Washington Post’s Coverage Influenced By Iranian Suppression of Free Press

The Washington Post has a journalist in an Iranian prison named Jason Rezaian.  Iran’s treatment of the free press is a violation of human rights designed to terrify opponents into submission.  Unfortunately the Post appears to have given in, as can be seen by their coverage of the letter by 200 retired generals and admirals opposing the Iran deal.  Unlike its report on the 36 who supported the deal, the Post frames the story about the opponents of the deal in a way that suggests there is controversy about the officers who elected to sign.

The bulk of the Post‘s report on the letter by 200 retired generals and admirals opposing the deal focuses on “a handful” of the officers “who were involved in some public controversies during their careers.”  It would have been easy to give the same treatment to the letter by the 36 supporters, as they include some quite controversial figures.

General Cartwright, whose name heads the letter in support of the deal, is suspected of leaking to the press top secret information on a joint US-Israeli plan to hobble the Iranian nuclear program.  He was subsequently denied a role as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff because of a controversy involving intense opposition from the Pentagon.  The Washington Post knows this because it reported on it at the time.

Another of the top signatories was retired US Air Force general Merrill “Tony” McPeak, whose remarks on Jews and Israel should accompany a story touching on the question his opinion of the dangers of an Iranian nuclear program.  They might leave out his arrest for drunk driving as irrelevant to the story about his support for the Iran deal, but his long-time opposition to Israel and criticism of American Jews is clearly on point.

Lieutenant General Frank Kearney directed a controversial court martial of US Special Operations Forces members. Defense attorneys charged that he directed “criminal charges to be preferred by an accuser who had not been provided the criminal investigation that exonerate these two soldiers.” His intense interest in the proceedings led to charges of unlawful command influence in the judicial process.

Major General Buskirk resigned after it was revealed that more than 100 individuals were enlisted in the Indiana National Guard under his command with forged documents.  He was also controversial for approving rides on National Guard jets for “major Democratic contributors and officials.”

The Post‘s reporter found three slightly controversial cases in a field of 200 — here are four in a field of 36, to leave out clearly irrelevant cases like Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy’s being accused of sexual harassment while she was herself charging such harassment against another officer.  These cases speak directly to the judgment and partiality of the officers signing the letter.

Another thing the Post might have done was to make clear that the pro-deal letter, which only garnered three dozen signatures, was built by a lobbyist group working with the White House.  An employee of the law firm Venerable LLC wrote the letter in coordination with the White House and then sought signatories.  It turns out that the letter in favor is “astroturf,” that is, a fake effort at demonstrating “grassroots” support in a community.  Not only that, it is astroturf by a pro-Iran lobbyist group.

The Post has done a further disservice to its readers and to the 200 generals it implies to be questionable on the guilt-by-association principle.  IranTruth is clearly opposed to the deal, but not to the men and women who signed the letter in favor of it.  There is no implication here that others not named are also controversial figures.  Most of them served honorably and well, and we express our thanks for their service in spite of being in opposition to them on this question.