While Pentagon briefings are always exercises in evasion and propaganda, they rarely shock me anymore. But hearing Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell’s response to the news yesterday that twelve US soldiers now face charges of killing Afghan civilians for fun got to me.
I don’t believe the allegations here against these few individuals are representative of the behavior or the attitudes of the entire force. That said, it clearly—even if these allegations are proved to be untrue—is unhelpful. It does not help the—you know, the perceptions of our forces around the world. And so, the sad part about this is, even if these individuals are vindicated, even if they’re not true, the damage will have been done.
The “sad part” about murdering innocent civilians and collecting their fingers as trophies is how it will negatively affect “the perception of our forces around the world?” Really?
It’s not the fact that our troops are killing innocent people for sport and the pain and suffering that their families and friends inevitably now feel? It doesn’t get a lot more disgusting than that.
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“…always exercises in evasion and propaganda”
Always? As in “all the time and on every occasion”? That premise is laughably false.
Would be nice if you included the question asked and the whole answer:
“Q How worried are you about the reaction to these charges, especially considering it doesn’t concern one person but multiple people in the unit?
MR. MORRELL: Yeah. Listen, allegations like this are very serious, and that’s reflected, I think, in the fact that the charges levied against these individuals are very serious.
It — this is now in the military judicial system, so I’m not really at liberty to speak to the specifics of it, but let me get to two points that I think I can talk about. First of all, you know, these allegations haven’t been proven yet, but they’re serious nonetheless. But they are, I think you all would agree, an aberration in terms of the behavior of our forces, if true, around the world. You know, we’ve got 150,000 men and women deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan right now whose mission is to protect the Iraqi and Afghan people. They are risking their lives to protect the Iraqi and Afghan people. They are willing to lay down their lives to ensure that they are — they and their families are more secure. So I don’t believe the allegations here against these few individuals are representative of the behavior or the attitudes of the entire force.
That said, it clearly — even if these allegations are proved to be untrue — is unhelpful. It does not help the — you know, the perceptions of our forces around the world. And so, the sad part about this is, even if these individuals are vindicated, even if they’re not true, the damage will have been done. The people in that area who are impacted by these alleged incidents will think differently of us as a result of that, so how our forces behave in the field, how they treat the — you know, the host peoples that we interact with, is really vitally important to the ultimate success of our missions. And so it is a real concern of ours.”
As of now, these are allegations and guild or innocence will be adjudicated in court. Remember the presumption of innocence in the Western justice system? The questioner asked how worried he was to the REACTIONS to the charges. The is “sad part” comment was in reference world perceptions even if the charges are proved false.
I doubt you actually “heard” the briefing. What is more likely is that you saw it on some far left rag, linked it, copied and pasted the quote shown there, and editorialized poorly.
If the charges are proven guilty, the soldiers should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Mr Morrell is correct in that the charges are serious. They are not indicative of our service personnel, and even if the charges are disproved, the damage to the US mission will still remain.
The only one using information that is spread for the purpose of promoting some cause is you.
Actually I do think they are always excercises in evasion and propaganda. That’s why I wrote that. Do you think you’re ever going to get the honest truth directly from the Pentagon when shit hits the fan? That’s why you have press conferences: to spin things in your favor.
Do you listen to the daily Pentagon briefings? If so, I suggest you find something better to do with your time. I don’t really know why listening to the whole briefing would be different than reading the transcript. Intonation I guess?
And your full quote of that section of the briefing doesn’t really change anything. Not surprisingly, the fact remains that the Pentagon’s primary concern about this is how it will affect us and our troops, not the actual victims, which I do think is particularly disgusting.
And finally, no one is denying that these civilians were killed. They were. If you were to read the story, this whole thing came to light from another soldier, who reported it to the army’s criminal investigative unit. And one of the two soldiers behind the organizing of the “kill team” already confessed to the Army investigators, and his lawyer is now looking to have it somehow dropped.
No rational observer would think that it is “always exercise in evasion and propaganda.” Yes, I believe one gets the honest truth from one of these briefings. Q: Why do you have press conferences? A: To answer questions from the press.
Do I listen to the daily press briefings? Of course I don’t. YOU are the one who said you ‘heard’ it. I’m intelligent enough to pull up the transcript of the full question asked and answer given. You pull a selective quote without full context you poached another story rather than a primary source easily available. Talk about propaganda…
The full quote does change things. The matter is in the military justice system. It is an ongoing case and he can’t (and shouldn’t) comment on specifics.
No. As he points out, *A* concern is even if the soldiers are acquitted, these charges damage the US counterinsurgency mission.
Yes, people were killed. The question to be answered is whether they were MURDERED. That is an answer for a court to decide, not for you to make snap judgments.
I have no idea why this is so hard to understand.
The question of whether or not evasion/propaganda is used by any institution worth their salt, is not a real question. Any public relations novice can tell you that. If you think other wise then you are not media literate. If you are thinking “What does PR have to do with this?” My only response is “It’s a press conference, think about it.”
Sorry, D Killion, the report–while poorly written–simply points to the problem with ANY use of military and especially with this current regime. The current commander, James Mattis, has, after all, already gone on record as saying:
“Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.” He added, “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil.” General Mattis continued: “You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”
This is from a supported statement presented in the NYT on 4 February 2005 and was again reported when Obama made this egregious error in assigning Mattis as commander.
Let’s get the quote right shall we?
“You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.”
This article puts GEN Mattis in perspective: http://spectator.org/archives/2005/02/11/breaking-the-warrior-code
GEN Mattis is a brilliant man and a visionary leader, but although he’s GEN Petraeus’ nominal superior as CINC CENATCOM, there is no doubt that Afghanistan is GEN Petraeus’ baby.
eric here is a link to an article you may have missed: http://www.adn.com/2010/09/09/1446508/father-says-he-warned-army-of.html
See this is an interesting conversation, because we’re talking about legality in a war zone. The Americans are innocent until proven guilty, but the Iraqis? They don’t get a trial. In fact, John Guardiano fully justifies killing somebody for being a perpetrator of domestic violence: ‘He enjoys a good “brawl,” especially when it involve shooting vermin who subjugate, beat, and abuse women.’
Yet is this what we do in our society? If somebody does, God forbid, beat their their spouse, does that person deserve to be shot and killed? And this is especially pertinent to me because I know a lot of people who have worked to raise issues of domestic violence within the Armed Forces.