by Jeff Huber
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves…”
|Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for|
Public Affairs Victoria Clarke, creator of the
Retired Military Analyst propagansda program:
She'll brainwash you and your little dog too!
When deconstructing the flock of war hawkers who comprise the Pentarchy’s propaganda pantheon, I normally stick to teeing off on the top tier: four-star masters of mendacity like King David Petreaus and ex-Joint Chiefs chairman Mike Mullen, DoD civilian lore lords like Victoria Clarke, and trusty echo chamberlains of the mainstream media’s military beat like Michael R. Gordon, Dexter Filkins and the just god-awful Thomas E. Ricks.
But under the elite stratum of Goebbelites skulks a collection of players who range from the triple-A to the sandlot levels, commonly referred to as the “military press,” who need a shot from the long club as well. These bush leaguers don’t enjoy the vast market that the major moguls command. They do, however, have a captive audience among the crowd of fools, fanatics, true believers, ends-justify-means Jesuits, Doublethinkers and outright Cheney-class psychopaths who need to be kept on the straight and narrow warpath so they never examine the absurdities they have subscribed to for, in most cases, their entire lives.
At the top of this pseudo-journalistic underclass are full-color glossy magazines like Joint Force Quarterly (aka JFQ) and Proceedings that you might mistake at first glance for Gentleman’s Quarterly (aka GQ) or Hustler.
|A funny thing happened on the way|
to the independent forum.
The U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings, a former pseudo-employer of mine, has for decades billed itself as an “independent forum,” a quizzical claim considering that the Institute’s offices are located on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, and that the magazine’s CEO is a retired vice admiral, and that the editorial board consists of active duty career military officers and NCOs, and that every whole-grain company meme that passes through an admiral’s system and clings to a sheet of paper fertilizes a Proceedings cover story.
|Uncle Jimbo (left) and Crush of BLACKFIVE|
say "Baghdad blowed up real good!"
Kitty cornered from the niche BLACKFIVE infests we have the military intelligencia who produce scholarly journals like Orbis and the now defunct Strategic Review, both edited by Professor Mackubin Thomas Owens. Owens is presently an Associate Dean of Academics at the U. S. Naval War College where, during my one year of shore duty in the ‘90s, I drank my way through the graduate curriculum in post-modern imperialism.
"No, I don't expect you to do all of the
assigned reading. I expect you to die."
Somewhere in the middle of all this mind-bending malevolence lies Military.com. Military.com’s editor-in-chief is retired naval flight officer Ward “Tomcat Guy” Carroll, author of juvenile fiction about juvenile fighter pilots. Ward spent his active duty career lounging in the back seat of F-14 Tomcat fighter jets, drawing cartoons for in-house naval aviation magazines and playing his electric guitar in rock-and-roll bands. His post-Navy efforts as a double-dipping civil servant public affairs operative make him uniquely responsible for the existence of one of the leading killers of U.S. Marines: the V-22 Osprey. Ward was also a pseudo-employer of mine until he spiked one too many of my op-eds when they pulled the noses of his high-powered pals—most notably the detestable Tom Ricks—out of their sockets.
Bringing me on board was probably Ward’s half-acre attempt at pretending to have a balanced editorial policy, kind of like how FOX News kept Alan Colmes around all those years. But Ward keeps Military.com on the bandwidth by rebroadcasting whatever the Pentagon's reality rangers tell him to in a way that draws in Uncle Jimbo’s audience and one or two other viewers who can read with their mouths closed. A good example is a recent article by staff writer Michael Hoffman titled “Texas Guardsmen Warn of Iranian Influence in Iraq.” It’s an even thinner than usual information attack on Iran that’s dripping in hysterical accusations and arid on supporting evidence.
According to General Spurgin’s official bio, he is a conservationist in civilian life, suggesting that his experience in intelligence is limited to unearthing the secrets of preserving wildlife and natural resources. Brigadier Smith’s bio doesn’t say what he does full time, or give any inkling of how he comes to understand the methods by which Iran is using groceries to take over Iraq, though his official photo suggests that he does have a working knowledge of groceries.
“Military analysts and Middle East experts have spent years warning about the growing influence of Iran in Iraq,” the piece begins. “A group of Texas National Guardsmen watched it firsthand,” Hoffman tells us, and they came home to share their observations with “congressional lawmakers.”
The unnamed “analysts” and “experts” Hoffman is talking about are Victoria Clarke’s retired military shills like Barry McCaffrey and Jack Jacobs, AIPAC prostitute David Albright, the fear-and-loathers at United Against Nuclear Iran, and the phalanx of other patriotic psychopaths who persistently demonize Iran without producing a parcel of proof to back their claims.
“A group of Texas National Guardsmen,” we discover later in Hoffman’s story, are Major General Eddy Spurgin and Brigadier General William Smith, a pair of career weekend warriors looking to score points with the denizens of inner ring of the five-sided Rätselschloss. We also discover that the “congressional delegation” is Republican Congressman from Texas Mike Conaway who typically grips and grins with returning guardsmen who are stationed in his district.
Paragraphs deep into Hoffman’s dreck we find that Spurgin and Smith are concerned about Iran’s “malign influence” in Iraq. But “the Texas soldiers” presentation to Conaway “didn’t focus solely on advanced military operations out of Iran” because they “didn’t witness” any “brash power displays.” Spurgin and Smith instead spun a scary campfire tale about “how something as simple as groceries allows Iran’s government to gain power in Iraq.”
Sweet mother of pearl. Everyone involved in the fabrication of this story is as phony as a blue dollar bill. Bush crony Conaway is a member of the House Armed Services Committee who gained his military expertise during a two-year Army that he served at Fort Hood, Texas around the same time that young Mr. Bush was AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard. The “infantry division” that Spurgin and Smith command exercises “training and readiness oversight” of other Texas Army National Guard units that, like Guard units from every state, perform combat support functions as doctors, mechanics, clerks, cooks, etc. The division’s deployment to Iraq was no doubt vital to the care and feeding of the trigger pullers doing the actual fighting, but how it put Spurgin or Smith in a position to observe Iranian infiltration of Iraq will no doubt remain an unsolved mystery.
|Brigadier Smith: Lean, mean, Texas|
National Guard fighting machine.
Military journalist Mike Hoffman used to make a living as an Air Force intelligence officer. As I’ve noted before, military intelligence is to intelligence what Kenny G is to jazz. Air Force intelligence is to military intelligence what Barry Manilow is to rock and roll. Maybe that explains why Hoffman didn't question any of the intelligence Spurgin and Smith fed him for the article. Maybe it also explains how he wound up being a mildly successful military correspondent. As an intelligence weenie he learned the art of fabricating facts that his warmonger masters wanted to hear, so tapping out hackery--like this cockamamie "report" about a pair of ambitious play-warriors that was transparent excuse to repeat long standing but still unsubstantiated allegations that Iran has been training and arming Iraqi militants to kill American troops--was was a natural transition for him.
As to the question of whether I’m being a big blue martinet for chaining a fistful of minor league news mongers to the whipping post, the answer is not just “no.” It’s one word longer. These Durham bull feather merchants would snap at a chance to move up to The Show faster than you can say “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” They’re every bit as eager and able to peddle death, destruction and human misery in pursuit of personal fame and fortune as their counterparts in the Big Brother Broadcast, and they not only deserve to be regarded with the same degree of disdain and ridicule, they demand it.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) is author of the critically lauded novel Bathtub Admirals, a lampoon on America’s rise to global dominance.