...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
      ( 3:35 PM )
What??!! They LIED??!!

In case you are new to the world, here's a short recap: since George W. Bush was appointed president, almost every word out of his mouth has been a downright lie. Okay, you're caught up. Now you might be forgiven for not realizing this since the American media has done uber-squat to delve into the truth itself. They maybe be picking up speed reporting Bush's falling numbers lately, but I have yet to see ongoing headlines screaming about the misdeeds of this President (which, by the way, don't even require much digging to find). Thus, I'm not feeling all that sorry for them as they go on the defense against the new "GOOD NEWS!" PR assault from the White House this week (see below). Something that might help them is to pay a little attention to this report being circulated by Ambassador Wilson (yes, that guy).

I actually printed out the entire report and read it on my busride home last night (it's an easy 56 pages to get through as most of it is charts and short paragraphs). I will preface my analysis (and sorry if it's a bit long, but the report was pretty detailed) of the report by saying it is HORRIBLY edited. It reads like the first draft of a college paper that hasn't even had its first read-through. It is organized badly and not all that well written - and as I just said, badly needs editing. However, if you can make it through these asthetic issues, I think you might find it very worth reading.

It's called "The Truth from These Podia" and it is written by Retired USAF Col. Sam Gardiner, who has taught strategy and military operations at the National War College, the Air War College and the Naval War College. It is a run-down of the calculated strategy by the US and UK governments to purposefully mislead their citizens in order to gain support for a war they intended to conduct long before they admitted it. Here is a summary of the report from the author:

The United States (and UK) conducted a strategic influence campaign that:

- distorted perceptions of the situation both before and during the conflict

- caused misdirection of portions of the military operation

- was irresponsible in parts

- might have been illegal in some ways

- cost big bucks

- will be even more serious in the future.

He also ads in his summary:

- Clearly the assumption of some in the government is the people of the United States and the United Kingdom will come to a wrong decision if they are given the truth.

- We probably have taken "Information Warfare" too far.

- We allowed strategic psychological operations to become part of public affairs.

- We failed to make adequate distinction between strategic influence stuff and intelligence.

- Message became more important than performance

Gardiner then goes on to show the chain of stories constructed and or molded and then given to the press (who voraciously and unquestioningly devoured them) that made up the molding of the American impression:

• Terrorism and 9/11
• Lt. Commander Speicher
• Drones
• Mohammad Atta meeting with Iraqi
• Ansar al-Salm
• Chemical and biological weapons
– Quantities
– Location
– Delivery readiness
• Weapons labs
• WMD cluster bombs
• Scuds
• Cutting off ears
• Cyber war capability
• Nuclear materials from Niger
• Aluminum tubes
• Nuclear weapons development
• Dirty bombs
• Humanitarian operations
• Attacking the power grid
• Russian punishment
– Signing long term oil
– Night-vision goggles
– GPS Jamming equipment
– Saddam in embassy
• German punishment
• Surrender of the 507th

He goes on to detail this chain of stories and how the governments of the US and the UK, in almost identical styles and even words, used them to deceive their populations.

In addition to the lies and planted stories, the public statements to the American people were psychological operations themselves. The planning for the entire war came out of several sources, and all built upon one central theme: we must deceive to achieve (thanks, I made that one up myself):

In the Pentagon, in addition to the normal public
affairs structure, the Special Plans Office was deeply
involved in this effort, supported (with information)
by the Iraqi National Congress. There was the
Rendon Group, headed by John Rendon who gave
media advice to OSD, the Joint Staff and the White
House. Finally, there were connections to large
PSYOPS activities.


The Rendon Group worked for the Government of
Kuwait during the Gulf I. John Rendon proudly
tells that it was he who shipped small American
flags to Kuwait for the citizens to wave as troops
entered Kuwait City. He suggested the same
technique for this war, but the Joint Staff information
operations office turned down the idea.

The Rendon Group worked for both OSD and the Joint
Staff during this war. John Rendon says he was part
of the daily 9:30 phone calls with the key information
players to set themes.

The main thrust of the entire report focuses on this: For the first time in our government and military history, the strategic goal of the military commanders was part and parcel of the government's goal to achieve what it wanted (take over of Iraq) and to manipulate evidence, people's opinions and even the truth in order to achieve that goal:

As far as I am aware, this is the first time a military
commander was given objectives that were about
justifying the war.

And, as I noted earlier, the press was the willing playmate.

I think the materials point to problems in the way
newspapers did their job during the war. Why don’t
they react immediately that they need to do some
self-appraisal? I think one could take the stories
I have highlighted and ask some direct questions. How
was it that the Washington Post took classified
information on the Jessica Lynch story and published
it just the way the individual leaking it in the Pentagon
wanted? Why did the New York Times let itself be
used by “intelligence officials” on stories? Why did the
Washington Times never seem to question a leak they
were given? Why were newspapers in the UK better
than those in the U.S. in raising questions before and
during the war?

I’ve not heard any self-criticism from reporters to
whom I have talked. When I’ve talked to television producers
and reporters my sense is they believe the whole
story is just too complex to tell. That’s sad but probably

We can only conclude that these efforts will be improved on even further by this administration for its next conquest. If anyone stands in its way, watch out.

He (General Gerald Mauer) described a paper called
the Information Operations Roadmap that was being
coordinated in the Pentagon. He said when the paper
was drafted by his office it said that information
operations would be used against an “adversary.”
He went on to say that when the paper got to the
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
(Feith), it was changed to say that information
operations will attempt to “disrupt, corrupt or usurp
adversarial…decision making.” Adversarial…decision-
making will be disrupted. In other words, we will
even go after friends if they are against what we
are doing or want to do.

Pretty damning report. But will anyone read it? After all, we're just a bunch of idiots that would rather be lied to because we can't handle the truth, and even if we could, we would get in the way of our unelected leaders' plans. Better to just let it go.

Now that's what I call democracy!

| -- permanent link