Thursday, December 01, 2005

This is not democracy, it's Bushocracy, where anything goes

There are just so many things wrong with this picture, it's hard to know where to start. The Defense Department is paying a contractor, the "Lincoln Group" (how Orwellian), to plant sunny, everything-is-coming-up-roses articles in the media and to pay "sympathetic" journalists for positive coverage. Propaganda, sponsored by the U.S. military and . And if you read the article carefully, it sounds like the whistle is being blown by insiders on this one:
The Lincoln contract with the American-led coalition forces in Iraq has rankled some military and civilian officials and contractors. Some of them described the program to The New York Times in recent months and provided examples of the military's storyboards.
Good for them, this story is emblematic of an anti-democratic undercurrent that frequently pops up here and there in many of the Bush administration's actions. And while they are theoretically engaged in their "mission" to spread freedom and democracy, such episodes are all the more damning. Let's let one of the quotes from the article sum up the damage such escapades cost:
Others seemed to share the sentiment. "I think it's absolutely wrong for the government to do this," said Patrick Butler, vice president of the International Center for Journalists in Washington, which conducts ethics training for journalists from countries without a history of independent news media. "Ethically, it's indefensible."

Mr. Butler, who spoke from a conference in Wisconsin with Arab journalists, said the American government paid for many programs that taught foreign journalists not to accept payments from interested parties to write articles and not to print government propaganda disguised as news.

"You show the world you're not living by the principles you profess to believe in, and you lose all credibility," he said.
So I have a question. Why is this being slagged off on to the shoulders of the Pentagon? Yes, they've instituted this contract. But it is an action of the U.S. government that has occurred here, and the President bears responsibility for the actions of his government. Every time an event like this happens, there is an instant "localization" of responsibility elsewhere away from the White House.

Bush is not in control of his people, i.e., Rumsfeld, and clearly departments run amok without any kind of supervision from the top or any clear setting of examples from any semblance of White House leadership. Bush, and Cheney, have given a wink and a nod to torture practices and it seems that propaganda is just one more tool in the fight against terrorism that also is worthy of a similar wink and a nod. "Let's let the Department of Defense get the facts" or some other pathetic response is the word from the White House spokesman. How about this is unacceptable and the United States of America does not and cannot stand for such corrupt, anti-democratic practices? How about freedom of speech is the bedrock principle of any democracy, be it a nascent democracy like Iraq or mature, like the U.S.?

Oh yes, sadly, I forgot for a moment that we're not dealing with a traditional American government that actually practices the ideals upon which the nation was founded. We're dealing with Bushocracy where the ends clearly justify the means. And so we see this embarrassment of propaganda, just the latest example of what happens when you elect a President who has no idea what he's doing.