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Hullabaloo


Sunday, November 30, 2008

 
I Like Ike

by digby

He warned us.



Unsurprisingly, it's also become a seamless part of the propaganda arm of the government, the media:

In the spring of 2007 a tiny military contractor with a slender track record went shopping for a precious Beltway commodity.

The company, Defense Solutions, sought the services of a retired general with national stature, someone who could open doors at the highest levels of government and help it win a huge prize: the right to supply Iraq with thousands of armored vehicles.

Access like this does not come cheap, but it was an opportunity potentially worth billions in sales, and Defense Solutions soon found its man. The company signed Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and military analyst for NBC News, to a consulting contract starting June 15, 2007.

Four days later the general swung into action. He sent a personal note and 15-page briefing packet to David H. Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, strongly recommending Defense Solutions and its offer to supply Iraq with 5,000 armored vehicles from Eastern Europe. “No other proposal is quicker, less costly, or more certain to succeed,” he said.

Thus, within days of hiring General McCaffrey, the Defense Solutions sales pitch was in the hands of the American commander with the greatest influence over Iraq’s expanding military.

“That’s what I pay him for,” Timothy D. Ringgold, chief executive of Defense Solutions, said in an interview.

General McCaffrey did not mention his new contract with Defense Solutions in his letter to General Petraeus. Nor did he disclose it when he went on CNBC that same week and praised the commander Defense Solutions was now counting on for help — “He’s got the heart of a lion” — or when he told Congress the next month that it should immediately supply Iraq with large numbers of armored vehicles and other equipment.


Read the whole New York Times article if you have the time. We knew the military "analysts" were working with the Pentagon already. But this adds the other dimension --- the deep, moneyed ties between the ex-generals and the defense business and how they use their positions as media "experts" to benefit their contractor employers. (It also benefits their media employers --- war means ratings.)

This is one of those subjects that makes the head hurt. The article talks a lot about the conflicts of interest and the deep ties these guys maintain with the military the media and the defense contractors to the point where the lines are blurred among them, but the fundamental problem that Ike describes isn't really part of the story. That subject is so outside the mainstream to even question this stuff that you sound like a kook even bringing it up. But the fact is that one of the fundamental reasons we have deep intractable economic problems is this massive government welfare program we call the defense industry. It does create jobs. But it produces destruction and warps this country's priorities to the point where they are incoherent. And there's zero discussion anywhere about changing that.


Update: Greenwald documents the media's total irresponsibility and lack of ethics on this story, which he has been chronicling for months. These networks are really unbelievable. They just don't care --- and nobody else does either.







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