Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bush's expensive photo op

Bush's 'surprise' visit to Iraq is nothing more than a carefully, and though I hate to admit it, brilliantly conceived public relations plan in advance of General Petraeus' report to Congress in a couple weeks. Petraeus' testimony is in turn part of the larger plan to pressure Congress to continue funding Bush's Iraq disaster.

The Washington Post has bought the PR effort hook, line, and sinker. They actually published this quotation from the President:
"General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker tell me if the kind of success we are now seeing continues, it will be possible to maintain the same level of security with fewer American forces," the president said.

Seriously, this has been the deadliest summer in Iraq since the war began. The logic in Bush's statement is on such a slippery slope that I can't even believe he said it. But then again, they've lied and been disingenuous with us countless times before.

If Bush actually draws down troops, without Congressional mandate, before leaving office, the only reason will be to strengthen his party's nominee for President. That scenario would likely play out only in a close race. Regardless, their propaganda may achieve their objective of continuing this war.

Recent feedback from staff of Democratic Leadership in Congress leads me to believe that they are either resigned to losing the battle over the War or haven't yet put together a game plan. Either way, I think it's pathetic. The White House is running circles around them in the PR game and this may ultimately apply just the right amount of pressure on moderate Republicans and a handful of Democrats to continue giving a blank check to Bush's Iraq disaster.

Pentagon PR Push pushes the envelope

I planned to write about this on Friday, but found myself far busier than I had planned. Better late then never!

This Washington Post article (which was on page 13) shows how the Pentagon must push their propaganda not only to Congress and the American public, but also to the rank and file troops.
The sheets of paper seemed to be everywhere the lawmakers went in the Green Zone, distributed to Iraqi officials, U.S. officials and uniformed military of no particular rank. So when Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) asked a soldier last weekend just what he was holding, the congressman was taken aback to find out.

In the soldier's hand was a thumbnail biography, distributed before each of the congressmen's meetings in Baghdad, which let meeting participants such as that soldier know where each of the lawmakers stands on the war. "Moran on Iraq policy," read one section, going on to cite some the congressman's most incendiary statements, such as, "This has been the worst foreign policy fiasco in American history."

I find this reprehensible. A source of mine who has worked in Public Affairs for a branch of the military tells me that this is, without a doubt, a product of Psychological Operations, or PsyOps, as many people refer to it. He says that Public Affairs would never engage in something like this, even with all of the shady things this Administration has pushed.

Further, the military allowed no contact from anyone that wasn't a part of the carefully scripted visit by Members of Congress. People who tried to insert themselves into the dog and pony show were silenced.
At one point, as Moran, Tauscher and Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.) were heading to lunch in the fortified Green Zone, an American urgently tried to get their attention, apparently to voice concerns about the war effort, the participants said. Security whisked the man away before he could make his point.

And, just so you know how serious the Iraqi government is about listening to American government officials and convincing them that they are dedicated to making their government work:
At one point, the three were trying to discuss the state of Iraqi security forces with Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, but the large, flat-panel television set facing the official proved to be a distraction. Rubaie was watching children's cartoons.

When Moran asked him to turn it off, Rubaie protested with a laugh and said, "But this is my favorite television show," Moran recalled.

Finally, buried at the tail end of the article is a noteworthy quotation from Republican Congressman John Porter of Nevada.
"I tend to lean with the rank-and-file members of military who have nothing to gain," he added. "They want to go home as soon as possible."

Will it reflect his vote on the upcoming appropriations supplemental or it is more lip service that we've been seeing from Republicans who seek to distance themselves from the disaster the Iraq war has been, while supporting it at every step along the way.

Monday, September 3, 2007

No Dirty Tricks!

There is an effort underway by conservatives to split up California's electoral votes. This would dilute the power of California to have a say in who becomes President and it would give an unfair advantage to Republicans.

The Courage Campaign has launched a Campaign against this effort called "No Dirty Tricks". Republicans have been finding ways to cheat for years. The time has come for us to let them know that we're going to stand up.

Please consider chipping in $20 to save 20 electoral votes from being stolen by Republicans.

Below, Rick Jacobs, Chair of the Courage Campaign explains the importance of this effort.