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Old 02-25-2002, 05:35 PM   #1
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"Propaganda No Answer" by Molly Ivins

Propaganda No Answer
by Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas One rarely sees a thoroughly bad idea advanced by government. Lots of stuff from silly to smelly gets done, but somebody usually benefits, even if it's not the American people. But can anyone see an upside to having an office of government propaganda with an official license to lie?

They say if you fight someone long enough, you become like your enemy, but this Soviet notion is such a bummer it was useless even to them back in the day. But the Bush administration is apparently determined to bring us not one but two bureaus of propaganda. The "Office of Strategic Influence" isn't that a beauty? at the Pentagon will use "the media, the Internet and a range of covert operations to try to influence public opinion and government policy abroad, including in friendly nations," according to The New York Times. "Strategic Information" will include both information and disinformation. Disinformation, in case you haven't figured it out, is lies.

Then on top of that gem, the Bush administration also proposes "a permanent office of global diplomacy to spread a positive image of the United States around the world and combat anti-Americanism." This would include "intense shaping of information and coordination of messages" to ensure that "foreign correspondents in Washington as well as foreign leaders and opinion-makers overseas understand Mr. Bush's ideas and policies."

Let me go not very far out on a limb to predict this will be a disaster. It will wreck our credibility in no time. Sheesh, when will they ever learn? There are several documented cases of "blowback" from the Cold War, when we spread some lie and it came back to bite us in the rear. As any journalist can tell you, when you put out misinformation, all it does is poison the well of public debate.

The Bushies are great believers in "message discipline" they practiced it endlessly during the 2000 campaign. O, but facts are troublesome things. Not even giant public relations campaigns can make them go away. Did you sign up anywhere to have your tax dollars used for government propaganda? Do you like the idea? Let's kill this before it multiplies.

If Bush wants to do something about anti-Americanism abroad, he could:

Sign the Kyoto Accords on global warming and help save the world.

Stop our blind support of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians and get serious about forcing a settlement in the face of that yawning disaster. We are more pro-Israeli than the Israelis, who have a humongous public debate about their own policies, which rather clearly aren't working worth a damn.

We could quit doing dumb stuff like:

Outraging world opinion by saying we won't treat the prisoners at Gitmo as POWs under the Geneva Convention.

Appointing John Negroponte, a major figure in the Iran-Contra mess, as ambassador to the United Nations.

Appointing Otto Reich, another high-level Iran-Contra figure, as assistant secretary of state for Inter-American Affairs.

Adding to the global warming problem by rescinding rules for improving energy efficiency in air conditioners and heaters, dropping Bush's campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide and canceling the 2004 deadline for automakers to develop prototype high-mileage cars.

Pushing for development of small nuclear weapons in violation of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Banning federal aid to international family planning programs that offer abortion counseling with separate, independent funding.

Appointing John Bolton, who opposes nonproliferation treaties and the U.N., to under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security.

Continuing our own production of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons while lecturing the rest of the world for doing the same thing, including naming Iran, Iraq and North Korea an "axis of evil" for doing exactly what we do. What does that make us?

Screwing up our ally South Korea's long-held plans to make some accommodation with the North.

We can all think of several other things America could do to improve the opinion the world holds of us but running a propaganda campaign is not among them. Isn't it bad enough that we lead the world in contributing to air pollution do we have pollute the truth too?
http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0222-04.htm
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Old 02-25-2002, 05:59 PM   #2
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Rumsfeld: Pentagon Won't Lie
But Few Details Will Be Provided On Operations

By Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON -- (AP) Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld promised Tuesday his department will not mislead the press as part of the campaign against terrorism and said there are other ways to protect sensitive information.

"I am 69 years old, and I don't believe it's ever happened that I have lied to the press, and I don't intend to start now," he said.

At a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld was asked whether he could guarantee there would be no policy of giving out false information. "You can be certain there is no campaign targeted at the news media," he said.

Pentagon officials have been unusually secretive in the last week as the Bush administration prepares for what it has said will be a long war against terrorism, which will be unlike any other the country has known and will be fought on many fronts.

Among other things, officials have refused to give many details on the military buildup under way in the Persian Gulf, which nations have joined the coalition or even what countries might be targeted.

Rumsfeld said the government is giving "a great deal of thought to handling the public affairs" surrounding the anti-terrorism campaign and held a meeting on the subject Monday.

He was asked circumstances in which Defense Department officials "will be authorized to lie to the news media" in order to increase chances of success of a military operation or gain some other advantage over adversaries.

"I cannot imagine a situation," he said. "I don't recall that I've ever lied to the press. I don't intend to. ... There are dozens of ways to avoid having to put yourself in a position where you're lying."

Rumsfeld recalled that during World War II, allies planted false information about the planned time and location of the Normandy invasion.

Rumsfeld said U.S. military officials will refuse to comment on anything that will endanger troops or operations.

"And anyone that does talk to any of you about that is breaking federal criminal law and should be in jail," Rumsfeld said.

"Responsible people won't do it," Rumsfeld said. "People that know anything won't do it. But that's a very different thing from coming out and actively telling a lie."

"I suppose you never say never," he said. "But all I can say is I cannot imagine a situation where we would be so unskillful that we would be in a position that we would have to do that to protect lives."

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Old 02-25-2002, 06:37 PM   #3
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Good grief, Molly Ivins is an idiot. I've known this for as long as I've been old enough to read a newspaper. She wrote for the DFW area papers for a really long time.

Ms. Ivins, the Bush administration is not talking about lying to the American people, but rather about spreading misinformation where it counts - in spy channels and in the underground, and to the press operations of our enemies. Newsflash, Ms. Ivins, that's nothing new. We've been doing it since we sent out our first spy. The only reason it's even making press now is because Clinton recalled so many of our spies and curbed the CIA's duties so much, that intelligence gathering was at almost at a standstill for the 8 years of his reign.
Intelligence gathering and the practice of spreading misinformation is a very important role by our CIA, and goes a long way in the effort to protect our country from our foes.
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Old 02-25-2002, 06:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
The "Office of Strategic Influence" isn't that a beauty? at the Pentagon will use "the media, the Internet and a range of covert operations to try to influence public opinion and government policy abroad, including in friendly nations," according to The New York Times. "Strategic Information" will include both information and disinformation. Disinformation, in case you haven't figured it out, is lies.

Quote:
Then on top of that gem, the Bush administration also proposes "a permanent office of global diplomacy to spread a positive image of the United States around the world and combat anti-Americanism." This would include "intense shaping of information and coordination of messages" to ensure that "foreign correspondents in Washington as well as foreign leaders and opinion-makers overseas understand Mr. Bush's ideas and policies."

It's a PR campaign to sell America.

[This message has been edited by joyfulgirl (edited 02-25-2002).]
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Old 02-25-2002, 10:41 PM   #5
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It is certainly pointless to argue this. To anyone it counts, they won't pay attention. If the government wished to lie to us, they'd have a captive audience lapping it up like a dehydrated dog near water.

Melon

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Old 02-26-2002, 11:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl:

Quote:
Then on top of that gem, the Bush administration also proposes "a permanent office of global diplomacy to spread a positive image of the United States around the world and combat anti-Americanism." This would include "intense shaping of information and coordination of messages" to ensure that "foreign correspondents in Washington as well as foreign leaders and opinion-makers overseas understand Mr. Bush's ideas and policies."

It's a PR campaign to sell America.

[This message has been edited by joyfulgirl (edited 02-25-2002).]
WASHINGTON Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is considering scrapping the controversial Office of Strategic Influence, named in press reports last week as a new source of disinformation to foreign nations.


According to Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke, Rumsfeld has asked undersecretary Douglas Feith, the third-ranking civilian at the Pentagon, "to take a very, very hard look" at the office and determine "should it even exist."

"I am always very, very concerned about our credibility," Clarke told reporters Monday.

Last week, reports surfaced that the office, opened shortly after Sept. 11, is considering planting false stories in foreign media to benefit the U.S. war against terrorism.

Rumsfeld spent many days last week shooting down the story, which first appeared in The New York Times, and said no one working for him would deliberately spread disinformation.

Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, Rumsfeld said there is a need "to counter the lies" spread by the enemies in the war in Afghanistan. The defense secretary said the Taliban had told the Afghan people America was making war on Muslims and that the humanitarian rations being dropped by U.S. armed forces were poisonous.

"The Pentagon needs to do that type of thing and that is all that the Pentagon does. The Pentagon does not lie to the American people. It does not lie to foreign audiences. It does not engage in those types of things," Rumsfeld said, adding that he has never seen the charter that set up the office.

Rumsfeld said last week that the Pentagon may engage in "tactical deception," such as lying about where a mission may originate to throw the enemy off guard, but would never spread lies in the foreign press.

Feith, in an interview with reporters last week, said the main reason for creating the new office last fall was to centralize oversight of what the military calls "information operations," such as spreading messages on a battlefield by leaflet or airborne broadcasts.

"We have an interest in the enemy not knowing, not being comfortable about what we are going to do" on the battlefield, Feith said in a breakfast interview with a group of reporters.

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Old 02-26-2002, 06:29 PM   #7
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stupid me. i thought this would be about how shitty propaganda magazine is.


(if you believe i really thought that, then on you)

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Old 02-26-2002, 06:59 PM   #8
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If Bush wants to do something about anti-Americanism abroad, he could:

Sign the Kyoto Accords on global warming and help save the world.

Stop our blind support of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians and get serious about forcing a settlement in the face of that yawning disaster. We are more pro-Israeli than the Israelis, who have a humongous public debate about their own policies, which rather clearly aren't working worth a damn.


<sigh>

I believe that the entire article's arguments are severely weakened by the obvious cranial-anal impaction demonstrated above.

Holistically, the author asserts that we, the United States, are hated because we should be hated - that, our globally unpopular decisions are thus wrong.

More to the point, she ignores the good reasons to reject Kyoto (that it would weaken the U.S. economically, and that it's rather harsh in condemning our Israeli allies) and proclaims rather simplistically that Kyoto will "help save the world."

She then suggests that we abandon Israel - on the basis that they are debating how to deal with Palestine (and we're not? haven't we also been pushing for peace talks?) and because their policies "clearly aren't working worth a damn." Apparently, that they are our allies, and the only democracy in the Mideast, means nothing.

In the three paragraphs above, she's shown that A) she believes that America's on the wrong side of issues by default; B) she's a kneejerk environmentalist; and C) she doesn't give two shits about Israel.

Why, then, should the rest of the editorial carry much weight?
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Old 02-27-2002, 02:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
If Bush wants to do something about anti-Americanism abroad, he could:

Sign the Kyoto Accords on global warming and help save the world.

Stop our blind support of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians and get serious about forcing a settlement in the face of that yawning disaster. We are more pro-Israeli than the Israelis, who have a humongous public debate about their own policies, which rather clearly aren't working worth a damn.


<sigh>

I believe that the entire article's arguments are severely weakened by the obvious cranial-anal impaction demonstrated above.

Holistically, the author asserts that we, the United States, are hated because we should be hated - that, our globally unpopular decisions are thus wrong.
I'm not entirely sure how to interpret the sentence above, but the USA is causing some irritation lately. This has to do with the fact that the USA is taking many decisions without consideration for the rest of the world. Sure, the USA is the biggest economy and the most powerful nation on earth, but that does not mean it should act as if it were alone.

Quote:

More to the point, she ignores the good reasons to reject Kyoto (that it would weaken the U.S. economically, and that it's rather harsh in condemning our Israeli allies) and proclaims rather simplistically that Kyoto will "help save the world."
Hmm, we've spoken about this a few threads ago. There are no good reasons to reject Kyoto (as it will not weaken the US economy, etc.). I do agree that the "help save the world" statement is simplistic.

Quote:

She then suggests that we abandon Israel - on the basis that they are debating how to deal with Palestine (and we're not? haven't we also been pushing for peace talks?) and because their policies "clearly aren't working worth a damn." Apparently, that they are our allies, and the only democracy in the Mideast, means nothing.
Where did she state the USA should abandon Israel? She said the USA should stop their blind support of Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. That's a big difference. Also, the 'basis' you claim is not represented in the article. IMO, she says that even the Israelis have a public debate about their policies, while there is no such discussion in the USA as the USA is blindly supporting everything Israel does (that's what I interpret from the article).


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