Right wing disinformation campaign rolls on with Rumsfeld

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 03:23 PM

Iraq?  Doing swell, thanks for asking.

The economy? Burning up, thanks for asking.

How can people believe that?  It's the disinfo campaign, and thanks for asking.

Even now, in the last few days, the right wingers in the media know their job:  keep as many Americans uninformed as possible.  For example, check these excerpts from a Rumsfeld appearance] on the Mike Gallagher radio show, Friday, April 28, 2006 [emphasis added]:

GALLAGHER: It's not an easy task coming into the studio every day and trying to get to the truth about things like this war on terror. I really fear that the mainstream media has such an agenda that most Americans just don't get a true picture of the success that we've had, particularly in Iraq. I don't suppose anybody could give us a better picture than the 21st Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. It is a real honor to welcome the Defense Secretary to the Mike Gallagher Show.

Secretary Rumsfeld, how are you sir?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Thank you very much, I'm delighted to be with you and I'm in good shape. I came in yesterday from Iraq and had an opportunity to meet with all the new Iraqi leadership and note the historic nature of this political milestone that's been achieved in that country.

GALLAGHER: There have been a number of milestones. I've seen you express this frustration, Mr. Secretary, that these achievements -- we hear them from soldiers. I hear them from service men and women who come back. I get e-mails from service men over in the battlefield who say Mike, the American people just don't get the picture of all the good that's being done over there. It's got to be frustrating. I've seen you express that frustration. But talk a little bit about how hard it is to get this message out to the American people.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Well it is. If you think of what just happened, the terrorists tried to stop the election and they failed, they tried to stop the drafting of an Iraqi constitution and they failed, and they've tried to prevent the new government from being formed and they failed, and the progress there is notable. Eleven million people, Iraqis, went out and voted and they have a new constitution and a new government.

I spent a good deal of time with the new government leaders. They are purposeful, they're determined, they clearly recognize the importance of representing all elements of the diverse religions groups that live in that country and they're off to a very solid start. I came away very encouraged by it.

And that story just doesn't get out in the U.S. press. I mean it hasn't. I noticed it was on page four or five of some of the supposedly leading newspapers in our country.

GALLAGHER: It's buried. The spread of democracy to this troubled part of the world is such a watershed moment in our nation's history and indeed on the planet, and yet it just seems to be put on a back burner and it's enormously frustrating to those of us who keep hearing the pleas from people who are over there with their boots on the ground saying you've got to get the word out.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Of course one of the things that's happening is these wonderful young men and women who serve over there for our country and are defending freedom and fighting terrorists over there so that we don't have to fight them here in the United States, those folks all e-mail back to their families and relatives in the United States and tell them the truth about what's taking place and that's encouraging. I suppose that's one of the reasons the media ranks down near the bottom in terms of public approval.

Isn't it amazing that these slugs can use the media to spread the idea that the media is to blame?

And they're still beating the old "milestone achievement" shtick to death.  As if these milestones have ever had any direct correlation with "how things are going." These milestones appear, unfortunately, not to be relevant to the number of current or future Gravestones.

Have any of the vaunted milestones reduced the violence?  Reduced the divisions between the increasingly hostile segments of the Iraqi population?  Made it less likely that the country will eventually fracture?

In the NY Times sometime in the last few days there was a story about Iraqi groups having already drawn up maps showing where the country will be divided between Kurds, Sunni Arabs, and Shia Arabs.  That's the kind of milestone that may bear a direct correlation with the ultimate outcome.

AND NOTE TO EARTH: Rumsfeld wants to talk public approval?? According to an April 20 Fox News report:

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's job approval rating also hit a record low this week with 35 percent of Americans saying they approve, down from 40 percent in December and 44 percent last April.

Then there's the NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R), during April 21-24, 2006 (approx. 500 adults nationwide) on their feelings toward Donald Rumsfeld:

11%   Very Positive
19%  Somewhat Positive
18% Neutral
16%  Somewhat negative
26% Very negative
10% Unsure/Don't know name

Back to the Gallagher interview:

GALLAGHER: Mr. Secretary, much has been made about the U.S. troop drawdown, politicians calling for a timetable. Talk to us a little bit about how you see the war in Iraq playing out over the next few years or beyond. President Bush has been very adamant, we cannot stamp a timetable on this because that signals a message to the terrorists - to the bad guys - it just gives them a road map about when they can do what they want to do as it is.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: That's exactly right. The success we're having in training and equipping the Iraqi security forces is notable. There are now over 250,000 Iraqi security forces. They're headed up towards something like 325,000 later this year. And those folks are out there doing the job. They're assuming more and more responsibility across the country for the security of the Iraqi people - as they should. And, as they take over responsibility, obviously the need for U.S. forces will decline and we ought to be able to make some reductions in our force levels as we have been doing. We hit a high, I think, of 160,000. We're now down to 132,000 and I have every confidence that the Iraqi government and the Iraqi security forces will be able to assume additional responsibility this year and next, and that we'll be able to continue that process of reducing our force levels.

No comment from the Sec. on how many of the security forces are loyal to the insurgents, how many to Shia militia, and how many to the two armed Kurdish militias.  Maybe that computation can serve as the next milestone.

One last interview excerpt:

GALLAGHER: It has to be awfully difficult for you to hear some of those potshots that have been leveled your way by some of these retired generals.

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Well, you know there have always been criticisms made in every war. Anyone who reads history understands that, that there are people who sit on the side and make observations and that's a free country so they're free to do that.

We've got something like 7,500 generals and admirals, - over 8,000 that are either on active duty or retired - and with that large number of people there are going to be some people who have different views, who are writing books and peddling their books or running for office, and that's the way it works. I suppose if you're in these jobs you have to expect that.

GALLAGHER: I appreciate you putting it in perspective. When you think of the thousands of either active or retired generals and admirals and commanders and they have managed to find I think four or five who seem not to think that you've done a very good job or a very effective job. That does give us pause for realizing a little perspective here about it. Because we've also heard, although the media doesn't like to talk about these guys too much, all the generals and the active military commanders who think we've certainly made some mistakes but overall this has been a noble and a very competent effort.

Yup, it's just a tiny few complainers out of a whole sea of approving military guys.  You know, the few cranky whiners that you see in every field.  Well, yeah, in this case the "few" happen to be very high ranking, and we did trust them enough to put them in the highest positions. And come to think of it, with Powell having joined the chorus I guess it is getting closer to 10 or 12.  But let's face it, for us this still just might be a competent effort--look at our other efforts.