The Value of Cross-Examining Pundits


You'll recall from yesterday that former CIA officer Reuel Marc Gerecht is trying to convince us that because the United States used covert ops to win hearts and minds during the Cold War, therefore "It shouldn't be that hard for educated Americans to support such activity…. Nor should it be so hard to support even more aggressive clandestine action in developing democracies such as Iraq." This was greeted with the usual applause from the don't you know we're at war?? crowd.

But under surprisingly sharp cross-examination from Washington Post readers, Gerecht broke from his propaganda-apologist pals on several specific points:

I don't think it is ethically or professionally wise for US officials to masquerade as journalists, if that is in fact what happened. […]

I would … stop using the Lincoln Group and force Langley to again develop the expertise necessary to conduct covert operations in Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East. […]

I don't think the US military should be involved with founding newspapers or academic foundations or funding journalists. It isn't wise.

Gerecht also emphasizes that his Cold War analogy has to do with post-war Western Europe, not Eastern, which is (I think) more interesting and apt.

Whole thing here; link via Public Diplomacy Press Review.