Monday, September 21, 2015

WAR ON ISIS - The Vietnam Playback

As a Vietnam Vet I am well aware of DOD 'exaggerations,' like the Vietnam war 'body count' as a measure of success or reports leading to the first Iraq.  So it's no surprise that CENTCOM discounts the negatives in the ISIS reports.

"Did U.S. intelligence officers downplay Islamic State reports?" PBS NewsHour 9/16/2015


SUMMARY:  A number of intelligence officers say that senior officials have been painting an overly optimistic picture of the fight against the Islamic State group.  A Pentagon investigation is now underway, and the issue was the subject of a Capitol Hill hearing.  Jeffrey Brown talks to Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times and retired Col. Derek Harvey, a former Army intelligence officer.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  ..... a look at a growing controversy that has gripped one part of the government’s intelligence community.

At CENTCOM, the military headquarters for U.S. forces in the Middle East, a number of intelligence officers are claiming that senior officials have been altering their analysis, painting a more optimistic assessment about the fight against the Islamic State group.

Jeffrey Brown has the story.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  The Pentagon’s Inspector General is now conducting an investigation of these allegations.

And this morning, the commander of Central Command, General Lloyd Austin, addressed this issue at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

GEN. LLOYD AUSTIN, Commander, U.S. Central Command:  Because the allegations are currently under investigation, it would be premature and inappropriate for me to discuss this matter.

What I will say is, I welcome the DOD I.G.’s oversight, and once the investigation is complete, based upon the findings, you can be assured that I will take appropriate actions.

JEFFREY BROWN:  But General Austin drew a sharp rebuke from Arizona Senator John McCain when he described the U.S. efforts to combat ISIS.

GEN. LLOYD AUSTIN:  Fortunately, amidst all the — amidst the many challenges that exist in Iraq and Syria, we find opportunities, and we remain confident that our actions in pursuit of these opportunities will continue to produce positive results in the coming days.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona:  So, everything is really going well.

GEN. LLOYD AUSTIN:  No, sir, that’s not…

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN:  Well, then, if things aren’t going well and we have had — quote — “setbacks,” and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says it’s tactically stalemated, and you think everything is going well as — pursuing the strategy and tactics on the ground that we are, General Austin, I respectfully disagree.  I respectfully, fundamentally disagree.

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