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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Pentagon's Hidden Hand (Page 1)

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Author Topic: The Pentagon's Hidden Hand
Alcon
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New York Times Article

quote:
To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

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 administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

I'm still not sure what to think. I've only gotten through about 2 pages of it so far. It's 11 pages long. Some of this stuff looks pretty bad. They quote the correspondence between the Pentagon and the supposedly objective analysts and they sound like they're operating a war against he news media together.
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Morbo
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quote:
top of pp5:
Many [co-opted analysts*] also shared with Mr. Bush’s national security team a belief that pessimistic war coverage broke the nation’s will to win in Vietnam, and there was a mutual resolve not to let that happen with this war.

This was a major theme, for example, with Paul E. Vallely, a Fox News analyst from 2001 to 2007. A retired Army general who had specialized in psychological warfare, Mr. Vallely co-authored a paper in 1980 that accused American news organizations of failing to defend the nation from “enemy” propaganda during Vietnam.

“We lost the war — not because we were outfought, but because we were out Psyoped,” he wrote. He urged a radically new approach to psychological operations in future wars — taking aim at not just foreign adversaries but domestic audiences, too. He called his approach “MindWar” — using network TV and radio to “strengthen our national will to victory.”

"We have met the enemy and he is us."
--Walt Kelly
[Wall Bash]

Nothing the Bush administration does shocks me anymore. But the sheer scale and audacity of the project is daunting.

The Times story reminds me that I need to read Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent--I've put it off for years because it's depressing.

*Rummy calls them "message-force multipliers", another repetition of his force multiplier mantra.

[ April 19, 2008, 08:32 PM: Message edited by: Morbo ]

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steven
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They sure don't seem to care much about legacy. I think Cheney is planning to drop dead from "the big one" the day he leaves office. I don't know about Dubya. I do think, though, that when Dubya's expected book sells like, 10 copies, and he is only invited to speak at, like, 3 college graduations ever after leaving office (Bob Jones, Liberty U., Pensacola Christian College), that he might feel a trifle stupid. I hope.
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Morbo
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quote:
pp9:
“The strategic target remains our population,” General Conway said.

That explains all the bullseyes in my yard.
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DarkKnight
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Or maybe the NYT is busy with another Jayson Blair type story?
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Morbo
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
Or maybe the NYT is busy with another Jayson Blair type story?

Why engage a story on the merits when you can throw off a non-sequitur? [Roll Eyes]
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James Tiberius Kirk
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Last line of page 9:

quote:
“Frankly,” one participant said, “from a military point of view, the penalty, 2,400 brave Americans whom we lost, 3,000 in an hour and 15 minutes, is relative."
Someone help me parse this one.

--j_k

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King of Men
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I think it's saying that militarily speaking, the Two Towers hit wasn't that destructive. Which is true. In my opinion, though, the man should be court-martialed and drummed out of the service for using 'relative' to mean 'small'.
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Morbo
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Damn it Jim, I'm a doctor not an apologist!
You're on your own with that one.
Dr. Morbo

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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by Morbo:
The Times story reminds me that I need to read Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent--I've put it off for years because it's depressing.

Funny, I've been doing exactly the same thing with the copy of Chomsky's Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies sitting on my bookshelf.
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Morbo
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Great, I have some company!

By the time we get around to reading them, we'll be in dictatorships and the books will be moot. [Razz]

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Alcon
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Okay finished the article now. Oh man...

Aside from the clear deception, supposedly objective and neutral analysts who were it is now clear were neither, the shear arrogance of the administration and Pentagon in attempting to control the hearts and minds of the American people. And they knew they were doing something wrong, or else they wouldn't have tried so hard to keep it all as secret as they did! The stuff they quoted shows that the folks in the Pentagon were well aware of what they were trying to pull -- even if all the analysts hadn't quite put two and two together or opted to turn a blind eye. The Pentagon knew what it was doing. This administration needs to be gone. I don't know if November is soon enough.

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MightyCow
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Is propaganda and disinformation, particularly during a war, really new or unexpected?

I'm most upset that they resorted to boring media manipulation, rather than stylish art posters.

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Saephon
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Alcon, I'm not sure they know what they're doing is wrong just because of the secrecy. I suspect there are many people who engage in such activities because they believe "it's best for the people". They think they're doing us a favor. *sigh*
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Philosofickle
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As far as I can see, while I don't condone the actions of anyone involved, it doens't seem to have made much of a difference. The coverage was still negative. I think it says far more about our media services than about the pentagon in how its all turned out.

P.S. I agree with mighty Cow

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steven
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"They think they're doing us a favor."

Bush might, to some degree. Cheney, OTOH...I doubt it.

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Samprimary
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Bush definitely has something going for him — the public is so jaded to the effects of his administration that stuff like this barely registers as a blip on the public interest radar.

Even on political forums, all you get is 'oh, more dishonesty and stupidity in the administration, big surprise' and then everyone sits around laconically waiting for the elections.

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Tresopax
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This sort of strategy can work in the short term, but the more analysts come out and mislead the public, the more the public begins to mistrust analysts. All it does in the long run is erode public trust in what the media and government says.
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happymann
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I prefer Bloomfield over Chomsky anyway.
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Noemon
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I was just coming in here to post exactly that, Tres. And Sam, I've been feeling increasingly frustrated with the apathy you're describing.
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Morbo
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quote:
Worse than traitors in arms are the men who pretend loyalty to the flag, feast and fatten on the misfortunes of the nation while patriotic blood is crimsoning the plains and their countrymen are moldering in the dust.
---Abraham Lincoln


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steven
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"Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels."--Samuel Johnson.

Hmm. Perhaps.

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Darth_Mauve
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There are a lot of Republican's who don't understand why people dislike President Bush.

I can't speak for them all.

For me, it boils down to his constant request that we "Trust" him. He has the facts and he is the decider, so we should just trust him to do what's right.

The Pro-President people say, "come on. He's not an evil man. Just trust him to do what's best."

But he doesn't trust us.

His people finagle, hem, haw, misguide and distract us. Why? Because he doesn't trust us.

So how can we trust him if he does not trust us?

Trust must be earned, and he has done little to earn it.

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steven
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"There are a lot of Republican's who don't understand why people dislike President Bush."

There are maybe 4. His parents, George and Barbara, his wife, and maybe Karl Rove. I mean seriously.

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Dan_raven
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This explains the mystery of missing WMDs.

Prior to going to war it was well known, and impossible to deny, that Sadaam Hussein was sitting on a load of WMDs. This was a given.

Why?

Because every news analyst, from NPR to Fox, had knowledgable military experts telling us it was so.

If the starting points on all of these shows were, "Given that Sadaam is hiding his WMD....." then how can we ever question that WMDs were there.

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steven
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Here's what gets me about the people who claim that there WERE WMDs...where are all the Iraqi scientists who worked on them? How about the guards who guarded them? Anybody? Exactly.

Seriously, if there were even one Iraqi who had worked on or guarded WMDs in the last 15 years, fer dang sure the Bush administration would have found him and spread his story all over the evening news.

Buried in the Syrian desert my sweet white butt.

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DevilDreamt
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
I was just coming in here to post exactly that, Tres. And Sam, I've been feeling increasingly frustrated with the apathy you're describing.

I can understand how the apathy is frustrating, but many apathetic Americans feel powerless, I think. We've reached a point where it doesn't feel like it matters if we believe their lies or not.

I want to feel confident in the balance of power that exists between the executive, judicial, and legislative branches, but I'll admit Bush's presidency has shaken my belief in the system. I worry that the problems go well beyond the current presidency. Although I have a very minute power in electing government officials (either by voting for them or campaigning), the problem feels rooted in the system itself... I don't think I'll be able to change that at all. Makes it hard not to be apathetic.

When it comes to politics, I have a hard time understanding why I should bother to form an opinion. I mean, so I can bore people at parties or argue pointlessly with people on the internet? What other functions do political opinions have? In theory, it would help me make a decision while voting, but I already know that all the "viable" candidates will play by the rules within the system... and it's the system I'm worried about.

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Sterling
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It's difficult when, historically, the best most citizens could hope to do is rally public support or awareness on a particular issue; it feels like this administration has taken a perverse pride in conveying the message "Yeah? And you think we care about what any of you think?"
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happymann
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
There are maybe 4. His parents, George and Barbara, his wife, and maybe Karl Rove. I mean seriously.

Doesn't that make 31.3% ridiculously high?
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DarkKnight
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quote:
Here's what gets me about the people who claim that there WERE WMDs...where are all the Iraqi scientists who worked on them? How about the guards who guarded them? Anybody? Exactly.
Well, to use global warming analogy, a consensus of world leaders and intelligence agencies all KNEW Iraq had WMDs and we all know that a consensus means they can't be wrong.
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steven
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Even if he does have a small minority of support, I say that Bush is only going to continue losing support until he dies of old age. If not for term limits, the whole planet would be up a bigger creek than it already is. Why? Because the oil problem isn't going away. The US is the single biggest influence over how fast alternative energy tech is developed. When we "make war for oil" instead of putting the money into alternative energy research and development, we are not investing in our childrens' future. We owe it to our kids to fund alternative energy research so that the political instability resulting from a rising demand for oil is reduced, and the world can get more peaceful sooner rather than later.

Bush and Cheney have really set us back, and not just America, but the whole world as well. Without alternative energy research, it's pretty difficult to stop the population boom in the Middle East, and it's that very population boom that is making new terrorists. No new Muslim babies=no new Islamic terrorists. The same can be said for any religious group that has dangerous fundamentalists. Christianity has its Eric Robert Rudolphs for sure, and still does, so don't think I'm singling Islam out.

I really don't see the hole in my logic, but I sure do see people waking up, more and more over the coming years, to the fact that this administration went in the exact opposite direction that was needed to stop Islamic terrorism. It's like the t-shirt says: fighting for peace is like boinking for chastity. That money needs to go to alternative energy tech, not to re-upping thousands of soldiers who would rather not chew on sand for another 12-18 months. In my personal opinion.

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steven
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"a consensus of world leaders and intelligence agencies all KNEW Iraq had WMDs and we all know that a consensus means they can't be wrong."


They were all fricking idiots for thinking it, then. Saddam didn't have all that great of a military before the sanctions were introduced in the early 90s. After they were introduced, he sure didn't have more money for discretionary spending on WMDs. Seriously. Poor people don't drive Rolls Royces, and tinpot dictators with sanctions against them don't have big WMD programs.

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happymann
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Wow. So because we know now that there were no WMDs and because we WANT to say that we were idiots for thinking that back then, that must mean that ALL people who thought so were "fricking idiots" and the qualification for calling them "ficking idiots" is that they didn't know what we know now. What did we know BACK THEN that would have proved to us that they were "fricking idiots" back then? Let's not bring in hindsight. I'll look at anything published from back then that didn't have name calling in it.
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steven
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I expect people with decades of experience in defense spending and also dealing with problems in the Middle East, like Cheney, to have enough understanding of the situation to realize who might have what level of WMD capability, based on how much money they have. Cheney knows what it costs to have this or that type of weaponry, and to maintain it and deploy it, or he darn well ought to. He also should know pretty much what Iraq had and didn't have, based on the Gulf War conflicts. He also probably has a decent idea of how much money Saddam had. Should I know any of this? No, but it's not really my job. It is his job, IMHO. He's responsible for not knowing, right? Isn't someone? I really do think some people in the administration knew very well what the odds were of Saddam actually having WMDs, and...either were not listened to, or said nothing at all. Even if there wasn't anyone, Cheney and Bush have jacked this up, either through appointing cronies with little experience, or other ways.

Real good on picking on my use of the term "frickin' idiots". That's some real substantive criticism. I mean really, you skewered my points. Your argument was cogent and completely decimated the thrust of my arguments. [ROFL] Not. Want to try again?

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happymann
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Your "frickin' idiots" post struck me as a post that was saying, "I don't agree with you so I'm going to make an unqualified statement and then call you a name. HA!" I'm sorry if that didn't come across in my last post. But kudos on actually using sarcasm pointed at technique instead of just name calling. I'll take it.
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Morbo
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quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
quote:
Here's what gets me about the people who claim that there WERE WMDs...where are all the Iraqi scientists who worked on them? How about the guards who guarded them? Anybody? Exactly.
Well, to use global warming analogy, a consensus of world leaders and intelligence agencies all KNEW Iraq had WMDs and we all know that a consensus means they can't be wrong.
KNEW or suspected? Before you invade, you better be sure.
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Occasional
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I don't get why this is such a big deal for those who know their history. The lesson of Vietnam wasn't the need to use new techniques of minipulation and propaganda. It was a lesson that the old techniques had startegic value.

The major difference is that the modern media hasn't been playing along since the end of the Korean War. Sadly, this is one of the reasons I believe that the United States or any other Western Country for that matter will never win a war again in the long run. (personal note: I do believe that the U.S. won the Iraq War. Sadam is no longer in power, his government is no longer in power, and we have eliminated the threat of WMD. What the U.S. is fighting now is terrorism extended on to the battle field. Insurgents are not fighting for Sadam or his defunct government or even for greater Iraq. The are fighting for Allah and their own power.)

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steven
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"The major difference is that the modern media hasn't been playing along since the end of the Korean War. Sadly, this is one of the reasons I believe that the United States or any other Western Country for that matter will never win a war again in the long run."

It's better to fight a war economically than with human lives. This is exactly what we were doing with the sanctions after the Gulf War, and it worked a buttload better than the Iraq War has, and cost exactly 0 American lives, and practically 0 dollars. Do you know how I know it worked better? Because Saddam didn't have WMDs in 1991, and he didn't have them in 2003. We spent 500 billion and counting to find out something anyone with half a brain and some experience with Middle East issues probably knew already.

Seriously, how would he have afforded WMDs with no money? He didn't have a pot to piss in after we imposed the sanctions. WMDs are a luxury, if we compare household finances to country-level finances.

It's faintly ridiculous to imply that Iraq would have anything to do with terrorism. Iraq is a mostly-Shiite county. The 9/11 hijackers were all Sunni. Most of the Hijackers were Saudi. That's one of the most religious countries in the world. Iraq is pretty secular, relative to Saudi Arabia.

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MrSquicky
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Occ,
So, if I understand you, this isn't a big deal because the American people should be lied to and deceived because they can't be trusted to make the right decision on their own if given accurate information?

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DarkKnight
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quote:
KNEW or suspected? Before you invade, you better be sure.
You can google it yourself, but they all KNEW it. The reason for invasion was also because Iraq did not comply with Many UN resolutions for over a decade
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DarkKnight
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quote:
So, if I understand you, this isn't a big deal because the American people should be lied to and deceived because they can't be trusted to make the right decision on their own if given accurate information?
Isn't that why Democrats have super-delegates?
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MrSquicky
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quote:
You can google it yourself, but they all KNEW it.
No, they didn't. They obviously didn't kow it, because it wasn't true. Nor did nearly anyone claim to know it. THey claimed to have good evidence or to strongly suspect, but they did not claim to know it. Those that did claim to know it were lying just like the people in the Bush administration who claimed to know it were.

Also, the specific information that various people in the Bush administration used was false, fraudulent, and lies. Donald Rumsfeld lied when he said that we know here the WMDs were being kept. Colin Powell's presentation to the U.N. was founded largely on fraudulent (and in some cases, necessarily fabricated) information that he presented as fact. Dick Cheney lied when he said that we had strong evidence of a working relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Queda.

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Darth_Mauve
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Steve, Morbo, Occasional, you don't get the significance of the Pentagon's Media Assault and WMD's in Iraq.

There were debates, here on Hatrack, where hawks and doves argued over whether or not to go to war. We petitioned our elected officials, wrote articles, and tried to change the course of our countries policy based on what we knew.

And all we knew we learned from many varied news sources.

Fox, NPR, CNN, Time, Newsweek, ABC, CBS, Yahoo, AP wire, every news source and more were checked.

Not one doubted that Iraq had WMD.

Why?

Because each one had there military consultant come in and claim that, yes, Sadaam had WMD left over from previous times, that he was diverting the "Oil for Food" and black market revenues into Anthrax, Nerve Gas, and possibly Nuclear weapons.

"His people were starving, but his scientist like Chemical Ali were not." was repeated all across the spectrum.

That is why people like Senator Clinton voted for War with Iraq. They were misled.

You claim that anyone with a basic understanding of Mid-Eastern politics would know better. Yet every expert we knew on Mid-Eastern Politics was on the news saying it was so, and these experts, all military men, were apparently being paid to say so by the Pentagon.

You claim that every country's espionage organization in the world should have known. But they find it easier to spy on our news programs than to spy on a third rate country like Iraq. Why should they spend their limited resources on experts when American experts were on CNN and every competitor telling them about the WMD.

Thats what much of intelligence is, gathering news from different sources, and so many sources were saying WMD that it became the assumed truth and was passed on. The fact that those many sources were apparently Pentagon voices was not known.

The military knew that President Bush, and more importantly the Neo-Cons like Rumsfeld, wanted to invade Iraq, just to shut up the mouthy Saddam, if for no other reason. Being the good strategists that they are, they started working on winning our hearts and minds early. Their disinformation campaign was good, too good.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
Isn't that why Democrats have super-delegates?
In part, I think it is. Can I take it that you agree with them?
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MrSquicky
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quote:
That is why people like Senator Clinton voted for War with Iraq. They were misled.
That's BS. Most of them never even tried to check.

They voted for the war because they weren't doing their jobs.

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"So, if I understand you, this isn't a big deal because the American people should be lied to and deceived because they can't be trusted to make the right decision on their own if given accurate information?"

Pretty much. I don't trust the collective thought process of the average person. Even more, I don't trust the media to be any more truthful than the accusations against (proven or not) the Pentagon. They are both lavish slaves to their own propaganda.

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MrSquicky
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But you do trust the Bush administration and the Pentagon, yes?
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steven
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"I don't trust the collective thought process of the average person."

must...resist...

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"But you do trust the Bush administration and the Pentagon, yes?"

I trust them more than I do the media that have mocked my political, moral, and religious believes far more than I can count in untruthful ways.

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MrSquicky
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This isn't a relative thing here. You trust them to make decisions on going to war and then lie to and otherwise manipulate the public into supporting this war, yes?
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