Rumsfeld: US losing media war to al-Qaeda

Mr.Rumsfeld

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#1
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4725992.stm

The US is losing the propaganda war against al-Qaeda and other enemies, defence chief Donald Rumsfeld has said.
...
Mr Rumsfeld said al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists were bombarding Muslims with negative images of the West, which had poisoned the public view of the US.
 
#2
Rummy's minions have carried out enough "bombarding" of their own...metal confetti at wedding parties, shooting up cars at road blocks etc...
 
#3
MrPVRd said:
Rummy's minions have carried out enough "bombarding" of their own...metal confetti at wedding parties, shooting up cars at road blocks etc...
Anytime you want to venture out of the moderately safer--relative to the Sunni Triangle--area of the Shia south and belly up to take over the Sunni areas along with very sizable increase in belligerents let us know. Pardon my smug look when you have that 'oh sh*t' epiphany and realize you're no longer in Kansas anymore. The Sunni locals'll hate you not because you treated them in any certain way but because they can't extort the rest of the population as they did under Saddam, you're taking ten times more casualties than you did in the south and smiles with berets in Fallujah ain't working. I'll give you twenty minutes before you 'blokes' start lobbing steel down range. See what mistakes happen when your personnel, ops and insurgents increase tenfold then get back to me.

Virgil- a 'minion'
 
#4
I'm slightly disturbed by the idea of 'winning' someone's mind.

For a start, do you put it on the sideboard or a shelf?

And is it de rigeur to put it in a container or just leave it dripping everywhere?
 
#5
1. How much money did the USA spend during WWII in an attempt to persuade the French, Italians, Belgians, Czechs, Danes, Norwegians, et al that the Nazis were not nice guys?

2. What part of the United States Constitution authorizes the national government to create and disseminate political propaganda?

3. How much credibility is the typical Arab likely to ascribe to websites, newspapers, television and radio broadcasts bearing the imprimatur of the U.S. government?
 
#6
Virgil said:
MrPVRd said:
Rummy's minions have carried out enough "bombarding" of their own...metal confetti at wedding parties, shooting up cars at road blocks etc...
Anytime you want to venture out of the moderately safer--relative to the Sunni Triangle--area of the Shia south and belly up to take over the Sunni areas along with very sizable increase in belligerents let us know. Pardon my smug look when you have that 'oh sh*t' epiphany and realize you're no longer in Kansas anymore. The Sunni locals'll hate you not because you treated them in any certain way but because they can't extort the rest of the population as they did under Saddam, you're taking ten times more casualties than you did in the south and smiles with berets in Fallujah ain't working. I'll give you twenty minutes before you 'blokes' start lobbing steel down range. See what mistakes happen when your personnel, ops and insurgents increase tenfold then get back to me.

Virgil- a 'minion'
The Shia South is moderately safe because the Septics didn't get their clumsy, ignorant mitts on it. Asking the British Army to rectify the disasterous mistakes of the knuckleheads who caused the problems in the first place is the easy way out.
Why don't the Septics try to make amends in that they change their ROEs in light of the experience they've had to date in Iraq? What they're doing didn't work then and it's not working now. So how about a change of tactics? Something on the same lines as the British Army is doing in the South.
Or would that mean that Bobby-Ray would feel emascualted?

MsG
 
#7
Not_Whistlin_Dixie said:
1. How much money did the USA spend during WWII in an attempt to persuade the French, Italians, Belgians, Czechs, Danes, Norwegians, et al that the Nazis were not nice guys?
Good question. Not sure of the answer but certainly a lot of efforts were made on the US population with filmmakers like Frank Capra making shorts like "Why We Fight". I do know of substantial leaflet campaigns, especially in Europe, targeting German and Italian troops. One specific leaflet late in the war that was effective itemized the meals and calories German POWs received under American treatment, targeting their lack of supplies. Another method was devised--again late in the war--to target areas where individual Germans might end up at, like a latrine, with artillery whenever feasible. Theoretically it was to show them we had ammo to burn on one soldier while they were short supplies. Not sure of the practicality or effectiveness.

2. What part of the United States Constitution authorizes the national government to create and disseminate political propaganda?
Off the top of my head the Constitution gives Congress a specific enumerated power to establish and fund an army. PSYOP activities are military in nature and not specifically prohibited by any Constitutional ammendment but are prohibited to be done internally by Congressional statute (the Constitution allow Congress to make laws like this as long as they aren't in conflict with the it.)

3. How much credibility is the typical Arab likely to ascribe to websites, newspapers, television and radio broadcasts bearing the imprimatur of the U.S. government?
Really good question. I think the overall efforts have been sort of lame so far, although in Iraq the Army's running them full speed with the assets they have. The methods you cite above would have to be done by non-military goverment organizations--Army PSYOP just can't handle it frankly--and they haven't made enough of an effort in my opinion. And you wouldn't have to necessarily use government assets, you could contract out to avoid the US stamp--though I'm not sure on the legal parameters. Certainly a few more counter arguments might help, check out this Arab-American psychologist arguing about the negative effects of some Islamic teachings on Al Jazeers. Absolutely worth a look.
 
#8
Neither side is winning the propaganda war both sides are losing.
Any ‘support’ or popular feeling for Al Qaeda is based on the belief that it is only they who are striking at the imperialist giant.
Firstly, no American media operation would work because quite frankly the American government does not understand the peoples of the Islamic world and makes not attempt to try. Whether it’s the ‘mission civilisatrice’ that seems to inform American thinking now, I don’t know! But, imho, the only thing that that could change people’s attitudes is a change in America’s own attitude.
They are perceived as being arrogant and self interested and American policy in much of the non-western world seems to justify this view to the non-American. If the Americans are not prepared to change their ‘imperial’ attitudes, then they just have to get use to being unpopular. Otherwise silly policies like the new American initiative to sponsor ‘pro-democracy’ Syrian groups (no doubt all based on the Avenue Foch in Paris) are doomed to end in failure for all concerned and no more so than for the Americans.
 
#9
The Shia South is moderately safe because the Septics didn't get their clumsy, ignorant mitts on it. Asking the British Army to rectify the disasterous mistakes of the knuckleheads who caused the problems in the first place is the easy way out.
Why don't the Septics try to make amends in that they change their ROEs in light of the experience they've had to date in Iraq? What they're doing didn't work then and it's not working now. So how about a change of tactics? Something on the same lines as the British Army is doing in the South.
Or would that mean that Bobby-Ray would feel emascualted?
MsG
Utter bullsh*t.

I was in Al Kut, Al Hillah, As Samawah and Ad Diwaniyah--predominately Shia areas just like Basra--for months with the Marines and Army. There were very few insurgent attacks and a moderately friendly to apathetic population who we co-operated with and gave us little trouble at least until Sadr's guys got into Najaf when the Spaniards took over. I spent time in the Sunni Triangle afterwards, same Army, same Marines--different Iraqi culture from the Shia south.

Frankly the Marines tried the same friendly approach they did in the south when they moved to the Sunni Triangle. Same Marines, same approach done successfully within the Shia areas. Drastically different reactions. That's as close to a 'proof' as I can give you and having been to both areas that's good enough for me. Don't know the answer I'll admit, but candy and softcaps sure as hell didn't work.

You might want to read up on how the Shia were hammered under Saddam and the predominately Sunni Baathists and understand their receptivity to the invasion. Then follow the reading up a bit on the Sunni participation in the Baathist party, Saddam's rewarding of them, it's exploitation and murder of Iraqi non-Sunni Shia's and Kurds as well as get an intel dump on the anger they feel not being the kingpins in Iraq anymore. You may have an epiphany. It ain't the Army and Marines fault, as I said before, the politicians gave us a sh*t sandwich and we had to eat it.

Six months after the invasion in position in the Shia south and the whole Marine division had two or three killed in action/KIA from Najaf to Al Kut to Nasiriyah. Almost as long in the Sunni north and a smaller Marine contigent of a Regiment plus & Army assigned and the KIAs were in the double digits monthly. Color/colour me skeptical.
 
#10
Anytime you want to venture out of the moderately safer--relative to the Sunni Triangle--area of the Shia south and belly up to take over the Sunni areas along with very sizable increase in belligerents let us know. Pardon my smug look when you have that 'oh sh*t' epiphany and realize you're no longer in Kansas anymore. The Sunni locals'll hate you not because you treated them in any certain way but because they can't extort the rest of the population as they did under Saddam, you're taking ten times more casualties than you did in the south and smiles with berets in Fallujah ain't working. I'll give you twenty minutes before you 'blokes' start lobbing steel down range. See what mistakes happen when your personnel, ops and insurgents increase tenfold then get back to me.
I have every sympathy for US soldiers in this difficult situation but none whatsoever with the idiotic and arrogant politicians who started this nonsense in the first place - most of whom are "chicken hawks" who dodged active service in Vietnam and also appear reluctant to encourage their own offspring to enlist.
 
#11
Virgil said:
I spent time in the Sunni Triangle afterwards, same Army, same Marines--different Iraqi culture from the Shia south.

Frankly the Marines tried the same friendly approach they did in the south when they moved to the Sunni Triangle. Same Marines, same approach done successfully within the Shia areas. Drastically different reactions.
There is one measure that will work no doubt. Withdrawal. There is no WMD, there is no Saddam at power. What are you doing there?
 
#12
KGB_resident said:
Virgil said:
I spent time in the Sunni Triangle afterwards, same Army, same Marines--different Iraqi culture from the Shia south.

Frankly the Marines tried the same friendly approach they did in the south when they moved to the Sunni Triangle. Same Marines, same approach done successfully within the Shia areas. Drastically different reactions.
There is one measure that will work no doubt. Withdrawal. There is no WMD, there is no Saddam at power. What are you doing there?
That's fine, take it up with the White House. It's not the Army or Marine's decision Sergey.
 
#13
Not_Whistlin_Dixie said:
1. How much money did the USA spend during WWII in an attempt to persuade the French, Italians, Belgians, Czechs, Danes, Norwegians, et al that the Nazis were not nice guys?
Money wise not too much, PSYOP has always been a cheap resource. Propaganda to enemy and enemy-occupied countries was handled by the US Office of War Information (OWI), with black propaganda done by the Morale Operations section of OSS. After D-day the main producer of PsyWar in the Western European theatre was by the Anglo-American Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF - it was made up of both civilain and military staff from OWI and the British Political Warfare Executive (PWE).
PWD/SHAEF was mainly concerned with tactical PsyWar.

Most of the propaganda directed towards the Occupied Countries was truthful news.
 
#14
Rumsfeld is quite right - the opposition is winning. However, not by being any good at this info ops caper but by the US (sorry cousins, but it has to be said) being very, very bad at it. His statement of the problem misses the point - which is that they provide their enemy with the ammunition they use against us. A few examples - Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Fallujah and so on. No doubt all of them achieved success to some extent - but I'd assess that the blowback has far outweighed the benefits.

The facts behind the symbols are irrelevant unless our target audience believes what they are being told - and here the US has real problems. Bluntly, the people you wish to influence and stop from joining the ranks of your enemies think you're a bunch of dangerous, ignorant, arrogant crusaders out to impose your way of life on others by force. Being a cowboy is not seen as a good thing outside the US. Unless and until you change that people will continue to want to kill you.

Part of the problem is the naive and fatally flawed belief that this war will be won by events in the kinetic arena. It won't. If the US don't subordinate kinetic ops to info ops they'll continue to kill one enemy in manner that recruits another - or if they're really insensitive they'll recruit two.
 
#15
Virgil said:
KGB_resident said:
Virgil said:
I spent time in the Sunni Triangle afterwards, same Army, same Marines--different Iraqi culture from the Shia south.

Frankly the Marines tried the same friendly approach they did in the south when they moved to the Sunni Triangle. Same Marines, same approach done successfully within the Shia areas. Drastically different reactions.
There is one measure that will work no doubt. Withdrawal. There is no WMD, there is no Saddam at power. What are you doing there?
That's fine, take it up with the White House. It's not the Army or Marine's decision Sergey.
Of course, it was a decision made by White House. I understood your post as a doubt that victory in propaganda war with al-Qaeda is doomed to failure at least in Sunni triangle. I mentioned a possible solution.

I don't mean you soldiers, mariners (God save you) could do it. You must obey orders. But politicians could call insurgents and propose them a deal: withdrawal from Sunni triangle with prohibition of any terrorist activity in return.
 
#16
Simon Jenkins has written a good article in the Sunday Times.

This is the best and most succinct analysis on T.W.A.T I have read so far.

There never was a “terrorist threat” to western civilisation or democracy, only to western lives and property.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2088-2047134,00.html

Bush and Blair have brilliantly done Bin Laden's work for him
Simon Jenkins

Is Osama Bin Laden winning after all? Until recently I would have derided such a thought. How could a tinpot fanatic who is either dead or shut in some mountain hideout hold the world to ransom for five years? It would stretch the imagination of an Ian Fleming.
Now I am beginning to wonder. Not a day passes without some new sign of Bin Laden’s mesmeric grip on the governments of Britain and America. His deeds lie behind half the world’s headlines. British policy seems obsessed with one word: terrorism. The West is equivocating, writhing, slithering in precisely the direction most desired by its enemy. He must be roaring with delight.

On any objective measure, terrorism in the West is a trivial crime. True, New York and London saw outrages in 2001 and 2005 respectively. Both were the outcome of sloppy intelligence. Neither has been repeated, though of course they may be. Policing has improved and probably averted other attacks. But incidents genuinely attributable to Al-Qaeda rather than domestic grievances are comparable to the IRA and pro-Palestinian campaigns. Vigilance is important but only those with money in security have an interest in presenting Bin Laden as a cosmic threat.

Indeed if ever there were a case for collective restraint it is in response to terrorism. The word refers to a technique, usually a bomb, not an ideology. A bombing is an anarchic gesture calling for police and medical services. It becomes a political weapon only if publicised and answered with hysteria. A killing is so staged as to cause over-reaction, violent response, mass arrests and a decay of civilised values. Bin Laden’s intention in 2001 was to portray the West as scared, emotionally vulnerable, over-reactive, decadent and careless of liberal values. The West has done its damnedest to prove him right.

I distrust “basket” analysis but events do sometimes rush in a certain direction. Last week alone brought new revelations of torture by American troops in Iraq. British soldiers were filmed beating demonstrators in Basra. British ministers sought new powers of detention without trial, a national identity database and impediments on free speech. A sectarian leader became prime minister of Iraq and British marines were flown to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. The United Nations demanded the closure of Guantanamo as a torture camp. The European media indulged in an orgy of finger-pointing at Muslim religious sensitivity. Muslim extremists reacted on cue.

Were I Bin Laden I could not have dreamt that the spirit of 9/11 would be so vigorous five years on. I have western leaders still parroting my motto that “9/11 alters everything” and “the rules of the game are changed”. I have the Taliban resurgent, financed by Europe’s voracious demand for oil and opium. I have the Pentagon and Scotland Yard paying me the compliment of a “long war” of indefinite duration. My potency is said to require more defence spending than was needed to contain the might of the Soviet Union.

There is now a voluminous literature on the politics of fear and its distorting appeal for democratic leaders (this month alone, David Runciman’s admirable The Politics of Good Intentions and Peter Oborne’s The Use and Abuse of Terror). The 9/11 “changes everything” mantra began as an explanation of a national trauma and a plea for sympathy. It was hijacked to validate the latent authoritarianism of democratic leaders.

America asks the world to believe itself so threatened as to require the kidnappings of foreign citizens in foreign parts, detention without legal process, the curbing of free speech and derogation from all international law. It asks the world to believe that it must disregard the Geneva conventions and employ foreign dictators to help it to torture at random. It uses the same justification for occupying Iraq and Afghanistan. The world simply refuses to agree. Only cringeing Britain appeases such actions and calls them merely “anomalous”. There are madmen aplenty, but they do not constitute a war.

Even America’s most robust champions plead that this is all grotesquely counter-productive. What is frightening is not the evil of much American foreign policy at present but its stupidity; the damage it does to its own objectives. What was terrifying about Soviet power in the cold war was not its mega-tonnage but the incompetence of those controlling it.

America and Britain claim the right to invade foreign countries in defiance of international law. This requires at the very least a defensible moral superiority. Americans take this supremacy as read. Moral high ground comes with apple pie and the flag. Yet this supremacy, already questioned by many Americans at home, is in chronic disrepair abroad. Young Europeans and Asians no longer remember the second world war and do not see the world Washington’s way. Their belief in America’ s wealth is secure. Their belief in its values and their relevance to foreign countries is evaporating, blown away by relentless American belligerence. Last year’s BBC poll of 21 countries gave a majority that declared George Bush “a threat to world peace”.

The result is to cripple America’s effectiveness as diplomat and power broker. Take Iran. The emergence of any new nuclear power is alarming. Yet it was tolerated in Israel, India, Pakistan and Korea. Partly because of its isolation, Iran now seems certain to develop a nuclear potential. To respond by increasing that isolation and thus the paranoia of Iran’s turbulent and unstable rulers is daft. The sensible realpolitik must be to give Iran no reason to turn potential into actual power, let alone to want to use it.

I doubt if there is a world leader who would nominate America as best qualified to handle Iran in its present sensitive state. The war-mongering of the neocon ascendancy — the calls for bombing and the constant listing of targets — seems to mirror the fundamentalist mullahs behind President Ahmadinejad. American policy in the Middle East is so counter-productive as to be the problem, not the solution.

In desperation British and German leaders turned last week to the new “multi-polars”, Russia and China, for help with Tehran. This suggests a world moving towards new axes, seeking new leadership and distancing itself from American myopia. The spectacle is similar to the free world’s isolation of the Russian Comintern in the mid-20th century.

Such a recourse is fool’s gold. China and Russia are no more likely to exert sustained influence on the world stage than did Europe’s fragmented diplomacy over the past quarter century. Both have trade interests in Iran and much to gain as brokers of power in the region. Neither is a substitute for America. Neither carries the moral suasion of open and competitive democracy. Both face rumbling insurgencies on their frontiers. Yet the West turns to them in its hour of need. That is the measure of America’s collapse.

There never was a “terrorist threat” to western civilisation or democracy, only to western lives and property. The threat becomes systemic only when democracy loses its confidence and when its leaders are weak, as now. Terror attacks are for the police. For George Bush and Blair to demand a “long war” against Bin Laden and, by implication, a long suppression of civil liberty is ludicrous. Western civilisation is not some simpering weakling that cowers before a fanatic ’s might, pleading for leaders to protect it by all means, however illegal. It has been proof against Islamic expansionism since the 17th century. It is not at risk.

The American president and the British prime minister have spent half a decade exploiting Bin Laden for political ends, in thrall to their security/industrial complex. They have relied on terrifying their electorates with new and bloodcurdling threats, with what Runciman calls “spook politics”. But they will pass. The half-baked “message” laws passed by Britain’s limp parliament last week will fall in disuse. The vitality of British and American democracy has always been its ability to produce antibodies when truly challenged by an internal or external menace. The West will rediscover its self-belief and restore the liberalism, properly defined as freedom, that it once exemplified to the world.

Bin Laden is not going to win and never was. But Bush and Blair are giving him an astonishing run for his money.
 
#17
KGB_resident said:
...
Of course, it was a decision made by White House. I understood your post as a doubt that victory in propaganda war with al-Qaeda is doomed to failure at least in Sunni triangle. I mentioned a possible solution.

I don't mean you soldiers, mariners (God save you) could do it. You must obey orders. But politicians could call insurgents and propose them a deal: withdrawal from Sunni triangle with prohibition of any terrorist activity in return.
I don't think the insurgents are organized enough to submit to any general cease-fire to be honest. And that is a part of the problem, small groups of disaffected, loosely organized Sunnis. The intent is to pull out if and when the Iraqi forces get up to a level they can handle the issue with some professionalism and, more importantly, not slaughter Sunnis. The Iraqi army is run by the Shia now to some extent with a number of Kurds and some of them want revenge. Maybe the answer is a federal state, which I suspect it will end up looking when we leave anyway.

A decent propaganda campaign would cetainly help but not be decisive I think.
 
#18
Virgil said:
I don't think the insurgents are organized enough to submit to any general cease-fire to be honest. And that is a part of the problem, small groups of disaffected, loosely organized Sunnis.
Virgil! I dare to disagree

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11079548/site/newsweek/

Feb. 6, 2006 issue - American officials in Iraq are in face-to-face talks with high-level Iraqi Sunni insurgents, NEWSWEEK has learned. Americans are sitting down with "senior members of the leadership" of the Iraqi insurgency
Virgil said:
The intent is to pull out if and when the Iraqi forces get up to a level they can handle the issue with some professionalism and, more importantly, not slaughter Sunnis.
I would understans such objectives as a control over oil-fields, pipe-lines. It is very important from practical point of view (what I appresiate in Arerican is practical approach). Even Saddam with his oppressive apparat, huge army and police forces was unable to establish full control in Kurdish areas and it would be unrealistic to expect any sort of Shia control over Sunni areas.

Virgil said:
A decent propaganda campaign would cetainly help but not be decisive I think.
Couldn't agree more.
 
#19
KGB_resident said:
Oh yeah, I was aware of that. I'm skeptical that it will succeed to the extent hoped for, so many of the insurgents we captured seemed to be operating locally without much control. I think the point is to get key individuals won over and hope their influence is controlling. I'm doubtful of the approach succeeding, glad they're giving it a try. I hope you'll be able to point out to me you were right a few months from now. I'll be glad to be wrong on this one. Nadayous.

I would understans such objectives as a control over oil-fields, pipe-lines. It is very important from practical point of view (what I appresiate in Arerican is practical approach). Even Saddam with his oppressive apparat, huge army and police forces was unable to establish full control in Kurdish areas and it would be unrealistic to expect any sort of Shia control over Sunni areas.
I agree, which is why I think a real or de facto Federal state will be the outcome. It looks like there are a few death squads, Shia police and army, that are taking matters in their own hands. Not a good development for although I sometimes can't help but think the Sunni are reaping what they sowed.
 
#20
Virgil said:
I hope you'll be able to point out to me you were right a few months from now. I'll be glad to be wrong on this one.
I mentined Newsweek's story only to show that Sunni insurgents are not a collection of unconnected small groups. I'm sure that in tribal areas there exist few (maybe even one) persons that effectively control insurgency activity.

Personally I don't believe that the negotiations will result in agreement. However I guess that withdrawal from Sunni triangle would be a good decision. Insurgents will controll Fallujah and some other dirty cities and what? What would be wrong with control over this land by Sunni insurgents? They would rather refocus their activity in reconstruction, would be involved in political process.

Yes, I agree the most desirable outcome would be a Lebanon-style state where a Christian is a president, PM is Sunni, speaker of Parliament - Shia. In case of Iraq a president should be Sunni.
 

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