Here in Afghanistan thousands of miles from America we do something that some of you will be familiar with but many of you will not. It’s called a Battle Update Brief, or “BUB”, and it happens every day here.
The purpose of a BUB is to brief our Battalion Commander on the things going on around Afghanistan and around the region, so significant events in places like Iran and Pakistan are also discussed. This briefing lasts about an hour but it’s necessary because the Battalion Commander is a busy guy and doesn’t have the time to do all the reading and investigation of each incident that the rest of do on his behalf as part of our jobs.
Following the BUB our Battalion Commander has an opportunity to issue his guidance for the upcoming days and weeks directly to his staff. Since the brief is daily he has a daily opportunity to conduct an ongoing discussion with his staff and shape his guidance daily based on unfolding events.
This same sort of brief is conducted at every echelon of command in the US military, every day, in every major unit, on every ship at sea, on every installation around the world. This is how we keep busy Commanders informed about the world around them.
The President of the United States of America is no exception… or at least he shouldn’t be. A daily briefing is prepared for him by all of his top advisors, including his military and Intelligence advisors. He gets that briefing no matter where in the world he is.
Part of that briefing is prepared by the White House Communications Office which is currently headed up by Ms. Jennifer Palmieri. Director Palmieri runs a large staff of 10+ subordinate directors, assistants and special consultants on various aspects of the media. Each of them is responsible for smaller staffs ranging from two or three to a dozen or more. Overall right there in the White House and in offices located nearby are more than 100 specialists in media affairs that directly advise the President and the White House staff.
Why is it then that the President of the United States and the White House Press Secretary Mr. Jay Carney continually try to tell us that they “only just became aware” of this or that critical news item or developing scandal? Do they think we’re stupid? I might accept that excuse and attribute it to the fact that the President is just a really, really busy guy were it not for the fact that I am absolutely certain that these stories – the developing Benghazi scandal, the IRS scandal, the Justice Department phone records scandal – and many previous scandals – are in fact being briefed to the President by his staff on a daily basis so their boss doesn’t go out into a press conference and get blind-sided by some critical issue… and be left saying so utterly stupid as “Ya, I’m the most powerful person on Earth, but this is the first I’ve heard about that!”
Yet the President and key members of his staff continue to chant…
“This is the first I’ve heard about that.” “I didn’t know.” “I wasn’t me.”
… and when they finally do admit that, ya, they’ve finally heard “about that” we hear “I can’t talk about that because it’s under investigation, but we’re going to get to the bottom of this.”
ENOUGH! That’s total bullshit! Americans may not listen to the news but we want our President to take the time to keep up on current events, or hold his staff accountable for briefing him on current events. He’s running the most powerful country in the world for God’s sake!