The WaPo is reporting that the US military has magnified the part Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Al Qaeda in Iraq in Iraqi media, in part to turn Iraqis against foreign terrorists.
I know, I know…just awful, isn’t it? Foreign terrorists in Iraq have it so rough, these days. They’ve been reduced to attacking mosques and marketplaces, and now the big bad US military is trying to turn even their targets against them.
But what seems to outrage the Post is the fact that it isn’t just Iraqis getting led on:
The documents explicitly list the “U.S. Home Audience” as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.
Pick up your jaw. It gets worse:
That slide, created by Casey’s subordinates, does not specifically state that U.S. citizens were being targeted by the effort, but other sections of the briefings indicate that there were direct military efforts to use the U.S. media to affect views of the war.
Well. okay. It’s not actually worse. In fact, how does ‘explicitly list the “U.S. Home Audience” as one of the targets‘ square with ‘does not specifically state that U.S. citizens were being targeted by the effort‘? It seems pretty clear that they’re both referring to the same thing.
As for ‘use the U.S. media to affect views of the war‘, I think we can all understand why the WaPo is so outraged about this…they probably feel that the military has invaded their turf.
I suspect that this is probably more of the same buying space in papers and directing editors what to write. Last time this made the news, media types were just aghast that someone might try to tamper with journalistic integrity, especially for mere political purposes. But we never really heard about any outright lies that we told them to run, did we? We wanted a particular slant in the news, and we paid to get it.
As far as I’ve been able to tell over the course of my adult life, that’s how journalism works. A shame, really, but there you have it.
As for the shameful practice of possibly spotlighting Zarqawi and Al Qaeda in Iraq in order to turn Iraqis against them, the WaPo article itself notes this:
U.S. authorities claim some success with that effort, noting that some tribal Iraqi insurgents have attacked Zarqawi loyalists.
We’ve seen this resistance to the terrorists several times, and to be honest I will happily facilitate as much “red-on-red” as I can. The alternative, in most cases, would be that the insurgents attack US forces and the terrorists attack Iraqi civilians.
Yet the WaPo wants to shame the military for getting the bad guys to fight each other. Never mind that it’s a psyops tactic in a nation at war by a nation at war. So much of the criticism of military operations is either written by those with no clue about the military or it’s written for those with no clue about the military. The latter, of course, would be targetting the “home audience”.
I’ll also point out that the big media doesn’t seem to have too much of a problem with riling up resistance to foreign fighters when those foreigners have red, white, and blue on their right shoulder.
Almost makes you wonder what side they’re on.
(NOTE: Yes, Murdoc is specifically questioning the patriotism of several organizations and the individuals who support them. Just so there’s no misunderstanding.)
UPDATE: A couple of the slides mentioned are below.
On the WaPo here.