Thursday, December 29, 2005

Lie, military tells homeward bound soldiers..or else.

From Capitol Hill Blue

CHB Investigates. . .Pentagon propaganda program orders soldiers to promote Iraq war while home on leave
By DOUG THOMPSONPublisher, Capitol Hill Blue
Dec 29, 2005, 05:44

Good soldiers follow orders and hundreds of American military men and women returned to the United States on holiday leave this month with orders to sell the Iraq war to a skeptical public.The program, coordinated through a Pentagon operation dubbed “Operation Homefront,” ordered military personnel to give interviews to their hometown newspapers, television stations and other media outlets and praise the American war effort in Iraq.

Initial reports back to the Pentagon deem the operation a success with dozens of front page stories in daily and weekly newspapers around the country along with upbeat reports on local television stations.“We've learned as a military how to do this better,” Captain David Diaz, a military reservist, told his hometown paper, The Roanoke (VA) Times. “My worry is that we have the right military strategy and political strategies now but the patience of the American public is wearing thin.”

When pressed by the paper on whether or not his commanding officers told him to talk to the press, Diaz admitted he was “encouraged” to do so. So reporter Duncan Adams asked:“Did Diaz return to the U.S. on emergency leave with an agenda -- to offer a positive spin that could help counter growing concerns among Americans about the U.S. exit strategy? How do we know that's not his strategy, especially after he discloses that superior officers encouraged him to talk about his experiences in Iraq?”

Replied Diaz:“You don't. I can tell you that the direction we've gotten from on high is that there is a concern about public opinion out there and they want to set the record straight.”

Diaz, an intelligence officer, knows how to avoid a direct answer. Other military personnel, however, tell Capitol Hill Blue privately that the pressure to “sell the war” back home is enormous.

“I’ve been promised an early release if I do a good job promoting the war,” says one reservist who asked not to be identified.

In interviews with a number of reservists home for the holidays, a pattern emerges on the Pentagon’s propaganda effort. Soldiers are encouraged to contact their local news media outlets to offer interviews about the war. A detailed set of talking points encourages them to:--Admit initial doubts about the war but claim conversion to a belief in the American mission;--Praise military leadership in Iraq and throw in a few words of support for the Bush administration;--Claim the mission to turn security of the country over to the Iraqis is working;--Reiterate that America must not abandon its mission and must stay until the “job is finished.”--Talk about how “things are better” now in Iraq.

“My worry is that we have the right military strategy and political strategies now but the patience of the American public is wearing thin,” Diaz told The Roanoke Times.“It’s way better now (in Iraq). People are friendlier. They seem more relaxed, and they say, ’Thank you, mister,’” Sgt. Christopher Desierto told his hometown paper, The Maui News.

But soldiers who are home and don’t have to return to Iraq tell a different story.

“I've just been focused on trying to get the rest of these guys home,” says Sgt. Major Floyd Dubose of Jackson, MS, who returned home after 11 months in Iraq with the Mississippi Army National Guard's 155th Combat Brigade.

And the Army is cracking down on soldiers who go on the record opposing the war.

Specialist Leonard Clark, a National Guardsman, was demoted to private and fined $1,640 for posting anti-war statements on an Internet blog. Clark wrote entries describing the company's commander as a "glory seeker" and the battalion sergeant major an "inhuman monster". His last entry before the blog was shut down told how his fellow soldiers were becoming increasingly opposed to the US operation in Iraq.

“The message is clear,” says one reservist who is home for the holidays but has to return and asked not to be identified. “If you want to get out of this man’s Army with an honorable (discharge) and full benefits you better not tell the truth about what is happening in-country.”

But Sgt. Johnathan Wilson, a reservist, got his honorable discharge after he returned home earlier this month and he’s not afraid to talk on the record.

“Iraq is a classic FUBAR,” he says. “The country is out of control and we can’t stop it. Anybody who tries to sell a good news story about the war is blowing it out his ass. We don’t win and eventually we will leave the country in a worse shape than it was when we invaded.”

© Copyright 2005 Capitol Hill Blue



Anonymous said...

Good article and interesting point of view, however, the key word i.e. 'reservist' in paragraph 2 ruins any creditability. Fromt he top ranks down, Reservists and National Guardsmen/women have been traditionally marginal at best...small % are stellar Soldiers...reason for them either leaving active duty or enlisting straight into the reserves or guard, claiming they had been 'tricked' into government slavery for college money. I am not surprised if the Reserve unit leadership coerced their subordinates into 'selling' the War (wrong answer to have done so) --if they did coerce, it is only typical of the weekend warrior mindset, and truly not the attitude of the Army as a whole and not in the spirit of the Homefront scheme. Keep up the blog, looking forward to reading more.

sevenpointman said...

Howard Roberts

A Seven-point plan for an Exit Strategy in Iraq

1) A timetable for the complete withdrawal of American and British forces must be announced.
I envision the following procedure, but suitable fine-tuning can be applied by all the people involved.

A) A ceasefire should be offered by the Occupying side to representatives of both the Sunni insurgency and the Shiite community. These representatives would be guaranteed safe passage, to any meetings. The individual insurgency groups would designate who would attend.
At this meeting a written document declaring a one-month ceasefire, witnessed by a United Nations authority, will be fashioned and eventually signed. This document will be released in full, to all Iraqi newspapers, the foreign press, and the Internet.
B) US and British command will make public its withdrawal, within sixth-months of 80 % of their troops.

C) Every month, a team of United Nations observers will verify the effectiveness of the ceasefire.
All incidences on both sides will be reported.

D) Combined representative armed forces of both the Occupying nations and the insurgency organizations that agreed to the cease fire will protect the Iraqi people from actions by terrorist cells.

E) Combined representative armed forces from both the Occupying nations and the insurgency organizations will begin creating a new military and police force. Those who served, without extenuating circumstances, in the previous Iraqi military or police, will be given the first option to serve.

F) After the second month of the ceasefire, and thereafter, in increments of 10-20% ,a total of 80% will be withdrawn, to enclaves in Qatar and Bahrain. The governments of these countries will work out a temporary land-lease housing arrangement for these troops. During the time the troops will be in these countries they will not stand down, and can be re-activated in the theater, if both the chain of the command still in Iraq, the newly formed Iraqi military, the leaders of the insurgency, and two international ombudsman (one from the Arab League, one from the United Nations), as a majority, deem it necessary.

G) One-half of those troops in enclaves will leave three-months after they arrive, for the United States or other locations, not including Iraq.

H) The other half of the troops in enclaves will leave after six-months.

I) The remaining 20 % of the Occupying troops will, during this six month interval, be used as peace-keepers, and will work with all the designated organizations, to aid in reconstruction and nation-building.

J) After four months they will be moved to enclaves in the above mentioned countries.
They will remain, still active, for two month, until their return to the States, Britain and the other involved nations.

2) At the beginning of this period the United States will file a letter with the Secretary General of the Security Council of the United Nations, making null and void all written and proscribed orders by the CPA, under R. Paul Bremer. This will be announced and duly noted.

3) At the beginning of this period all contracts signed by foreign countries will be considered in abeyance until a system of fair bidding, by both Iraqi and foreign countries, will be implemented ,by an interim Productivity and Investment Board, chosen from pertinent sectors of the Iraqi economy.
Local representatives of the 18 provinces of Iraq will put this board together, in local elections.

4) At the beginning of this period, the United Nations will declare that Iraq is a sovereign state again, and will be forming a Union of 18 autonomous regions. Each region will, with the help of international experts, and local bureaucrats, do a census as a first step toward the creation of a municipal government for all 18 provinces. After the census, a voting roll will be completed. Any group that gets a list of 15% of the names on this census will be able to nominate a slate of representatives. When all the parties have chosen their slates, a period of one-month will be allowed for campaigning.
Then in a popular election the group with the most votes will represent that province.
When the voters choose a slate, they will also be asked to choose five individual members of any of the slates.
The individuals who have the five highest vote counts will represent a National government.
This whole process, in every province, will be watched by international observers as well as the local bureaucrats.

During this process of local elections, a central governing board, made up of United Nations, election governing experts, insurgency organizations, US and British peacekeepers, and Arab league representatives, will assume the temporary duties of administering Baghdad, and the central duties of governing.

When the ninety representatives are elected they will assume the legislative duties of Iraq for two years.

Within three months the parties that have at least 15% of the representatives will nominate candidates for President and Prime Minister.

A national wide election for these offices will be held within three months from their nomination.

The President and the Vice President and the Prime Minister will choose their cabinet, after the election.

5) All debts accrued by Iraq will be rescheduled to begin payment, on the principal after one year, and on the interest after two years. If Iraq is able to handle another loan during this period she should be given a grace period of two years, from the taking of the loan, to comply with any structural adjustments.

6) The United States and the United Kingdom shall pay Iraq reparations for its invasion in the total of 120 billion dollars over a period of twenty years for damages to its infrastructure. This money can be defrayed as investment, if the return does not exceed 6.5 %.

7) During the beginning period Saddam Hussein and any other prisoners who are deemed by a Council of Iraqi Judges, elected by the National representative body, as having committed crimes will be put up for trial.
The trial of Saddam Hussein will be before seven judges, chosen from this Council of Judges.
One judge, one jury, again chosen by this Council, will try all other prisoners.
All defendants will have the right to present any evidence they want, and to choose freely their own lawyers.

Watch 'n Wait said...

Hi..Thanks for leaving your plan for Iraq. Thought I'd ask a couple of other writers for their opinions for your consideration, so here they are:

Sounds like a good plan, however, it will need honesty and good will from all players, including surrounding countries. That's the tough part. How much good will and honesty can be expected from factions within Iraq? The insurgents have been murdering their country men, women and children. Will these victims' families suddenly forget to take revenge? These assholes have been battling each other for centuries. They're going to have to produce some local Lincolns or Mandelas to give this a chance. And all it takes to scuttle it all is one nut with a suicide bomb. Yes, the people are probably tired of all the death and would be willing to cool it, but I truly believe that many of the insurgents love the thrill of it all; love the virtual impunity under which they operate. With so many presumably independent fighters the "leadership" of the insurgents is probably tenuous at best.

Hope I'm wrong.


It certainly is detailed - the guy must think about the problem a lot. Not sure it's possible - for example, some of the things he covers such as Saddam's trial, are already underway in other venues or forms - or practical - how do you get insurgents to quit being insurgents and join in an effort they're so against that they've become insurgents? but at least he's given it some thought. Me, I fear no matter what we and others do, the country's going to end up in a civil war before things are finally settled. The three main groups remind me of schoolboys who can't get along and who need to settle things with a big fight-to-the finish brawl to get it out of their system. Like one of my brothers who couldn't get along with a neighborhood kid. Finally, one day as soon as they got off the school bus (in front of our house), they tore into each other. My mother saw it and let them fight. After a few scrapes and bruises and torn shirts, nobody won but they got tired of fighting. After that (and spankings at school for fighting on the way home from school - kids were "under the auspicies of the school" until they reached their own doorstep) they became best friends, inseparable. That's what the Kurds, Sunni and Shites remind me of. Unfortunately, in any fight they have, they'll inflict more than a few scrapes and bruises and torn shirts.

But it would be nice if something like this guy's plan would work. Save on shirts, too.

sevenpointman said...

Hey Jim-

Thanks for taking the time to read my plan. I agree that some radical honesty is necessary on all sides to implement my plan.
I also feel that the good will has been sapped by the level of violence-but I still think ,given the proper framework, both internationally and within Iraq, a compromise can happen, if the Occupying forces leave, as I envision. It will be difficult and there will be set-backs, but all steps of my plan, if they are implemented, could make the transistion easier.
I am completly in accord with your statement, that "the insurgents", have been murdering their own people.
But the nature of this type of guerrilla war, matched with the influx of jihadists created by the nature of security and logistics applied to this conflict, have divided those insurgents who are attacking our troops, from those who attack civilian targets.
I am opposed to all individual and group actions against civilian targets-which of course includes the Occupying forces as well.
But there exists a large group, possibly a majority, that can be included in those insurgents who are fighting a war against Occupation. These people can be seen as an opposition that could be negotiated with, and eventually integrated into a strong military and police that would fight against those faux insurgent jihadists.
As for your assessment of the nature of the iraqi people, I have always approached the other from a standpoint of respect, and will not comment on it.

I am afraid that there will be several lone nuts after the implementation of my plan, but the nature of it's checks and balances, and it's diplomatic thrust, would be able to continue with the process ,and keep it from coming apart.

As for who will step up and lead Iraq-this is wholly dependent on the Iraqi people themselves. A nation of such a history of civilization, if left to work out their process of governing, would have the integrity and foresight to do it.

Thanks again for your insights.


sevenpointman said...

Hey Barb-

What you said about kids fighting is probably a good way to see the iraqi situation, from one angle. it is hard to argue against that there is alot of violence to go around. But I spent a long time researching my plan and I feel that dialogue through de-coupling our forces could be an answer.
I like most Americans feel the War was wrong. So I began my active pursuit of the information in the Spring of 2004 and came to some direct conclusion in formulating my plan in September 2004. Since then I have pursued circulating through friends,activists etc, in e-mails and most recently my blog: sevenpointman

As for your observation that certain points of my plan are underway I would answer this: given the climate on the ground in Iraq, both the trial of Saddam Hussein and the many elections that have happened, will not lead to a postive outcome unless they are connecterd to our withdrawal in a reasonable time. I am totally opposed to a tripartite state of iraq, but support 18 autonomous regions with one central federal government.
I also have problems with the security and the legitimacy of the present trial of Saddam and others.
My plan is open enough to include some variations that will take in consideration the results of the last year-but it will not accept an imposed solution by only one party.

Thanks for your comments.


Watch 'n Wait said...

Perhaps I'm just a pessimist. Howard, you make a good argument but in the
end whatever any of us says is academic. I'm game, though, so let's give it
a try. Any takers in the Bush Admin? I didn't think so. Therein lies a
large part of the frustration with this war. We're left out of it unless we
want to reenlist as IED fodder. Were stuck pretty much with whatever those
currently in charge want to do. Even Colin Powell was ignored by this bunch.


sevenpointman said...


Marshall Mcluhan said that when you have a good idea-and the powers that be are trying to frustrate you-just bypass them-and build a new media for creative ideas.

I sent my plan to the administration-and to several other Republican big-wigs-not a word, in return.

but I am optimistic about my plan and the future.
If you like my plan send it to your congressman or any other person who could make a difference.

Thanks my friend.