On Wednesday morning, NPR's Tom Bowman covers two military advisers to McCain and Obama, Richard Armitage and Richard Danzig respectively. After describing Richard Danzing briefly, here's Bowman talking about Armitage:
"...by contrast Armitage is a blunt and forceful man with a shaved head, a Vietnam combat veteran, who lifts weights and runs an international consulting company. Armitage and McCain share a bond of military service - in an earthy sense - of America's fighting prowess [voice of Armitage comes in] 'notwithstanding high tech weapon systems, it's only an infantryman with a bayonet who can take and hold ground and bend an enemy to our will' and it's that infantryman - rather 150,000 of them currently holding ground in Iraq that separates McCain and Obama more than anything else..."It is a telling piece of "reporting" - more for what we don't find out than for what we do. First, there is no mention that Armitage most recently was in the news because he was at the heart of the Plame leak scandal. That's just the start, though. Notice the euphemism of "runs an international consulting company." That's the polite way of saying he's a blunt and forceful war profiteer, and part of his long lucrative career was his connection to CACI, identified as one of the main operatives in the Abu Ghraib scandal. There is no mention of his active role in the Project for a New American Century, and - further back in time - his involvement in Iran-Contra and possible connections to covert action related drug-dealing.
Yes, I know this all does take a bit of the shine of that imposing skinhead of his. And that BS about "notwithstanding high tech weapon systems" and "an infantryman with a bayonet" - I think we know which one Armitage has parlayed into his tidy millions. Frankly there's something uber-creepy about that "bend an enemy to our will" stuff - a whiff of the waffen (if restricted try here, and scroll down near the bottom) in that one might say. But that's not going to stop Tom Bowman from linking it right up with the "150,000 of them currently holding ground in Iraq." Zounds! Holding what fricking ground, if I might be so bold to ask?
- Another drawback of NPR's scant use of substance in its reports is how a little research might actually make a story more nuanced and interesting. Given that the thrust of NPR's report is how different Armitage/McCain and Danzig/Obama view the idea of withdrawing US troops, Bowman could have asked Armitage about his new change of views (a little over a year and a half ago, he was leading the call for withdrawal and stating his mea culpa on starting the war). That would be interesting.
- Also, in spite of all the warrior-tough guy persona, Armitage has enough of a moral center (unlike some news outlets) to call torture torture and demand that it not be condoned.