Sunday, October 05, 2008

Where the Rads are

I dare you to guess who wrote this essay titled "Country First: Randy Scheunemann Isn't the Only Foreign Agent With McCain's Ear." Guess. And tell me where it appeared. Naomi Klein? Mother Jones?

"It was the story that dared Americans not to care—Iraqi soldiers yanking babies out of incubators in Kuwait and leaving them to die. The grisly tale turned out not to be true, but it was the hook that drew the American public into the Persian Gulf War and earned the PR wizards at Hill & Knowlton every dime of the $10.7 million they took from the emir of Kuwait.

Hill & Knowlton, backed by the first Bush administration and sympathetic lawmakers eager to protect oil interests in Kuwait, orchestrated a hearing before the House Human Rights Caucus. The Oct. 10, 1990 event featured a witness—the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S.—who hadn’t seen the incubator incident. But the truth didn’t emerge until it was too late. Due to “firsthand” accounts of atrocities from other “witnesses” coached by Hill & Knowlton, the narrative caught fire. Soon President George H.W. Bush was repeating the trope, and the intervention was transformed from war for oil into a humanitarian mission for incubator babies “scattered like firewood across the floor.” Within months, the Kuwaitis, with the help of the best American flacks money could buy, got their war.

About the same time, veteran Republican operative and lobbyist Charlie Black, who now serves as McCain’s chief campaign adviser, was getting rich by vouching for the integrity of U.S.-backed kleptocrats such as Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, brutal military rulers like Siad Barre in Somalia, and Jonas Savimbi, the guerilla leader who for years peppered Angola with land mines and left a generation of shell-shocked children without limbs.

More recently, his firm, Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, represented Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi, the one-man show who tap-danced his way across Washington convincing the elite that a pre-emptive showdown with Saddam was vital to our interests. When the post-invasion didn’t go as planned, BKSH was commissioned by the shadowy Lincoln Group for “psyops”—planting happy but not necessarily real stories about the U.S. occupation in the Iraqi media for the Pentagon."

No. You are so wrong. Kelley Beaucar Vlahos In The American Conservative