Taxpayer Money Spent to Determine Whether Your Taxpayer Money Spent to Conclude That Your Taxpayer Money Spent to Propagandize for the War Was Well Spent, Concludes That it Wasn't

I like the conclusion (minus the scrubbing from the website), but at some point all this tail-chasing makes me dizzy:

In a highly unusual reversal, the Defense Department's inspector general's office has withdrawn a report it issued in January exonerating a Pentagon public relations program that made extensive use of retired officers who worked as military analysts for television and radio networks.

Donald M. Horstman, the Pentagon's deputy inspector general for policy and oversight, said in a memorandum released on Tuesday that the report was so riddled with flaws and inaccuracies that none of its conclusions could be relied upon. In addition to repudiating its own report, the inspector general's office took the additional step of removing the report from its Web site.

Link via Romenesko; Reason on Pentagon propaganda here.

Speaking of using taxpayer money to aggrandize the state any damned way Washington pleases, news that the Obama White House won't deign to release the photos generated by the are-you-outta-yer-MIND $328,000 flashback-inducing photo op above lower Manhattan is causing my internal inspector general to conclude that these people are themselves riddled with flaws. Check out irritating WH spokesman Robert "Smuggsy" Gibbs:

I've watched CNN. I didn't notice a lack of archival material from that flight.

Yeah, tee-hee, yuk-yuk, YOU WASTED SIX FIGURES ON AN UTTERLY POINTLESS STUNT THAT WE NEVER WOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT HAD YOU NOT SENT MANHATTAN INTO A HEART-SWALLOWING PANIC, and so let's make a joke, next question.

Here's the thing: That's my money, that's your money. Who the hell was that photo supposed to even be shown to? How was that picture going to make us safer, more prosperous, more free? The only way to fully determine just how venal and gratuitous this marginal error of a publicity stunt was is to show us the damned picture, and tell us precisely where it was going to be used. And then move the camera lens back, and tell us about the 10, 20, 200, 2,000 other idiotic photo ops that are being planned for this week, this month, and this year. Yes, it's a drop in the ocean compared to the trillions in bailout money and guarantees, but that's kind of the point: This is a president who promised to go through the crisis-year budgets "line by line" looking for savings (by which he mostly meant tax increases, but still). This is a president who campaigned daily on a pledge of unprecedented transparency in government.

Treating self-evidently wasteful spending–and not just wasteful spending, but wasteful spending on propaganda, carried out in such a way as to awaken one of the biggest national nightmares of our lifetime–as some kind of wave-of-the-hand funny, not worthy of further explanation beyond a quick apology, is a revealing act of condescension. Good to see the liberal media watchdog Media Matters pinning the blame where it's deserved: On Rupert Murdoch.

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  • Hugh Akston||

    How was that picture going to make us safer, more prosperous, more free?

    Matt, what country do you think this is?

  • Tomcat1066||

    Of course they blamed Rupert Murdoch. Heaven forbid that The Messiah and his people screwed up!

  • ||

    I wonder how much longer even the supine White House press corps is going to put up with Gibbs. He's obviously kept completely in the dark about anything of interest. His response to every other question is some variation of "I don't know. Nobody told me anything about that."

  • WWJGD||

    Anyone else detect a light sprinkling of rage across this article?

  • ||

    I can't wait for Xeones.

    Yo, fuck Obama.

  • Fluffy||

    I'm not feeling the rage myself, since the withdrawal of the IG report implies a reopening of the inquiry.

    I will find a way to live with the money wasted preparing the first report if a better report is produced. And yes, by "better" I mean "a report that fucks the guys responsible for this program up the ass" - I admit that freely.

  • P Dier||

    I'm loving these rants. Keep it up!

  • High Every Body||

    Matt pulls ahead of Nick in the rantingrage competition.

    Now if we could only get K M-W fired up about something. Perhaps a spat between her and Cathy Young?

  • ||

    >Now if we could only get K M-W fired up about something. Perhaps a spat between her and Cathy Young?


    Only if it involves jello.

  • ||

    Fluffy, don't you get the feeling that if there was no citicism of the original report it would still be sitting there, like a turd on a dinner plate, exonerating the blatant attempt to buy favorable press coverage?

    Wasn't it the evil Bush administration buying positive editorials about some policy (Walter Williams NCLB? I've a fuzzy memory and am TLTG) that we were all so up in arms about?

    Meet the new boss.

  • High Every Body||

    Only if it involves jello.

    Oil is fine with me too. Rone Bailey could write the article on that one.

  • High Every Body||

    My bad, Ron, not Rone.

  • Xeones||

    Seamus, for future reference, the correct formulation requires the use of the fuckee's full name, like so: Yo, fuck Barack Obama. Kinda adds weight to a thing, you know?

  • Warty||

    Post-reductio America is inspiring some good rants from the Reason staff. That's something, I guess.

  • Warty||

    Seamus, my shut the fuck up, X meme is a lot more user-friendly. The only stipulation is that you are never, never to spell Lonewacko as LoneWacko when using it. That's just silly.

  • Warty||

    Note that I wasn't telling Xeones to shut the fuck up. Yet.

  • ||

    LMAO, sounds like typical politics to me dude!

    RT
    www.privacy-web.net.tc

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Yo, Warty. Shut the fuck up.

    See, the best of both worlds.

  • ||

    A representative from the Ministry of Truth said, when asked about the matter, "How do you spell your name? Your full name. Very good. Now shut the fuck up, and get back in your seat."

  • Xeones||

    Warty, you don't find it VeryAppropriate to capitalize both Lone and Wacko when meming?

  • ||

    ""Pentagon public relations program that made extensive use of retired officers who worked as military analysts for television and radio networks."""

    Here's a link about that program called Buying The War.
    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/btw/watch.html

  • Hugh Akston||

    Now wait just a damn minute Warty. Capitalizing the W adds the delicious zing of turning two words into an unwarranted compound. Dig?

  • ||

    I don't think it was a photo op at all. I think that it was an abortive coup attempt by the Secretary of State. It might've worked, but she couldn't resist flying over New York in the president's plane, mooning all of the New Yorkers and laughing at their pain.

  • Warty||

    Yo, shut the fuck up, Anonymity Bot.

    Warty, you don't find it VeryAppropriate to capitalize both Lone and Wacko when meming?

    No. It is an abomination, second only in abominiability to the misuse of the apostrophe in non-possessive plurals.

    Xeones, you are an abomination.

  • Xeones||

    Hugh, i believe you meant UnwarrantedCompound.

  • Xeones||

    Shut the fuck up, Warty.

  • Warty||

    YoShutTheFuckUpXeones.

  • ||

    Maybe it's just German grammar making its way back into English? I posted a poem to Koko the Gorilla yesterday that included the term, "Earthmotherhood." That is wrong on multiple levels, ichdenkengut.

  • ||

    My own anger elevated as I read Matt's rant, so I attribute anger to him even if he was half asleep when he wrote about yet another fucked up government happening. It's a mountain and valley kind of mood swing when we read about these things. One day you're pissed, the next you're accustomed to it. Then you get mad at yourself for being accustomed and apathetic so you get pissed all over again.

    Yo, fuck LoneWacko.

  • ||

    We are talking about a 800 billion dollar a year operation. Spending a couple hundred grand to get some decent photos is not outrageous. Would you prefer that airforce pilots aroudnt he world not have accurate pictures with which to identify Air Fiorce 1?!

    If they can't recognize the plane very well then it could be accidentally shot at!! A couple hundred grand on insurance to make sure this does not happen seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    Your criticisms are hate laced irrational tirades. This type of ahte speach is the same kind of insanity that led to the Oklahoma city bombing of little children. Mark my words, you will be sorry for this irrational hate-fest soon enough.

    The war in the middle east is finally ending, can't you just be grateful?

  • Xeones||

    Right on, Nick. My jaw muscles get all tight and those tendons come out the side of my neck whenever i try and tell people about this shit, and nine times out of ten their response (or lack thereof) leaves me feeling like i've been punching Jello.

  • ed||

    He's [Gibbs] obviously kept completely in the dark about anything of interest.

    Like every other press secretary before him.

    Pardon the interruption. Resume the fuckfest.

  • Tomcat1066||

    We are talking about a 800 billion dollar a year operation. Spending a couple hundred grand to get some decent photos is not outrageous. Would you prefer that airforce pilots aroudnt he world not have accurate pictures with which to identify Air Fiorce 1?!

    Right. They MUST take pictures at a low altitude RIGHT over NYC, because someone might not see the HUGE PRESIDENTIAL SEAL on the side of the plane.

    If they can't recognize the plane very well then it could be accidentally shot at!! A couple hundred grand on insurance to make sure this does not happen seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    Since protocol is to identify your target, including attempting to make contact with it, that's not really likely, is it?

    Your criticisms are hate laced irrational tirades. This type of ahte speach is the same kind of insanity that led to the Oklahoma city bombing of little children. Mark my words, you will be sorry for this irrational hate-fest soon enough.

    Yep. Sure. Issues with government waste are really going to lead to domestic terrorism. Look up McVey's reasons for Oklahoma City sometime. Spending wasn't in the top ten there, you know?

    The war in the middle east is finally ending, can't you just be grateful?

    Afghanistan isn't ending, is it?

  • Alternate Universe Barack Obam||

    I am sorry for this incident. That way my plane flying over New York and thus I am ultimately responsible. I only hope the good people of New York City will be able to forgive me. Furthermore, I have instructed the White House press office to cut its budget by 50%, out of respect for the taxpayers during these troubling economic times. Never again will my administration waste your tax dollars on projects of such little value...

  • mark||

    TomCat, you are late to the party.

  • ||

    Oh Tomcat, feeding the troll!

  • ||

    Actually, I made up the coup explanation. The real story is that Air Force One did, in fact, have the president riding in it. He and the F-16 escort were accompanying an invisible flying saucer.

  • endpoint||

    Something tells me doom is lurking here. This is not your average political climate we are witnessing. What the hell is coming down on us? Add up the MIAC, the DHS extremist lexicon shown by the Washington Times yesterday, the theater that is Savage, heart swallowing panic from flu and a 9/11 photo op. Honestly, any guesses?

  • ||

    Isn't ironic that almost any criticism of Obama elicits a response from the Obamanuts that he just does what every politician did before him.

    Hope and Change my a$$

  • Tomcat1066||

    Yeah, I know...I just can't help it sometimes. I guess that since I can't tell who's a troll, and who's just confused as hell (from lack of exposure), I try to help.

    That plus occasionally, someone thinks the troll makes a point, and I want to make sure they realize he didn't ;)

    Yeah...I'm a sucker but don't want to admit it ;)


    endpoint: Yes, doom is lurking. The type of doom? Courtney Love is getting her own reality series that will be on every network and cable channel in North America.

  • ||

    We should give some stimulus money to that burger place so Obama can send Air Force One for take-out.

  • endpoint||

    Oddly enough, I was actually listening to Nirvana within minutes of posing my question...Old Age "She seems to realize, that I'm deaf, dumb and blind"...at least this version as far as I can tell. Is the power structure counting on the citizenry being as he described?

  • ||

    Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I don't for a minute believe they were taking publicity photos.

    After all if they were taking publicity photos of Air Force One, I mean we live in day and age of Photo-Shop, digital remastering and the like. Would it really be so hard to super-impose images (and substantially cheaper, which even this profligate administration must see the value in). Is there some kind of reason it needs to be a picture of the real air-force one?

    My best guess is that they were chaperoning some important foreign dignitary around, who wanted a terrific view of lower-manhattan. So they did a fly-by. Now, the retards in charge didn't realize this would scare the hell out of people, and they needed to create some lame excuse story to cover up for this obvious lack of judgement.

    Anyway, something doesn't seem right about the whole thing.

  • ||

    Maybe it's just German grammar making its way back into English?

    Are you saying LoneWacko is actually Hermann Goering?

  • ||

    Well, maybe Herbie McGoering?

  • ||

    I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but the "photo op" explanation makes no sense. Setting aside the fact that any competent Photoshop jockey could have created the picture for a few hundred dollars, where was the photographer? Flying the F-16 with one hand and working the camera with the other? Taking glamorous shots of the ass-end of AF1, which he was behind all the time? Sorry, it doesn't wash. I think this was a little joyride for campaign donors or something like that.

  • ||

    My best guess is that they were chaperoning some important foreign dignitary around, who wanted a terrific view of lower-manhattan.

    Or campaign contributors/supporters. I still haven't seen anyone ask, or answer, "Who was on the plane?"

    where was the photographer? Flying the F-16 with one hand and working the camera with the other? Taking glamorous shots of the ass-end of AF1, which he was behind all the time?

    Good point. I would think you'd want to be a little ahead and above AF1 to get a good shot of the plane and a view of Manhattan/the Statue of Liberty. Glamour shots of planes aren't taken from behind.

    I hope Fox News presses their FOIA request into court. None of this adds up.

  • Tomcat1066||

    Yeah, the photo op doesn't wash. I have no clue about the why on this, but there's no way I can buy that. Especially for some of the argued reasons...but I've already fed the troll on those ;)

  • max hats||

    Taxpayer Money Spent to Determine Whether Your Taxpayer Money Spent to Conclude That Your Taxpayer Money Spent to Propagandize for the War Was Well Spent, Concludes That it Wasn't



    So as best I can tell, the argument here is for less oversight of pentagon spending and ethics violations?

    Filing this under kitchen sink, insanity

    Criticism of the overflight is solid. But the headline and the lead are about a different matter, something I never in my wildest dreams would expect Reason to be angry about: ethics and expenditure rules for the pentagon. The hits just don't stop.

  • ||

    Seamus, for future reference, the correct formulation requires the use of the fuckee's full name, like so: Yo, fuck Barack Obama. Kinda adds weight to a thing, you know?

    Thanks. I'll be sure to remember that.

    Yo, fuck Barack Obama.

    Yeah, you're right. Does sound better that way.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Pro Lib,

    That doesn't sound very American. Is LoneWacko aware of this?

  • ||

    No, but Mr. Hilter is. McGoering is Scottish, I believe.

  • ||

    I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but the "photo op" explanation makes no sense. "

    Great, the troofers are gaining more ground here. How many people would have to be in on this conspiracy? the DOD, the white house press office, Biden, Obama dozens of people who saw people get on and off the plane. The idiots can't even give a speach without a teleprompter yet they an keep huge secrets liek this from the public and control all the media?

    When will you nuts remember to take your paxil and give up your paranoid delusions. The White House made a honest mistake, they are good natured idiots....and nothing more. NOWW SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!

  • Naga Sadow||

    Pro Lib,

    There seems to be some crossover. For all things American I defer to LoneWacko.

  • ||

    "I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but the "photo op" explanation makes no sense. "

    I don't believe in black helicopters.

    I don't think Bill Clinton had Vince Foster killed.

    I even think that Kennedy's assasination was probably a 1 man job (I went with the wife to the museum, and sort of convinced myself that 1 guy could do it).

    But this is just bizarre. I mean really, who spends $380,000 on some stock photography?

  • ||

    Err...I believe that black helicopters exist. I just don't believe that the UN has a secret fleet of them to do their nefarious work.

  • ||

    Conspiracy, no. Lie, yes.

  • ||

    There's always this possibility:

    That's right, sir, you are the only person authorized to do so. And although I, uh, hate to judge before all the facts are in, it's beginning to look like, uh, General Ripper exceeded his authority.

  • ||

    If you convinced yourself and even went to the musuem then I am sure you are right. Besides, why would anyone lie about this? There is no way they could fool the American people this bad. Our media is too tenacious and most of the public is too damned smart. JFK was obviously shot from behind by Oswald. Anyone who doesn't believe that is a moron.

  • hmm||

    My internal paranoid is starting to think the whole thing wasn't a photo op. Like every lie there is probably a bit of truth in amongst the bullshit. The question is what is that truth?

  • ||

    hmm,

    I have a theory.

  • ||

    The truth is that you need to go buy a tinfoil hat. The photo op was a mistake. Get over it, there is nothing else to it. Occalms razor! Why must everything be about alien abductions? You are so craaaazy it is sad! Let me guess...the JOOOOS did it?

  • Matt Welch||

    So as best I can tell, the argument here is for less oversight of pentagon spending and ethics violations?

    No; as you might note from reading the post, "I like the conclusion." This indicates that I am happy with the result. An *additional* point -- one that is almost entirely directed at the previous administration -- is that "at some point all this tail-chasing makes me dizzy." What I mean to imply by that, which one might infer from the headline, is that the whole exercise could be avoided by NOT PROPAGANDIZING TO AMERICANS WITH THEIR MONEY TO BEGIN WITH.

    Criticism of the overflight is solid. But the headline and the lead are about a different matter

    Yes, it is true -- I used the post to bring up a different, though related, point. This subject-change was indicated by the phrase "Speaking of using taxpayer money to aggrandize the state any damned way Washington pleases."

    It is my belief that both Pentagon-emanated publicity stunts, carried out under different administrations, flow from the same arrogant mentality, one that is not at all shy about using my money to direct propaganda at me. Further, I think the current administration's response was both inadequate and condescending.

    Does that help?

  • max hats||

    Thank you for the response. Your argument makes sense. Given the general tenor of Reason, I took the criticism to be of the investigation rather than of the investigation's cause.

  • Billy Beck||

    "Our media is too tenacious..."

    Nowaythatmorondidnotjustfuckin'saythat.

    Wow.

  • Kolohe||

    As someone who often has a (very small) part in getting these to happen, I'll just say I respect Mr Welch's opinion, but find all the strum and drang over this very overwrought.

    And in one small defense of 'propaganda aimed at americans', it is a necessary component of maintaining the all volunteer force. ymmv (and I suspect it does. a lot)

  • ||

    Just the new owners checking out the merchandise.

    (I know, I've posted this before. But I still think it's "funny")

  • ||

    I seriously can't stop laughing over Media Matters shrieking over the Post's calling AF1 the "Obama Plane". Obama wasn't on it, so it's not right to call it the "Obama plane", they say. Obamatrons are the gift that keeps on giving.

  • ||

    Cosmotarian Overlord, you rant about troofers and aliens and such, but do you know anything about photography? About aircraft? About geometry? Please explain how you would get nice publicity photos of AF1 against a background of Manhattan from a single-seat fighter that flies behind the plane it's supposed to be photographing.

    (For the record, I believe the 9/11 conspiracies are silly, and I've argued against them around here.)

  • ||

    ...but do you know anything about photography? About aircraft? About geometry? Please explain how you would get nice publicity photos of AF1 against a background of Manhattan from a single-seat fighter that flies behind the plane it's supposed to be photographing.

    The Air Force does this stuff all the time. The chase plane with the photographer flies behind, alongside, and above the aircraft being photographed. If this was truly a photo mission, then I'm sure they did the same stuff even if the only video we have seems to show the chase plane behind AF1. Also, there are two-seat versions of the F-16.

  • ||

    Not to dwell on the conspiracy theory stuff...I need to go buy a new tinfoil hat.

    But wouldn't the best plane for a photo mission be some kind of spy plane with a built in high-speed camera that could shoot accurately from lots of different angles?

    An F-16 seems like a military escort for a VIP to me, although I am not in the military so I could be corrected.

  • ||

    Shirt: In the footage I saw, the F-16 was always behind the other plane. (One of the reasons for the panic, I'll bet, because it looked like a chase.) And it didn't look like the two-seat version, but I could be wrong there.

  • Paul||

    Here's the thing: That's my money, that's your money. Who the hell was that photo supposed to even be shown to? How was that picture going to make us safer, more prosperous, more free?



    That question can be applied to almost anything government does. Ever.

  • ||

    You nut bags need to shut up! that F-16 took pictures of the plane. Occams Razor leads anyone with common sense to believe the government on this. It is a simple and elegant answer. They have no reason to lie. These people are also really dumb so maybe they didn't think of using the spyplane or photoshop.

    I myself am not a scientist so geometry should be left up to the experts. Many prominent scientist still work for Obama...so I am sure they will verify that Obama is being legit.

    So it is your wacky conspiracy theories versus thousands of legit professional scientist all saying that the f-16 was for picture taking...who are you to disagree?

  • ||

    """"where was the photographer? Flying the F-16 with one hand and working the camera with the other?"""

    They do make twin seat versions of the F-16, Jeeeezzzzz.

    http://www.patricksaviation.com/photos/alex1/4288/

  • ||

    Of course, if photoshop was used, we would hearing people complaining about how the Obama admin likes to fake things.

    """An F-16 seems like a military escort for a VIP to me, although I am not in the military so I could be corrected."""

    My guess is that AF1 gets an escort everywhere it goes, passengers or not.

  • ||

    TrickyVic: Like I said above, it didn't look like a two-seat F-16.

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