By **Rebecca Bates**
The U.S. military is getting desperate—that is, desperate enough to try and dupe unwitting senators into giving them more money. At least, that’s what Rolling Stone claims. A piece published yesterday reveals that last year Lt. General William Caldwell pressured military personnel in Afghanistan who specialize in “psychological operations” to work their magic on a long list of visiting senators and other international figures. Rolling Stone spoke to Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, one of those psy-ops trained officials, who 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.” Problem is, substituting “enemy” with “senator” is illegal, and Holmes turned to a lawyer, claiming such an order violates the law prohibiting the use of propaganda on Americans. And in a move no one could see coming, the military retaliated in ethically dubious ways. Holmes was accused of leaving the base in civilian clothing without permission, having a romantic relationship with a subordinate, and “using Facebook too much,” among other things. Holmes was also told by the Defense Department that he could not receive any kind of whistleblower protection.
Rolling Stone notes that Holmes’s information operations cell eventually received a memo informing them that their orders had changed and that they were instead to “engage in activities for the sole purpose of informing and educating U.S., Afghan and international audiences.”
Copyright 2011 Rebecca Bates