A Credibility Chasm | Harper's Magazine

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A Credibility Chasm


The Bush White House has always had an obsession with direct control over the media flow from Baghdad. An important part of the terrible distortion that emanated from Baghdad came not from trained Defense Department professionals, but from Karl Rove’s flaks. A key figure in this process was Dan Senor, who was placed in Baghdad at the core of the insurrection with a specific mission—suppressing the truth. Senor moved from this slot to serving, quite appropriately, as a commentator for Fox News. And he’s had no shortage of follow-up.

A senior public affairs officer in Baghdad reports the killing of a key figure in Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. It grabs headlines everywhere. And then someone checks the records. It turns out that this is the second “confirmed” killing of the same man in the last year. Who’s responsible?

The Cunning Realist, who calls this Dr. Strangelove meets Weekend at Bernie’s, looks behind the scenes and gives us the bio.

He became head spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq in early June. His official title? Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Effects. He was Michael Gordon’s only source for this New York Times piece on alleged Iranian ties to the Karbala raid in which five American troops were killed. His previous position: Special Assistant to President Bush.

Surprised? And you were wondering perhaps about the stunning successes accomplished every week by the surge even as violence reaches unequaled levels, and the fact that now every enemy is a certified member of Al Qaeda?

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