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Tech Spies Steal Secret White House Memorandum

Column by Matthew H. Hersch
Executive Editor

Director, White House Press Office

President Bill Clinton

Re: A Big Problem


film festival. Fact is, no matter how many aircraft carriers you visit, the American military and a large portion of the American public will never see you as more than a draft dodger with a bad haircut. You need the old spin doctors, and fast.

I've got three pieces of advice for you; the first is to stop trying so hard. It's not your job to strut around military facilities, in flying jackets and navy caps, saluting sailors like you're just one of the guys -- because you are not. You are neither a veteran nor a member of the military establishment -- and to pretend that you are is silly.

No, you are something more. You are the only member of the command chain that has national mandate to give orders to the armed forces, and you have a legitimacy to boss the military around that the uniformed folk can only dream of. You are the chairman of the board; they are just, well, the hired guns.

So be a civilian and be proud of it. Tour your troops dressed as a civilian, and let them know who calls the shots.

Next, show some effective leadership on a military-related issue. Fortunately, this isn't too tough. For all its shine a gloss, the American military is plagued by bureaucratic inefficiency and a reputation of impropriety; casting public doubt on military reliability is easier than it sounds.

My advice to you, is not to back off when you come up against an uncooperative general. Instead, mention the magic words "friendly fire," "sexual harassment," and "costoverrun," and watch him scamper. And don't wait long to pick your fight; the sooner the military leaders realize how fragile their careers are the sooner they'll fall in line.

Last, but not least, find some issue on which you and the military actually agree, one that will prove you a true patriot. A great issue for this purpose has just reared its head -- the Vietnam War prisoner of war/missing in action mystery.

I know what thinking, the last thing you want to talk about is Vietnam. But you are perfect person to investigate the question of whether American servicemen were secret imprisoned of knowingly left behind after the War's end. As a individual long-wary of U.S. commitment to the war, you have nothing to lose politically by uncovering evidence of past cover-ups. And as true outsider in the realm of military affairs, you bear none of the suspicion with which many Americans have come to view the political and military authorities that have managed POW/MIA affairs.

Find a missing serviceman, or even get a better accounting of known POWs and your military problems will fade into oblivion. A kinder, gentler Rambo for the nineties, you will earn both the grudging respect of the armed forces and the limitless love a grateful nation.

So be the president Thomas Jefferson would want you to be, and leave the phony soldier suit at home.

Good luck and goodbye. This document will spontaneously decompose into earth-friendly mulch in ten seconds.