News Release

Ground Troops in Syria and Special Ops “Porn”

CNN produced a CGI version of the US raid in Syria, turning official claims into visual reality.

ADAM JOHNSON, ahubbardjohnson at gmail.com, @adamjohnsonnyc
Johnson just wrote the piece “White House Reveals ‘Boots on Ground’ in Syria, but Media Too Giddy Over Special Ops Porn to Notice,” which states: “The White House announced on Saturday that a team of Delta Force soldiers had gone into sovereign Syrian territory to kill an alleged ISIS  ‘commander’ and a few dozen other faceless bad guys.

“Per usual, the media would retell the narrative based entirely on Pentagon and White House action movie prose. Just as with the bin Laden raid narrative — that later turned out to be mostly false — this tale involved some unbelievably compelling details: ‘rescuing a Yazidi slave,’ ‘hand-to-hand combat,’ ‘women and children as human shields,’ ‘precise fire’ (that, of course, avoided these women and children), and a body count, ’40 extremists,’ that would make Jack Bauer blush.

“To the New York Times‘ credit, it did issue one of the most passive-aggressive ‘we could not independently verify these claims’ disclaimers in journalistic history:

“A Defense Department official said Islamic State fighters who defended their building and Abu Sayyaf tried to use women and children as shields, but that the Delta Force commandos ‘used very precise fire’ and ‘separated the women and children.’ The official said the operation involved close ‘hand-to-hand fighting.’ (The accounts of the raid came from military and government officials and could not be immediately verified through independent sources.)

“No, of course they couldn’t!

“Obviously, this is one of the limits of reporting on secret events in far-off, opaque war zones. Nonetheless, given that the last such politically loaded raid, on the bin Laden ‘compound’ in Pakistan, turned out to be full of White House lies — to say nothing of Seymour Hersh’s recent, high-profile allegations that the entire thing was staged — you’d think a bit of skepticism would be in order. But, in a world of mass information asymmetry, the government’s word on these matters is treated as the authoritative one until proven otherwise.

“This routine problem, however, is not the real journalistic crime here. The real issue is that the White House just admitted it has American ground troops engaged in combat missions in Syria — and no one seemed to notice, much less care.”