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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » I won't hold my breath for a retraction, but... (Fox News, OSC, and Benghazi)

   
Author Topic: I won't hold my breath for a retraction, but... (Fox News, OSC, and Benghazi)
Lyrhawn
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I try not to read the OSC op-eds most of the time, but this Benghazi thing has really been a charlie foxtrot from day one. Fox News has been spewing their version of events from day one, and Obama's White House has been sending mixed messages that to this day are still somewhat confusing.

OSC's latest op-ed is heavily couched in the Fox News version of events. But recent articles just in the last two days have brought a radically different picture to life. The CIA's Benghazi timeline paints a dramatically different portrayal of what went down during the attacks and what the American response looked like.

It goes to show that the Benghazi event is much more complicated than most people give it credit for, but the utter vehemence and obtuseness in OSC's op-ed struck me as even more over-the-top egregious than normal. The vast majority of what he uses to base his accusations on is refuted by the CIA account of what happened, as well as several other witnesses who were there. There's a lot of he said she said going on with disgruntled workers who were either in Benghazi or involved somehow who think more could have been done, but more and more they're looking like lone voices in the wilderness rather than those speaking truth to power.

I continue to be surprised that this thing has been so thoroughly bungled in the aftermath. Why is the administration having such trouble communicating on it? And why has it taken the mainstream media almost two months to come close to constructing an accurate story? And when can I expect OSC to print a retraction of his ridiculous assertions?

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Aros
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His political assertions have become a little more divorced from reality lately. Or should I say that they're a little more married to the Fox News / ultra-right wing commentator POV than they used to be.

At least he isn't calling for the man's birth certificate.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
And when can I expect OSC to print a retraction of his ridiculous assertions?

http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/24708933.jpg
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Bella Bee
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Yes, unfortunately facts do not seem to be OSC's principle concern anymore. Print the legend, and all that.

I find it extraordinarily disappointing, but I'm sure he doesn't care what I think (nor should he, really).

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Synesthesia
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
And when can I expect OSC to print a retraction of his ridiculous assertions?

http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/24708933.jpg
[ROFL]
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El JT de Spang
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You can flat out forget about OSC dealing in the facts where op-ed/political rhetoric is concerned. He's off the reservation by quite a ways at this point. Unfortunate, since he's still a helluva wordsmith.
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Jeff C.
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This is the problem with modern celebrities, including writers. They get famous for something (in this case, science fiction), yet people for some reason think these people have some insight into another field, such as politics. It's like when a politician starts spewing nonsense about science or religion (when they are neither a scientist or a priest/scholar). Why listen to them at all?

OSC is a writer of fiction. Yes, he's extremely talented and has written an amazing body of work, but he's not a politician. He also has zero insight into what is happening over there. He doesn't work in the white house and, the last time I checked, his complete lack of a security clearance means he doesn't get any information that the news doesn't get first.

I'm not saying OSC doesn't deserve his opinion, because I certainly think he does, and sometimes he may even have a point, but it's still just his opinion---the opinion of someone who is simply watching the news, just like you or anyone else.

I read OSC's blogs because sometimes he's enjoyable, especially in regards to his book and movie reviews, as well as when he discusses his home life and the quirks of the everyday, but when it comes to politics I tend to ignore him completely.

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Ron Lambert
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Jeff, who would you regard as an expert on politics, worthy of being taken seriously? Most pundits are the ones who should be ignored, since they are always spinning something. Just because Orson Scott Card does not agree with your worldview does not mean he is ignoring facts. The issue is interpretation. El JT de Spang, if you only are willing to praise someone who is in harmony with the leftwing liberal view, then of course you would regard OSC as being "off the reservation." Why do you want anyone to be "on" your reservation?
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TomDavidson
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Ron, I don't think anyone here has suggested that OSC is ignoring facts because he disagrees with their worldview; they've complained that he's ignoring facts because he often ignores facts.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I try not to read the OSC op-eds most of the time, but this Benghazi thing has really been a charlie foxtrot from day one. Fox News has been spewing their version of events from day one, and Obama's White House has been sending mixed messages that to this day are still somewhat confusing.

OSC's latest op-ed is heavily couched in the Fox News version of events. But recent articles just in the last two days have brought a radically different picture to life. The CIA's Benghazi timeline paints a dramatically different portrayal of what went down during the attacks and what the American response looked like.

It goes to show that the Benghazi event is much more complicated than most people give it credit for, but the utter vehemence and obtuseness in OSC's op-ed struck me as even more over-the-top egregious than normal. The vast majority of what he uses to base his accusations on is refuted by the CIA account of what happened, as well as several other witnesses who were there. There's a lot of he said she said going on with disgruntled workers who were either in Benghazi or involved somehow who think more could have been done, but more and more they're looking like lone voices in the wilderness rather than those speaking truth to power.

I continue to be surprised that this thing has been so thoroughly bungled in the aftermath. Why is the administration having such trouble communicating on it? And why has it taken the mainstream media almost two months to come close to constructing an accurate story? And when can I expect OSC to print a retraction of his ridiculous assertions?

I think the source of his being willing to lean a bit closer to the Fox News narrative is that Pres. Obama has not been honest with us.

It's been a long time since an ambassador has died, it's an embarrassing failure. There was a mass of conflicting reports, including the administration. It was obvious the CIA's annex was now compromised because of their role in assisting the embassy, no need to protect that, or the agency's role in the events. No military elements were mobilized at all, and the administration decided to feed us this Mohammed video narrative, instead of say suggesting, "There has been an uproar of outrage at this video, but we cannot rule out the possibility of terrorism being behind this attack at this time."

It took days and weeks for them to drop the video narrative, when it was clear this was no protest. One does have to wonder how it was that this was an attack, and yet the attackers too Diplomat Stephens to the hospital.

Also, I think OSC is mistaken about the embassy being sovereign soil. Something I was mistaken about until very recently.

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kmbboots
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The "noise" surrounding this tragedy is pure politics. We are being played. The attack on Peshawar did not get this level of fury; it wasn't right before an election. Nor did the dozen attacks on US embassies and consulates during President Bush's administration.
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Lyrhawn
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Blackblade -

I agree that the narrative coming out of the White House has been bizarrely mishandled, though I think some or even a lot of that narrative has been filtered through Fox News. The entire administration did not stick with the video line. I'd have to check, but I don't think Obama really used it much past the first couple days after the attack. Most of the controversy seems to stem from comments Amb. Rice made a couple weeks later, but she seems to be the only one.

A lot of people are questioning what military COULD be mobilized. Neither the consulate nor the annex were US soil, which means we technically needed Libyan permission to enter. If you don't give a crap about that, and many, many people don't (which is interesting given OUR position on sovereignty, but I'll let it go given the dangers involved in this case), then there's the question of what military assets to mobilize.

Should we have dropped bombs in residential Benghazi? Who should we have dropped them on when many have made clear there was no way of separating friend from foe on the ground? Getting actual troops there would have meant flying them in, which is exactly what they did, but they still had to land at the airport and deal with Libyan security before they could get to the actual site. Using a helicopter to land directly at the annex would have taken even longer. Some forces that were rushed in from Tripoli DID make it there in time to join the fighting.

But the truth of the matter seems to be that there simply weren't any combat troops quickly available.

So yeah, there is still some uncertainty about exactly what happened and when and what the president knew and when, but it also appears clear that Obama was following from the beginning and did not in fact order our forces to stand down, he simply didn't have any better options. That may be frustrating because we're so used to presidents being able to press buttons to make the world dance to our tune, but that should cloud the reality of the situation. And the demonic rant that OSC went on to basically say the president, for reasons OSC doesn't claim to know, decided to let Americans die to appease terrorists, is as bizarre as it is dishonest.

Obama was right at the second debate - he called it terrorism the day after the attack. And he called it terrorism twice in two separate campaign stops on September 13th. So much of this has been obscured by Fox News' talking points that get repeated ad naseum.

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BlackBlade
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Lyrhawn: I'm fine with Obama being hung up with Libya not given them permission to deploy troops. I do not believe we should violate another country's borders just because one of our embassies is under attack.

Were Americans attacking the Libyan embassy, I would not expect Libya to just send its troops onto our soil and take care of business. Certainly not airplanes shooting at our citizens.

But Obama could have easily say, "The CIA deployed elements, and we attempted to mobilize forces in the region.

"I made the decision not to use the air force for fear of needless civilian casualties. Sending seals would have taken too long. Subsequently, we did not get to the ambassador in time, though we managed to evacuate the rest of the embassy staff. I take full responsibilities for the result of these actions."

The bro-ha about whose fault it is that security budgets had been slashed is a trivially easy one. The federal government asked for this much, Congress only gave them *that* much.

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Lyrhawn
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And I agree with all that. His communication on this issue has been terrible. He should just sit down with 20/20 or something and give an interview where he lays it out minute by minute, or whatever, but it shouldn't be this hard.

But the rampant speculation and outright fiction a lot of people are peddling are still inexcusable.

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BlackBlade
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Sure, but one of these two things is much easier to solve than the other.
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Ron Lambert
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There are two issues. Why were the many requests for additional security--even on the very day of the attack--not granted, and why did Obama and key administration officials keep saying for the next ten days--including a speech by the president at the UN--that the attack on the consulate in Bengahzi was part of a demonstration protesting some inconsequential internet video?

I might add a third issue--why did Obama try to misrepresent what he said on the day of the attack, particularly in the speech cited during the second debate, where Obama did NOT say Bengahzi was a terrorist attack, he was talking about terrorist attacks in general, such as the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, and yet he tried to give the impression he did call the attack on the consulate a terrorist attack, even when for the next ten days he kept talking about demonstrations in response to the video.

I don't think Obama even has a coherent foreign policy. All he can do is blunder through, and then spin everything. He is a worse spinner than a Garden Spider high on caffeine.

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Samprimary
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So, what have you decided to talk about here? Is this still really about OSC's political article or are we full-on into whatever it is you've decided to believe about the Bengahzi attack?

I'm having trouble figuring out which one gives more of a (remote) possibility you would ever allow yourself to be corrected even if you are obviously wrong, so

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El JT de Spang
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I'll field that one -- neither.
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Samprimary
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well I mean, even if hypothetically we're talking like a 0.18% chance versus a 0.17% chance, I just, you know, I totally wonder.
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dansigal
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Well guess we know this answer to this question now. Rather than retract, he completely and totally doubled down with his rant today on the election results. This one was bad. I felt embarrassed for him reading it to be honest. Normally I completely disagree with his point of view, but it's usually well written and well argued. This one sounded like a madmen going off about a massive media conspiracy to keep the most evil man ever to walk the Earth in office.
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Parkour
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Embassies aren't sovereign territory.
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El JT de Spang
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And when, exactly, did that happen? Is that like the 'Pluto isn't a planet' thing, where all of us were taught wrong our whole life?
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Lyrhawn
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I think regardless of the sovereign status of our foreign missions. When crap hits the fan, the general reaction of most Americans is going to be this.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:
And when, exactly, did that happen? Is that like the 'Pluto isn't a planet' thing, where all of us were taught wrong our whole life?

It didn't just spontaneously happen, it's just something that became 'common knowledge' about embassies that was never true. Embassies are business offices protected under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. It gives them plenty of protections which lead to the common misconception of 'sovereign soil' but when you look at the details it's massively massively different, I guess, so.

Compared to other issues with the article in question, the sovereignity myth is only one of but not the most persistent mistruth used, but I guess it's still worth hitting hard because of what arguments are used which are predicated on the notion of an embassy as a mini-america.

But the 'good' news (not that it's any consolation to vilerat's family) is that america didn't suddenly lose its record of not being invaded in X years.

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imogen
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Embassies aren't sovereign soil in the sense that the Simpsons portrayed them, but the inviolability of embassies is very entrenched at customary international law.

And that inviolability is intrinsically linked to sovereignty. So when the US embassy in Iran was invaded it wasn't an incursion on US soil, or sovereign territory, but it was an invasion on a US sovereign asset.

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kmbboots
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It wouldn't have been the first time America had been invaded in x number of years anyway unless x is a really small number. This was the second attack on a US diplomatic target during President Obama's first term. There were 8 when President Bush was in charge. Or 12 depending on how you count. Also several under Presidents Clinton, Bush (I), Reagan and so forth.

Those may get less attention, though.

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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:
And when, exactly, did that happen? Is that like the 'Pluto isn't a planet' thing, where all of us were taught wrong our whole life?

It wasn't so much that you were taught wrong, but humanity discovered more objects beyond Neptune and decided to rethink a few things.
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Blayne Bradley
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"Apparently" the Bengazi attack was now actually a prison break on a CIA black site?

Oh yeah: David Petreous Scandal:

quote:

The Sins Of General David Petraeus
Petraeus seduced America. We should never have trusted him.

The fraud that General David Petraeus perpetrated on America started many years before the general seduced Paula Broadwell, a lower-ranking officer 20 years his junior, after meeting her on a campus visit to Harvard.

More so than any other leading military figure, Petraeus’ entire philosophy has been based on hiding the truth, on deception, on building a false image. “Perception” is key, he wrote in his 1987 Princeton dissertation: "What policymakers believe to have taken place in any particular case is what matters — more than what actually occurred."

Yes, it’s not what actually happens that matters — it’s what you can convince the public it thinks happened.

Until this weekend, Petraeus had been incredibly successful in making the public think he was a man of great integrity and honor, among other things. Most of the stories written about him fall under what we hacks in the media like to call “a blow job." Vanity Fair. The New Yorker. The New York Times. The Washington Post. Time. Newsweek. In total, all the profiles, stage-managed and controlled by the Pentagon’s multimillion dollar public relations apparatus, built up an unrealistic and superhuman myth around the general that, in the end, did not do Petraeus or the public any favors. Ironically, despite all the media fellating, our esteemed and sex-obsessed press somehow missed the actual blow job.

Before I lay out the Petraeus counter-narrative — a narrative intentionally ignored by most of the Pentagon press and national security reporters, for reasons I’ll soon explain — let me say this about the man once known as King David, General Betray-Us, or P4, by his admirers, his enemies, and his fellow service members, respectively. He’s an impressive guy, a highly motivated individual, a world-class bullshit artist, a fitness addict, and a man who spent more time in shitty places over the past 10 years than almost any other American serving his or her country has. I've covered him for seven years now, and he’ll always have my respect and twisted admiration.

So it’s fair to say that P4 probably deserves something a little better than the public humiliation he’s about to endure. Sources who long feared him have already begun to leak salacious details; one told me this weekend that he took Broadwell along with him on a government-funded trip to Paris in July 2011. And questions about his role in the Benghazi debacle are also likely to deepen.

And Broadwell, too, is about to get slandered in a way no woman deserves. She’s the Pentagon’s Monica Lewinksy — and, despite Team Petraeus’ much advertised lip service to courage and integrity, it didn’t take long for his allies to swarm the press with anonymous quotes smearing the West Point graduate and married mother of two: that she wore “tight clothes,” as The Washington Post reported, or that she had her “claws in him.” In other words, how could Old Dave have resisted that slut’s charms?

Pretty shitty behavior, all around. As Petraeus ally and counterinsurgency scholar Dr. Andrew Exum might put it, stay classy!

But the warning signs about Petraeus’ core dishonesty have been around for years. Here's a brief summary: We can start with the persistent questions critics have raised about his Bronze Star for Valor. Or that, in 2004, during the middle of a presidential election, Petraeus wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post supporting President Bush and saying that the Iraq policy was working. The policy wasn’t working, but Bush repaid the general’s political advocacy by giving him the top job in the war three years later.

There’s his war record in Iraq, starting when he headed up the Iraqi security force training program in 2004. He’s more or less skated on that, including all the weapons he lost, the insane corruption, and the fact that he essentially armed and trained what later became known as “Iraqi death squads.” On his final Iraq tour, during the so-called "surge," he pulled off what is perhaps the most impressive con job in recent American history. He convinced the entire Washington establishment that we won the war.

He did it by papering over what the surge actually was: We took the Shiites' side in a civil war, armed them to the teeth, and suckered the Sunnis into thinking we’d help them out too. It was a brutal enterprise — over 800 Americans died during the surge, while hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives during a sectarian conflict that Petraeus’ policies fueled. Then he popped smoke and left the members of the Sunni Awakening to fend for themselves. A journalist friend told me a story of an Awakening member, exiled in Amman, whom Petraeus personally assured he would never abandon. The former insurgent had a picture of Petraeus on his wall, but was a little hurt that the general no longer returned his calls.

MoveOn may have been ill-advised to attack the general as "Betray Us" in Washington, but there was little doubt that many in the Awakening felt betrayed.

Petraeus was so convincing on Baghdad that he manipulated President Obama into trying the same thing in Kabul. In Afghanistan, he first underhandedly pushed the White House into escalating the war in September 2009 (calling up columnists to “box” the president in) and waged a full-on leak campaign to undermine the White House policy process. Petraeus famously warned his staff that the White House was “****ing” with the wrong guy.

The doomed Afghanistan surge would come back to bite him in the ass, however. A year after getting the war he wanted, P4 got stuck having to fight it himself. After Petraeus frenemy General Stanley McChrystal got fired for trashing the White House in a story I published in Rolling Stone, the warrior-scholar had to deploy yet again.

The Afghan war was a loser, always was, and always would be — Petraeus made horrible deals with guys like Abdul Razzik and the other Afghan gangsters and killed a bunch of people who didn’t need to be killed. And none of it mattered, or made a dent in his reputation. This was the tour where Broadwell joined him at headquarters, and it’s not so shocking that he’d need to find some solace, somewhere, to get that daily horror show out of his mind.

(This past summer, there were more attacks in Afghanistan than in the summer before the surge, a devastating statistic. I could keep going, but if you’re interested, check out The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan.)

How did Petraeus get away with all this for so long? Well, his first affair — and one that matters so much more than the fact that he was sleeping with a female or two — was with the media.

(For the record: Who really cares whom P4 is sleeping with? The idea that the FBI was investigating his sex life says more about the FBI and our absurd surveillance and national security state than it does about King David’s morality.)

Petraeus’ first biographer, former U.S. News and World Report reporter Linda Robinson, wrote a book about him, then went to CENTCOM to work for him. Yes — a so-called journalist published a book about him, then started getting a paycheck from him soon after. This went largely unremarked upon.

Another huge supporter was Tom Ricks, a former Washington Post journalist who found a second career as unofficial press agent for the general and his friends. Ricks is the ringleader of what I like to call “the media-military industrial complex,” setting the standard for its incestuous everyday corruption. He not only built Dave up, he facilitated the disastrous liaison between Broadwell and Petraeus. Ricks helped get Broadwell a literary agent, a six-figure book deal, and a publisher.
Broadwell was sold to publishers as much for her looks as what she was writing — she was an attractive package to push Petraeus and his counterinsurgency ideas. Little, Brown editor Geoff Shandler once told me how “hot” he thought Broadwell was after she came in to meet him at his office, and indicated to me that Broadwell had made him somewhat aroused. Intellectual integrity all around, to be sure.

Ricks blurbed her in All In, and earlier had promoted her content on his blog — the oddly titled Travels With Paula, a headline he slapped to a story about the U.S. military’s total destruction of a small village in southern Afghanistan. Broadwell described the ultra-violent wipeout in favorable terms — and when she was confronted with an angry villager whose house had been destroyed, she wrote that the Afghan’s tears and anger were a “a fit of theatrics.”

This was the kind of bullshit Ricks and Broadwell had been pushing — and it not only wasn’t called bullshit, it was embraced as serious work. Ricks wasn’t the only offender, of course — Petraeus more or less had journalists from many major media outlets slurping from the Pentagon’s gravy train. The typical route was to have all the cash and favors funneled through a third party like the Center for a New American Security.

CNAS was a Petraeus-inspired operation from its inception in 2007, and it made its reputation promoting Petraeus’ counterinsurgency plans. No problem, right? Except that it put the journalists who were covering those same plans and policies on its payroll. For instance, New York Times Pentagon correspondent Thom Shanker took money and a position from CNAS and still covered the Pentagon; Robert Kaplan, David Cloud from the Los Angeles Times, and others produced a small library’s worth of hagiographies while sharing office space at CNAS with retired generals whom they’d regularly quote in their stories.

But Petraeus’ crash is more significant than the latest nonsense sex scandal. As President Obama says, our decade of war is coming to an end. The reputations of the men who were intimately involved in these years of foreign misadventure, where we tortured and supported torture, armed death squads, conducted nightly assassinations, killed innocents, and enabled corruption on an unbelievable scale, lie in tatters. McChrystal, Caldwell, and now Petraeus — the era of the celebrity general is over. Everyone is paying for their sins. (And before we should shed too many tears for the plight of King David and his men, remember, they’ll be taken care of with speaking fees and corporate board memberships, rewarded as instant millionaires by the same defense establishment they served so well.)

Before Dave fell for Paula, we fell for Dave. He tried to convince us that heroes aren’t human. They are human, like us, and sometimes worse.



[ November 13, 2012, 09:46 AM: Message edited by: Blayne Bradley ]

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BlackBlade
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quote:
More so than any other leading military figure, Petraeus’ entire philosophy has been based on hiding the truth, on deception, on building a false image. “Perception” is key, he wrote in his 1987 Princeton dissertation: "What policymakers believe to have taken place in any particular case is what matters — more than what actually occurred."

I lost interest here. It does not follow that Patraeus is advocating dishonesty. It could just as easily mean that regardless of what actually happened, people's perceptions are what matter and you should accept that reality and plan for it.

It was one of the lessons of Vietnam, the Tet Offensive was a disaster, but American perception of it was that the Vietcong should never have been able to even attempt something like that. It didn't matter that they may have mortally wounded themselves, we perceived no end in sight, so we got out.

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Destineer
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Yeah, that quote has the ring of being taken ridiculously out of context.
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Orincoro
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Seems the same to me. He's voicing a political truth any astute military commander or head of an organization like the CIA ought to be well aware of.
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Samprimary
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the director of the cia understands that residual perception of an event is quite important, possibly more important than unregistered facts in terms of policymaking pertaining to the aftereffects of this event?

the devil you say

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