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.

27 comments:

  1. Let's make a deal Commander.

    You stop waiting for Bob Woodward to put his country above the profits he makes from the "after it's too late" books that he writes, and I'll stop reading about Sarah Palin's dysfunctional family. My God!

    Let me twist a phrase. You can put lipstick on a pit bull. It's still a pig.

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  2. Twist away, EL. The more I work on this piece, the more worked up I get. This super secret weapon is one of the most blatant pieces of war propaganda to come down the pipe, but the msm sure is taking it seriously.


    Jeff

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  3. Once again Commander, it is hurricane time on the Gulf Coast.

    I may have to replenish the Blue Bell.

    Talking about coming down the pipe, these storms just seemed to track like a freight train.

    Let's hope "Ike" is the caboose.

    Our fearless leaders have yet to order us to go sit in our cars on the freeway for the next 18 hours, and the way things look, if they take the notion to do so, 4 million of us will do --- absolutely nothing.

    Been there, done that.

    Wait a minute --- are you calling Larry King "the msm"? Surely not.

    Besides, I thought "the surge" was the super secret weapon. No?

    Who would have thunk it?

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  4. I'm afraid Larry King is, in fact, the msm. He may be the best part of it right now.

    Shudder.

    J

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  5. I still watch Keith Olbermann every once in a while. His special comment on 9-11, this evening, was outstanding. And the Rachel Maddow show is worth the time, in fact she is getting the hang of that tv thing, after only three days. Makes you wonder what a Rhodes Scholar is doing trying to make sense of American politics, and telling it to a country that doesn't seem to care much, one way or the other.

    Wonder how long before they go the way of Phil Donohue?

    An hour with Amy Goodman in the morning, and two hours with K.O., and Maddow in the evening.

    The rest of the time, I'm tracking hurricanes.

    I don't like Ike (the hurricane).
    Too unpredictable. All the models have it heading in different directions. No evacuation notices for us so far. Low lying areas have been asked to evacuate, because of expected storm surge.

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  6. Jeff,

    I started laughing at the title, and kept laughing all the way through. Thanks for that :)

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  7. Anonymous1:53 AM

    So much of his administration has reminded me of Hitler in the bunker moving non-existent divisions. This last bit sounds like the Wunderwaffen-the Wonder Weapons that were surely going to save Germany.

    Once again, Jeff Huber, you see straight through the BS. This sloppy gamesmanship will come at a terrible moral, social, and financial cost.

    Alex

    Alex

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  8. I don't know how you fight the big corporations like G.E., Viacom, MicroSoft, and Disney.

    Somebody did away with the "equal time" law.

    Somebody else did away with the "you can't have a monopoly on information in your area" law. So, the same people who own newpapers own tv stations, and radio stations.

    So, you get (1) point of view, per square miles covered.

    We, in Houston, have (1) major newspaper. Los Angeles is down to (1) major newspaper.

    Even sports broadcasting has been given to a monopoly.

    If your hometown baseball team plays a Saturday afternoon game, an it's not included in the FOX "game of the week" telecasts, you are blacked out of watching your home team play.

    This is where we are.

    And, this is why so many people get their information from the internet.

    We have found the "Asia Times" tells us more about what's going on in our own country, than the NY Times. That the BBC is more reliable on news than ABC.

    I was polled yesterday on the presidential race. I have a home phone, in addition to a cell.

    I am waiting for a polling, that asks people how they get their news.

    (a)Do they watch American tv?
    (b)Do they read local print edition newspapers?
    (c)Or, do they get their information from the internet?
    (d) Do they read books?

    Since newspapers are failing all over the country, and talking heads are not necessarily held in high esteem, (Charlie Gibson is already having to premptively state he won't throw softballs at the Governor of Alaska); I'm thinking, that (c) and (d) might have a chance.

    T'would be an interesting poll.

    I'm up way early, hurricane watching, again....still.

    This one, (Ike) is gonna get us.

    Looks like about a Cat 3 at landfall, somewhere on the upper Texas coast.

    Too late to do much else, but ride it out.

    I'm getting my best info, from the NIH and the New Orleans papers, and the Navy tracking charts.

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  9. Thanks all for the feedback on this. We'll see what the rest of the world thinks today.

    Jeff

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  10. wkmaier9:23 AM

    Jeff,

    The rest of the world is probably laughing in derision at us.

    The latest sex/drugs/booze scandal with the Department of the Interior? Mr. Skull, say hello to Mr. Brick Wall.

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  11. WK,

    Just heard about the interior fools. Yikes.

    J

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  12. Just saw a poll on CNN.com.

    Gist of it was:

    Do you vote issues or candidates?

    Not suprisingly, about 2-1 responded they vote candidates.

    We are where we are.

    My Gawd!

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  13. The question should have been "Do you vote issues or core bigotries?"

    J

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  14. "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."

    Thanks, Jeff. Not all of us can see these things as clearly as you do. You must have X-ray vision like one of your comic book heroes.

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  15. Battening down for Ike here, too. Earlier, they had it making landfall at Galveston Island. Haven't looked at the track lately, been a bit too mesmerized by the radar image. Looks like a real bruiser. Hope it's not the knockout punch for gulf oil production that Gustav was supposed to be.

    Be safe, elderlady (that's what we're telling each other up here in Humble).

    I'm a bit miffed that they called it "Ike" instead of "George." The latter would be most apropos, IMHO. ("Hank" or "Ben" would have worked for me also).

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  16. wkmaier9:24 AM

    Jeff,

    I hope you are working on posts on:

    the Palin interview (oh yah, nuclear war with Russia, so what?); and the amry leasing the Big Red One as a designer brand.

    Where's that brick wall? My skull needs to reacquaint with it.

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  17. WK,

    I'm trying to figure out if Palin thinks Georgia is part of NATO.

    Jeff

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  18. wkmaier11:11 AM

    Isn't Georgia next to Florida? Peaches, Coke, Ty Cobb?

    ;-)

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  19. Jeff,

    Bottom line is this - about Palin.

    She doesn't know about Georgia.
    She doesn't know about energy.
    She doesn't know about Israel
    She doesn't know about the "Bush doctrine."
    She doesn't know about anything - having to do with domestic or foreign affairs.

    She doesn't know anything except what she has been spoon fed over the last few days from Lieberman, etc.

    The sick, sad thing is we elected a guy to the office of the presidency, just like her. Not once but twice. Difference was - she's a former beauty queen. He was a former cheerleader.

    She's George Bush, in a skirt, with lipstick and designer glasses.
    Neither one had a working knowledge of how government should work. And, that's why we are in
    the mess we are in -- both domestically, and abroad.

    Hopefully, the power won't be off here for too long, what with the storm and all.

    But, I do think my brain and me can use a little respite.

    Computer will be unplugged for a while.

    JPWhite,
    Stay safe, and dry.
    My daughter lives up that way.
    In the immortal words of our County Judge "hunker down."

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  20. The Army certainly didn't consult me (or any other veteran or soldier of the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized)). Never mind than in modern times the Division was really an armor division and not an infantry division. Divisional and Regimental history are supposed to be points of pride around which a unit rallies and defines its identity.

    Now that the "Big Red One" is about to become a brand just like "Coke", soldiers will know how their leaders really think of them--as commodities to be consumed, wasted, and expended. It's too bad, but the even when the Army made a pretense of respecting Regimental affiliation, it swept it away with a policy of individual replacements. It should come, therefore, as no surprise that the two militaries that have historically had the lowest unit cohesion are the U.S. and the Soviet/ne-Russian Armies. Why, may you ask? Because both of them share an abiding preference for the commercialization of soldiers through an insistence on individual replacements. A policy that increases casualties and reduces unit effectiveness.

    My great grandfather served in the same regiment in the British Army his entire 20 year career (then a standard enlistment term). Everyone, especially in the ranks, knew everyone else. Today's U.S. Army is full of strangers constantly churning and struggling to find both a unit identity and a place in the unit.

    So, while you have your "Big Red One (tm)", I'll pluck mine out of my a**. My senator is definitely going to here from me tonight.

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  21. Sears! Sears wants the "Big Red One(tm)." Selling out to Sears I will never, ever purchase from Sears again. May the general genius who thought of this be haunted forever by the ghosts of the now-mostly-departed WWI and WWII veterans I knew and interviewed. They would never have wanted this.

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  22. Jeff, I must stll be chewing on this post.

    Last night my husband wandered into the TV room at the end of that show about the SWAT team and made a snarky remark "Aren't those SWAT guys wonderful?" "Yeah", I replied, "Superheroes in kevlar."

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  23. They're all Reno 911.

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  24. It's the strong Republican tendency to glorify brute force (whether technologically "enhanced" or not) that makes them more and more like the fascists.

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  25. All you have to know about the GOP's leanings in that regard is John Bolton as Ambassador to the UN.

    Talk about brutal.

    J

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