Petraeus On Pentagon's Propaganda Program: "Happy To" Participate

05/30/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Huffington Post

As General David Petraeus testifies before the Senate today to be confirmed as the senior commander of US troops in the Middle East, the Senators should perhaps consider Think Progress' report that Petraeus was a willing participant in the Pentagon's propaganda program involving TV military analysts:

Email correspondence from the Pentagon document dump reveals Gen. David Petraeus was "happy to" participate in its "puppet" TV military analyst program in 2005. The "talented" military officer was promoted by President Bush to lieutenant general in 2004, with the public mission of training Iraqi military forces. At the behest of Larry Di Rita, Rumsfeld's "right-hand man" in the Pentagon, Petraeus took on another, secret mission that year, shaping the public perception of the Iraq War and the key question of whether American troops would be able to come home...

...The August 28, 2005 episode of Meet the Press -- as Cindy Sheehan was asking to meet with the President in Crawford, Texas -- was focused on Iraq, with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad and a panel of retired generals...

...Documents released by the Pentagon (pp. 22-30) reveal that Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita wanted to make sure the Meet the Press appearance went as well as possible. Friday afternoon, Di Rita thought of using Petraeus. Bryan Whitman, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, agreed -- "Not a bad idea. That is a tough group and as you know have not been very supportive before." Whitman sent the "thought downrange" in a message to "Dave," who immediately went into action, calling and emailing the retired generals from Iraq.

Read the full report from Think Progress here.