War / Peace

Mission Creep Reaches U.S. Newsrooms

"Over the past five years, the money the [U.S.] military spends on winning hearts and minds at home and abroad has grown by 63 percent, to at least $4.7 billion this year," reports the Associated Press. "That's almost as much as it spent on body armor for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2006. ...

No

Pentagon Absolves Self for Covert Pundit Program

"It is a whitewash," said Representative Paul Hodes. "It appears to be the parting gift of the Pentagon to the [former] president [Bush]," he added, referring to an internal investigation (pdf) into the Pentagon's pundit program.

No

Classic Case of Revolving Door at Defense Department

Until June 2008, William Lynn was senior VP-government operations for Raytheon, the world's fifth largest defense contractor. Despite that recent stint as a lobbyist, President-elect Barack Obama has nominated him to become deputy defense secretary, which would put him "in charge of day-to-day Pentagon operations." The nomination requires Congressional approval.

No

One-sided View of Gaza Attacks Predominates in US Media

"In the usual process," writes Greg Mitchell, "the U.S. government -- and media here -- are playing down questions about whether Israel overreacted in its massive air strikes on Gaza, while the foreign press, and even Haaretz in Israel, carries more balanced accounts. The early reports on Sunday already reveal the bombing of a TV station and mosque and preparations for an invasion." Mitchell cites eyewitness accounts that describe morgues full of civilians, along with editorial stating that Israel's bombing of Gaza "within the span of a few hours ...

No

America Scams You: Allison Barber's Many "No-No's"

There's a telling email exchange quoted in the Defense Department Inspector General's report (pdf) on America Supports You (ASY), a Pentagon program launched in 2004, ostensibly to boost troop morale.

Allison BarberAllison Barber, who founded and led ASY until her recent resignation as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Internal Communications and Public Liaison (and who infamously helped President Bush stage a teleconference with troops in Iraq), asked in a June 2004 email: "Overseas, we make troops [not living on military bases] buy a digital receiver for their televisions so they can see AFRTS," the American Forces Radio and Television Service. "Is there a way for me to make this situation know [sic] to corporate America and offer them the option of 'sponsoring' a receiver? So the receiver might have a sticker on it that says 'brought to you by Sears'."

An attorney with the Defense Department's Standards of Conduct Office responded sharply: "Of course, you may not solicit anyone, especially corporate America, to sponsor the receivers. That's a no-no."

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