Category Archives: Pentagon document dump


>[1 Update below]

In wading through one of the transcripts in the Pentagon’s document dump referenced here, I came across an intriguing passage. It’s from an April 18, 2006 briefing with then-Secretary Rumsfeld and General Casey.

The questioner is one of the military analysts connected with a broadcast network, though it’s difficult to tell exactly who it is. Since he’s later referred to as “Tom,” this leads me to believe it’s Retired Gen. Thomas G. McInerney, senior military analyst for Fox News. I am not sure of this but regardless, the quote is priceless:

QUESTION: So the fact is, I don’t think the American people, because the administration hasn’t explained it as well, understand why we’re forward, why we want to be there.

The other day I’m driving in and Chris Coor’s got a vote on do we need to bring the troops back to protect the border, or do we need them over there? I was amazed. People are talking about bringing them back. Two entirely different issues.

Islamic extremism is coming here like they did on 9/11 if we don’t have a forward strategy. It’s been very successful. Almost five years we’ve kept them away.

So I say you’ve got a brilliant strategy but I’m not sure we’ve articulated it in a way that every day it comes up.

Their strategy over there of Islamist extremism, and every day, as you know, it’s open source. Number one, it’s a crusade.

Number two, they want our oil. Number three, they want to humiliate us. If you stay with this we’ll bring victory and we will not let them humiliate us. Every day on the internet, every day in Al Arabiyah and every day on Al Jazeera they’re seeing that.

OK, pick your jaws up off the floor.

The notion that we are engaged in a “crusade” is inflammatory enough. But “our” oil? How did “our” oil get under “their” land to begin with? Who says it’s “our” oil, anyway? And if you read the transcript, no one disputes this viewpoint, not even Gen. Casey.

But the kicker is that whole “humiliation” thing. The idea that we’ve got soldiers dying in Iraq and we’re spending billions of dollars a month just so we won’t be humiliated is nauseating. Again, no one corrects this military analyst for his twisted view of why we are in Iraq. Not Secretary Rumsfeld, or General Casey or any of the other retired generals in that briefing. It’s as if they all agree with him.

Look, General Questioner, whomever you may be: we’re already humiliated. We were humiliated the moment the Pentagon hired you Kool-Aid gulping mouthpieces to drag this country into a war of choice. We were humiliated when your colleagues dreamed up modern-day torture chambers like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, and the CIA’s extraordinary rendition flights.

Is that really what people are dying for? A bunch of military guys’ fragile egos? I’ll make you a deal: pop a few Viagra and see if that helps your humiliation problem. Feel better? Now can we bring the troops home?

[By the way, does anyone know who “Chris Coor” or “Chris Coors” is?]

[Update 1]:

Jim in comments writes: “The way I am reading his comments makes the bold remarks in reference to the Islamists’ view of the war. I think his point was that we were not effectively countering that view.”

This might be the case, at least in part. Remember, the context of this discussion is, how do we sell the war to the American public, not how do we get the Iraqis behind our presence in their country. General Questioner is not saying, how do we counter that view, but how do we do something similar here. The excerpt starts with this: “I don’t think the American people, because the administration hasn’t explained it as well, understand why we’re forward, why we want to be there.”

That’s what he’s explaining. Feel free to read the transcript and share your thoughts with me, though. Forward strategy stuff is on Page 11.

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Filed under Iraq War, media, media manipulation, Pentagon, Pentagon document dump

>How Dirty Is Our Media

>Since the New York Times revealed the Pentagon’s propaganda campaign and use of “surrogates and message-force multipliers” to sprinkle fairy dust on our failed Iraq misadventure, we’ve been learning a lot about the astonishing breadth and depth of this misinformation campaign.

Most interesting is the Pentagon’s massive document dump, which through the miracle of the internet allows ordinary dweebs like you and me to read transcripts and e-mails between the Pentagon and these propaganda mouthpieces. Folks like ThinkProgress and Talking Points Memo are combing through these files and have posted some interesting things. For example, one military analyst who is also a radio host promised a “softball” interview of Gen. Casey on a right-wing radio show, prompting a Pentagon flack to warn:

Just fyi, probably wouldn’t put “softball” interview in writing. If that got out it would compromise jed and general casey.

What’s astonishing to me is, despite the tremendous effort and energy put into this propaganda program, it’s been an utter failure. The Pentagon went all out to seed the news media with Iraq War boosters and friendly faces who promised to be “on message,” yet the majority of Americans still think the Iraq War was a mistake and the occupation has been mishandled. Truth wins out, people, every single time.

I spent a little time wading through the document dump today and really came face to face with evidence of our massively corrupted right wing media. Of course, we always knew the Fox folks were cheerleaders for the Bush Administration, but looking through these documents, we see Fox News and right-wing radio in deep collusion with the Pentagon propaganda machine. They were active, willing, knowing participants.

A favorite is this April 18, 2006 briefing with then-Secretary Rumsfeld and General Casey. At one point an analyst marvels to Rumsfeld:

“You go on O’Reilly and you’ve got him eating out of your hand.”

On page 14 of the transcript, Rumsfeld gloats about Gen. Russell Honore calling journalists stupid:

Question: Right. One of the things that impressed me about how the initiatives (inaudible) after the hurricane in New Orleans was when Honore chastised the press about getting stuck on stupid. [Laughter].

Secretary Rumsfeld: It was wonderful. Can you imagine? I’d like to think I was a genius and I had him located there to — [Laughter] – just in case there was a Katrina. But it was just an accident. The guy is fabulous.

Actually, Honore was discussing Hurricane Rita, and chastising the media for having the temerity to ask what lessons from Katrina would be applied to the Rita evacuation effort (you can watch a YouTube clip of Honore here.) Right wing media pundits like Michelle Malkin ate it up. They love it when someone gets tough with CNN reporters because they see themselvs as perpetual victims in a world where their extreme views have them inreasingly marginalized.

This certainly doesn’t let the rest of the mainstream media off the hook, it does seem that the folks at CBS, CNN, etc. were at least for the most part sloppy and incurious, but not necessarily knowing participants in a government misinformation campaign. You can’t say that for the right wing media, though.

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Filed under media, media manipulation, Pentagon, Pentagon document dump, propaganda