Sunday, May 17, 2009

An encyclopedia of scandals

A lot of people linking to this Fran Rich column and flagging the creepy covers Rumsfeld used on his secret briefing reports. But the big story, that has been and still is being effectively ignored by the media, is the Pentagon's domestic psyops program using the retired generals.
What happened on Jan. 14 was the release of a report from the Pentagon’s internal watchdog, the inspector general. It had been ordered up in response to a scandal uncovered last year by David Barstow, an investigative reporter for The Times. Barstow had found that the Bush Pentagon fielded a clandestine network of retired military officers and defense officials to spread administration talking points on television, radio and in print while posing as objective “military analysts.” Many of these propagandists worked for military contractors with billions of dollars of business at stake in Pentagon procurement. Many were recipients of junkets and high-level special briefings unavailable to the legitimate press. Yet the public was never told of these conflicts of interest when these “analysts” appeared on the evening news to provide rosy assessments of what they tended to call “the real situation on the ground in Iraq.”
The report was widely cited to "debunk" Barstow's exposure of the program. Then only a couple of weeks ago, the Pentagon withdrew this "exonerating" report and scrubbed it from its website. It barely rippled the news cycle.
Network news operations ignored the unmasking of this last-minute Bush Pentagon cover-up, as they had the original Barstow articles — surely not because they had been patsies for the Bush P.R. machine. But the story is actually far larger than this one particular incident. If the Pentagon inspector general’s office could whitewash this scandal, what else did it whitewash?
Good question and one that Americans deserve an answer to sooner than later. I understand and even empathize to some extent with Obama's desire to avoid this debate, but as Rich points out, the vast corruption of the Bush regime is just too big a story to simply close the book without a public reading.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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