RANGER AGAINST WAR: Liar, Liar Pants on Fire. . . <

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire. . .

Go to your vacuum, open the cannister,
and pour it all over you, your bed, clothing,

and your personal effects.

Now roll in it until it's in your eyes, nose,

ears, hair, and. . . well, you get the picture

--Staff Sgt. Parker Gyokeres, letter home on Iraq,

New Yorker (6/12/06)

Once more into the breach, dear friends,

once more

--Shakespeare

________________

The House passed an amendment to the annual military authorization bill last week mandating investigations by both the inspector general's office of the Department of Defense and the Government Accountability Office of the Pentagon's "public affairs program," which sought to turn retired military officers into "message multipliers" spouting the Bush administration's party line about war successes ("2 Inquiries set on Pentagon Publicity Effort.")

"Publicity Effort"? Brad and Angelina have publicists. Governments have public affairs officers who parse the news for the press and public. They do not hire Joseph Goebbels types to give a beer garden effect to the wars.

However, in this program retired officers posed as independent analysts on news programs when in fact they had been prepped by the Pentagon to serve as administration "surrogates" (= "shills.) Further, many of these ostensible free agents had undisclosed ties to military contractors.
This cookie-cutter screed was being foisted on the American public as hard analysis.

Like tribbles, "they were wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior government officials." The agencies will be looking into the possible illegal use of government money to propagandize the Bush administration's war policies to U.S. audiences.


Though there is a clear demarcation among the terms "publicity," "psychological operations," and "propaganda," they have a shared intent: they are subjective vs. objective. The so-called analysts were dabbling in one or more of these arenas, while passing their shtick off as objective analysis.

Joe Biden (D-DE), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recently had an excellent Op-Ed piece in the WSJ on the foolishness of optional wars ("Republicans and Our Enemies.") "Are" could have easily replaced "and" in the title. Still, a democratic Congress continues to authorize "emergency funding" to keep the wars going. Somebody needs to tell the truth. In the interim, these investigations may help to staunch the lies


Not all are pleased by the hard look at the bobble heads.


"Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, objected to the amendment, arguing that retired officers working as military analysts were a 'great asset' for the country."

Of course he meant, "for the Bush administration." (And why is it only Republicans have reversible names like "Duncan Hunter," vaguely hinting of the kind of robust manliness gotten from behind the sight of a rifle in a deer blind, while Hunter/Duncan is smartly decked out in Orvis woodland garb?)

Spoken like a true Georgian, Representative Paul C. Broun (R-GA) brilliantly said: “Of course Americans engage in propaganda. It’s a vital part of the mission of the United States to promote democracy and protect our country from harm.”

The basis of propaganda is lies. Psychological operations are generally based upon skewed truths and presented to sway an enemy's opinions and affect his will to fight. Psychological ops and propaganda are aimed at enemy personnel -- not the citizens of the U.S.

Ergo Congress's ban on funding domestic propaganda. Not only is it not based in truth, but the American citizen is not the enemy. At least, not the declared enemy. Not yet.

We the taxpayers foot the bill for everything done by the U.S. government. As the supposed bosses, we should not be bombarded with lies from our civil servants.

If, as Rep Broun argues, the goal of the U.S. is "
to promote democracy and protect our country from harm," then the government better stop disseminating lies and tell the truth.

--Jim and Lisa

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2 Comments:

Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i am in the process of reading rick perlstein's excellent work nixonland. it is amazing how easily one can take the words of westmoreland and others, substitute a few nouns and have an instant press release.

it's also depressing to understand that the lesson the military seemed to have learned from vietnam is not that it is the duty of the general staff and top leadership of the military to advise strongly and publicly against such insanity. there were also pretty much the same shakeups in the top ranks of the pentagon over the increasing involvement in vietnam. omar bradley spoke the truth to eisenhower, and was retired, mark clark spoke the truth to truman, and was cashiered, once the 2 and 3 stars have seen the heads of the 4 and 5 stars rolling down the halls, they get the message well.

no, even in the middle of tet, they bought hook, line, and sinker the lie about "it was a resounding military victory, but a public relations nightmare." it wasn't the truth of the involvement's folly, it wasn't the truth on the ground, it was the reporting. . .

it's hard to blame them though. i bought into a lot of the same lies myself. the difference is that i kept on digging. i dove into the history of the region, i went all the way back into the history of the chinese colonization under the manchu, which gave way to the french colonization, which gave way to the japanese colonization, which was then returned to the french (and would not have been possible were it not for truman giving the french the ships and surplus ww2 equipment to accomplish it), then we came along.

it's another stark parallel to iraq. we have a country, in a region half a world away from the powers that created it (europe, but specifically the british) artificially that has chafed from this outside construction pretty much since its inception. various outside entities and world powers intervene to try and make some sort of order and sense out of the mess, and seem to be willing to do everything but step back, and leave it alone.

but, it's also an old, old process. let us not forget the words of tacitus on viewing the ruins of carthage:

they make a desert, and call it peace.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 10:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB,

We had to believe the lies as a means of self-salvation.

These are not the golden gays for colonization, esp. when your project is so FUBAR'ed from the outset.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 5:42:00 PM GMT-5  

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