An eleven page NY Times article details the use of retired generals to sell the public a ‘version’ of the reality on the ground for our troops. Referred to as ‘message force multipliers’ or ‘surrogates’ retired officers were primed and deployed by the Bush administration in droves to appear on news programs as ‘expert analysts’.
Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administrationâ€™s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.
The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.
This article details how even retired military men are willing to sell out the soldiers they once led and who looked to them for leadership in the name of backing the commander in chief and profits from defense contracts. During carefully orchestrated trips to Iraq the analysts were given careful tours of gardens and schools, but some of the analysts were clear that only half as many troops as needed were on the ground in Iraq.
Uncomfortable facts had bubbled up during the trip. One briefer, for example, mentioned that the Army was resorting to packing inadequately armored Humvees with sandbags and Kevlar blankets. Descriptions of the Iraqi security forces were withering. â€œThey canâ€™t shoot, but then again, they donâ€™t,â€ one officer told them, according to one participantâ€™s notes.
â€œI saw immediately in 2003 that things were going south,â€ General Vallely, one of the Fox analysts on the trip, recalled in an interview with The Times.
The Pentagon, though, need not have worried.
â€œYou canâ€™t believe the progress,â€ General Vallely told Alan Colmes of Fox News upon his return. He predicted the insurgency would be â€œdown to a few numbersâ€ within months.
Read the article. It will break your heart when you see how our kids have been sold down the river by the very country they believe they are fighting for.