|May 7, 2009|
|Pentagon Cops Out on Probe of Ex-Military Shills|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|What’s up with the Pentagon and PR? |
The Defense Dept. can’t even get “whitewashing” down pat.
In January, the Inspector General's office released findings of its probe into the practice of retired military officers appearing on network and cable TV to “shill” for President Bush’s misadventure in Iraq.
That report, neatly called "Examination of Allegations Involving DoD Office of Public Affairs Outreach Program," cleared the Retired Military Analyst or “message force multiplier” campaign. It found “insufficient basis” that the effort violated laws prohibiting propaganda. Congressional critics gave that report a Bronx Cheer, ripping it as a whitewash.
Let’s fast-forward to May 5.
Don Horstman, Deputy Inspector General for Policy and Oversight, fesses up ... kinda. Right you were, he tells critics. He admits the DOD’s methodology was flawed. The sample was too small as only seven of the 70 Pentagon mouthpieces were interviewed.
The report, according to Horstman, “relied, in part, on a body of testimonial evidence that was insufficient or inconclusive.” Therefore, “no conclusion can be reached in the affirmative or negative regarding the relationship of the RMAs and potential competitive advantage.”
The January report was either an exercise in futility or worse, a cover-up.
What does the DOD do to make things right? Absolutely nothing.
The Pentagon has withdrawn the January whitewash and has swept the whole sordid affair under the rug. Or as Horstman writes:
“We have determined that additional investigative work will not be undertaken to reissue the report because the RMA outreach program has been terminated and responsible senior officials are no longer employed by the Department.”
That’s a shameful bid to cover the Pentagon’s tracks. Rubbing salt into the wound, DOD has removed the January report from its website. It's a policy of what you can't see won't hurt you.
The American people deserve the truth as to whether or not the military rammed a propaganda program down our throats. And what is the basic problem with probing excesses of the Bush Administration, be it torture or propaganda? Doesn’t the pursuit of truth and justice mean anything to us?
Congress should launch its own probe of the RMA to make sure such a deceitful program never runs again.
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