Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Assume the Position

Much more amazing than the LA Times report today that the US military is "secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops," is the fact that the Pentagon has now come out and said that it is "looking into" the story, as though yet another rogue band of military bad apples are off doing things the Pentagon knows nothing about. Let me clarify what I mean here by "amazing" by first indicating what is not amazing about this.

It is surely not amazing, nor even surprising, that the military is doing this. Hell, various branches of this White House's executive have already been caught red-handed paying commentators and other talking heads in the US media to "burnish the image" of whatever nakedly bad policy it was they were payed to promote. It should come as absolutely no surprise that the military would employ very similar tactics in Iraq. After all, its Iraq, a troubled land far from the any scrutinizing eyes over here. How hard can it be to bribe a few Iraqis? And it probably seemed like a very good idea to these people, especially because US military propaganda is soooo much better and more truthful than that damnable stuff Al-Jazeera spews.

It is also not amazing that the Pentagon would deny any knowledge of the practice. These days, denial is an almost every day activity for the Pentagon. Abu Graib? Don't know anything about it! Bad apples acting on their own sick initiative. Willy pete in Falluja? That's outrageous! Why, we would never ....
articles written by U.S. military "information operations" troops ... translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor.
What?! This is crazy talk! Where do you people hear this stuff? We'll look into it. But we can almost guarantee that, if this did happen, it was a rogue operation conducted without the Pentagon's knowledge or permission by more military bad apples. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, who seems like just the kind of creature I've commented on before, has this to say about the story:
It was news to me.
I suspect there is very little that is not news to Mr. Whitman.

Anyway, none of this is amazing. What is amazing is that the Pentagon will actually try to still act like this is an utter surprise to them. It is a terribly cynical position they assume when they act innocent, hunker down in the usual position, knowing fully well how absurd their claims of ignorance really are. They surely cannot expect that anyone would buy it, but they claim ignorance anyway.

I am beginning to wonder if the Pentagon has some kind of a "spokesman" dungeon in that massive complex; a dark place where a phalanx of semi-articulate patsies are tethered to a stone wall, fed the occasional Triscit and allowed to drink from a bowl of fetid water in the corner. Then, when alarming stories break, one or more are dragged up out of the depths, wrapped in a suit, pushed in front of the spot lights where they can sincerely announce that they "know nothing."

This is getting so freaking tiring.


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3:59 PM  

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