Magazine article Insight on the News

The Embarrassing Pentagon Website

Magazine article Insight on the News

The Embarrassing Pentagon Website

Article excerpt

The Pentagon's oh-so-sensitive Website has information on tacos, diapers and sexual harassment, but says little about Chinese or Russian weapons that target the United States.

Not since Ronald Reagan was president during the 1980s has the Department of Defense (DoD) gone on such a comprehensive public-relations blitz as it has under the Clinton/Gore regime. But Reagan's Pentagon informed the American public about threats to national security and world freedom and carefully explained the need for a strong national defense. Clinton's Pentagon, however, is a totally different place. And the themes of its constant high-tech public-relations campaign reflect new values and priorities that appear to place social engineering above national defense. That campaign is being waged on the Internet.

While the DoD maintains a range of Websites, DefenseLINK (www.defense is billed as "the official Website for the Department of Defense and the starting point for finding U.S. military information online." Now in its seventh year, DefenseLINK has expanded from a news-release distribution service to a full-blown search engine and portal of sorts for U.S. defense information. It contains some great material: a virtual tour of the Pentagon, two defense-news services, a useful library of free, downloadable military photographs, a first-rate daily flow of free news photos, transcripts of DoD news conferences and policy documents, tips for servicemen and families and more.

But analysis of the Website shows that, among more than 38,000 documents, there is almost nothing about why the United States needs such a large and expensive military. DefenseLINK posts "special reports" on American Indian Heritage, Hispanic Heritage and National Domestic Violence months; Formula, Fatigues, Diapers and Duty; Earth Day 2000; and Cat Herding on the Military Range. An Insight search could find no special reports that cogently and comprehensively explain current and potential military threats to the U.S. homeland.

Interested citizens can find Pentagon recipes for cooking zesty Tex-Mex food from fajitas and chili to gorditas and puffy tacos. But they can't find anything about China's CSS-N-3 Giant Wave 1 submarine-launched ballistic missile or the Giant Wave 2. Defense LINK contains just two references to the CSS-4 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which the Chinese call the DF-5 "East Wind": One in a Pentagon report to Congress that calls it "the only Chinese missile system capable of targeting the continental United States." The report adds, without elaboration, "China also is designing a new generation of solid-fuel, road-mobile ICBMs that will enhance greatly ICBM survivability." The other citation is a passing reference made during a news conference.

DefenseLINK more than compensates for the shortage of information about the CSS missile with facts about TNR. For those out of the loop on today's military, TNR is the military acronym for what the Pentagon does to stray cats found on military bases: trap-neuter-return. DefenseLINK devotes 16 documents to the subject of cat neutering.

Thousands of DefenseLINK documents -- 3,517 at last count -- refer to the environment, and even the lowly manatee shows up on the search engine. But there's nothing on the Su-30 multirole fighter-bomber and air-superiority jet being built in China as part of a strategy to conquer Taiwan and (if necessary) attack the U.S. Navy; nothing on Russia's supersonic Tu-160 strategic bomber in which Russian airmen still practice doomsday runs against U.S. cities; and nothing on Moscow's clandestine Novichok binary chemical-weapons program that the Clinton administration refuses to acknowledge -- and which violates the Chemical Weapons Convention.

It's almost as if those running the Pentagon want to cover up anything Moscow and Beijing do that might threaten U.S. national security. DefenseLINK contains a doctored photo of a Russian spy ship, the Kapitan Man, in U. …

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