In a three-page story beginning on page 1A of Sunday's New York Times, David Barstow documents how the Pentagon has been using retired high-ranking military personnel as propaganda agents for the purpose of selling the "success" of the Iraq Occupation (my word, not theirs) to the American people on the three "major" networks, as well as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and PBS.
You've seen them--the suited "retired Army major general so-and-so" who has just returned from a "fact-finding" mission to Guantanamo/Baghdad/Afghanistan to happily report that we "have turned the corner/seen light at the end of the tunnel/begun to kick some ass/are clearly winning the war" in Iraq. The only problem: the "scoops" pouring out of these malleable mouths were nothing but Rumsfeld talking points given a military haircut and shoe shine and trotted out to see how they would play in the lala land that is contemporary major network news.
Don't you wonder why it is that we are NEVER ALLOWED TO SEE anything that looks like death on our TV screens? Why, even the sight of a flag-draped coffin containing the remains of a US soldier is taboo, let alone the gruesome, gut-wrenching stuff that draws Americans to movie and TV gore-fests like '24', CSI, and such, week after week. As Amy Goodman said in a speech last night here in Denver, if Americans were forced--as Iraqi men, women, and children are day-in/day-out--to see scenes of war AS IT ACTUALLY IS alongside images of their pretty-boy-and-girl news anchors, they would demand an end to the madness faster than the character, Marlow, in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness can say, "The horror! The horror!"
Here's another dot for you:
If you can't look at the product of your particular enterprise at any given moment, it probably isn't something you should be doing.