The White House Treats the Public Like Morons. Again.

The White House Treats the Public Like Morons. Again.

The White House today chastised the New York Times for its Wednesday piece, “U.S. Intelligence Aiding Ukraine in Killing Russian Generals, Officials Say.” Given that American-made bombs and missiles are being thrown around the battlefield like Frisbees, Hacky Sack balls, and fist-sized boulders on a playground, you’d think the Biden administration would dismiss the story. It’s not like the US military has been sending Russian military officials direct letters with its latest life-extension strategies.

But no. Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, stormed out of her office to chastise the Times for its portrayal. “The US offers combat information to assist the Ukrainians in defending their country,” Watson said in an email to Agence France-Presse. “We don’t supply intelligence with the goal of assassinating Russian generals.” [Italics added.]]

What was Watson attempting to convey? Government remarks like this remind us that official spokespersons defy reality with every breath, treat the public like idiots, make themselves a laughingstock, and urge citizens to seek the truth elsewhere. The New York Times, as usual, painted a more accurate picture of what the government is up to than the government itself.

Watson’s denial of a plan to kill Russian generals — 12 have been killed so far — makes it sound like she wants you to think what? Accidental? Incidental? Simply terrible luck? Of course, the US is supplying intelligence for the assassination of key Russian officers. When a dangerous snake gets into your sleeping bag, aren’t you meant to chop off the snake’s head, whether you’re on a family hiking trip or fighting a huge land war against a brutal adversary? When combat snipers hunker down to kill, aren’t they supposed to scan the landscape for officers to shoot? So far, the Biden administration has sent at least $3 billion in military aid to Ukraine, with plans to deliver far more. Why spend the money if it isn’t designed to kill Russian generals and their command structure to speed the war’s end?

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At his daily briefing on Thursday afternoon, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby attempted but failed, to clear the Watson mess. “We don’t offer intelligence on the whereabouts of key military officers on the battlefield, and we don’t participate in the Ukrainian military’s targeting decisions,” he said. Kirby may be a straight shooter, but he appeared to be arguing about something the Times had not written. The operative terms in the Times piece are “targeting help” and information about “mobile headquarters,” not GPS coordinates for the Ukrainian strikes.

Of course, the Biden administration is irritated with the Times article because it states the obvious. According to the Times piece, the White House is concerned that boasting about killing Russian generals may escalate the conflict. That’s one interpretation. Another possibility is that sloppy Russian security and battlefield rashness are assisting the Ukrainians in assassinating Russian generals.

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The print headline for the Times piece, “U.S. Aided Kyiv in Targeting Russian Generals,” softened the facts by substituting “targeting” for “kill” in the original Web headline. Who, however, was duped? To some ears, the tale sounded like the US was assassinating Russian generals, and global assassination has an unpleasant Kennedy-era odor that our government now avoids. Phil Mudd, a CNN counterterrorism analyst, and former FBI senior intelligence consultant said as much on the subject Thursday morning on CNN. “In most cases, intelligence is not used in assassination operations,” Mudd explained. “I concur with the White House’s position. “I believed the title was deceptive.” However, Mudd’s account of the murder was no more detailed than Watson’s. According to his account, the US offers intelligence as well as the location of forces and command posts to the Ukrainians, who “may combine that with other intelligence and say we’re going after that building because we believe high-value targets are there.” That, in Mudd’s opinion, is not the same as assassination. You make the decision.

Mudd’s work, which I typically respect, only adds to Watson’s blunder. Is it not an accessory if I aid you in establishing where your opponent has bivouacked, knowing that you know how to get there and that you sincerely want him dead and have the means to kill him? Isn’t it clear to the Russians, despite Watson’s protestations of intent and Mudd’s caveats, that the US is fully involved in the assassination of Russian generals? Perhaps the obfuscations provide diplomatic cover for the US, but I doubt it. Even if the Times’ scoop had not been published, the Russians would undoubtedly annihilate any US soldiers that entered the theater.

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If the Biden administration is upset about the Times’ piece, it is slamming the wrong person. According to the narrative, “top American officials” in the US have told the Times that the US is assisting the Ukrainians in “targeting” or “killing” Russian generals. Since two weeks before the invasion, it has been known that US spy satellites and other intelligence assets had penetrated Russian security, giving the US an open window into Russian plans and that the US has widely shared intelligence because it wants the Russians to know we know almost everything they’re doing. While the Times piece is accurate and extensive, it just validates the genuine verdict on US capabilities and intentions, which was delivered months ago.

Adrienne Watson’s disclaimer won’t persuade the public that the US isn’t rushing the deaths of Russian generals on purpose. It will not persuade the Russians either. It will only serve to confirm the widespread belief that official government statements are frequently crafted to deceive you.

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