Monday, September 19, 2005

Timothy Karr responds -- Oct 19, 05

Thanks for writing Gregg. I will take you up on that beer. Seriously.

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 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

1 comment:

clazy said...

You've shifted the sense of "staged". Initial reports said the event had been staged and either strongly implied or claimed outright that it had been scripted, provoking outrage at the administration's dishonesty. That depiction was rejected by the actual participants, but it seems as if you and many of your readers aren't willing to let go of the indignation you originally felt, so you've lowered the bar. You've had to pose as naifs, on the one hand, while insulting the troops who participated as fools.

You must know, however, that George Bush would himself be a fool to produce a photo op without at least some idea that participants aren't going to pipe up with statements like "The longer we stay, the harder it will be to leave because of the resources wasted on this sad desert land. The longer we stay, the more hated we will become. It is time for us to go." As if an officer would actually say such things to the President in public. Please. Moreover my own reading suggests you "deeply" overstate the extent to which letters such as the one from which that extract was taken demonstrate an Army "divided over the war." Reenlistment rates actually exceed the Army's targets.