First a juicy bit to whet the appetite. This is from the military investigation that got the guy, LTC Holmes, who is accusing the military of using Psychological Operations against US Senators, and his female subordinate MAJ Levine booted from Afghanistan.
Rolling Stone is out hunting for Generals again and they have found a willing dupe in LTC Michael Holmes. Although calling him a dupe is unfair, he is a willing participant in this grotesque farce. Let’s tee this up in case you missed it. He claims that while on the staff of LTG Caldwell in Afghanistan he was tasked with coming up with ways to influence the opinions of visiting Senators. Seriously, that’s it. The massive outcry from the media was over something that anyone with an above room temperature IQ, including the Senators, knew happens all the time. The problem is that Holmes’ IQ is well below room temperature.
Before we explore the sad little world of LTC Holmes let’s remember that Michael Hastings, the Rolling Stone Jackwagon, also wrote the hit piece that took down Stan McChrystal. In doing so he violated confidences of most of the folks he quoted. And let’s also remember that everything McChrystal said was basically true. Our civilian leadership responsible for Afghanistan was a soup sandwich, it was just too politically painful when that was publicized. And the idea that military leaders rarely respect their civilian leadership dates back to the first time some fat potentate launched an army to fetch him some booty. So no news there either.
Back now to Holmes. He pitched this story to a newspaper or two, but couldn’t get them to bite. But he threw it at Rolling Stone and it stuck to their wall and obviously fit their agenda. Sadly keeping their rag afloat with tabloid level journalism is their only real option. So we have this spy movie sounding scenario where our Generals are plotting a la Dr. Strangelove and using psychological operations against visiting Senators. The reason they can conjure up this fiendish plot is because of a lack of understanding about Psy Ops, which is one part of Information Operations (IO) and the separate field of Public Affairs (PA). The simplest explanation is IO works to affect the enemy and the theater of operations and PA tells our stories to Americans and the press. Holmes was part of the IO staff and so normally he would have been working on information aimed at the enemy. But the mission he was part of on LTG Caldwell’s staff was to train the Afghan Army, so there was no need for IO operations. Consequently LTC Holmes was given a new assignment, part of which involved helping influence the opinions of visiting Senators.
Now according to Holmes, this was a sinister use of trained shamans to get inside the heads of guys like McCain & Lieberman, because you know how hard it is to get guys like that on board with the mission. The sad thing is that Holmes is not even trained in the psychological operations, that he claimed we were conducting. Now if there actually were some kind of Jedi Mind Trick we could pull to make Senators vote how the Generals want there might be grounds for concern. But even Holmes admits there isn’t and that all the things he was asked to do were perfectly legal. So you have to ask yourself how did we get to this huge goat screw?
The simple answer is that Holmes was sent home from Afghanistan in disgrace for multiple violations of orders and military law. Even worse, he was planning on cashing in on his experience with a civilian strategic communications company he had formed with a female officer who worked directly for him. That cunning plan crashed and burned when he and this officer, MAJ Laural Levine, made such a public nuisance of their “inappropriate relationship” that it became common knowledge among the staff. In addition to that, they were regularly heading off base in civilian clothes and were either weaponless, had surrendered them to the restaurants they frequented, or worse had carried them concealed. The first two are offenses against the General Orders for Afghanistan, the last is a violation of the Laws of Land Warfare. If they had been captured while carrying concealed out on the town, they would have been unlawful combatants.
Now how did we find these things out? Well in addition to being as discrete as Lady Gaga, Holmes is also an ultra maroon (yes I just quoted Bugs Bunny). He posted photos of he and his “far-too-intimate-female-associate” on Facebook. Then they go ahead and flirt like Junior High Schoolers in the comments while discussing photos that show them violating their orders. That’s right, a guy and gal who think they are smart enough to advise the government and corporations on strategic communications, busted themselves out on Facebook. I mean seven letters dude, dam u dum. So the command conducted an investigation and concluded that LTC Holmes & MAJ Levine were guilty of all around ass-hattery, wrote them up and shipped them home. Now we have a disgraced buffoon trying to take some of the shite he has splattered on himself and fling it a better man. Let me make this as simple as possible LTC Holmes- Loser, LTG Caldwell- Winner and one of our most respected military leaders. We cannot afford to let a muckraking journalist and a man who should not be called an officer or a gentlemen take down one of our best.