Last April the New York Times published a story about how retired generals were using their status to enrich themselves and promote the Bush administration’s wartime agenda. They disseminated Pentagon produced propaganda they knew was false in order to protect either their access to the media or their profits.
This weekend the New York Times followed up on the story with a focus on one of the former generals involved in the program: Barry McCaffrey. But the scope of the program was much bigger than any one man.
“Through seven years of war an exclusive club has quietly flourished at the intersection of network news and wartime commerce. Its members, mostly retired generals, have had a foot in both camps as influential network military analysts and defense industry rainmakers. It is a deeply opaque world, a place of privileged access to senior government officials, where war commentary can fit hand in glove with undisclosed commercial interests and network executives are sometimes oblivious to possible conflicts of interest.”
The Times observed that “Few illustrate the submerged complexities of this world better than Barry McCaffrey” as they delved into details about how he deliberately misrepresented his honest appraisal of the affairs in Iraq in order to retain the favor of his Pentagon handlers and his business clients.
The whole article is well worth reading to gain real insight into the incestuous relationship between government agencies, greedy consultants, and a media that fails to disclose the web of conflicted interests that entangle their so-called independent analysts.
There are presently investigations being conducted by Congress, the Pentagon, and the FCC, but it remains to be seen if they will adequately address, and punish, the participants in this program. But Americans should be concerned because this is perhaps the most flagrant propaganda assault our government has ever directed at its own citizens. Not to mention that it is a betrayal of the military men and women whose very lives hang in the balance of these lying war profiteers.
And how does the media cover this issue? [chirp…chirp] If they were to cover it, it would sound something like this: