Selling the War
The Washington Post on Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, who is being passed over for leadership of the war effort in Afghanistan:
[Rodriguez] is the primary author of the U.S.-Afghan war plan, a 600-plus-page classified document that is a catalogue of the lessons he has taken from three years of fighting the war.
…Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former top commander in Afghanistan, calls him the “best combat leader I have ever known.”
But Rodriguez will not be leading the war in Afghanistan anytime soon. … The decision to bypass Rodriguez for the top job reflects a determination among senior Pentagon officials that the war needs a commander who can make the case for the increasingly unpopular conflict to Congress, the news media and skeptics in the White House.
In Washington, Rodriguez is seen as a savvy fighter but a so-so salesman.
The fact that the war in Afghanistan needs not a capable top commander, but a salesman, should indicate the true priorities of the United States government. What is apparently important is not that the war is adequately conducted and candidly described, but that military leaders competently delude the American people into believing it is worth fighting.
This is just one form of direct propaganda that our government (headed by the Change candidate) engages in for the war effort. This is a particularly visible and headline-grabbing example, but there are many. For example, the Michael Hastings report a few months ago that found that “The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in ‘psychological operations’ to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war.”
Be wary too the next time you watch the crack reporting and news analysis on Meet the Press or some other lauded Sunday news show in which commercial breaks reveal the primary sponsorship to be military-industrial corporations like Boeing.
These processes can be truly artful, if contemptible. As Frank Zappa said, “Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.”