Monday, January 02, 2006

New York Times: The Enemy Within

Okay, let's see, they disclosed our information program to place news items in Iraqi newspapers, they've discosed our NSA intelligence gathering programs and now they go the next step and tell people (the Iraq insurgencies and the Al Qaida terrorists since they read the NYT - don't think they don't get on line and read, too) that we are working with Sunni clerics to configure our messages and influence certain groups in order to calm the insurgency.

But, to the NYT, this is news because there is something wrong with it:

Muslim Scholars Were Paid to Aid U.S. Propaganda

WASHINGTON, Jan. 1 - A Pentagon contractor that paid Iraqi newspapers to print positive articles written by American soldiers has also been compensating Sunni religious scholars in Iraq in return for assistance with its propaganda work, according to current and former employees.

Aside from exposing it, then, instead of saying "aiding US efforts" they say, "aiding US Propaganda", which we all know implies "lies" or some other sinister effort.

This paper really pisses me off. Can you imagine, in 1943, this paper reporting that we were printing millions of Deutch Marks in order to drive the value down (which we did) and bankrupt Germany? Can you imagine them reporting on the secret messages to the French Resistance via BBC broadcasts (which we did)?

Why are current and former employees of this company talking about it at all? And, to the NYT of all people and places?


The only thing they printed that was worth the ink was a statement by Michael Rubin from AEI:

Mr. Rubin was quoted last month in The New York Times about Lincoln's work for the Pentagon placing articles in Iraqi publications: "I'm not surprised this goes on," he said, without disclosing his work for Lincoln. "Especially in an atmosphere where terrorists and insurgents - replete with oil boom cash - do the same. We need an even playing field, but cannot fight with both hands tied behind our backs."

And, they are still trying to say that Rumsfeld supports torture:

The issue stems from a Pentagon news conference on Nov. 29, when General Pace was asked what obligation American soldiers in Iraq had if they saw Iraqi security forces abusing prisoners. "It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene and stop it," he said.

When Mr. Rumsfeld tried to correct the general, suggesting American troops had a duty only to report any mistreatment, General Pace won silent cheers from many senior uniformed officers by standing firm.

"If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir," he said, "they have an obligation to try to stop it."

I think most sane people understand if the Iraq army scoops up some guys they think are bad and they smack them around, our advisors are going to say something to the leaders, but they are not going to jump in with their pistols drawn and stop it. As opposed to, if they know or see prisoners being routinely beaten, tortured, not fed or not given medical treatment, it is their responsibility to intervene and that could include talking to the leader, explaining their responsibilities and their obligations, trying to get them to cooperate and act as expected or, if it continues after discussions, they may even relieve them of their prisoners, but this is a situation where politics and dialogue are just as important if not more so, than soldiers acting gung ho and causing international incidents (particularly when control of Iraq belongs to the sovreign elected government).

Though, as I noted, we have intervened at least twice in severe scenarios so, the truth is, we are doing both and that is appropriate.

These folks are essentially trying to create mountains out of mole-hills. News must be boring as hell.

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