Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

The material I post on this blog represents my views and mine alone. The material you post on this blog represents your views and yours alone.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

THE WAR -- THE MONEY [Part 33]

The following is only 534 words from an over 5200 word investigative report appearing in The Times today. From the front page opening to two full, five column inside pages, this story digs into the role of one retired Army “stars for hire” general. It provides details and online documents on his role in selling the Iraq war to the American people on NBC and MSNBC while also selling military hardware and services to the Pentagon and the Iraq government.

If you don’t read this, your understanding of how this needless war unfolded is seriously impaired.

Barry R. McCaffrey is not the only retired military man who is a part of this Military-Industrial-Media Complex. Last spring David Barstow wrote about an entire platoon of these guys who shovel their skewed and dollar stained expertise at the public over TV news programs. See New York Times, April 20, 2008, “Message Machine--Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand.” GO HERE

Barstow should and probably will receive a Pulitzer for this reporting.

One Man’s Military- Industrial-Media Complex

Published: NYT November 29, 2008

In the spring of 2007 a tiny military contractor with a slender track record went shopping for a precious Beltway commodity.

The company, Defense Solutions, sought the services of a retired general with national stature, someone who could open doors at the highest levels of government and help it win a huge prize: the right to supply Iraq with thousands of armored vehicles.

Access like this does not come cheap, but it was an opportunity potentially worth billions in sales, and Defense Solutions soon found its man. The company signed Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and military analyst for NBC News, to a consulting contract starting June 15, 2007.

Four days later the general swung into action. He sent a personal note and 15-page briefing packet to David H. Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, strongly recommending Defense Solutions and its offer to supply Iraq with 5,000 armored vehicles from Eastern Europe. “No other proposal is quicker, less costly, or more certain to succeed,” he said.

Thus, within days of hiring General McCaffrey, the Defense Solutions sales pitch was in the hands of the American commander with the greatest influence over Iraq’s expanding military.

“That’s what I pay him for,” Timothy D. Ringgold, chief executive of Defense Solutions, said in an interview. . . .



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