Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Newspeak from Oceania

If I were a radio broadcaster working for the Ministry of Peace I'd start my report on the guy who heads up the Pacific Region of the world's most bloated war-making organization by saying,

"This morning we're going to take a look at a military leader who spends his days presiding over peace rather than war."

But wait, that would be plagiarism since that's exactly how Steve Inskeep begins Tuesday morning's NPR report on Admiral Timothy Keating of Pacific Command. In case you missed the subtle Inscreepy® message, he finishes by reminding us that Keating "spends his days preparing for but trying to prevent conflicts in the huge Asia Pacific region."

Mike Schuster (hanging out at the West 2008 warlove convention) takes over the boot licking at this point. Schuster reveals that Keating's "previous assignments seem to have prepared him well for the Pacific Command." Pointedly Schuster tells us that
"Keating has traveled throughout the region, and he has gotten good marks so far from many of the experts who follow US policy in Asia - among them Ralph Cossa of the Pacific Forum in Hawaii."
There's that favorite NPR ploy: a vague and unsubstantiated phrase like "many of the experts." What "experts?" From what agencies? And specifically what outside independent perspective does Ralph Cossa represent? Let's have a look. From his bio at the Center for International and Strategic Studies we learn that he
  • served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966 to 1993, achieving the rank of colonel
  • served as special assistant to the commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Command
  • served as deputy director for strategic studies at the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • served as a national security affairs fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University
I'd say we've been served!

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