CBS Pro-Drone Propaganda
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2009
Isabel Macdonald, Communications Director,
CBS Pro-Drone Propaganda
60 Minutes slights critics of controversial weapons
NEW YORK - May 12 - On May 10, CBS's 60 Minutes presented a remarkably one-sided report on unmanned Air Force drones firing missiles into Afghanistan and Iraq. Though the drones have been criticized for killing civilians in both countries, CBS viewers heard from no critics of the weapons.
Instead, correspondent Lara Logan seemed awed by the drones from the very start of the broadcast: "Every so often in the history of war, a new weapon comes along that fundamentally rewrites the rules of battle. This is a story about a revolution in unmanned aviation that is doing just that." She described the drones as "hunting down insurgents, every minute of every day," and as "one of the most important planes in the United States Air Force."
Viewers were told that CBS was getting special access: "Many of the details of this weapons program are classified, but our 60 Minutes team was given secret clearance and unprecedented access to bring you this story." The report relied entirely on pilots and the Air Force chief of staff.
The closest the segment came to airing any criticism at all was when Logan asked one pilot, Lt. Col. Chris Gough, about his confidence in the targeting of the missile attacks: "What if you get it wrong?" Logan asked. "We don't," Gough replied, before finally admitting that it's "a tough question.... We have the resources to make sure we're right." Gough stressed the "clarity" of being removed from the battlefield--the drones are piloted from a base in Nevada--which led Logan to say, "In spite of that clarity, unmanned planes and Air Force jets are criticized in Afghanistan for killing innocent civilians, including an incident just this week that is under military investigation." Those comments were accompanied primarily by footage of screaming Afghans protesting in a street, with a brief shot of a hospitalized child.
Logan added that drone attacks in Pakistan are "blamed for even more deaths." She reported that the CIA "wouldn't talk to 60 Minutes about their operations," so she gives the Air Force the last word on the subject, noting that they argue the drones are "more precise than piloted planes." Logan seemed to accept this argument: "We got a sense of that when the Air Force let us sit with Predator pilots in Nevada while they kept a close watch on U.S. soldiers along the Afghan/Pakistan border."
It would not have been difficult to find critics of the reliance on drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq--even among those close to the military. As the Los Angeles Times reported a week before the CBS segment aired (5/3/09), the House Armed Services Committee had recently heard testimony from David Kilcullen--a former adviser to General David Petraeus--who believes the drone attacks take too many civilian lives. Kilcullen testified that while drone attacks are suspected to have killed 14 Al-Qaeda leaders since 2006 in Pakistan, at the same time the weapons have killed about 700 civilians--a 50:1 ratio of innocent victims to targeted enemies.
Such perspectives were missing from the CBS report, leaving 60 Minutes to air what amounted to little more than military propaganda about controversial--and deadly--weapons.
Tell CBS that its May 10 60 Minutes report about drone attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq should have included critics of these weapons. Excluding such criticisms, while relying so heavily on military footage and sources, looks more like propaganda than journalism.
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I saw that horrible piece.
It should be used in future classrooms when people want to know exactly what a pure Pentagon propaganda piece looks like.
Also it is noticeable that they got "sexy" Lara Logan to do the BS shoveling, as she is now better known for having affairs with her colleages than any reporting.
Oh, remember when she got in trouble for saying this on the Daily Show?
"Stewart: Do you watch the news that we're watching?
Stewart: ...in the United States? Do you see what we're hearing about the war? So, we might actually know everything?
Logan: If I were to watch the news that you hear in the United States---I'd just blow my brains out because it would drive me nuts."
Please place Logan on suicide watch, STAT!
The "precision weapon/surgical strike" myth resurrected again
Nothing could be further from the truth. This is what they said about air to air and air to ground missiles during the Vietnam conflict. Truth was that the air war was a terrible failure.
"Every so often in the history of war, a new weapon comes along that fundamentally rewrites the rules of battle. This is a story about a revolution in unmanned aviation that is doing just that." She described the drones as "hunting down insurgents, every minute of every day," and as "one of the most important planes in the United States Air Force."
Who wrote this fluff, the aerospace contractor? Hitler thought much the same about his V-1 and V-2. It's a direct but deeply flawed historical tradition and it has similarly defective roots.
This is something right out of George Orwell. It doesn't matter who they kill with these weapons. Eurasia is the enemy. They'll kill someone, old men, women and children. They will thereby ensure that the conflict will continue and the civilian population will support the insurgency. The notion that you can target an individual from thirteen thousand miles away with a 7 figure weapon is complete nonsense. Just like the terror air bombing in WWII, the targets are residential homes. Who lives in them is a matter of conjecture and guessing. It presumes a god like omniscience that simply doesn't exist in the real world.
I once hade a retired Navy officer tell me a B-52 bomber was a "precision weapon"
This guy looked exactly like Cheney too, I swear, almost identical. I just laughed and he got incensed and claimed I didn't know what I was talking about.
I heard a retired Navy Captain tell Mark Thompson yesterday
...that water boarding was not torture. Mark called him on it, saying it was not his opinion that water boarding was torture, that is was legal precedent internationally and in US law. The Captain then went on with ridiculous talking points, they do it in SERE, they kill and torture etc. The guy was an unbelievable ignoramus and reminded me of some field grade officers that I knew. The idea that officers this ignorant are in positions of power and leadership is scary.
Reprisals are banned in international law. It doesn't matter what they do. There is no legal justification for torture.
have you seen the Jesse Ventura video?
I never really liked him, but he told larry king he was holed up in Mexico reading, reading and reading all sorts of non-fiction and bios from the bush years.
Apparently it did him a lot of good... as you can see on this video....
I've always liked Jesse
...at least since his political career began. People run him down because he is a man of principle who doesn't hesitate to speak his mind. In other words he isn't bought and paid for. He is a 911 truther as well. He understands the entire "war on terror" paradigm for the fraud that it is.