It's hard to imagine what possible use such PR drills could have, unless Americans are even stupider than we've assumed. But time and again the American Siloviki deal with the public by either lying or just making shit up. Like the recent ads about Medicare put out by the White House, paid for by taxpayers, and disguised as fake news reports. In this case, the Siloviki paid actors to pose as journalists praising the benefits of the new Medicare law and then bought airtime around the country -- with U.S. taxpayer dollars.
To date, though, the Siloviki haven't suffered much in the way of consequences from all of their lies. Democrats in the House Government Reform Committee recently compiled a list of 237 misleading public statements made by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Rice about the threat posed by Iraq, ten of which were classified as flat-out lies. Yet, people don't seem to care much.
Worse still is that they clearly don't care about getting caught, as with a recent episode when Rumsfeld was caught in a lie on CBS's Face the Nation hosted by Bob Schieffer. We'll repeat the entire conversation 'cause it's just so much fun:
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this. If they did not have these weapons of mass destruction, though, granted all of that is true, why then did they pose an immediate threat to us, to this country?
RUMSFELD: Well, you're the--you and a few other critics are the only people I've heard use the phrase `immediate threat.' I didn't. The president didn't. And it's become kind of folklore that that's--that's what's happened. The president went...
SCHIEFFER: You're saying that nobody in the administration said that.
RUMSFELD: I--I can't speak for nobody--everybody in the administration and say nobody said that.
SCHIEFFER: Vice president didn't say that? The...
RUMSFELD: Not--if--if you have any citations, I'd like to see 'em.
FRIEDMAN: We have one here. It says `some have argued that the nu'--this is you speaking--`that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent, that Saddam is at least five to seven years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain.'
FRIEDMAN: It was close to imminent.
RUMSFELD: Well, I've--I've tried to be precise, and I've tried to be accurate. I'm s--suppose I've...
FRIEDMAN: `No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world and the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.'
RUMSFELD: Mm-hmm. It--my view of--of the situation was that he--he had--we--we believe, the best intelligence that we had and other countries had and that--that we believed and we still do not know--we will know.
So, who are the Siloviki? You've heard the names -- Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleeza Rice, John Ashcroft, Tom Ridge, Robert Mueller, George Tenet and the 170,000 homeland security workers. They aren't necessarily all former security service types (Bush's daddy was), but they all subscribe to the new, expanded role of the government in prosecuting the War on Terror and trampling the Bill of Rights. Even now, when they seem to be facing more criticism than ever before about the level of secrecy and deception in the Bush administration, the erosions of civil liberties continues. Anyone who thinks the FBI is going to destroy all those fingerprints they've been painstakingly cataloguing if Kerry gets elected has another thing coming. Now that the Siloviki have established a foothold in power, it'll take much more than an election to dislodge them.