Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rumsfeld: Spinning Wars versus Winning Wars

I've often said that if the dime store field marshals in charge of our woebegone war in Iraq had put the same effort into winning it that they put into spinning it, they wouldn't have to spin it.

So it's little surprise to me that as the White House brings in former Secretary of State James Baker to patch together a new Iraq strategy, our current Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld is cooking up a new public relations campaign to defend his old Iraq strategy. From an October 30 Associated Press story by Lolita C. Baldor:
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is buttressing its public relations staff and starting an operation akin to a political campaign war room as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld faces intensifying criticism over the Iraq war.

In a memo obtained by the Associated Press, Dorrance Smith, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, said new teams of people will "develop messages" for the 24-hour news cycle and "correct the record."

Rumsfeld is concerned, as always, that the U.S. media isn't reporting enough "good news." Let's "correct the record" on this "good news" poppycock. There's not enough good news in the entire New Testament to offset the disaster Rumsfeld has been singularly responsible for creating in Iraq. No nation goes to war for the purpose of painting schoolhouses, and turning on someone's electricity three years after you put it out of commission is not a measure of "success."

Rummy's also "deeply troubled" that terrorist groups have been successful at "manipulating the media" to influence westerners. "That's the thing that keeps me up at night," Rummy says.

I can think of a lot of things that ought to keep Rummy up at night, most notably the deeply troubling prospect of what's waiting for him in the afterlife. But what terrorist manipulation of the western media is he talking about? All those pro-bin Laden infomercials featuring that cute al Qaeda Gecko?

According to AP's Baldor, Pentagon spokesman Eric Ruff wouldn't say what the costs of the new public relations program might be, but construction has already begun on the Pentagon's outer "E" ring to accommodate new hires. Whatever the program winds up costing the taxpayers, some of its expenditures will go to financing "surrogate" programs that finance high-level politicians and "interest groups" to travel and speak on behalf of pro-war GOP candidates. That means a slice of the defense budget will go toward financing Republican election campaigns. Will the Federal Elections Commission raise any objections to this? I doubt it. FEC Chairman Michael E. Toner is a former General Counsel of the Republican National Committee and was a General Counsel of the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign. And, oh, yeah, he's also been a "quest commentator" on Fox News.

It's Everybody's Fault But Rummy's

Rumsfeld not only blames the "liberal media" for his abject failures in Iraq, he's putting tire marks on the backs of his own public relations people, who he doesn't think have been getting "the message" out as quickly or effectively as the terrorists have. "If I were grading I would say we probably deserve a 'D' or a 'D-plus' as a country as to how well we're doing in the battle of ideas that's taking place in the world today," he says.

That puts the Pentagon spin machine's performance at selling the war one grade higher than Rummy's performance as Secretary of Defense. Given his abject failure at running the war, he ought to kiss the very ground his public relations people crawl on for the job they've managed to pull off. Lipstick can only do so much to pretty up a pig, and calling horse manure "chocolate ice cream" doesn't change the way it tastes or smells.

Speaking of Chocolate Ice Cream…

Wednesday afternoon, young Mister Bush announced that old Messrs Cheney and Rumsfeld will stay on in their present posts throughout the course of Bush's remaining term. That's loyalty for you, huh? Dubya doesn't change horses in the middle of the stream, even if they're dead. Maybe he figures that hanging on to a pair of bloated corpses is his best bet to get back ashore without drowning his legacy.

The state of America today is such that we tolerate irresponsible, unaccountable behavior from our highest national officers that we wouldn't put up with from our children. If little Johnny gets caught shoplifting a pack of baseball cards and trys to blame it on store security for catching him, he spends some time in his room. If little Donny takes a nation to war and screws it up and blames the media for saying he screwed it up, he gets to spend two more years as a cabinet secretary. Too bad for little Johnny that he doesn't have unlimited access to tax payer dollars to bail himself out of trouble like little Donny does.

Little Donny is 74 years old now. Wouldn't you think he's reached an age where he should be held responsible for his actions, even if he still throws temper tantrums like he did when he was little Johnny's age?


Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.


  1. "Correct the record"?

    1984 should be required reading in all public schools, maybe given it's own semester worth of teaching.

    That Al Qaida gecko really is a hoot, though.

  2. I was going to call this off-topic, but it fits in too well with a "Spin" post.

    In the comments of your October 22 - Wherefore Iraq? post, someone linked a video that they called a tac-nuke. After checking the nooz, I learned that it was the Oct 10 hit on the ammo dump at Camp Falcon. It looked pretty bad in the video, and from what I'm hearing now, it went on like that all night.

    Now, I'm hearing stories of a major cover-up, 300 dead, total loss of the camp kind of stuff. See Wonkette for some good links:

    I don't go for extreme moonbat conspiracy theories, but the Pentagon spin of no casualties and little damage is less believable than the nuke theory.

    Have you heard anything?

  3. Another Disastrous Coverup

    Forward Base Falcon Disaster

    That's the 1st I heard of it, and nothing new since. Can't help but wonder where it's coming from, if it's just a legend, total BS, or there's a kernel of truth somewhere.

  4. William that was me.
    I've done a lot of digging.
    Badtux and smirkingchimp did some blogging on it.
    I can't confirm the casualties. Here are some photos of Camp Falcon right after it happened. Those living quarters are flattened, no doubt.
    Some interesting discrepencies, some report only 100 troops manning the base at the time of the explosions. It looks like it can hold the other amount I read about, which was 3000 troops.
    I don't think it could have been a nuke. It sure was some heavy ordinance however.
    I cross checked the list for Oct. casualties and none match up. If I had the funding I would try and search for the families of those on the list to make sure it was the truth or not.
    Also, looking at the DoD press releases it was very quiet for 4 days between Oct. 12-16.
    More research is required. I was hoping to hear from my brother in law over there.

  5. Somebody definitly missed some sleep that night. If those were barracks, either they were empty, or there's a lot of full body bags now. I count 20-30 shredded buildings in those pictures.

    Some right-wingers are attacking the casualty list as bogus. One argument I've heard are the lack of female names. I see a few that are questionable, but no definite women.

    I did a breakdown of ranks, and got:
    2nd Lt 11
    1st Lt 17
    Capt 13
    Major 2

    Pfc/LCpl 145
    Cpl/Spc 78
    Sgt 4
    SFC 8
    MSgt 10

    Which looks reasonable, but light in the E-5 through 7 range.

    2nd Lt Cpl? 1

    The last one is an obvious typo of some sort. I found a few odd other errors in the names.

    Some (2) enlisted were non-military(ish):
    1 DoD
    1 CIA

    Total was 318.

    The list may be bogus, but an easily dis-provable fake list sounds Rove-ish.

  6. I was looking at some of the surrounding buildings (other dorm like quarters) and the windows look to be blown out.

    Yeah, the E-5's to E-6's are questionable. Can't believe that there were that many MSgt.'s in one location.

  7. I asked Juan Cole about this, and he posted on his site that he believes it is bogus. That's good enough for me. Cole knows more about the middle east than the whole administration and congress combined.

  8. We're just speculating, of course, but 4-6s would likely have been in a separated barracks, which may have spared them.

    And if there were women in the outfit, they'd have had separate billeting too.

    MSGTs would probably have had their own separate billet.

    So I wouldn't discount the report based on the paygrade spread, but that doesn't prove its correct either.

  9. I hope to hear your views on the "coup" editorial.

  10. Jeff, as of this Saturday morning, CNN reports that Army Times Co - which publishes all the Services' "Times" papers - is calling for Rumsfeld to depart the fix. So I suppose his new organization to "correct the record" and preach the Gospel of Don is too little, too late. Yesterday, neo-con darling Ralph Peters even threw in the towel. Next couple of days will be interesting.

  11. I'll be interested to see that editorial. Army Times and its other service papers have been one of the very few military press sources that haven't been crushed under Rummy's thumb.

  12. The video clip that i saw on CNN Clearly showed an Extreme High temp fire. Two likely causes for the color temps i saw on the live un-edited footage. One: Magnesium flares and TWO: Depeleted uranium. the live shots shown on CNN imediatly caused me to start invesigating a DU fire. (All later footage shown is color & content edited). Fron the fire temps and the ballistics of the material thrown clear du is the single plasuable cause for the damage in the photos of the base. The white containments are AC storage for DU rounds. (all have to be cooled in the hot desert climate) This gathering of photos at Rence show the containments severly melted and a white/blueish residue seems to indacate very high temps. These pics show a large amount of ASP falcons DU storage Totaly burned up!.

    Both the M1 tank round magazine and the Aircraft cannon shell magazine mag. suffered catatropic hits. This is ONE HUGE mess if this group of photos of the aftermath are legit.

    The fire temps confirm DU fire. the photos seem to confirm DU containment fire.

    The other bits bogging down this is the mis-interpreting of the video of the blasts.

    the final one i say was a Tank deployed over the wall MOAB used Safty Boss like to snuff the spreading fires. The photos show that the conventional storage areas (evidanced by Black sooty ground) was going to suffer a major catastrophic hit from further spread of the damage (2000 Lbers do some nasty things) the trench on the out side of the concrete wall could be where the charge setting tank was driven after the blast seen on the vids. The POL point (Petrol Oil Lube) was prob. cause of the mushroom.

    I am not even sort of fuzzy on any of this. This fire was Garganuan messy and i hate to have to say it is going to kill thosands upon thosands world wide.

    Can anyone post other photos of the site close up?