What is legitimate interest?
A lady named Daniel Gordon wrote a response to the accusations that the DOD violated rules. The link to this report is below. Now this is written by a lawyer, she is counsel to someone. In this she explains how the GAO looked into accusations of wrong doing by the DOD. It's clear she was looking for lawful violations, no ethical compromises. In her expose the question becomes, what is the "legistimate interest" of the DOD? Is it in the interest of the DOD to fight a war and win the public opinon of that war, no matter what?
In Daniels letter, she writes:
"Clearly, DOD attempted to favorably influence public opinion with respect to the Administration’s war policies in Iraq and Afghanistan through the RMOs."
She says that twice actually. . .no doubt about it. The DOD attempted to influence. . .but was it illegal? No, depending on your view of "legitimate interest". I don't see it in the interest of the US military to even MONITOR public opinion about a war.
Why should my taxpayer money go to kill civilians in Iraq? That is bad enough, but why do my taxes also go to a contractor (named Omnitec) that gives the DOD a pulse of the public opinion? Why are we paying for that? Isn't that what our local, state, and federal representatives are for? They monitor public opinion by getting letters in the mail. Then they report to congress.
Again Mrs. Gordon does a good legal job of explaining things. She even points out that is all she is doing. . explaing the legal issues. She writes:
"This opinion does not examine whether the RMO outreach program resulted in a competitive advantage for RMOs or compromised DOD procurement with RMO-affiliated defense contractors."
Exactly. . .it's all about did you break the law. Well I think the laws need to be changed. The military has no business knowing if a war is popular or not. We the citizens of the United States and our elected representatives will do that job. The militarys job is to fight wars. Oh wait, it's the "Department of Defense". They only defend the country, not fight wars. Hey they even have some of that media spin in their name. How clever! The DOD, which means we only defend. . .yeah right.
But there lies the problem. Warfare is secret, so how does the military discuss the doings of war? It selectively does it, that's how. The military rarely if ever shows the dead children, they don't show the destroyed church. They only show the radar picture of a taliban fort being blown up. What do you all think? Do you think the military has a interest in showing their version of the war? Well DOD contractors sure do have an interest in it.
"Omnitec Contract at 15--16. The contract provided that Omnitec would report how coverage reflected, or failed to reflect, DOD’s stated policies or views. Id. Typical Omnitec reports list names of RMOs who provided commentary during a given period of time, summarize the commentary, and provide excerpts of transcripts of the RMOs’ comments.16
We learned from DOD Comptroller’s office that between November 2004 and October 2007, DOD paid Omnitec Solutions $1,837,989. We also identified 19 civilian public affairs staff and 3 active military personnel involved in the RMO outreach program at various times between fiscal years 2002 and 2008, including two assistant secretaries and one Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs."http://www.gao.gov/decisions/appro/316443.pdf
Does the media influence the war? This photo of a burned child and families fleeing their homes is a historic photo. Media play of this single photo helped bring about a huge wave of anti-war effort towards the Vietnam conflict.
Note: A parent my notice the children are walking funny. That is because the kids have burns on their arms. . painful burns.