Murtha Condemns Military Analysts, Media
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Two weeks ago, the New York Times revealed a secret Pentagon program that uses retired military analysts to â€œ generate favorable news coverage of the administrationâ€™s wartime performance.â€ Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino defended the program, claiming â€œ itâ€™s absolutely appropriate to provide information to people who are seeking it.â€
In an interview with ThinkProgress today, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) called the program â€œunfortunate,â€ adding that â€œit hurts us in the long run.â€ Murtha said he was especially â€œdisappointedâ€ that some of the analysts involved in the program â€œdidnâ€™t even believe what they were sayingâ€ in support of the administration:
MURTHA: I saw that some of the officers that were saying that didnâ€™t even believe what they were saying. Well, the militaryâ€™s held in the highest level and the highest esteem in this country. All of us appreciate their sacrifices. Iâ€™ve gotten to the point where I now distrust the military because they have been dishonored by these kind of untruths. It used to be that I could listen to the military, they would come to me, and what they said privately they were willing to say publicly. With Rumsfeldâ€™s tenure, they distorted everything. And thatâ€™s the way they got by for four years because the public said, well, the militaryâ€™s saying that. Well, the publicâ€™s no longer accepting that. The public realizes we made a mistake when we went in, much of the information was inaccurate and they continue to say these kind of things.
Murtha also said that he was â€œdissapointed in the news mediaâ€ for allowing the Pentagon to exploit them, noting that â€œblogs have been so important to bringing out the truth.â€
As Murtha noted, the Times reported that some of the analysts toed the administrationâ€™s line to such an extent that they publicly contradicted what they privately believed:
â€œI saw immediately in 2003 that things were going south,â€ General Vallely, one of the Fox analysts on the trip, recalled in an interview with The Times.
The Pentagon, though, need not have worried.
â€œYou canâ€™t believe the progress,â€ General Vallely told Alan Colmes of Fox News upon his return [from a Pentagon-provided trip to Iraq in Sept. 2003]. He predicted the insurgency would be â€œdown to a few numbersâ€ within months.