Pentagon fires two irony missiles

Secretary of “Defense” (sic) Robert Gates had the brass balls to criticize Wikileaks for giving the world a peak inside America’s endless, lethal (and endlessly lethal) occupation of Iraq:

GATES: “You are looking at the war through a soda straw and you have no context or perspective.”

Perhaps so, but it’s hard to imagine what context or perspective could justify murdering a Good Samaritan rescuing a severely injured unarmed man.

But here’s Gates' first irony attack: Americans' “soda straw” view is completely your fault! Because the U.S. war machine doesn’t want to be forced by the American people — as it was in Vietnam — to stop spending the people’s money to kill foreigners (using expensive, highly-profitable weapons), the military has manipulated media coverage from Day One to maximize public approval for this horrible war.

Your Pentagon manipulated coverage of the war through “embedded” journalists.

Your Pentagon saturated TV coverage of the Iraq “War” with former generals and admirals who were still taking their marching orders from the Pentagon without disclosing the bias.

Your Pentagon planted lies about Iraqi WMDs in America’s top paper.

Your Pentagon killed journalists who tried to cover the war honestly:

On April 8… U.S. military forces launched what appeared to be deliberate attacks on independent journalists covering the war, killing three and injuring four others.

In one incident, a U.S. tank fired an explosive shell at the Palestine Hotel, where most non-embedded international reporters in Baghdad are based. Two journalists, Taras Protsyuk of the British news agency Reuters and Jose Couso of the Spanish network Telecino, were killed; three other journalists were injured. The tank, which was parked nearby, appeared to carefully select its target, according to journalists in the hotel, raising and aiming its gun turret some two minutes before firing a single shell.

Journalists who witnessed the attack unequivocally rejected Pentagon claims that the tank had been fired on from the hotel. “I never heard a single shot coming from any of the area around here, certainly not from the hotel,” David Chater of British Sky TV told Reuters (4/8/03). Footage shot by French TV recorded quiet in the area immediately before the attack (London Independent, 4/9/03).

Earlier in the day, the U.S. launched separate but near-simultaneous attacks on the Baghdad offices of Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV, two Arabic-language news networks that have been broadcasting graphic footage of the human cost of the war. Both outlets had informed the Pentagon of their exact locations, according to a statement from the Committee to Protect Journalists. As with the hotel attack, Pentagon officials claimed that U.S. forces had come under fire from the press offices, charges that were rejected by the targeted reporters.

The airstrike against Al Jazeera killed one of the channel’s main correspondents in Iraq, Tareq Ayoub, and injured another journalist, prompting Al Jazeera to try to pull its remaining reporters out of Baghdad for fear of their safety (BBC, 4/9/03)…

“We can only conclude that the U.S. Army deliberately and without warning targeted journalists,” Reporters Without Borders declared (4/8/03). “We believe these attacks violate the Geneva Conventions,” wrote the Committee to Protect Journalists in a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (4/8/03), referring to the protection journalists receive under the laws of war. The attacks on journalists “look very much like murder,” Robert Fisk of the London Independent reported (4/9/03).

In short, your Pentagon has, as a matter of policy, made it virtually impossible for Americans to see the war. And now you’re justifying murder of innocent civilians on the grounds that we aren’t seeing the bigger picture?!?!?

Irony missile #2:

GATES: “These people [Wikileaks] can put out whatever they want and are never held accountable for it. There is no before and no after. It is only the present.”

The U.S. military wants to talk about being never held accountable?!?!? The soldiers who murdered a Good Samaritan in this video weren’t even punished! You judged their actions correct and are sticking by that, even in the face of global outrage!

The U.S. military’s Central Command said on Wednesday it has no current plans to reopen an investigation into a 2007 helicopter attack that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff, amid rights groups' appeals after graphic video footage was leaked.

Some international law and human rights experts who have watched the video of the incident say the Apache helicopter crew in the footage may have acted illegally….

Rear Admiral Hal Pittman, director of communications at Central Command, which oversees the war in Iraq, said in a statement to Reuters: “Central Command has no current plans to reinvestigate or review this combat action.”

And what about the tens of billions of dollars in cash your military “misplaced” in Iraq?!?!? You handed out bricks of $100 bills without even recording who received them!?!?! Who was punished? No one!

And what about the “at least half a billion dollars that was supposed to equip the new Iraqi military [that] was stolen by the very people the U.S. had entrusted to run it”?

And what about the many U.S. soldiers who died by electrocution due to shoddy work by defense contractors?

And what about the trillions of dollars the Pentagon can’t account for, roughly $1 trillion a year?!?!

The military’s money managers last year made almost $7 trillion in adjustments to their financial ledgers in an attempt to make them add up, the Pentagon’s inspector general said in a report released Friday.

The Pentagon could not show receipts for $2.3 trillion of those changes, and half a trillion dollars of it was just corrections of mistakes made in earlier adjustments….

“These ($6.9 trillion in) entries were processed to force financial data to agree with various data sources, to correct errors and to add new data,” the inspector general said. “The magnitude of accounting entries required to compile the DoD financial statements highlights the significant problems DoD has producing accurate and reliable financial statements with existing systems and processes.”

The department’s “internal controls were not adequate to ensure that resources were properly managed and accounted for, that DoD complied with applicable laws and regulations and that the financial statements were free of material misstatements,” the report said.

“One expects that the financial statements of an entity, whether of an agency or a company, should reflect accurately what the department or company has and fairly present the results of their operations,” said Jay Lane, chief of the inspector general’s finance and accounting directorate. “We’re saying we can’t audit that to tell you that.”

Nothing has happened to punish those “losing” trillions of dollars, even though Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld himself admitted it (Watch the video).

In fact, nothing has even changed to allow Pentagon finances to be accurately audited!

Posted by James on Wednesday, April 14, 2010