War, as the Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz once wrote, is "merely the continuation of politics by other means." But, as GroundTruth Project founder Charles Sennott explains, the process of selling war is just as political.
Take the debate over the Obama Administration's plan to commit American military advisers to Iraq and Syria to combat militants from the Islamic State. "As I've said before," the President said emphatically at MacDill Air Force Base last Wednesday, "these American forces will not have a combat mission."
Compare that with a statement from the nation's highest-ranking military official, General Martin Dempsey, the day before: "If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets," he said before Congress, "I'll recommend that to the President."
Why the disconnect?
What it comes down to, Sennott says, is semantics -- specifically, the semantics of the national political climate six weeks before a midterm election, when no party wants to be seen responsible for dragging the country back into war. These advisers, Sennott says, will absolutely be "boots on the ground." It's just not politically advantageous to describe it that way.
"This is a political issue. This is an issue of Washington and this Administration not wanting to say it's responsible for going back into war. They want to be seen as the party who's pulling us out of these wars," Sennott says.
"But it's Godfather III," he continues. "They keep pulling us back."
To hear more from Charles Sennott on the difficult mission facing American military personnel in Iraq and Syria -- as well as his take on protecting freelance journalists like James Foley in dangerous parts of the globe -- tune in to the full interview above. Read more from Charles Sennott on protecting press freedoms on his blog, here.