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Military Recruitment Tool?

Reported by Nancy - February 24, 2005 -

Continuing the military theme aired earlier in the day on FNL, Brit Hume devoted his one-on-one interview segment to Gen Richard Myers (Chair, JCS) on Special Report last night (2/23). There was, of course, the usual bashing of the usual suspects & the usual reverential coverage of all things Bush. But that centerpiece interview was simply a propaganda set-piece for the DoD. Even the rambling rants of the "All-Stars" couldn't match the performance Myers gave.

When Hume interviewed Myers, they discussed Op River Blitz & other issues relating to Iraq. Contrary to its usual practice of using the lower-third banner to restate & re-interpret what's being discussed, Special Report initially used its lower-third banner to trumpet that this was a "Fox News Exclusive" but eventually reverted to the usual series of banners for viewers who don't comprehend the spoken word. Hume asked some tough questions, but was no match for the DoD's propaganda machine. When Hume asked Myers how he'd characterize the insurgency, Myers said it has 2 primary components (Zarqawi & "former regime elements"). When Hume asked how many there were, Myers at first said "hundreds" but then refused to be pinned down about estimating numbers. And when Hume observed that despite these alleged small numbers we're constantly hearing about their activities, Myers smiled & said that's because the media only reports bad news. Myers noted that the insurgents are difficult to assess because they don't hae org charts [comment: then why is every suspect captured claimed to be a "lieutenant"?] & are organized in small cells. He said that "criminals" make up "a large part" of the insurgency & that the insurgents have "limited capability". To support this, he said that the number of attacks/day is holding steady at 50, less than half of which are effective. When Hume pointed out that this means there are 25 or so attacks/day that *are* effective, Myers segued into praising the "Iraqi security forces" who are "protecting their fellow citizens." Hume asked if there was coordination between Zarqawi & "old regime elements" & Myers said there was "some cooperation" but at the tactical level, not at the strategic level because "they're not compatible in vision." Hume asked how close we are to getting Zarqawi & Myers said "very close." When Hume pressed the issue, Myers repeated "very close" claiming "he's gotta stay on the move." Hume pressed further, asking if Zarqawi's "effectiveness" was diminished. Myers said that "lots of his people" are now detained, so his effectiveness has "diminished somewhat," adding that Zarqawi gets "outside help" from Al Qaeda. Hume asked specifically where that help was coming from & Myers said "various" places. Hume pressed again, asking directly if the help was coming from Syria. Myers said it was "more likely" Afghanistan or Pakistan. Hume asked if we could "choke that off" & Myers said it's "not impossible, claiming that "we're doing better & better" & that "they need more money & resources." Hume asked how many of the Iraqi forces were "fully capable military units" & Myers trotted out the standard DoD reply, saying that 140,000 are equipped & trained, with 40,000-50000 of those being "of the high-end variety" addin that our training process is "gaining momentum."

General comments: So Myers thinks it's a good thing that attacks by insurgents are "steady" at 50/day? And half of those are effective? Without correcting for geographic size or population or any other factor, extrapolate those numbers to the US. Would anyone pretend it was a "good thing" if we had 50 terror attacks a day in the US? If only half of them were "effective"? Would anyone dare to describe that as a stable situation? Or claim that it was an indication of progress in the right direction? If "the media" reported those 50 attacks/day, would they be accused of only reporting bad news? Or would that news drown out everything else, even Michael Jackson? Myers comments contributed absolutely nothing new -- no new insights or info -- & were merely a reprise of the kind of statements routinely issued by the DoD. So why devote an entire interview to this? Fox could have achieved the same effect by having Hume read a selection of Pentagon press briefings.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Hume's interview with Myers on Special Report 2/23). O/T comments will be deleted. Please use the O/T category from the list at right to post unrelated comments. Thanks.