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Pentagon bribery scandal -- Iraqi journalists bought out.
December 1, 2005 11:12 AM   Subscribe

Pentagon bribery scandal -- Iraqi journalists bought out. Officials in Washington have admitted that the US military has bribed Iraqi journalists with under-the-table payoffs of up to $200 a month -- twice the average Iraqi monthly income -- for producing upbeat newspaper, radio and television reports about the war in Iraq. This follows a similar report yesterday that the military secretly paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of pro-American articles written by the US Information Operations Task Force in Baghdad. A Pentagon spokesman described the report as "troubling". "This article raises some questions as to whether or not some of the practices that are described in there are consistent with the principles of this department."
posted by insomnia_lj (62 comments total)

 
Whatever, it's a good idea.
posted by zeoslap at 11:13 AM on December 1, 2005


It's quite likely that I might be doing something like this in the future. I ship out for Basic in January, to be followed by training for a position in Psychological Operations. Although this might fall under the scope of Civil Affairs.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 11:16 AM on December 1, 2005


I didn't support the invasion of Iraq, but doesn't this seem pretty reasonable in a country where the US is fighting a war?
posted by Marquis at 11:20 AM on December 1, 2005


Psyops is tricky. You want to get your message out there. And you want it to have credibility. But when it comes out that you've been paying the locals to say good things about you -- then pointing to those locals as proof that things are going great -- nobody's going to buy it when people LEGITIMATELY support you.

Tricky balance indeed.
posted by verb at 11:21 AM on December 1, 2005


Yeah, great idea until everyone finds out, reducing U.S. credibility even further.
posted by Neologian at 11:22 AM on December 1, 2005


"Whatever, it's a good idea."

Actually, the numerous people who came forward thought it was a *very* bad idea. It also happens to violate military guidelines.

Many military officials . . . said they were concerned that the payments to Iraqi journalists and other covert information operations in Iraq had become so extensive that they were corroding the effort to build democracy and undermining U.S. credibility in Iraq. They also worry that information in the Iraqi press that's been planted or paid for by the U.S. military could "blow back" to the American public.

Eight current and former military, defense and other U.S. officials in Baghdad and Washington agreed to discuss the payments to Iraqi reporters and other American military information operations because they fear that the efforts are promoting practices that are unacceptable for a democracy. . . the U.S. public is at risk of being influenced by the information operations because what's planted in the Iraqi media can be picked up by international news organizations and Internet bloggers.

"There is no `local' media anymore. All media is potentially international. The Web makes it all public. We need to ... eliminate the idea that psychological operations and information operations can issue any kind of information to the media ever. Period." said a senior military official in Baghdad who has knowledge of American psychological operations in Iraq.


In other words, if you're caught in the act of lying, and neither the US or Iraqi people trust you, then you significantly increase the risk of losing the war.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:23 AM on December 1, 2005


Yeah "good idea", especially since the Pentagon recently touted Iraqi's free press.
Judith Miller was just one in a long series of press manipulations. This may not be illegal but paid advertisements posing as news is definitely morally questionable. And once stuff like this leaks it does nothing to ensure stability in Iraq, just more distrust and hatred. "Good idea" indeed.
posted by edgeways at 11:24 AM on December 1, 2005


Another decision that backfires horribly. How can Iraqi's ever again trust optimistic reports they read in the papers?

If the government simply had the guts to believe themselves in our constitutional rights to freedom of the press and that no cruel and unusual punishment will be inflicted, they might have actually inspired some Iraqis.

I am disgusted with this country not only over this, but all the fake newscasts, town halls, and soldier interview propaganda pieces this administration uses to pull the wool over American citizen's eyes. The torture is the topper.
posted by xammerboy at 11:25 AM on December 1, 2005


I am simply baffled at how many people consider this to be justified and entirely ambivalent to our efforts in the region and our national image. What the fuck?
posted by prostyle at 11:26 AM on December 1, 2005


all those 's should be s' - sorry!
posted by xammerboy at 11:27 AM on December 1, 2005


Propaganda has always been a tool of war. Compared to a lot tactics used by this administration, this seems to be one of the least offensive.
posted by wsg at 11:27 AM on December 1, 2005


There's also a great risk to Iraqi reporters -- and even Iraqi webloggers -- who do write positive stories about what is going on, whether bribed or not.

When you bribe so many of them so freely, everyone will assume they're lying... even the honest ones. As a result, they'll all be marked for execution.

Oops!
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:28 AM on December 1, 2005


Maggie Gallagher and Armstrong Williams might approve, though.
posted by alumshubby at 11:28 AM on December 1, 2005


It is stuff like this that fuels conspiracy theories. You can't say, "No the government wouldn't try and influence us by planting stories in the media" because it is now proven true, how many other things do we discount as being implausible actually are? I don't agree with 911 and Wellstone crash conspiracies but I understand how it happens. What credibility does the government have to deny such events? And how does a society continue to function if it loses faith in the institutions that run it?
posted by edgeways at 11:30 AM on December 1, 2005


"Compared to a lot tactics used by this administration, this seems to be one of the least offensive."

Unless you're an Iraqi journalist, of course.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:33 AM on December 1, 2005


I have long thought that an oath of office should include an oath of honesty that carries the penlites of perjury. Any government official acting in an official capacity should be assumed to be under oath. If you can not tell the truth because of security reasons, you simply do not answer the question.
posted by edgeways at 11:34 AM on December 1, 2005



I am simply baffled at how many people consider this to be justified and entirely ambivalent to our efforts in the region and our national image. What the fuck?
posted by prostyle at 11:26 AM PST on December 1 [!]


To be fair, only one person so far in this thread has supported it, and there's a relatively good chance that person is just trolling anyway, since they posted a strikingly dimwitted 5-word response.
posted by wakko at 11:35 AM on December 1, 2005


I don't find this too surprising. What I do find too surprising is Maj. General Lynch claiming that it's okay because Zarqawi is also manipulating the media.

Zarqawi's doing it too? That's your best defence? I hope you're not the one writing these propaganda pieces.
posted by justkevin at 11:36 AM on December 1, 2005


Black propaganda to influence public opinion has a nasty habit of creating blowback. C'est la guerre, suckers.
posted by warbaby at 11:40 AM on December 1, 2005


Double Post from just yesterday.
posted by dios at 11:43 AM on December 1, 2005


dios: "Double Post from just yesterday."

This follows a similar report yesterday...

I suppose that part of the FPP was too confusing for you? Do you have anything to add except your desire to see this post removed?
posted by prostyle at 11:49 AM on December 1, 2005


Perhaps if the media spent an equal amount of time showing the accomplishments that have been achieved to the time they spend on the not so good things that happen, Americans would have a clearer and more truthful picture.
Mike Schoonmaker, Schenectady, New York


Done, Mike. Any other ideas?
posted by skallas at 11:50 AM on December 1, 2005


I'm sorry, do we exempt the double post standard because of your desire to re-discuss something that was posted yesterday?
posted by dios at 11:50 AM on December 1, 2005


Dios, take a look at the main link for the story. It's a different issue altogether -- directly bribing Iraqi reporters.

I wasn't aware of this other post, though. If I was, I would've linked the supporting link on MeFi, rather than the Reuters article I mentioned.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:52 AM on December 1, 2005


It's also similar in tone to the comment I made on MeFi on the 29th, describing how neocons in the Pentagon have attempted a media takeover of Iraq.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:56 AM on December 1, 2005


First rule of Iraqi Bribe Club is that you DO NOT TALK ABOUT IRAQI BRIBE CLUB.
posted by mkultra at 11:58 AM on December 1, 2005


There's very little double-post issue here, since today's link clearly advances the story. It's just more smokescreen from the all-too-predictable Bush apologists who should be ashamed of themselves by now, but won't be. Let's continue the discussion.
posted by digaman at 11:58 AM on December 1, 2005


Well, at least now we know how much a free press costs.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:02 PM on December 1, 2005


"We are teaching them (Iraqi journalists) the wrong things," one military officer said.

Indeed. In fact, we're teaching Iraqi journalists that one of the pillars of our own constitution, protecting freedom of the press, is a sham, since the Bush administration's vision of the press is apparently paid PR-mongering whoredom.
posted by digaman at 12:02 PM on December 1, 2005


From redstate.org:

We just left Iraq. As expected, the trip was a great success.

First and foremost: the war that we saw is not the same war that we are reading in the media everyday. In fact, our soldiers are very frustrated that the media is only reporting the bad news instead of highlighting the progress being made.



If even the positive stories coming from Iraqi journalists are paid-off happyface press releases, how are the American people and the people managing the war supposed to get a realistic picture of what's going on there? You'd think even the Pentagon would have a great stake in protecting the integrity of the very kinds of stories that people like redstate wish there were more of.
posted by digaman at 12:08 PM on December 1, 2005


dios complains again, nobody cares again, film at 11
posted by wakko at 12:22 PM on December 1, 2005


Who is behind planting stories in the Iraqi press? From E & P, referring to the Lincoln Group (formerly "Iraqex," which sounds too much like a prescription drug for insurgent headaches I suppose), which I believe amberglow mentioned yesterday also.
posted by digaman at 12:28 PM on December 1, 2005


Frankly, I'm more concerned about the media coverage that the Bush administration bribes and pays off and corrupts and slimes up here at home, than in Iraq. :P
posted by Rothko at 12:30 PM on December 1, 2005


digaman: "If even the positive stories coming from Iraqi journalists are paid-off happyface press releases, how are the American people and the people managing the war supposed to get a realistic picture of what's going on there?"

I didn't really want to bring this up directly because I don't have the time or the resources to dig through speeches from BushCo for direct quotes - but it's there in the back of my head like all their other marketing platforms, and I think it is an excellent question to be asking.

Every speech they make where they cite these reports (in general, as far as I can remember) as indications of progress is just propaganda-by-proxy. They craft their own defunct policy, the regional propaganda to support it, then filter that back to us on a national level. Staying the course, indeed.
posted by prostyle at 12:30 PM on December 1, 2005


There is no conspiracy here. You cannot have a conspiracy when everything is out in the open.

The US wants to control all media outlets in Iraq. Even if they have to pay them to print shite, threaten to kick them out or plain attack them. It obvious. What's not to know?

There's a war on, don't you know? Oh, by the way, they've already bought into all the MSM outlets in the US, and it's working just fine.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:33 PM on December 1, 2005


If you get caught, it's not a conspiracy anymore because everyone knows!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:42 PM on December 1, 2005


So we're pretty much just as bad as Saddam was. But its ok, since everybody knows this.
posted by c13 at 12:57 PM on December 1, 2005


dios, there's a great feature here: Metatalk
posted by matteo at 1:01 PM on December 1, 2005


c13 writes "So we're pretty much just as bad as Saddam was. But its ok, since everybody knows this."

No, no, no. The US is much better - Saddam forced the newspaper to print what he wanted by threatening the journalists with prison and torture, with the US the prison and torture possibilities are still there, but they first pay the newspapers to print what it they want. This is good for the economy and good for consolidating the democracy (after all, what democracy without bribery?).
posted by nkyad at 1:26 PM on December 1, 2005


Every speech they make where they cite these reports (in general, as far as I can remember) as indications of progress is just propaganda-by-proxy. They craft their own defunct policy, the regional propaganda to support it, then filter that back to us on a national level. Staying the course, indeed.

They did this with Iraq intelligence. They would feed stories to Judith miller, and then tell inquiring Senators that they couldn't share certain data with them, but all they needed to know they could get from the New York Times.
posted by prodigalsun at 1:49 PM on December 1, 2005


So how about this: we pull the troops out, and pay the reporters to write how splendidly things are going on in Iraq. And then they could also write how Iran and Syria and North Korea became all democratic and christian and all.
Just seems so much easier...
posted by c13 at 2:38 PM on December 1, 2005


Surely the major problem here is that the US has been caught bribing journalists. The operational security of what should be a covert (if the activity it is discovered it is not apparent who did it) vice a clandestine (if the activity it is discovered it is obvious who did it) operation leaves something to be desired.

Since the military has been given the mission to create a secure environment in Iraq and one method of supporting that is to reinforce (or create) the perception that such an environment exists, the issue here should be that it has been done badly (or that the military should not have been given the mission in the first place) rather than the tactics that have been used.

Should this type of thing have been done - yes because it aids the military mission.
Should the politicians use the results for their own political ends - different argument.
posted by dangerousdan at 2:48 PM on December 1, 2005


This is simply stupid. The truth is the best propaganda and transparency is typically the best course. Naturally it helps to have honest motives and it’s those that I doubt. But as to the “how” of it, I don’t know where they think this is going to work in this day and age.

My worry is QuarterlyProphet and guys like him are working under 55 - 60+ year old psyops guys who still think they’re in pre-internets Panama dropping leaflets. This stuff is older than Bob Hope’s golf jokes. No subtlety. “Here’s money! Print good story! Ugh!”
But a superior mindset typically results in superior outcomes and vice versa.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:50 PM on December 1, 2005


Actually, what's going to happen is this. Bush will keep shoving US soldiers and Iraqi civilians through the meat grinder, while increasingly name-checking phrases like "victory" and "measured withdrawal" or something similiar to swing the midterm GOP elections. The new "capability" of the non-existing Iraqi-led battalions will be "confirmed" by paid-for news stories from the region. Slowly but surely, Iraq will slide toward civil war, becoming a hornet's nest of Zarqawi wannabes in the process. But we won't hear about what's going on there much, because the US will have declared victory and "withdrawn," even though there will still be thousands of personnel in hundreds of US bases remaining, including a huge compliment of Blackwater security staff armed with state-of-the-art weapons.

The messy unraveling of Iraq will take place on page four of the New York Times, of concern to various humanitarian groups that will be painted by the GOP as "fringe" groups or the tiresome Amnesty International or the obsolete UN. The collapse of the so-called Iraqi government will occur offstage, while Bush maintains his trademark smirk as he presides over such issues as beefing up the Patriot Act to become even more intrusive -- because, after all, that bit of nastiness in Baghdad that everyone will be highly eager to put behind them has vastly increased the likelihood of terrorist acts on US soil. Should one of them occur, the US populace will have even less concern for the implosion in the desert, apparently brought on by Iraqis themselves, with their crazy sects.

Links to stories about the deteriorating situation in Iraq will be greeted by a chorus of yawns in venues like MetaFilter, because by then, even the liberals will be sick of hearing about it.

Mission accomplished.
posted by digaman at 2:59 PM on December 1, 2005


Hmmm, what I find interesting in the link digaman provides was that one of the public relations company was contracted to develop 'cutting-edge types of media' including podcasts. I didn't know that many in the Iraq public were running around with iPods. Yes, I realize they can be listened to with any mp3 player, but is there really an Internet infrastructure over there to support this? A quick search for Internet infrastructure and iraq reveals this.

So, what's happening here, who was the military planning to target with these podcasts? Was it intended for domestic consumption?
posted by formless at 3:39 PM on December 1, 2005


Pay attention to Republican talking points from people like jsavimbi. They play fast and loose with the paradigms of this being 1) total war, requiring tough acts like torture and propoganda to win and 2) liberation/promoting freedom, it's so natural and inevitable that we can't possibly send more US troops over because, hey, they're a sovereign goverment and the "footprint" being larger would impede natural, normative progress.

Notice that these two meme structures aren't just contradictory, they're downright opposed to one another (re: what the "natural" state on the ground is). Success or failure in a military endeavor begins with strategy, and the US doesn't just have a bad/non-existant one--it has something so SNAFU as to be irredeemable. Hence thousands more dead, billions more squandered, and a once great country brought down very, very low.
posted by bardic at 3:50 PM on December 1, 2005


Excellent point.
posted by digaman at 3:54 PM on December 1, 2005


@ Bardic

Please do not lump torture and propaganda together. It inflates one to a level that is unwarranted and significantly devalues the heinous nature of the other.

I agree with strategy thing. If you do not know what your end-state is - it is very hard to achieve it. End-states do not contain fluffy words like "progress towards".
posted by dangerousdan at 4:13 PM on December 1, 2005


Agreed. I was trying to say that while torture is a far greater evil, both it and propoganda are on the same spectrum of nastiness involved while engaging in total war.

Total war and nation building are antithetical means to completely opposite ends. This administration is either criminally stupid or criminally disingenuous, or a vile mixture of both, if they can't grasp the basic differences between these two things.
posted by bardic at 4:36 PM on December 1, 2005


"Surely the major problem here is that the US has been caught bribing journalists."

No. The problem is that the US did this, and it was so against the very beliefs of those in the military and State Department who knew about it that they willingly, happily came together to leak the story and put an end to it.

How do we know that there was some degree of organization? Simple... seven people do not come forward willingly and at the same time -- along with a wealth of supporting documents -- unless there is an internal revolt.

Frankly, these people did *exactly* what they should do with a bad, unlawful order. The fact that the environment is such that they had to put an end to it through an organized anonymous leak only goes to show how screwed these people would be if they directly refused such orders.

"Should this type of thing have been done - yes because it aids the military mission."

That's not what the soldiers in question had to say. They said it was a very bad idea. They essentially "pushed back" because they're tired of being given orders from unelected chickenhawk civilians who seem oblivious to the fact that they're telling men and women of honor to do crappy, illegal things. That said, those same soldiers know whose going to take the blame for it when something goes wrong... and given enough time, something always does.

Maybe you're thinking that if we had used CIA instead of military to do this job, everything would've been okay... but last time I looked, the CIA hated the Bush administration, and were half-castrated anyway, their left nut handed over to Donald Rumsfeld as a plaything. I mean, the head of the CIA no longer has access to the the President. Need I say more?!

Let's face it. The Bush administration is hemmoraging with leaks and lack all ability to reliably do anything covert for the remainder of their term in office. They brought this upon themselves.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:56 PM on December 1, 2005


Good call, insomnia. That rings nicely.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:12 PM on December 1, 2005


From the article:

Many military officials, however, said they were concerned that the payments to Iraqi journalists and other covert information operations in Iraq had become so extensive that they were corroding the effort to build democracy and undermining U.S. credibility in Iraq. They also worry that information in the Iraqi press that's been planted or paid for by the U.S. military could "blow back" to the American public

It seems to me that they are complaining that they what they are doing is ineffective (read not being correctly) or being abused by their political masters. Not that what they were doing went against any beliefs that they had.

Honestly, if this type of activity went against their belief system then they are the wrong type of people to be involved in InfoOps.

My concern is that the US does not seem to be able to conduct modern military operations (EBO or Effects Based Targeting) effectively (this includes maintaining operational security).
posted by dangerousdan at 6:28 PM on December 1, 2005


(read not being done correctly)
posted by dangerousdan at 6:30 PM on December 1, 2005


Anyone else remember this?
posted by planetthoughtful at 6:41 PM on December 1, 2005


"if this type of activity went against their belief system then they are the wrong type of people to be involved in InfoOps."

The standards of conduct for InfoOps soldiers are the same standards that every other soldier has. Admittedly, the kind of assignment a person has can color their attitude, but that doesn't mean that they throw out their (oftentimes, years) of training, their sense of honor, or their standards in the process.

Trained, professional soldiers -- and especially your officer class -- know that you don't do things contrary to the military's official guidelines. They also have an indepth knowledge of *why* you don't do such things.

In short, your professional soldier is neither an SS officer nor are they a spook. They owe the president no ideological loyalty... and they are obliged, in many cases, to stop behavior that is contrary to the military code.

This distinction, however, seems to elude the civilian political appointees in the Pentagon. It's like the recent press conference where Rumsfeld was shown up by a Marine as far as required military conduct should they see inhumane treatment. These political appointees are not extensively trained like military officers in what is right and what is wrong for our troops. As a result, they're requesting them to do things which are neither legal nor acceptable to many of these soldiers.

Sadly, most soldiers go along with these orders, but others don't, or they find ways to redress the issues. Sometimes, the only way they can do this is to go public with what they know.

Reporters didn't "break" the Abu Ghraib story, or hillbilly armor, or white phosphorus, or many other stories from Iraq. Soldiers did... and they did it for the best of reasons.

"My concern is that the US does not seem to be able to conduct modern military operations (EBO or Effects Based Targeting) effectively (this includes maintaining operational security)."

There is a difference between maintaining OpSec and maintaining a coverup. I've seen absolutely zero breeches of OpSec from soldiers that were intentional in nature. Soldiers protect each other, and don't want their buddies dead.

That said, I also haven't seen any leaks of military coverups which were unintentional. When they leak a story, they know very well what they are doing and what the consequences could be. They do it because they feel that they have an obligation to the truth, and because they feel it's the right thing to do.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:15 PM on December 1, 2005


nice points, insomnia_lj
posted by Smedleyman at 9:55 AM on December 2, 2005


I should imagine most of you are familiar with my take on the war, or can guess it reasonably accurately.

On the issue of propaganda in Iraq, though, I have no problems whatsoever.

In fact, I think it is essential to use propaganda and media subversion to conquer the country. Far better to change hearts and minds by a line of bullshit, than to change them by killing them.

The only time I would have a problem with it is when the war is over, the troops are back home (or safely ensconced in their leased territory, and not raising hell all over Iraq), and a functional government is in place. At that point, a free and honest press is more valuable than not.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:02 AM on December 2, 2005


Getting caught doing it, on the other hand, is just plain stupid and suicidal. The trick only works when the public isn't aware of it!

There is a significant risk of it backfiring now that it is known.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:03 AM on December 2, 2005


Far better to change hearts and minds by a line of bullshit, than to change them by killing them.

This would make sense if it was a binary choice, not a combined and synergistic effort. We're killing them for reasons distorted at home by paid-for press, then paying off their own local media to distort the effects of our actions, and then using this distorted reporting at home to justify "staying the course." That's different.

More on the Lincoln Group, including -- surpriiiiiiiise! -- a coverup of the organization's ties to "top-level" GOP officials.
posted by digaman at 11:12 AM on December 2, 2005


“I think it is essential to use propaganda and media subversion to conquer the country. Far better to change hearts and minds by a line of bullshit, than to change them by killing them.” - five fresh fish

That’s part of the problem though FFF. You see, propaganda is not always bullshit. Oh, certainly content might be skewed or certain events brightened up or given more significance than others, but there is an underlying truth there. The Boston Tea Party or the ride of Paul Revere, yes, propaganda, but they did point up the truth about the situations at hand.

The Father Coughlin B.S. they’re pulling over there needs SOME substance behind it. The truth of why were there.
What’s irritating is, that truth may not exist. Or rather, that the powers that be are wholly duplicitous in motive.

People typically register the reality they have been conditioned to register. If you think LGF is the best source of info, you’re not going to listen to, say, Al Franken even if he’s telling you your house is on fire.
But any reasonably intelligent individual being bombarded by something in opposition to reality or other sources will try to fix the noise to signal ratio by canceling out the distortion. He’ll rely on word of mouth from trusted sources and reasoning; occam’s razor and so forth.

Knowledge of mental conditioning is essential.
That they’re doing this through these new information channels is again telling that A. they’re idiots and B. don’t understand who they’re dealing with.

I’d’ve done it through established channels. Perhaps get in good with the religious types of each kind, local leaders, etc. Build the guys we like mosques, not really help the others or make them think we will and renege so their followers think they’re full of empty promises and it’s the other guy who knows how to “handle the Americans.”

I’d have been doing this ASAFingP, if possible before boots hit the ground.
So Sheik “A” thinks we’re the bees knees and we don’t have to tell him to tell anyone something. We just make his life comfortable and keep him visible. He (and many like him) is the one telling the papers what swell chums we are so we don’t have to. And he’s telling it to people who attend services every day.
This way people are hearing it through the old established channels. Meanwhile you grab university professors too, for the secular types...but this is academic (pun intended, but serious point).

The point being, you can’t just create the propaganda, you have to create minds which will receive it.
To do that requires a certain degree of transparency, but definitely requires acts (which means $) and most certainly requires time.
I don’t think we’re doing any of that.

I would suspect that part of the reason the GOP is stumbling shoveling this shit is because Iraqi minds haven’t been conditioned to it as Yankee minds have.

Well, that and it’s all shit.

Or they're playing a higher level game than I’m currently seeing.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:31 PM on December 2, 2005


To clarify that point about transparancy and propaganda - I’m assuming a democratic element here. Other channels and us still being “Uncle Sugar.”
Certainly if you’re Stalin (Uncle Salt) you just put the kibosh on all other forms of communication and kill anyone who’s seen a different reality picture than you’re presenting.

I’m certainly not advocating that.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:35 PM on December 2, 2005


"Far better to change hearts and minds by a line of bullshit, than to change them by killing them."

But that bullshit comes home to roost, especially since the Iraqi media and the US media are not isolated things in the Internet age. Iraqi news articles often migrate back home and can form the basis of domestic articles on Iraq, and, of course, news agencies back here who have access to people who read Arabic also review Iraqi papers, etc.

I don't know if you've noticed, but the level of verifiable untruths in the reporting of the war over in Iraq is really quite revolting at times. I don't think it makes any sense at all to pay our government taxes in exchange for them to lie to us.

And, of course, the BS that the military is putting out in Iraq is counterproductive, in that it erodes Iraqi trust in their own reporters, and gets them killed.

If it really changed Iraqi hearts and minds that much, then why is it that an increasing number of Iraqis support attacks on the US forces and want them out of their country, even if it leads to internal chaos?
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:27 AM on December 3, 2005


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