"The inspector general’s office at the Defense Department announced that it
would investigate a Pentagon public affairs program that sought to transform retired military officers who work as television and radio analysts into “message force multipliers” who could be counted on to echo Bush administration talking points about Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo and terrorism in general. The Defense Department suspended the program last month(April 2008).
“The G.A.O. said it…would give a legal opinion on whether it violated
longstanding prohibitions against spending government money to spread propaganda to audiences in the United States.”
Since we’re a healthy democracy, it would be a no brainer to reject any program that would intentionally lie or mislead the citizens of the U.S., right? Not if you’re a fear mongering conservative (name calling or the truth?), willing to give up a little freedom to your trusted government authority.
Representative Paul Broun, Republican of Georgia, said: “Of course Americans
engage in propaganda. It’s a vital part of the mission of the United States to promote democracy and protect our country from harm.”
This is the Party that hates our big intrusive government. Perhaps Rep. Broun is unaware that it is illegal to carry out domestic propaganda. Foreign programs are permissible, but here at home, a no-no.
But if lacking common sense and any historical perspective wasn’t enough, maybe the most outlandish possibility of all will spark another needless debate.
“Representative Duncan Hunter of California, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, objected to the amendment, arguing, ‘The idea that somehow Don Rumsfeld got these people in a room and told them what to say, if you believe that you don’t believe in the independence of these general officers,”
Why the very idea that military officers would do what they were told is….probable, and another crazy rant from former presidential candidate Rep. Duncan Hunter.
The stakes are high: If the investigation determines the Pentagon did have an active domestic propaganda program in place, then laws were broken and those accountable would be charged.
But if the G.A.O. decides the Pentagon did not break any laws, the bar would be set so low we would no longer be insulated by law from being told anything the governments what’s us to hear.
It would be all over.
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