

Another analyst, Robert L. Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who works in the Pentagon for a military contractor, attended the same briefing and recalled feeling “very disappointed” after being shown satellite photographs purporting to show bunkers associated with a hidden weapons program. Mr. Maginnis said he concluded that the analysts were being “manipulated” to convey a false sense of certainty about the evidence of the weapons. Yet he and Mr. Bevelacqua and the other analysts who attended the briefing did not share any misgivings with the American public.

Mr. Bevelacqua and another Fox analyst, Mr. Cowan, had formed the wvc3 Group, and hoped to win military and national security contracts.

“There’s no way I was going to go down that road and get completely torn apart,” Mr. Bevelacqua said. “You’re talking about fighting a huge machine.”

That's pretty damning stuff to admit that you didn't believe the intelligence they were feeding you but that you still went on the air in support of the war anyway. Once again, not surprising when government propaganda, the military industrial complex, and a lazy media that won't bother to disclose these conflicts of interest meet. They probably all got rich and the rest of us got fucked.

Like I said, there's way too much in there to summarize but I think it's a pretty interesting read into how all of this works so you can take what these guys are saying worth a grain of salt the next time they're on TV talking about how great things looked the last time they were in Iraq.

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