From Media Matters April 23, 2008
During the April 22 edition of The Daily Show, Stewart said:
STEWART: Now, another event making a recent cameo, the Iraq war. Remember? Remember when it started and it was kind of a big deal that some journalists were embedded with the troops? Well, this is great. As it turns out, it was more of an exchange program, because they actually also had troops embedded with the journalists. It's the subject of tonight's "The Less You Know."
[begin video clip]
STEWART: Look at these sweet, kindly former killing machines. The networks hire them to give expert analysis and insight into our country's war effort.
FMR. MAJ. GEN. PAUL VALLELY: We're winning the war on terror.
FMR. LT. GEN. THOMAS McINERNEY: This was the best-trained force we have ever had.
FMR. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS: This is the best leadership our military has had in its history.
FMR. GEN. MONTGOMERY MEIGS: And when I ask senior army officials who are longtime friends who aren't going to give me a B.S. answer how we're doing, are we winning or losing? They're saying we're winning.
[end video clip]
STEWART: These people are old and trustworthy, like my grandpa who served in the war. They wouldn't lie to me -- right, Grandpa? You killed Hitler. And never cheated on my grandma with a French whore. Why would he? He was in love.
STEWART: Well, it turns out many of these ex-military were not so "ex" -- working on behalf of defense contractors and the Pentagon itself. And while the news networks called them "military analysts," the Pentagon, in just released memos, referred to them as "message force multipliers" -- which sounds so much cooler than sneaky old guys. Message force multipliers. What are they, machine guns that shoot Post-it notes? By the way, message force multipliers? Worst Steven Seagal movie ever. They say he couldn't stay on message. They were wrong. They said he couldn't read prompter. All right. But have there been any reports about the broader war on terror that don't come in unreliable old-man form? Well, we're in luck, if by in luck you mean [bleeped out].
The Government Accountability Office just put out a report on America's progress pursuing the non-Iraqi perpetrators of 9-11, or as many of us refer to them, the perpetrators of 9-11. Now, the name of the report -- and this is admittedly a little coy -- is The United States Lacks Comprehensive Plan to Destroy the Terrorist Threat and Close the Safe Haven in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Or, for you anagram fans, TUSLCPTDTTTACTSHIPFATA. The report stated that despite all that has occurred these last seven years, the Pakistan-Afghanistan border now has vast unpoliced regions attractive to extremists and terrorists seeking a safe haven. Well, thank God someone's safe.
For more, we turn to our own message force multiplier, senior military analyst Rob Riggle. Rob, thank you so much for joining us. Rob, this is serious revelations -- serious revelations coming out of the Pentagon and the Government Accounting Office about progress in the war on terror. What is your take on these reports?
RIGGLE: My take?
RIGGLE: My take is that in the United States war on terror, we've been walking in a [bleep] circle.
RIGGLE: I mean, have you read this report?
STEWART: I read the, I saw the title.
RIGGLE: Well, let me just give you the Cliff Notes, OK? In 2001, there was a memo: Bin Laden determined to attack the United States from a safe haven in Afghanistan. Now, seven years and $700 billion later, we get a new memo saying, bin Laden determined to attack United States from a safe haven somewhere around Afghanistan. We're right back where we started. We could have gotten here by doing nothing.
STEWART: It is discouraging to see that -- it is discouraging. You know what's interesting, Rob? It is discouraging --
RIGGLE: I knew it. I knew it. I knew it. I knew it. I knew this [bleep] didn't know where he was going. I mean, all of us, we were all in the backseat. America was just in the backseat. You know, you know, acting like, "I don't think this is the way to defeat Al Qaeda." And he's like, he's like, "I know what I'm doing. I know a shortcut through Iraq. Everybody, come on now, just trust me." And we're all like, "I don't know, maybe we should ask for directions. You know, I'm pretty sure Al Qaeda is the other way." And he's like, "Shut up, shut up. What the hell. I'll dump your ass in Yemen. You're just like your mother. Keep your hand off the radio, [bleep]."
STEWART: That's an interesting, that's an interesting -- Rob, that's an interesting metaphor.
RIGGLE: Man, shut the (bleep) up, all right?
STEWART: OK. So, do you think the president's going to make any changes based on these reports?
RIGGLE: Yeah, yeah, yeah, this will be a wake-up call. If there's anything this president responds to, it's written criticism.
STEWART: Well, thanks, Rob. That was a great report.
RIGGLE: Whatever. Whatever.
STEWART: Rob Riggle, everybody. We'll be right back.