Topic: Bush Administraiton
Rummy really out-did himself in a Speech to an audience at the John's Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies yesterday. Responding to the media furor over the revelation of pentagon having paid a PR firm to plant good news stories in the Iraqi media he said, "We've arrived at a strange time in this country where the worst about America and our military seems to so quickly be taken as truth by the press, and reported and spread around the world, often with little context and little scrutiny, let alone correction or accountability after the fact."
Well, he apparently didn't read the stories in the NYT or the LA Times which had plenty of context and scrutiny. But maybe, he's referring to the coverage of his assertions about the "immediate threat" of Saddam's WMD back in 2002 or the heroic rescue of Jessica Lynch which at the time got a lot of coverage but not much scrutiny or correction.
When stories came out hinting that all this might be a bunch of bull, they got considerably less coverage by the "liberal media." As long as Judith Miller and Bob Woodward are touting the party line Rummy is fine with the press, but when other less embedded reporters point to "crazy" stuff like torture, renditions, White Phosphorus or media campaigns bought and paid for by the pentagon, then suddenly the charge is we're not hearing the good news about Iraq. (The media hates the military.)
As regards his comments on the pentagon's shenanigans in pushing bogus news in Iraq, Rummy stood up like the brave leader he is and blamed the Lincoln Group: "Some people in the military signed a contract with a private contractor, and the private contractor is alleged to have written accurate stories, but paid someone in the Iraq media to carry the storey. Now, the question is, what did the contractor---was he implementing the policy properly?"
"Some people in the military?" He makes it sound like he's as much in the dark as the rest of us are. Isn't he in charge of the pentagon? The contractor was "alleged to have written accurate stories?" (That's what this is all about: writing accurate stories---silly press!) Actually, what they were doing, among other things, was taking entire paragraphs from other sources, printing them without attribution and changing certain passages to make them more flattering to the US and then paying Iraqi journalists to print them.
It seems Rummy sure has a lot of problems with contractors, what with the whole Halliburton overcharging the American taxpayer for millions and now this. He being such a big advocate of outsourcing the military’s logistics, support and intelligence functions might want to look a little closer into what these contractors are really up to. It's funny how neither Rummy or any top commanders in Iraq knew this was going on, yet Eric Schmitt found a quote back on Nov. 18th from Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, a military spokesman saying the pentagon's contract with the Lincoln Group was an attempt to "try to get stories out to publications that normally don't have access to those kind of stories." Why don't they have access to those kinds of stories and what kinds of stories are "those kinds of stories?" Does he mean the kind of stories that can only come from a PR firm on K Street?
Because I would think the Iraqis could get access to news stories just like everyone else does, through the newswires, without the Psychological Operations Dept.'s help, but the bigger concern is expressed by Michael Rubin who worked for the CPA in 2003 and 2004 who says the military is fighting with it hands tied in the information war and that terrorists and insurgents "replete with oil boom cash---do the same. We need an even playing field..." See, somehow, these terrorists are selling oil on the open market from their caves and ratlines and they're winning the war of hearts and minds because the military isn't allowed to control all the media.
Perhaps, we could just stop doing stupid things like torturing and killing detainees and leveling entire cities and stuff like that, for starters. Al-Qaeda didn't create Abu Ghraib, we did. They don't go kidnapping people off the streets of Europe and fly them to Syria to be tortured. We would have a much easier time of convincing the world that we really are the shining light of democracy and freedom if we didn't keep doing the opposite of what we profess to be fighting for.
On the Condi front: Stonewalling 101
http://writ.news.findlaw.com/mariner/20051207.html doing her part to scare everybody into submission. All this rendering and torturing we're doing (Though it’s not really torture unless a bodily organ is damaged or death occurs) is saving the lives of Europeans. The Romanians are pretty much convinced we didn't use their bases for detention and torture but former PM Adrian Nastase says, "There were some bases we put at the Americans' disposal. We can't know what happened there."
But regardless, the Romanians are being well rewarded for their "cooperation" with the U.S. and in an odd bit of timing Condi was able to secure the rights to use several bases in Romania which will be very lucrative for the impoverished country. One of the bases, Kogalniceau Air Base, had already been used in the days after 9/11 and this is the one Human Rights Watch says the CIA has made numerous trips to in their black planes. Asked about this, Condi was totally straightforward; "I am not going to talk about whether such activities take place. To do so would clearly be to get into a realm of discussion about supossed or purported intelligence activities and I simply won't do that."
Then, how about the one about mushroom clouds again: she was pretty forthcoming about all the intelligence on Saddam back in 2002. In any case, it will be interesting to see how she continues to duck every question on the grounds of protecting national security.
Today, I got sucked in to responding to some really outrageous opinion pieces in the Inquirer, which I normally don't do, but it's taken me so long to write them that I don't really have much time for my usual snarky comments about the news of the day. Therefore, please avail yourselves of my smartass critiques of Kathleen Parker and someone called Nassim Yaziji at Non Sum Dignus.