cross posted from dembloggers and my blog

Once is random.  Twice is coincidence.  Three, four, five times is a pattern.  Then you export it, neatly packaged with Democracy™. But hey; what’s a little propaganda between ostensible allies?

As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

The articles, written by U.S. military “information operations” troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers

And people say they have no plan for Iraq!  It’s just a bit tricky to discern, because it’s the same plan they have for everything:  manipulate the media.  Any other approach would require a substance of character and policy which the Mayberry Machiavellis are sorely lacking.  Tact is another casualty of this administration; Condi has struck again, this time regarding Europe.  It certainly doesn’t help our cause when her statement is, in intself, a tacit admission of what we are doing:

She will remind allies they themselves have been cooperating in U.S. operations and tell them to do more to win over their publics as a way to deflect criticism directed at the United States, diplomats and U.S. officials said.

Just listen to that Goering fellow; he knew what he was doing.  Alas, it doesn’t seem to be going over so well:

Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said Rice told him in Washington she expected allies to trust that America does not allow rights abuses — a sign she will avoid giving Europe a detailed response on U.S. intelligence work.

…One foreign minister spilled his drink when she delivered that warning over coffee in Brussels, a senior U.S. official said.

Just as they marketed the invasion to us, they now demand our allies propagandize torture so we can focus on hyping the <s>occupation</s&gt liberation to the Iraqi people.  Only it doesn’t seem to be working so well over there, either.  A majority of the population wants us gone.  The government, stating that Iraqis have a “legitimate right” of resistance, has asked us to leave.  

Since they can’t dazzle us, or the Iraqis, with brilliance, they spend unprecedented amounts of money on contracts with PR firms and buy themselves favorable press coverage:  the quintessential lipstick on a pig.    Would we need to convince Iraqis that they are free and better off if they actually felt that way?  I think not.  Why doesn’t it occur to them that if they have to “sell” people on their ideas, it might be prudent to reconsider the strategery.  Maybe tone the demagoguery down just a tad; extremism is so passé and just not this century at all!  Perhaps they could try something a little less mawkishly zealous.  Or at least be sincere in their fanaticism and maybe establish a real “war room” to plan for Iraq instead of a media office to spin the lack of planning for Iraq?  

But that’s just not in the nature of radical idealogues.  To them, it really is a “war of words” being waged in the name of <s>batshit loopy, world-domination fantasies</s&gt Freedom<sup>TM</sup&gt – now with Democracy<sup>TM</sup&gt and Free Press<sup>TM</sup&gt!  Act menacing now, and we won’t use the White Phosphorus!  Don’t delay; our military can’t stay “all volunteer” forever!  

Sadly, I think they really are that shallow; I’m sure they truly believe that enough image management can fix anything.  Nothing else adequately explains how they can so blithely engage in treason, wage pre-emptive war and condone the use of torture.  Nothing else accounts for their staggering indifference to the facts in Iraq, their stubborn refusal to get real about winning hearts and minds.  Never mind the hell the Iraqi people are directly experiencing; shrubCo seems convinced that a few glowing testimonials will assure them we are the Good Guys<sup>TM</sup&gt.  

I’ll allow that there is indeed a war of words within the greater discussion of Iraq, but it’s already over.  We lost.  Our credibility was already stretched too thin over the conspicuous absence of Iraqi WMD; slipping promotional articles into Iraq news snapped it.  If this administration acknowledges this fact at all, it will be the fault of the “liberal media,” not anything they’ve done.  They are so divorced from reality, they can’t even consider considering the possibility that, ultimately, their propaganda hurts more than it helps.  Even if news outlets around the world printed nothing but good news out of Iraq, would anyone take it at face value anymore?  

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — Hundreds of Shiite and Sunni Muslims prayed together today then staged a joint demonstration in central Baghdad to denounce military and police raids and widespread arrests of suspected insurgents. The show of unity comes ahead of potentially divisive parliamentary elections.

Or might they now be a little more skeptical about such reports?  They might also take more notice of specific wordings, such as “Sunni suicide bombers have targeted Shiite mosques and gatherings.”  And they’ll probably catch little curiosities such as this passage

Shiites make up the majority in Iraq, but were oppressed by former ruler Saddam Hussein, who is a Sunni. Since Saddam’s overthrow, Shiites have controlled most of the political power in Iraq, while the anti-U.S. insurgency has been dominated by Sunnis.

contrasted with this one

In Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, the U.S. military played down reports by residents and police of widespread attacks Thursday against American and Iraqi targets in the city. The military said only one rocket-propelled grenade was fired at an observation post, causing no casualties.  Insurgents left behind posters and graffiti saying they were members of al-Qaida in Iraq.

…Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a coalition operations officer, warned that al-Qaida in Iraq, led by Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, would probably step up attacks in the next two weeks to try to disrupt parliamentary elections Dec. 15.

References to Iran and Syria might start to seem a bit gratuitous:

The ministry is “killing our sons at the orders of the (Iranians),” one poster read, referring to alleged ties between Interior Minister Bayn Jabr and Iran. Another poster referred to Jabr as an American agent.

…Also Thursday, the U.S. command in Iraq said there were 23 suicide bombings in November, the lowest number in seven months. They attributed the drop to the success of U.S.-Iraqi military operations against insurgent and foreign fighter sanctuaries near the Syrian border.

I wish I could say I was surprised.  But given the watered-down flavor of democracy we brought them, I suppose it makes enough sense that their independent press should be similarly diluted.  Look out everybody; freedom is on the march!    

There is a wonderful dkos diary with scads of information on the Lincoln group and the government ties enjoyed by its members.  It’s well worth the click; I promise.

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