Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Y I H+8 Bob Woodward
by Jeff Huber
In the span of a little over three decades, Bob Woodward of Watergate fame has gone from being a savior of his county's Constitution to one of his country's premier bull feather merchants. Bob has yet another book out about the Bush administration that contains revelations a year and a half too late to matter and an eternity shy of journalistic integrity.
Bobby's been all around the Big Brother Broadcast talking about the special program used in Iraq to bring down the violence levels that his special contacts in the White House and the Pentagon told him about. Bob told Larry King he "would love" to offer details about the secret program, but his sources told him "you can't write about this. This will get people killed."
Hmm. Writing about it would get people killed but talking about it on Larry King Live won't. I "would love" to know how that works.
I'd also love to know if this secret program—which Woodward compared to the development of the atom bomb in World War II—isn't part of something that was discussed in open sources as long ago as January 2007, back when Bobby's new book would have been relevant.
I've Got an Open Secret
On 60 Minutes, Bob described the "sophisticated and lethal special operations program" as "very sensitive and very top secret." Woodward told Scott Pelley of CBS that "there are secret operational capabilities that have been developed by the military to locate, target, and kill leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq, insurgent leaders, renegade militia leaders."
Woodward then proceeded to tell Pelley, "I'd love to go through the details, but I'm not going to."
Jesus, Larry and Curly. How many more details do we need to figure the secret out, Bobby? I read everything you're talking about in a Spider Man comic book when I was eight. He threw this little spider looking gizmo on the Kingpin that stuck to him like a tick, and then Spidey tracked him down later and had a big fight with him. Spidey lost the fight. Too bad he forgot to take Iron Man along with him. Iron Man could have zapped the fat bastard with a repulsor ray.
And if Spider Man wanted to keep his gizmo a secret, it would be way, way, way too bad if he told Bob Woodward about it. But Spidey would never do something that dumb. Comic book characters, you see, are a lot smarter than the unnamed senior White House and Pentagon officials who talk to Bob Woodward.
Oh, hi, Bob. You're writing another book and you're looking for sensitive military secrets to put in it? Sure, I can tell you all sorts of sensitive military secrets you aren't supposed to know for your book, as long as talk about them on television too. Eight o'clock at Zola's? Your treat, right? Meet you at the bar!
Or maybe senior White House and Pentagon officials aren’t so dumb at that. Let's see: government bigwigs speaking on condition of anonymity so it doesn't sound like they're planting propaganda in the American press tell a big shot reporter (or a big shot reporter wannabe) things he turns around and reports while also reporting that he wasn't supposed to report them. This pattern has become so familiar by now that every time I read one of these stories sourced to "unnamed officials" my lips move. Consuming the undiluted excrement our fourth estate shovels at us on a 24/7/52 basis is like watching some dumb jerk at a party do 35-year old Monty Python routines and, worse yet, watching a roomful of even dumber jerks stand around and laugh at him.
The Mesmer of Success
The red herring in Bob's latest information mission is that the surge owes its success to the secret weapon rather more than it does to the surge. That piece of brainwash—somewhat subtler than it seems at first blush—is built on a handful of colossal but opaque false assumptions (Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four threw an invisible shield around them).
First is that some secret weapon straight out of Marvel Comics is responsible for the reduced violence in Iraq. It isn't. Nor is the surge. The causes of the reduced violence in Iraq are the bribe money Petraeus handed out to the Sunnis and the brokering the Iranians did between rivals Nuri al Maliki and Muqtada al Sadr so they'd make nice and not blow the incredible window of opportunity they have now to create a Axis of Shiites that can dominate the Middle East with help Russia and China.
Second is that the "reduced" incidences of violence in Iraq comprise "success." Even at their present levels, the bombings, shootings and other attacks taking place in Iraq are still atrocious; the country continues to be a cauldron of Hobbesian turmoil.
I'm not sure how much of this Bob Woodward realizes, and I'm not sure it matters. Bob quit caring about making a difference with his journalism about the time they cast Robert Redford to play him in All the President's Men. Now what he cares about making is money; Deep Throat has abdicated to Deep Pockets.
Lamentably, Woodward has become the template of success in the journalistic profession: cultivate powerful connections, break one big story, then sit back, let interns write your books for you, and ride the talk show circuit.
Perhaps the greatest damage Woodward did, however, was his investigative work on Watergate back in the 70s. He, as much as anyone else in the media, led us to adopt the grand illusion that our free press would always protect us from our government. Now, we can't even condemn FOX News as the government propaganda network because it's all FOX News.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword . Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now. Also catch Russ Wellen's interview with Jeff at The Huffington Post and Scholars and Rogues.
at 1:51 PM