Bill Moyers Claims White House Misleading Americans About Surge
Has Bill Moyers become PBS's Jack Cafferty, Bill Maher, Rosie O'Donnell, and Keith Olbermann all rolled into one crusading, Bush-hating, anti-war propagandist funded by American tax dollars?
After all, on Friday, he followed up last week's disgraceful rant about Karl Rove with an eight-minute segment on how "The Bush White House has launched a massive new P.R. campaign with the message: the surge in Iraq is working. Let's stay the course!"
In it, Moyers offered not one shred of balance to this completely anti-war report by totally ignoring recent statements from liberal think tank members, leading Democrats, and military officials indicating that conditions in Iraq are indeed improving.
Instead, Moyers: disgracefully suggested that the White House is misleading Americans about the surge in much the same way it did weapons of mass destruction; mocked military recruiting ads and techniques, and; cited a British newspaper claiming our army is crippled by fatigue. A full transcript of this abomination follows with video available here for those that can stomach it:
BILL MOYERS: We're launching a new feature on THE JOURNAL this week. We call it our clip file - stories we collect that may have fallen through the cracks or disappeared under the avalanche of information that falls on all of us every day. We begin with the war in Iraq.
The Bush White House has launched a massive new P.R. campaign with the message: the surge in Iraq is working. Let's stay the course! The president called on the ghosts of Vietnam to help him win support for a prolonged occupation:
PRESIDENT BUSH AT THE VETERANS FOR FOREIGN WARS: One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people, re-education camps and killing fields'.
- Read the President's speech.
BILL MOYERS: History is already repeating itself in Washington. Remember Ari Fleischer?
ARI FLEISCHER: There is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction biological and chemical particularly. This was the reason the president felt so strongly we need military action to disarm Saddam Hussein...
BILL MOYERS: That was Ari Fleischer making the case for invading Iraq in March of 2003.
Now he's in private life and running a $15 million dollar ad campaign to "shore up support" for the president's war policies.
The ads use wounded war veterans and next-of-kin of soldiers killed in Iraq to make the case - it's a campaign funded by former Bush officials and big donors.
TV AD: Jesse died a week before the Iraqi election and he sacrificed for our freedom and for their freedom. For Congress to switch votes for political reasons while we're making progress in Iraq, to me, is unthinkable.
- Bush Supporters Launch Iraq Ad Campaign," Jim Kuhnhenn, THE WASHINGTON POST, August 22, 2007
BILL MOYERS: So the President seems as determined as ever to stay in Iraq.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Unlike in Vietnam, if we withdraw before the job is done, this enemy will follow us home.
BILL MOYERS: The military now has to come up with the troops to carry on. The President's new war czar, Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, in a candid moment on National Public Radio, entertained the thought of a draft.
GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE, COORDINATOR FOR IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN: I think it makes sense to certainly consider it. And I can tell you it has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation's security by one means or another.
- "'War Czar' Concerned over Stress of War on Troops," ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, NPR, August 10, 2007.
BILL MOYERS: The White House quickly knocked that option down. And the military continues to make its appeal on radio and television:
ARMY RECRUITING AD: It's more than physical strength, it's emotional strength. There is nothing on this green Earth stronger than the U.S. Army. Because there is nothing stronger on this green earth than a U.S. Army soldier. There's strong and there's Army strong.
BILL MOYERS: On the ground in Iraq, their strength is being tested. THE OBSERVER of London finds the American Army there "crippled" by fatigue. The OBSERVER's reporter says frustration and weariness are common among the troops he met, brought on by battle stress, sleep disorders, multiple tasks and extended tours of duty.
A chaplain's assistant who came to bless a patrol snapped at the journalist: "Why don't you tell the truth? Why don't you journalists write that this army is exhausted?"
And -- from a major at a military hospital in Mosul -- THE OBSERVER heard of morale affected by a "deep-seated problem of retention and recruitment."
- "Fatigue cripples US army in Iraq", Peter Beaumont, THE OBSERVER, August 12, 2007
ARMY RECRUITER: Staff Sgt. Nunez, United States Army. How you guys doing?
BILL MOYERS: This spring, the Army had a hard time wooing new recruits. Recruiting goals were down by 7% in May - the first shortfall in two years. In June, the shortfall was even greater - 15%.
NBC: Tonight a disappearing military mainstay. For a number of years about one-quarter of all recruits have been African American.
BILL MOYERS: NBC, The Associated Press and other news outlets are reporting that the number of black recruits joining for military duty has plunged dramatically - dropping by more than a third.
- "Number of Blacks Joining Military Down," Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press, June 25, 2007
The Pentagon's been stepping up efforts to recruit Latinos.
SPANISH-LANGUAGE RECRUITNG AD
BILL MOYERS: There's even a proposal in Congress to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants in exchange for military service. Its sponsors call it The Dream Act. That's dream for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.
If Congress approves, young immigrants can buy their citizenship with two years of military service.
- "Bill Would Grant Citizenship For Service," Rick Maze, NAVY TIMES, July 16, 2007
Already a citizen? The army offers a different incentive altogether. It's called a "Quick Shipper" bonus - sort of a "summer special." Sign up before the end of September and the new recruit can qualify for a bonus of $20,000 if he's willing to ship out within 30 days. ... and there's always that chance to win an Ipod.
There is some small print. It says soldiers can't collect a cent of that bonus until they've completed advanced training and reached their first permanent duty station - at which point they will get half the check - $10,000. The rest of the bonus will be paid out in annual installments over the lifetime of the soldier's contract.
- "$20,000 Bonus Offered to 'Quick Shippers,'" Lisa Burgess, STARS AND STRIPES, August 2, 2007
It looks like this bonus boosted recruits in July - the Army reports that it met its recruiting goal for the month - but the recruiting gets harder the longer the occupation continues.
In Iraq, the reality is very different from the official rhetoric.
THE NEW YORK TIMES this week published a remarkable essay written by seven soldiers fighting the war. They're with the 82nd Airborne, braving enemy fire there and risking censure at home by describing what's really going on. They write:
"...we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political, and social unrest we see every day."
They are caught, they write, between "determined enemies" and "questionable allies." Example: "...a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. "
They write: "To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched."
The men conclude: "as committed soldiers we will see this mission through."
- "The War as We Saw It," Buddhika Jayamaha, Wesley D. Smith, Jeremy Roebuck, Omar Mora, Edward Sandmeier, Yance T. Gray And Jeremy A. Murphy, THE NEW YORK TIMES Op-Ed, August 19, 2007
In the course of writing their essay, one of the soldiers - Staff Sergeant Jeremy Murphy - was shot in the head and med-evacked to the United States.
And remember that Spanish-language ad? It featured Army Specialist Astor Sunsin-Pineda and his family. Sunsin-Pineda immigrated to the U.S. At the age of 8 from Honduras. Last May, he was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He was 20 years old.
The Army pulled the ad.
Once again we are learning that an endless war has a bottomless appetite.
Actually, Bill, what we once again learned is that you are not a journalist, for you disgracefully didn't include the opinions of one politician or military official counter to your own.
Is this the kind of biased reporting our tax dollars should be paying for?