February 24th, 2011
12:25 PM ET

Rolling Stone: Army manipulated visiting VIPs in Afghanistan

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is ordering an investigation into a scathing Rolling Stone magazine report that says the Army ordered soldiers trained in "psychological operations" to manipulate visiting lawmakers to secure more troops and funding for the war, the military said Thursday.

A lieutenant colonel told the magazine that a military team at Afghanistan's Camp Eggers was ordered by Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops, to perform psychological operations on visiting VIPs over a four-month period last year.

When the team devoted to what is known as information operations refused on grounds that it was illegal, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation, the magazine said.

"My job in psy-ops is to play with people's heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave," Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the head of the "information operations" unit, told Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings, who also wrote an article last year that led to the dismissal of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

"I'm prohibited from doing that to our own people," he said. "When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you're crossing a line."

Holmes said he was reprimanded for refusing to carry out orders.

The military statement Thursday said Petraeus would order a probe but said that "it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time."

The report said that among those singled out in the campaign included Sens. John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services, said he was "confident the chain of command will review any allegation that information operations have been improperly used in Afghanistan."

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soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. Ash

    Let us sell the states of Montana, Dakotas, Texas and Arizona and fund the military... better still let us remove all police, fire, ambulance services in US and privatize them to Haliburton... just so these defense companies do not have to bury us in trillions of dollars in debt... It is a pity the average American is now in the same mindset as most people in Third World.... we will face crisis when we get there.. why bother now... when it costs $7 to buy a gallon of gas and you pay 45% of your earnings as taxes, you will know what I am talking about. Between the defense contractors, healthcare industry and public employees and US's arbitrary foreign policy led spending, we are bankrupting our nation.... plainly put our only hope is that China does not dump our currency because they have so much of it! because if they do, you will see an instant collapse of the American way of life....

    February 24, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mary

    ARe you kidding? I WOULD LOVE TO USE PSYCHOLOGICAL TACTICS ON OUR SENATORS and other so called VIPS to get them to shut the hell up unless they actually know what they are talking about.

    February 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pligga Nease

    19 guys with box cutters
    why would I want to throw more money down the drain called defense
    we already have enough bombs to blow up the world 100 times
    yet with all the money we throw at defense......we can;t defend shlt

    February 24, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jack

    Hmmm ... you sure it's "psi-ops" and not "psy-ops?"

    February 24, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Aaron

    Psyops commanders don't report to pencil pushing pansy Generals that wear blue flashes... Unless they are CAPOC or USASOC, their opinions don't matter... Good for the LTC... Tell the General to go to hell

    February 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gil

    I've said it for years that our military is out of control and this is just further proof of that. However, it doesn't take much to get the right wing republican militarists to agree to anything a general says. Stop the wars Now!

    February 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    Psyop troops have not been trained in propaganda development in years. They are information dissemination teams these days. Furthermore, it is the job of military Public Affairs personnel to convince the visiting brass to cough up the money for body armor, ammo and fuel.

    Furthermore, there is no real magic to either job. A lot of the guys from Psyop units moved over to Public Affairs as they got older and liked jumping out of airplanes less and less. Both jobs entail telling the target audience what the commander wants them to know and not mentioning the things the commander doesn't want mentioned.

    February 24, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    Does this mean more than that the visiting politicians were given a dose of spin? Surely they expected that part. Or is there more to this story?

    February 24, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Guy

    Sounds like the spin the politicians put on the public on a daily basis, so what's the problem with it?

    February 24, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. forfun

    psy ops.. don't they stare at goats?

    February 24, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kandid1

    The real story is that anyone can influence any official to do anything constructive.

    February 24, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. LTC

    Everyone uses "Information Operations" to "manipulate" others every day. So a General asked his staff to help him convince the politicians that they need more resources to properly support our troops. How awful. Of course, it's much more interesting if you make it a sinister plot instead of an honest effort to the do the right thing to help soldiers get the resources they need.

    February 24, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. HiDsrtGrrl

    Really, Rolling Stone thinks it's a news magazine now? Gross.
    PS – It's Psyops...not Psi-Ops.

    February 24, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. drinky

    So now our elected officials are not only controlled by a handful of wealthy elites, but the military as well. Rome circa 400AD here we come.

    February 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. rob

    best equiptment? does anyone know about the history of the m-16 in vietnam? as for psy-ops, the propaganda war began in earnest during ww1 using sears/roebucks ad-hoc men. the nascar bit isnt supprising, considering the demographic.

    February 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  16. ED FL

    Mccain and Lie-berman should sue for taking advantage of old and senile senior citizens, then again we have to remember they are Politicians and will listen to anything that they think will bring attention to them no matter how stupid the content.

    February 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  17. lgny

    I don't see much specifics in the news story or the comments to indicate exactly what specific psy-ops were requested. Until there are specific facts on what types of actions were requested, this could be anything from illegal to standard public relations work. As the NYTimes put it:

    "But a range of Pentagon and military officials said that it would not necessarily be improper for an information operations cell to gather publicly available biographical material on high-ranking visitors. The central question likely to be under scrutiny is the commander’s intent behind that effort, and whether the material was used in a manner that violated military regulations."

    February 24, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Googenheim

    Is this really a surprise? This is how America has operated it's foreign policy for a good century if not longer. Make the new territory favorable to the conquerors and their visitors or colonizers. Stamp out any opposition, like making people disappear. America didn't invent that, but they have perfected it and taught it to third world nations. This is really just the tip of the iceberg in the nasty things we've done abroad.

    February 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Celeste

    The real question is – why would any member of the military talk to Hastings?

    February 24, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Dave NY USA

    Uh, it is Psy Ops, you CNN geniuses.

    February 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Smokey Waterz

    Does this have anything to do with staring at goats, by chance?

    February 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  22. bootstrap

    I love America!

    February 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Bill

    William Caldwell is a dangerous man. Very ambitious.I hear he will be nominated for his 4th star.

    He once worked for Paul Wolfowitz and apparently learned that blind support for Israel can be beneficial to one's career. While he was at Ft. Leavenworth Caldwell led an effort with Israeli officers to develop "lessons learned" from Israel's incursions into Lebanon and Gaza. He also invited the likes of Caroline Glick to address students at the Command and General Staff College.

    February 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If this happened John McCain wouldn't know because if he did he would never ever have selected Palin.

    February 24, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Rambosky

    Perform "psychological operations" on them? Is that like conjuring up a curse or something? Maybe like casting a spell?

    February 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  26. MMM

    The targets would have to have a mind to be effectively influenced......Al Franken should not be concerned then....

    February 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  27. VANewsMan

    I find it very hard to believe that anyone would care enough to try to manipulate what Al Franken thinks. In any case, politicians try to manipulate what we think all the time. It's funny to think that someone would actual try to give them a test of their own medicine.

    February 24, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Rambosky

    It's Psy Ops not Psi Ops. They can't get their facts right. Why should I believe anything else they write?

    February 24, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  29. MarcusMACV

    This is hilarious. America, you do know that military spending and fighting wars we cannot afford is precisely what caused the old Soviet Union to break up. They just couldn't afford their Satellite States and their military too. Bread, Butter or Bombs, guess which we have chosen.

    February 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Rod C. Venger

    At best, this "Lt. Colonel" – if he's actually in the army and not just some poseur with nothing better to do...could have spread a little disinformation or shaded his assessments to the VIP's. It's not hard to overstate the facts and politicians do this to us on a daily basis. No way would this guy have been able to "get inside their heads" during a 2 hour to 2 day visit and get them to do anything. Every White House press conference is full of such mind bending propaganda fests. They tell us what they want us to hear to get what they want. This "Lt Colonel" was being asked to do likewise...period.

    February 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Rambosky

    It's Psy Ops not Psi Ops. Shows you that they don't know all the facts and shouldn't be printing mis-information themselves.

    February 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |

    I just farted. Shooooo : )

    February 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  33. JC

    This is just about the scariest thing I have read. Not surprising, just scary

    February 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  34. CdnJim

    And yet Americans find it odd that they've never won a war on their own, War of 1812- got whupped, Vietnam – whupped, Afganistan and Iraq – still getting whupped. Lots of expensive equipment and millions of tons of armour and a guy in a bathrobe still whupps ya.

    February 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  35. terrapin

    It's PSYOP, not psy-ops, Psi-Ops, or psyops.

    February 24, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Bill

    Why would anyone listen to, let alone believe, anything that idiot writer Hastings has to say? Such a jerk and a liar.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Tom

    We do it with TV to millions of people a day. What's the difference?

    February 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  38. bill

    Holmes is shooting off his mouth and acting like a big wig, but he knows that psyops is directed at the enemy army and population. I don't believe him at all.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Corbijn

    There are valid reasons why we have to spend so much to maintain our military. If we decide to cut back our military to a size that rivals countries like England or other European nations then we should expect some kind of Pearl Harbor and the repercussions of that again. The biggest reason why we have a huge military is deterrence, not just for right now but also for what may happen in the future. No one could have expected the US to go to war prior to WW2 and the cold war after. We were pushed into WW2 and it bankrupted the county to fight it but in the long run the US pulled through. What if we go to war with some other industrialized nation? Do we need to go through the same process as WW2? Would this generation of Americans be able to deal with the same sacrifices my grandparents made?

    I don't believe in saber-rattling or most of the stupid military engagements the US has conducted since the Korean war. Most were just political blustering. There will be one day when the most important military asset we have right now, aircraft carriers will be obsolete. The US for good or bad has to keep that edge so the US can handle whatever happens down the road. Maybe the next frontier to fight in won't be utilized by the oceans but maybe in orbit. If say in 40 or 50 years some nations have the ability to place troops and military power in orbit so they could simply drop where they wanted. Aircraft carriers wouldn't be of any use. 100 years ago airplanes were just being utilized as a military weapon then rocket power and look where we are now. What if we sat back and said "we can't do that because of a budget"? We would be as big of a superpower as Mexico. Necessity is the mother of invention and we probably wouldn't be having this discussion on the internet right now if the US had not maintained a military.

    What we should be doing with the military is using the money we let the military have more wisely. I would bet that if the US decided to be more progressive with the military then these things like people living in space and on the moon would be commonplace. Maybe cures for cancer, cities in the ocean, trains that move faster underground than any flight, communications better than computers or cell phones, an end to world hunger and all that happy utopia stuff that technology provides because the military takes advantage in it progression.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarcusMACV

      No we have a large military due to the MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL-COMPLEX. When JOBS are dependent upon fighting an unending war guess which our politicians will chose? Boeing laid off 1000 workers in Southern California, according to the Orange County Register. The move comes just a day after Boeing agreed to a $19 billion dollar deal with China to produce 200 airplanes for the country. The layoffs affect workers in the company's Long Beach, Anaheim, and Huntington Beach facilities. The bulk of the layoffs will occur in Long Beach, where 900 will lose their jobs. Now CNN says Boeing is awarded a $3.5 billion Pentagon contract, which ultimately may be worth $35 billion, to build Air Force tankers. But 900 employees are being laid off? What's wrong with this picture? Can we say "PROFITEERING".

      February 24, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  40. DickJones4

    ... 'PSI – Ops' – really??? someone at CNN is HIGH! -lol / (psy-ops)

    February 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Just me!!!!

    "These aren't the Droids your looking for"......... "These aren't the droids were looking for".......... "Give us your money"...... Give them your money"..... "Move along, move along"..........

    February 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  42. BradleyKC1

    Can anyone EVER, just tell the truth?
    Military, Congress?

    February 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Len


    February 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Mark

    "Excuse me, but all the money we give all those foreign countries are going to bankrupt us, not the military."

    And how much money is that as a percentage of the total budget? A Democracy is only as good as the people. A Democracy needs and informed and educated polity. Why is it that we do not get that.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Genius

      Cause we are a republic. Durf

      February 24, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  45. goldfalcon82

    Hey, CNN, change the headline link on the main page. It's "Psy-Ops", not "psi ops."

    February 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bates

      Apparently, they thought it had something to do with a fraternity. Whatever happened to editors, proof readers and fact checkers?

      February 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      You mean PSYOP (no s, all caps, one word abbreviation).

      February 26, 2011 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  46. windrider2

    We have spent more on our military than the rest of the world combined. And yet for all those trillions of dollars, we have not won a single war since WWII. In fact, we're still stuck in three of the last four wars: Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan; we lost Vietnam but just finally declared victory and went home. Meanwhile, we have warmongers who want war with Iran and nutjobs like Palin who wanted us to send troops into Egypt and has demanded that Obama establish a no-fly zone over Libya...hello, on whose authority and with what military? We've worn out our troops with repeated deployments to wars that we cannot ever win militarily.

    I don't blame the military for trying to get support for the Afghanistan effort because Bush/Cheney starved the only legitimate war effort and put everything into invading and occupying Iraq purely for ideological reasons (which included removing an annoying thorn from Israel's side). But Afghanistan has proved itself to be a graveyard for every empire that tried to subdue or civilize it. If we'd thrown everything we had into that justified war from the beginning, we might have contained al-qaeda instead of scattering it to the winds like a metastasizing cancer. We're no safer (and in no more danger) than we were since 9/11. We've wasted trillions of borrowed dollars, and thousands of lives on another impossible-to-win military misadventure. Trillions of dollars wasted in the Middle East when the peoples themselves have shown themselves quite willing to perform their own regime changes, thank you very much. The world neither wants nor needs America as the Big Bad Military Brother meddling in everyone else's affairs. We need to take care of our own country within our own borders. It's time to spend more of those dollars on American citizens whose lives have been destroyed by this Bush Depression.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Wise words, windrider. I think even war in Afghanistan is wrong, but Iran would be a complete non-sense as this peaceful nation never attacked another country.

      February 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annunaki

      Amen to that, wise words indeed! But there certainly are profiteers in this game, and they are clearly pushing their agenda past the eyes of a sedated public.

      February 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • proud army grandma

      amen windrider2. we need to stop spending trillions of dollars on something that we have no business doing. we should have gone into afghanistan with just cia and /or special forces and found and killed bin laden and whoever was with him. we should never have gone into iraq. that was all lies. bush et al should be arrested and charged with cirmes against humanity.

      February 25, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        proud army grandma – very good. You can be proud for your wisdom.

        February 27, 2011 at 4:27 am | Report abuse |
  47. adampeart

    Honestly CNN, what idiots do you have working for you? It's referred to as "Psy-ops" not, as you put it, "Psi-ops." I'd do much better work than who you've got, but I don't have a $50,000 piece of paper that says I'm smart so....

    February 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  48. stu

    I really enjoyed watching MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS. I spoke with several who saw the movie and didn't like it, but I thought it was hillarious.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bates

      I'm with you Stu – very funny movie!

      February 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Robin Bray

    But it's OK to do it at home with jet fly overs at ball games, God Bless America at the 7th inning stretch, Hanging flags on every overpass around Washington and ads on TV showing people in airports worshipping GIs in airports. George Washing and Jefferson would want to puke.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smokey

      Have you ever noticed all of the armed forces commercials on NFL games? Talk about your target audience....

      February 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  50. deuce

    Here's a good question for them: was it easier to mind control the enemy or politicians? Tough one to figure out...

    February 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  51. bigfoot

    This is just TOO f-ing over the edge. Recall ALL military troops. Get the f- out of there NOW. What the f- are we doing there?

    February 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Arlon

    what none of you realize, is when we leave Iraq at the end of this year, as the President has been saying we will, all the "wasted" money on the war in Iraq will no longer be spent, that's billions in savings right there. If every politician were to take a 50% pay cut, there would be millions more. True, the politician's tax cut does not seem like a lot by itself, but added in with other cuts, as they say, every little bit helps. Also, I think it was recently figured that the deficit is at approx. $4k per citizen right now. Why not set up a way of people donating money, where if you donate more than $4k, once we eventually have an adequate surplus, whoever donated extra would receive that extra back.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moises

      you are so naive

      February 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • stu

      no, before the bailout and Obama, the deficit was about 35K per person. Obama has blown that number through the roof.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Texy

      There is a way for those concerned to donate toward paying off the public debt. If they want it back later...that's called a savings bond. If they don't want it back, you can simply send a donation to the Bureau of Public Debt. I wonder how many of those who spout off hate to the Pressident and claim to be worried about the debt will actually send money......

      As for the military. First, they shouldn't be sent to fight wars in places we have no business being. But once they get sent, they should have the best money can buy, these are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers....and anyone that wants to take the things that keep them alive and bring them home....ought to be given one of those unloaded 9mm weapons with no ammnition, and sent out to defend our country themselves. I imagine they'd whine about funds then, right up until they took a bullet that one of our honorable soldiers wouldn't have to take for them

      February 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • proud army grandma

      no it is 45K per person. and no obama did not run up the trillions that good old george bush and his cronies did. he just never showed it in his budget. yet we still hear repugs screaming about the deficit...do you think we would be hearing one word about if macain/failin won?? never.

      February 25, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  53. muhrvis

    If this is true, some soldiers should be put on trial for treason and shot. Period. Any soldier who would try to brainwash an elected official is attempting to overthrow democracy and those elected by the people.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arlon

      Did you even bother to read the article? The article clearly stated that the Lt. Colonel said "we are not allowed to use our techniques against our own people." and that he was reprimanded for failure to follow orders. Therefore, at least those mentioned in the article, did NOT commit such acts.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Smokey

        Yeah, but on the video accompanying his words, he was winking HARD....kidding!!!

        February 24, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      How is this different than a paid lobbying? Special interests jam millions of dollars into the pockets of lobbiests to influence our politicians. Only difference is that the psy ops guys are on the front lines making low grade pay, and the average lobbiest is sitting in a posh restaurant off Pennsylvania avenue ordering his third bottle of $400 wine with the Senator... Seems to me that we have a greater scourge at home than we do in Afghanistan. But, with only a PhD and a CPA certification, I'm likely to be too dumb for this forum to agree with...

      February 24, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  54. The Messiah

    Back in the day we called this Sorcery.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Ronnie

    Well that explains the republicans glee over both failed wars !

    February 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      How do you figure 2 failed wars? Last I recall in Iraq we toppled a dictator, created a new government that elects their own leaders and are now in the process of leaving Iraq. In the case of Afghanistan we toppled a dictator, created a new government that elects their own leaders and now aggressively pursuing the group that caused 9/11... I think both wars are successful

      February 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        The group that caused 9/11 is unscathed. Violence is still in Iraq and Afghanistan.

        February 28, 2011 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
  56. horf

    Interesting, if disturbing, article. How many times have they done that and not gotten caught? Wonder if we will ever find out. If they did their job well, we won't,

    February 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Jerad

    The military contractors are the biggest waste we have. At the local base, we have a combat engineering unit that spends its days bulding and tearing up roads for training, but when the base actually needed to replace a permanent road, they let out a $35 million dollar contract for a private company to do it. The worst of it is that engineering unit probably tore up, built and tore up twice as much pavement in as much time. Logistics is the worst though. We train and pay soldiers to manage equipment, food preparation, repairs, records, etc. and have them train endlessly, but when we actually need it done, the contract is sent out to KBR, Raytheon, Boeing, or some other company to actually do the work. It's time to put our soldiers to work rather than have them report for pt, go home shower, come back, sit in on a class, and then maybe go to the range once or twice a week.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Silly

      More true words were never spoken.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Dan Halen

    It's called marketing.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Dean

    I think Franken did more than just stare at goats.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Ethan Nelson

    With a general congressional approval rating of under 20 percent, I think this is a completely justified course of action. It is sort of like asking a Judge, "permission to treat the witness as hostile." Ok, so that's a little tounge in cheek, but seriously you have to expect this kind of thing to happen when the congress has so badly lost the trust of the people.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Hugh

    Who could be so insane as to make such an order – it's like something out of a Tom Clancy novel. Brainwashing senators, are you kidding me?

    February 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      You mean like crashing a plane into a government building in DC? Cruise missile assassinations? Are you kidding me?

      February 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  62. uscitizen

    I think that the Military has every right to promote themselves and sponcer Nascar Drivers to have their logos on cars. I think that there are a lot of fans that are younger as well as older and this is one way to promote it to the younger crowd. With new drivers in their 20's things will change for Nascar fans. However I do feel that they may over pay in sponcership and may have to cut down on the cost but still be a sponcer. It is my feeling of discrimination towards our own military to not allow them to find ways of recruitment. Would you like someone at your door trying to recruit your family to join the military 24/7 or would you rather see it advertised on t.v. After looking at costs of things. I have a question. How much do we have to pay for our own President to travel all over the states and world to make himselve look like he is doing good when we have to pay for it? I think that the U.S. is going to be having a tougher time now with all the fighting in the Middle East and it is not going to be a pretty picture that the U.S. is going to see here on our own turf for awhile. Seeing gas prices is only going to be the start that is going to affect us, next prices for USPS and any delivery company as they will have to raise prices, companies again wil have to lay people off and the cost of food, ect. will go up with it. It is sad to see how countries can affect us. I only hope that we make it though and keep living.

    February 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Maybe Nascar promotion can explain the large number of recruits who arent educated enough to pass the entrance exam to get into the armed forces. I mean, hell, the test isnt that hard. I met a guy who got in with a score of 32 (thats for an artillery operator) out of, what, a possible 140 or so?

      Jebus...people are just getting dumber and dumber.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • kEL

        yeah no, the max score on the ASVAB is 99.
        I got a 96, and they put me in supply... efficient...

        February 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  63. keith

    just some officer trying to make a name for himself, for which it will severely backfire on. His military career is probably done

    February 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  64. General Mills

    I believe every bit of this.......we have met the enemy....and they are us.

    February 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • yo

      speak for yourself. They are the left-wing commies in this country and their media pals.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve

        No, you are the enemy too, Yo. Scared little children afraid they are going to get bombed (by commies? LOL) and are nothing more than right-wing extremists, our very own version of Al-Qaeda.

        February 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  65. tankrothchild

    "I'm prohibited from doing that to our own people," – being prohibited doesn't necessarily mean you don't do it. I mean after all it was exposed there was pysop soldiers worked closely with CNN.

    February 24, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  66. David

    Bye-bye General Caldwell.....

    February 24, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  67. ficheye

    Why don't these folks stop losing money? The 2.3 TRILLION dollars that the pentagon lost to contractors gets very little attention now days. But it happened. And let's face it... the military has always been a great place to hide dubious financial records and transactions. All so we can make more things to blow brown people up with. USA??? USA!!! USA!!!!

    February 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  68. LiberalNN

    The Men who Stare at Goats should have stared harder at the politicians.

    February 24, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  69. ObiWan

    These are not the droids you are looking for...

    February 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • haremettle

      "Do not fail me again Admiral"

      February 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Rhymeskeema

    Wow, I didn't know there was a psyops dvision. Now I can't feel as smug and self-righteous telling people to put on their tin foil hats while I casually dismiss their POV as conspiracy theories. I guess there's a lot of stuff I don't know, so maybe I ought to just shut the hell up.

    February 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arlon

      you obviously didn't see the movie "The Men Who Stare At Goats"...

      February 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Tyhouston

    Switch out Psi-Ops with "Public relations" and you have every org trying to get visitors to only see the good bits...

    Your point? This is how the worlds always been...

    February 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Denizen Kate

      Finally, an intelligent remark. However, perhaps this military unit was asked to do more than the usual PR hocus pocus. This article does not provide enough detail.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  72. jayjay

    Maybe if they were to use the money they are supporting NASCAR with they wouldn't have to rely on psy-ops to get them what they need. Please read the below link and post it whereever you can in support of the Congresswomans cause. http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2011/02/ap-auto-racing-military-sponsorship-questioned-022311/

    February 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      The sponsorship could be worse, The airforce sponsors Tosh.0!

      February 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • Arlon

        And yet the Navy sponsors the X-Games, which celebrates a culture that would be less likely to try to join...

        February 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christian

      Yea...I am sure those marketing/recruiting dollars were wasted when the US Army car was leading the Daytona 500 this past weekend.

      February 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve

        ...and if you fall for such a simple minded, irrelevant advertising ploy, ie. "the army nascar car was out in front at daytona", then I guess you are exactly what the army is looking for...undereducated, can barely pass the test soldiers...ummm, yay?

        I mean, honestly...what the hell does the military have to do with nascar other than looking for these absolutely under-qualified candidates. They can barely get people to pass the test to get into the military, maybe we should start advertising somewhere where smarter people gather rather than looking for the lowest common denominator.

        February 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank


      February 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Carole Clarke

    Welcome to the real world! While they were right in refusing to carry out such orders, it's also true that the military has always, always been concerned about not getting enough funding, enough equipment, enough training for our troops. I'm a 68-year old Army Brat and it was true back then too. The politicians always kept us short, made us keep coming back to beg for what we needed. They enjoyed having that power over us. If it resulted in troops coming home in body bags I wouldn't be surprized. The politicians didn't give us what we needed to complete the task back in the Revolutionary War, Union profiteers connected to powerful politicians were allowed to sell shoes to the Union Army that fell apart after a few wearings. There's a story that General Patton got spare parts from Sears and paid for it himself because he couldn't get parts thru the military. So I don't blame whoever it was that thought up this caper, they just should've done it better.

    February 24, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jc Ohio

      Thats funny since we spend more on our military than the next 6 biggest military spenders do combined.

      February 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • DgC

        We also have the largest, most technically advance military in the world. That doesn’t come cheap.

        February 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Wzrd1

        Yes, the most expensive military, with equipment all made by the lowest bidder.

        February 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chas in Iowa

        "Most technically advanced",....so advanced we can't even track a man walking into Pakastan from Aphganistan.

        February 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Aubrie

        Not to mention the continuous reports of the $250 Mr. Coffee machines, and $500 wrenches.....

        February 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gorrt

        Oops. I'll try that again.
        Praise be to simpsons, simpsons be praised. Ulululululu!!!

        You are a wiener.

        February 24, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • Osama

        And it's pointed at you!

        February 24, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bob

        And we need the largest, most technically advanced military in the world so we can maintain our hundreds of army bases in other countries and continue invading foreign nations while we bankrupt ourselves, IN ADDITION TO supporting dictators in other countries, which is what creates our enemies in the first place. Makes perfect sense..... for common sheeple.

        Do you know how much waste is in that budget? How many research projects that cost millions that go nowhere, and how many products are purchased that never get used? It's enlightening when you see the numbers.

        R.Paul 2012

        February 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joshua Ludd

        Yet we only seem to be interested in third world countries full of brown people. Hmmm...
        And why in the world would a country surrounded on two sides by huge oceans with two large countries at its borders that are very very strong allies need the most expensive, most advanced, most powerful army the world has ever known? Oh yeah.. to bomb poor brown people.

        February 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • aaron

        GPS, Unmanned drones, 13 aircraft carriers, groups, Raptor, and not a single attack on the U.S. by any government. Priceless.

        February 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • MS

        In addition to bombing brown people, the military has been the first to respond to nearly every natural disaster in the world.

        February 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • aatami

        DgC – Big effin deal! Who cares! The biggest most advanced millitary in the world doesn't help the fact that our population can't compete in terms of education and or tech development never mind the fact that the population is fat and stupid. You are just the kind of individual who is living in la la land and you don't have a clue about the reality of the world but unfortunately you have a vote which you obviously don't deserve.

        February 24, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • justin

        We should definitly cut the budget on our huge military....should work wonders for our unemployment rate

        February 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • please.

        aaron, tell the families of the 9/11 victims how proud you are that no government has attacked us (at least not since Pearl Harbor). I doubt they'll find it as priceless as you.

        February 24, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • Drew

        @aaron I presume that that's a statement of success. The ultimate measure of a military is how often irt is used on defense. Deterrence works!

        February 24, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        when I was a boy we used to put tacks on the teachers chair and eventually should would stop being a pain in our butts.. he he he

        February 25, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      We used to order brass props and shafts and sell them as scrap so we could get $$ to buy parts at the local marine supply store because GAO wouldn't let use buy stainless steel hose clamps for our landing craft.

      February 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • SKyle

        Frank, this is one of the most interesting posts I've read in weeks. Could you elaborate?

        February 24, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • wonderwall

      When the military needs money for a weapons system, they get a fat check. When they need money for anything else support-wise they have to jump through hoops or do without.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • Wzrd1

        I remember Special Forces teams having to borrow 9mm ammunition to go on patrol in Afghanistan.
        But, the military don't need extra funding, nah. War in a budget is a GOOD thing, huh?

        February 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • George

        Wzrd, thats outrageous!. SOF should have the best equipment in the military, they handle the most delicate missions. Doesnt the chain of command understand that? Why would they want to send their best people into a proverbial meat grinder without making sure they can at least fight back? Im believe what your saying is true, im just curious because it seems no one cares about our military or our mission anymore

        February 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • TinKnight

        Wzrd1, I doubt that very much, at least in Afghanistan.
        The 9mm doesn't have the punch nor the range to be relevant in any combat environment there, let alone those in which the various Special Forces operate.
        The mountains, hills, and valleys there create such long firing ranges that even the old standby 5.56mm rounds don't maintain lethality, which is why old & new 7.62mm rifles have been used heavily.
        There aren't many urban environments...there are caves, but the approaches to those caves have such long lines of sight that you would need a long-arm (ie, rifle-caliber weapon) in order to "safely" approach them.
        Special Forces also typically use .45 caliber sidearms.

        Not saying Special Forces (or the military in general) don't have constraints on their budgets that can lead to extreme measures, but I think the specific details you're mentioning are off.

        February 24, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • GettingToTheTruth

        That's interesting, especially when all of my friends in the military tell me Special Ops carries large amounts of cash with them so they can buy whatever they need and/or want. The rest of the guys scavenge whatever Sp. Ops. leaves when they move on.

        February 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Eric 9th POB 1991-1995

        WZRD 1 Chances are that that SF soldier was using a non-issue weapon. Therefore he would not have ammo for that weapon. And if that wasn't the case, it may have just been a short term issue. He was assigned a mission and wanted all the ammo he could get. You can't have enough if your life is on the line. Lets not make a mountain out of a mole hill. SF gets what they need.

        February 25, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      Jesus, thats called being a good public speaker, how else did obama get into office? They have a politically correct name for public speaking now? people arent psycic, a psy ops unit studies the enemy, gathers intelligence, and makes a decesion on what the appropraite way to combat them will be. my god, whoever is blaming the army for wanting better equipment and more troops to help complete the mission is the real traitor here.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dean

        Um. Psy-ops means 'psychological' not 'psychic'.

        February 24, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • whatnext

        The usual inaccurate headline. "Army manipulated visiting VIPs," when the article says an order was given, but refused.

        February 24, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • duts

      Whatever, seriously do you believe this garbage, DC is just covering there a$$ as usual while blaming a soldier for their transgressions. No General in his right mind is going to do something so stupid as to dick with a Senator like that.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • dcskeptic

        Did you read Taibbi's article on Afghanistan military brass? They had utter contempt for congressmen. I don't doubt this at all, especially considering the general in charge said of psy ops said it happened. He's essentially canceling his career admitting it.

        February 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • FedUp2

        A Lieutenant Colonel is not even close to being a General. Reread it again.

        February 24, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • hecklers

      Tail wagging the dog. We have been warned against the military-industrial complex. The taxpayers do not invest in the training and development of an army to have that army used against the taxpayer's government. The officers were right, and reflected the best of our republic, when they refused the order. Of course they were probably also being smart, knowing that if the shinola ever hit the fan they would be hung out to dry while the ring-knockers walked away scot-free.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • ladi

      Your Brain is My Puppet

      February 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shorn

      Anyone thinking we need to spend more on this bloated, inefficient military is certifiable. Cutting it in half would still leave too much. Get this – we're still building and maintaining nuke subs. This is obscene.


      February 24, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dean

        That's 'nuclear powered' subs – do you have a more efficient power source in mind for something like this? I guarantee the military is interested if you do.

        February 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Common Sense

        What do you think would happen without a nuclear deterrent? Do you believe the Soviet Union was the only threat? Go research China, who we are at odds with all the time. Also google "nuclear blackmail". Without a deterrent that would be our reality.

        I followed your link too. Interesting read. Best part, there is a link halfway down on the words "new submarine" that seems a glitch. If you follow it links to the Navy website and a file on a 1797 warship. The cost ($302k) is listed. Put that into a calculator and you come to $10 billion in US 2011 dollars. It is actually one of the most expensive vessels ever built.

        No one cried back then about cost. It was necessary. And it still is.

        February 24, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • tonyS

      Yeah, reality bites.

      February 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walker


      In the civil sector, manipulating viewpoints and opinions is called, "persuasion," "negotiation," and "politics." The power brokers on the Hill hire expensive consultants and big-ticket speech writers to move opinion polls a couple of ticks.

      And yet, in the eyes of Rolling Stone (cough) and CNN, the exact same kind of behavior by our military leaders trying to win a war is a sinister, underhanded maneuver.

      Anybody else see a pattern?

      February 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Roger Bills

        Psychological Operations to get the enemy to surrender due to fear is ok. Psychological Operations by our own Army to change the way Americans vote, or the way our leaders lead is a crime. It's stealing your governement. Treason. It would be the Army taking over, not asking for more funds, but deceiving Americans into giving more. The General who asked should be relieved and then tried for attempting to overthrow your government.

        February 24, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mark

        Roger, what the bleep, taking over the country? you must be a bagger; he was trying to convince the politicians to spend more on the war, there is NO mention of any treason, get a clue. Demoted yes, and now that it is in the public light they'll likely turn his career inside out, but charged? with what exactly? not too bright are you.

        February 25, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
      • h

        someone needs to check their reading comprehension skills.... (cough walker)

        February 25, 2011 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Patriot

      The psy ops unit is an offensive and defensive asset of the US military. Yes, funding is always a military concern and they are always manipulating to get funding but this is different. This is a US military officer turning a military weapon on civilian leadership in order to attain a military objective of increased funding. They used to be a punishable offense, but I think Carole's comments outline the complacency of most of Americans so if you have the money and the power you can do about whatever you want in this crazy oligarchic military complex we live under...

      February 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • Adam PA

        PSYOP is one of the most inexpensive and essential components of special operations. The information compaign has greater effects at achieving goals (whether they're diplomatic or military) than any multi-million dollar deterrence system.

        February 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Big

      Carole ... you are an idiot.

      February 24, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJ

      Well if we had few FAKE wars for economic gain, then we'd have enough money for LEGITIMATE military ops and just as important , DOMESTIC needs right here at home.

      February 24, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • bruce Heinemann

      No thanks, Carole... That's something right out of Hitler's SS.

      How many people died defeating this fascist madman? The ends don't always justify the means. Thanks for your service, but the rest of us can do without your fascist sentiments...

      February 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aezel

      Yeah. The U.S. spends more money on our military than the next 28 nations combined. We literally bleed cash into the military, and yet you are not satisfied with funding? I would really like to know what planet you live on in your head.

      February 24, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • ArmyMom

      I agree totally. When my son was due for his tour in Iraq back in 2004, the gear used for protection was so ridiculous that his father and I spent $8,000 of our own money to make sure he was sufficiently supplied with gear that would stop more than just small arms. Many of the guys in his unit would borrow his gear when they had to go out on patrol and he didn't. And I would do it again to protect my son. This country's military budget may be tremendous but our soldiers aren't getting the goods fast enough or some of it not at all.

      February 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • proud army grandma

        yes but take a look at the year you are speaking of. george bush and donald rumsfeld tried to do iraq on the cheap. remember, the iraqi oil was going to pay for the war. remember it was going to be over in, "6 days, 6 weeks or 6 months". boy we are still over there bleeding money and in afghanistan, for what?? nation building and oil. thats what this has always been about.

        February 25, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      I'd be very interested to learn what tactic the PSYOP soldiers were being asked to perform. I've worked with them, and I can't think of anything sinister they'd be able to pull on American congressman.

      February 24, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • brian

      And yet I have seen Aircraft Carriers jetison tools, equipment and vehicles off of catapults because they hadn't used all of their budget. Their reasoning was if we don't use it then we won't get the money next year. The amount of waste in the military is ridiculous.

      February 25, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      Why waste money on psychological training? Just put the money into the bribe fund. That will get the DC legislators on your side quicker than anything else.

      February 25, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
    • funnystuff

      Well I would think Psi Ops requires a functioning brain to manipulate so that means eat least Al Franken would have been safe!

      February 25, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      That's nothing.

      February 25, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |