Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pentagon Briefings of Retired Officer Talking Heads 
The usual reliable dolts are making much hay out of the fact that the retired military officers that are frequently used as sources and talking heads on news programs get the occasional briefing from the Pentagon.

Those who believe that this is somehow awful are simply confirming every suspicion of their own paranoid, simpering ignorance.

News flash: We have a professional military, led by professional and trained officers. Everyone who makes enough rank to be sought after by news programs has been through months or even years of specialized training in a variety of military schools - from the old Command and Staff course and Advanced Courses (now called the Captains Career Course) through the War College.

This is on top of decades of personal experience planning and leading operations from platoon to corps level, and on top of decades of personal study of military history, and decades of engaging discussion with other professionals equally committed to the profession of arms, each of whom are themselves committed to the study of the history of arms and the lessons learned therefrom.

The reason the Pentagon likes to brief up this small community of retired officers is that compared to the simpering ignorance of your typical journalist covering our military and our operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, is that they don't have to waste their time answering dumbass "gotcha" questions from showboating reporters who couldn't pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written under the heel, when it comes to understanding and contextualizing our operations in the war on terror. Instead, the Pentagon briefers are able to deal with these retired officers on a professional level, and deal in advanced topics, contextualization, and complexity.

Anyone who bothered to give two minutes thought to the topic would immediately recognize that when the Pentagon briefs these retired professionals - giving them the opportunity to ask the questions a professional would ask prior to going on television - the quality and reliability of their analysis goes UP, not down. The result is a public that is BETTER informed, not less informed, as a result of these briefings.

I am sympathetic to the argument that where a retired officer has an interest in a contractor with a vested interest in the War on Terror, that should be disclosed. However, the failure to inform the viewer of those possible conflicts are not the fault of the Pentagon nor those talking heads. They are ENTIRELY the responsibility of the news organization to uncover and disclose, and any competent reporter or producer using one of these talking heads as background would make it a point to inquire about what business interests the source might have in slanting their outlook one way or another.

But competence, apparently, is a lot to ask of the news media these days.

Apparently, though, twits like Greenwald would prefer that these sources go without access to the Pentagon, and that their information be based entirely on informal and unaccountable contacts in country (with conflicts of their own), and the incompetent coverage of the news media.

To hell with that.

Let the briefings continue, and let the reporters do their jobs!

Splash, out


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