Wednesday, November 30, 2005

U.S. Military Pays For Propaganda In Iraq

In a development that is only surprising in that it is being reported by a mainstream media outlet, the U.S. military has been paying Iraqi newspapers and radio stations to run stories favorable to the occupiers.

Today's Los Angeles Times details the propaganda program, traditionally a covert action conducted by the CIA, being handled by an outfit called "Lincoln Group" under contract to the Defense Department.

In a nice touch:

Underscoring the importance U.S. officials place on development of a Western-style media, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday cited the proliferation of news organizations in Iraq as one of the country's great successes since the ouster of President Saddam Hussein. The hundreds of newspapers, television stations and other "free media" offer a "relief valve" for the Iraqi public to debate the issues of their burgeoning democracy, Rumsfeld said.

The DOD apparently failed to clear this with the adults:

The military's information operations campaign has sparked a backlash among some senior military officers in Iraq and at the Pentagon who argue that attempts to subvert the news media could destroy the U.S. military's credibility in other nations and with the American public.

"Here we are trying to create the principles of democracy in Iraq. Every speech we give in that country is about democracy. And we're breaking all the first principles of democracy when we're doing it," said a senior Pentagon official who opposes the practice of planting stories in the Iraqi media.

Perhaps the most important reason this operation is screwed up is:

U.S. law forbids the military from carrying out psychological operations or planting propaganda through American media outlets. Yet several officials said that given the globalization of media driven by the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle, the Pentagon's efforts were carried out with the knowledge that coverage in the foreign press inevitably "bleeds" into the Western media and influences coverage in U.S. news outlets.

No wonder the wingnuts think we are winning.

One senior military official who spent this year in Iraq said it was the strong pro-U.S. message in some news stories in Baghdad that first made him suspect that the American military was planting articles.

No shit, Sherlock. The strong pro-U.S. message in some U.S. news stories made me suspect the same thing.

One of the brass comes through with the understatement of the day:

"Absolute truth was not an essential element of these stories," said the senior military official who spent this year in Iraq.

Besides its contract with the military in Iraq, Lincoln Group this year won a major contract with U.S. Special Operations Command, based in Tampa, to develop a strategic communications campaign in concert with special operations troops stationed around the globe. The contract is worth up to $100 million over five years, although U.S. military officials said they doubted the Pentagon would spend the full amount of the contract.

Disclosure: The Effwit Group conducts similar operations at about one-fifth of Lincoln Group's cost to the taxpayers.


Blogger vcthree said...

I submit my favorite excerpt from the article--one that sums the whole thing up in one sentence alone.

"Absolute truth was not an essential element of these stories," said the senior military official who spent this year in Iraq.

I don't think even Mark Twain could have juxtaposed that any better. Of course the DeceptiCons think that everything's going great in Iraq--they're the messenger boys in that regard! Absolute truth isn't an essential element of this Administration; never mind some trumped up propaganda pieces over in Iraq that we're selling the people there. These people have a propensity to lie whenever possible, hoping everyone will look away time after time. It shouldn't be this way; I should not have the inclination to yell "BULLSHIT!" every time Bush/Cheney/Rummy/Condi/Whoevie (sic) opens their yap. But it is, and thus...

11/30/2005 5:55 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


I think the liberty these people take with the truth may have something to do with the years many of them spent as leaders of large corporations.

Wall Street has been known to richly reward the person who can lie with the most skill during conference calls with investors and analysts.

That, of course cannot account for Bush himself, who is one of the most transparent liars I have ever seen. I read recently about a poll taken of 20,000 or so gamblers who selected Bush as the world leader they would most prefer to play poker against.

11/30/2005 6:32 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home