BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The War on Truth, Part V


The latest news from the front:

Military's Information War Is Vast and Often Secretive

Yesterday, the Rendon Group. Today? Meet the Lincoln Group:
The recent disclosures that a Pentagon contractor in Iraq paid newspapers to print "good news" articles written by American soldiers prompted an outcry in Washington, where members of Congress said the practice undermined American credibility and top military and White House officials disavowed any knowledge of it.

President Bush was described by Stephen J. Hadley, his national security adviser, as "very troubled" about the matter. The Pentagon is investigating.

But the work of the contractor, the Lincoln Group, was not a rogue operation.
Google "Lincoln Group," and get ready to live.

One last thing --

Enough with the contracting!!!

My god.

Operation Desert Freedom?

Hoping to counter anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world, the Bush administration has been conducting an information war that is extensive, costly and often hidden, according to documents and interviews with contractors, government officials and military personnel.

The campaign was begun by the White House, which set up a secret panel soon after the Sept. 11 attacks to coordinate information operations by the Pentagon, other government agencies and private contractors.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the focus of most of the activities, the military operates radio stations and newspapers, but does not disclose their American ties. Those outlets produce news material that is at times attributed to the "International Information Center," an untraceable organization.

Lincoln says it planted more than 1,000 articles in the Iraqi and Arab press and placed editorials on an Iraqi Web site, Pentagon documents show.
Now, the good news:
For an expanded stealth persuasion effort into neighboring countries, Lincoln presented plans, since rejected, for an underground newspaper, television news shows and an anti-terrorist comedy based on "The Three Stooges."
"Hey, Mo-ses! Look what I found!"

(Curl-leel pulls out an old landmine from behind his back.)

"Why I oughta...! Give me that thing!"

"What is it, Mo-ses?"

"The kid found a flying thingeemabob. Give it to me!"

"It's mine!"


"Oh, oh, oh. Oh woo woo woo woo."

"What does it do, Mo-ses?"

"Here. Let's find out."

Mo-ses hits Al-Lar-ee on the head with the landmine. Then...


Like the Lincoln Group, Army psychological operations units sometimes pay to deliver their message, offering television stations money to run unattributed segments or contracting with writers of newspaper opinion pieces, military officials said.


The United States Agency for International Development also masks its role at times. AID finances about 30 radio stations in Afghanistan, but keeps that from listeners. The agency has distributed tens of thousands of iPod-like audio devices in Iraq and Afghanistan that play prepackaged civic messages, but it does so through a contractor that promises "there is no U.S. footprint."
"Cool, man. Is that a U2 iPod?"

"I think so."

"Whacha got on it, man? Stones? Elvis? Kelly Clarkson."

"No. Just some songs about buying commercial property in Fallouja. Another song that encourages me to start my own business. Like a 'home alarm system' company."


"My favorite song goes, 'Silver wings...upon their chest, these are men...America's best.'"

"Yes, that one I know."
To show off the new media in Afghanistan, AID officials invited Ms. Matalin, the former Cheney aide and conservative commentator, and the talk show host Rush Limbaugh to visit in February.
Wha' 'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?!
Mr. Limbaugh told his listeners that students at a journalism school asked him "some of the best questions about journalism and about America that I've ever been asked."

One of the first queries, Mr. Limbaugh said, was "How do you balance justice and truth and objectivity?"

His reply: report the truth, don't hide any opinions or "interest in the outcome of events." Tell "people who you are," he said, and "they'll respect your credibility."
And with that...we're f*cked.

Moving on...

Bush in the Bubble

"He has a tight circle of trust, and he likes it that way. But members of both parties are urging Bush to reach beyond the White House walls. How he governs—and how his M.O. stacks up historically."

Nothing new for those of us who read Buzzflash on a regular basis: It's just nice to see this story in the mainstream press:
Like Robert De Niro's ex CIA officer in "Meet the Parents," Bush has a very small circle of trust. From his days as a small oil businessman, Bush believes in handshakes. He was infuriated, for instance, when former German chancellor Gerhard Schroder promised that he would stick with Bush on Iraq—and then won re-election in 2002 by campaigning against the run-up to the war.

Bush's real friends are his old Texas and school buddies from Andover, Yale and Harvard Business School. He calls them all the time—but the talk is usually comforting and jocular, of sports and old days.
"'Member the time that I...branded you during your initiation?"

"Yes, Mr. President."

"Heh heh. Got that branding iron...nice and hot."
They rarely dispense pointed political advice or brace him with bad news.

Chief of staff Card is widely described by insiders as a decent and honorable man, but also as a family retainer who tells the president what he wants to hear.


What Bush actually hears and takes in, however, is not clear.
Um, it's clear to me.

He doesn't hear anything.
And whether his advisers are quite as frank as they claim to be with the president is also questionable.

Take Social Security, for example. One House Republican, who asked not to be identified for fear of offending the White House, recalls a summertime meeting with congressmen in the Roosevelt Room at which Bush enthusiastically talked up his Social Security reform plan. But the plan was already dead—as everyone except the president had acknowledged.


"I got the sense that his staff was not telling him the bad news," says the lawmaker. "This was not a case of him thinking positive. He just didn't have any idea of the political realities there. It was like he wasn't briefed at all."

(Bush was not clueless, says an aide, but pushing his historic mission.)

In subtle ways, Bush does not encourage truth-telling or at least a full exploration of all that could go wrong.

A former senior member of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad occasionally observed Bush on videoconferences with his top advisers. "The president would ask the generals, 'Do you have what you need to complete the mission?' as opposed to saying, 'Tell me, General, what do you need to win?' which would have opened up a whole new set of conversations," says this official, who did not want to be identified discussing high-level meetings.

The official says that the way Bush phrased his questions, as well as his obvious lack of interest in long, detailed discussions, had a chilling effect. "

It just prevented the discussion from heading in a direction that would open up a possibility that we need more troops," says the official.

Bush generally prefers short conversations—long on conclusion, short on reasoning.

He likes popular history and presidential biography (Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington), but by all accounts, he is not intellectually curious.
That fact...has been well established.
Occasional outsiders brought into the Bush Bubble have observed that faith, not evidence, is the basis for decision making.

Psychobabblers have long had a field day with the fact that Bush quit drinking cold turkey and turned around his life by accepting God.
Which means that he's "dry" but not sober.

Cogito ergo sum...he ain't working the steps.

I'd like to suggest Al-Anon for the rest of the nation: He's our national qualifier.
His close friends agree that Bush likes comfort and serenity; he does not like dissonance.

He has long been mothered by strong women, including his mother and wife.

A foreign diplomat who declined to be identified was startled when Secretary of State Rice warned him not to lay bad news on the president.

"Don't upset him," she said.
You know what, Condi?

Upset him.

The rest of us will be a lot better off if you do.

Read the whole piece.

More later...

"One hundred men...will test today...but only the Green Beret!"


"Hey, hand me the rocket launcher, would you? I can see the Humvee."


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