Editor’s note: Eilhys England contributed to this column.
Considering the hits we keep taking in our global fight against terrorism, I’m gearing up in ’05 to go up against the Pentagon’s increasingly out-of-control campaign to keep us all conned. The cover-ups track too often with more names added to the U.S. casualty list.
So here’s my New Year’s resolution: to keep countering Pentagon lies with the truth until enough concerned citizens demand that Congress set up a congressional investigative arm to formally expose the liars and hold them accountable.
For almost six decades, I’ve borne witness to scuzzy machinations that had little or nothing to do with America’s national security. And because of them, I’ve watched my beloved country become enmeshed in far too many blood-splattered military misadventures only because they were good for Pentagon business. I’ve seen trillions of dollars allocated for gold-plated pork of value only to the monsters who manipulate the military-industrial-congressional complex and absolutely worthless to our gallant soldiers – the kids who end up paying the ultimate price for the madness of war.
Had a decent chunk of that dough been spent on the right stuff – supporting our troops – our warriors wouldn’t have fought in Korea in 1950 with World War I gear or be slugging it out in Iraq in scrounged “hillbilly armor” and told to go to war with the army we have and to suck it up.
The final straw for me was when I asked Pentagon flack Jim Turner last November if Donald Rumsfeld personally signed the letters to the loved ones of those killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. A day later he told me, “Rumsfeld signs the letters himself.”
But before the sun had set, he sent me the following e-mail: Our official response follows. Jim. “The SECDEF correspondence with any family members of DoD [Department of Defense] personnel is private in nature.”
Then Stars and Stripes reporter Leo Shane III contacted me, jumped onto the story with both boots and brilliantly wore the Pentagon lie machine down into finally confessing that Rumsfeld had not personally signed all the Killed In Action letters.
Okaaaaay. If Rummy & Spinners are into lying about signing KIA letters, then what really went down with WMDs in Iraq, and how is our $6 billion-a-month war in that sad, bloody land really going? And is the Pentagon truly busting its butt to provide our soldiers with sufficient armor protection, or is that spin, too?
The lying under the Rumsfeld regime seems to get worse daily. For example, the SecDef recently said the 9-11 aircraft that crashed in Pennsylvania was shot down – which is either very sloppy or very scary. Or both.
And following their head honcho’s lead, the Pentagon prevaricators have definitely gotten more skilled at pulling the wool over the eyes of all of us, starting with our congressional reps – who as our watchdogs should be first in line to ask hard questions.
The president of Soldiers For The Truth, retired Marine Lt. Col. Roger Charles, is equally incensed about this dangerous trend. “The Pentagon spin machine likes to brag about its devotion to ethics and truth-telling, but this doesn’t stack up with its track record of misrepresentation, from the Vietnam War to Adm. Jeremy Boorda’s phony valor awards to Air Force Gen. Joe Ashy’s brazen dalliance with a female aide during a very expensive taxpayer-funded plane ride to what’s been going down in Iraq,” Charles raged.
Col. Charles and Soldiers For The Truth (of which I was one of the original founders) have vowed that the truth will triumph over deception. “But this will be a hard slug as unfortunately, from my foxhole here on the Potomac, the lying, damage control and obfuscation are only getting worse,” he said. “While there’s always been pressure in the military by the spinners – which unfortunately include too many commissioned officers who’ve forgotten their oath of office about lying, cheating and stealing – to protect their bosses or platinum programs, the problem is reaching critical mass, and that creates a very unhealthy climate for democracy.”
The only way to change this sorry situation is for all of us to emulate Howard Beale in that great 1976 film “Network” when he stood tall and said, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”