I am disturbed by the number of people who have misread my post as an attack on the troops. I'm more concerned, however, that the Pentagon and the White House are using you and your fellow soldiers as bit players in a deceptive political scheme.
The Thursday event came across very poorly in mainstream media -- as though it were a desperate White House bid to reverse the president's decline in public opinion polls. I have watched the raw feed several times and wasn't the least bit convinced.
It's clear that the intent of the White House was to have troops spin the war for political gain. I base my assumptions upon a preponderance of evidence (laid out in this and other posts on MediaCitizen) and on considerable expertise in government propaganda techniques (related to my work at FreePress.net and collaboration with the Center for Media and Democracy).
This White House is fearful of dissenting views. Their control extends well beyond "frank" conversations with the troops to "town hall" meetings and press events in the US, where Bush’s handlers pre-screen all participants based upon their loyalty to the president.
While your words may have been heartfelt, it's clear that you were selected to deliver them because of your previous comments in media -- particularly those reported by Chattanooga Times-Free Press correspondent Edward Lee Pitts.
I'm not questioning your sincerity as much as I question the ways the White House uses soldiers as fodder to accomplish a partisan end.
If you believe in Bush's cause, then you might not have a problem playing a part in this deception. But what occurred on Thursday, was in no way an honest and balanced assessment of the situation on the ground in Iraq. They orchestrated this event to pull the wool over the eyes of the media – and by extension the American public.
It was a staged event. The White House needed only to present it for what it was. I can excuse them for dopey PR. I can't excuse them for trying, once again, to fool Americans about this war.
There are many who don't share your optimism about our prospects for a peaceful handover and exit from Iraq. Some are soldiers who, like you, are stationed in country. I have read their letters, blogs and listened to some of their speeches.
If Bush wanted to have a frank and honest discussion with the troops, why not include more diverse perspectives. Instead, the White House gave us an event that further highlighted this president's inability to consider any other view than his own.
I applaud the work that you are doing to ensure a peaceful future for that country.
P.S. -- fixed the 2003 reference. My Bad.
-- Read Lt Murphy's comments
-- Return to original post