2 November 2003

Err War - The [US] Army buries its mistakes

Back in Soviet times, there was a Russian army general who liked to bellow, 'Analysis is for lieutenants and women.' This brute-force approach to military matters didn't serve the Soviet Union well in the long run. Unfortunately, the same attitude seems to be creeping into the U.S. Army today.

Two pieces of evidence shine all too glaringly: 1) an official, unclassified, and highly critical report on the U.S. Army's inefficient-to-shoddy intelligence practices in Iraq and Afghanistan, written by the Center for Army Lessons Learned in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.; and 2) the removal of this report from the center's Web site, after the Washington Post published a story summarizing its contents.

If the Iraq adventure is such a great idea why is it necessary to fiddle the books so much? In the last week we've had the White House fiddling its website to rpevent Iraqi documents being searched. Actual documents on the White House website have been retrospectively amended, as the Memory Hole:

When the White House published the text of and photos from Bush's speech announcing the supposed end of the Iraq attack, the headline read: "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended." But on Tuesday, 19 Aug 2003, the Cursor website noticed that the headline had been changed to read: "President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended." The word "major" had been added.

Apparently, with the quagmire resulting in at least one dead US soldier a day--not to mention even more injuries, dead Iraqis, and sabotage--that headline had proved incorrect. Therefore, straight out of 1984, the headline was stealthily altered to make it seem as if that's what it had always said.

We were able to recover numerous instances of the unaltered headline. At the top of the page is the original headline, as it has been preserved on the Website of Scott Long, who collects photos of politicians on aircraft carriers. Under that, you'll find the headline as it is now. More examples are below.

At least in the bad old days of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, they had to rely on actually cutting and pasting pieces of paper to execute historical revisionism. It's worthwhile downloading Need-to-know Democracy to get a grip on the whole sorry tale.

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