Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thursday 1 December 2005

White House "Embarrassed"; Bush Victory Strategy Speech Written By PR Agency

Gave President Wrong Folder; Iraqi Newspaper Prints Slams Against Murtha, Kerry, Pelosi

More evidence of a White House in turmoil was uncovered this morning as Chief of Staff Andy Card admitted that President Bush's "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" speech yesterday was written by a PR Agency hired by the Pentagon.

Shortly after the President's speech on the status of the War in Iraq at the Naval Academy yesterday morning, news broke that a Washington, D.C. public relations firm, the Lincoln Group, has been hired by the Pentagon to write and plant stories in Iraqi newspapers, and other media, that offer a pro-American, optimistic slant on the war.

In a damaging comedy of errors, the President was handed a folder as he was rushed to Annapolis to deliver what was to be his standard "stay the course" speech, and to defend his policies with slamming put-downs of Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Representative Jack Murtha (D-PA) and Senator John Kerry (D-MA).

The folder the President received was the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" outline. The folder with his speech attacking the Democrats was faxed to Al Sabah, a major Iraqi newspaper.

"We screwed the pooch, that's for sure," said a depressed and embarrassed Card.

In Card's brief statement, blame was not placed on anyone specifically, as Card himself said that "I'll own up to the responsibility, I'll take the hit on this one."

Card also lamented "trying to sell a new product" at the end of November"against the crush of the holiday season".

The 'New York Times' is reporting that the Pentagon's first public relations contract with Lincoln was awarded in 2004 for about $5 million with the stated purpose of accurately informing the Iraqi people of American goals and gaining their support.

"But while meant to provide reliable information, the effort was also intended to use deceptive techniques, like payments to sympathetic "temporary spokespersons" who would not necessarily be identified as working for the coalition, according to a contract document and a military official"

According to the 'New York Times', this wasn't the only contract Lincoln has with the Pentagon,

"Last June, the Special Operations Command in Tampa awarded Lincoln and two other companies a multimillion-dollar contract to support psychological operations. The planned products, contract documents showed, include three- to five- minute news programs".

Adding to the White House woes, the President, in his speech, carried live by cable news networks, directed anyone listening that they could "download the 35-page "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" report at "".

And in Baghdad this morning, residents woke up to screaming headlines on how "the Democrats were undermining the war effort".

"Until when, and if, Karl Rove or Dick Cheney gets indicted," said Harold "Ace" Larson, an analyst for the counterintelligence think tank, 'Book'em and Beat'em', "this is about the worst thing that could happen for Bush.

Former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright said after the President's speech that "I so wish I could believe him. I like to believe an American president. But he's got such a credibility issue."

Muhammad Abdul Jabbar, the editor of Al Sabah, said that he thought "the copy was a bit unusual".

"We've printed a lot of the these stories from the American military before, so, as strange as it appeared, we thought there had to be some valid point to it and we ran with it."

Dan Bartlett, White House Communications Director, told a group of reporters that "damage control was already in place" and that changes were "already underway" to prevent such a error again.

"We're having Lincoln use different color folders when submitting their material", said Bartlett, "and, we've assigned a specific person to read the material and verify the distribution before letting it out of the office."

Jabbar stated that Al Sabah is "undecided" about running a correction and will "wait to see if the American advisors provide one".

Washington Post reporter and author Bob Woodward said that he knew "right after the war in Iraq started" that the United States would "eventually withdraw the troops" but withheld that information from his editor and colleagues.

So that the mission is clear and "everyone is on the same page", Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield has ordered that all U.S. Military personnel be tattooed with the new "National Strategy For Victory In Iraq"

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