Brainwashing The Public On Afghanistan

In 1967 Gov. George W. Romney of Michigan, a potential contender for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination, abandoned his earlier support for the war in Vietnam, which he had previously called “morally right and necessary.” Asked why he had changed his position, Romney said, “When I came back from Vietnam [in November 1965], I’d just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get.” That remark indicating the U.S. military had lied to him was widely interpreted as a fatal gaffe, and Romney pulled out of the race two weeks before the New Hampshire primary.

Of course, the U.S. government was lying about Vietnam. That was the infamous “credibility gap,” documented in the Pentagon Papers, that kept Lyndon Johnson from running for reelection in 1968.

Would a politician suffer the same fate as George Romney today if he claimed the Obama administration is lying about the war in Afghanistan? Perhaps, but Romney’s son Mitt isn’t likely to find out. He’s a fully committed war hawk who takes foreign-policy advice from the architects of George W. Bush’s policy of aggressive war and imperial occupation. He’s not about to declare that the war is a lost cause.

But Barack Obama, in a manner reminiscent of Lyndon Johnson, is lying to Romney and the rest of the country about war. Even politicians who visit Afghanistan have been subjected to military “brainwashing.” As Rolling Stone reported last year,

The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in “psychological operations” to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war….

… Over a four-month period last year [2010], a military cell devoted to what is known as “information operations” at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with [Lt. Gen. William] Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation…. The incident offers an indication of just how desperate the U.S. command in Afghanistan is to spin American civilian leaders into supporting an increasingly unpopular war.

The more things change …

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