Posted by Diane Farsetta on April 19, 2007

Gen. David Petraeus, "the top U.S. commander in Iraq, has asked for changes that would allow" the blending of public affairs -- the military's truth-telling function -- with "information operations," or propaganda. In response, Pentagon officials are reconsidering 2004 guidelines drafted by Gen. Richard Myers, which directed that the two be separate. (However, the Lincoln Group's covert planting of U.S. military-written articles in Iraqi newspapers occurred under the Myers guidelines.) "Many brigades in Iraq already have placed public affairs and information officers in adjoining offices," reports Julian Barnes. A "senior military official close to Petraeus" said the two "should work out of the same planning cell," to ensure that they do not "work at cross purposes." The official added that the military's credibility would not be undermined by such blurring, because "public affairs officers will not be involved in deception operations." Skeptics point to a 2004 incident where a Marine public affairs officer told CNN that a U.S. assault on Fallouja, Iraq, had started, three weeks prior to the actual operation, in order "to gauge the reaction of insurgents." O'Dwyer's reports that the U.S. Army command in Iraq is seeking a PR firm for a new $11 to 25 million contract, "to produce a marketing campaign for its electrical sector reconstruction unit, based in Baghdad."

Comments

I mean, its not like something terrible and tragic like this ever happens in Iraq? Right? Right??

pbh

LA Times would like you to think that Information Operations, or IO, is simply another name for propaganda. Perhaps some brief research on their part is in order.

Information Operations includes Psychological Operations, but PYSOP is not propaganda, either. Words mean things--something that today's politically correct news media would rather have us forget.

Getting government entitities to work together should be a goal--and the US government is often criticized when they don't. In this case, Petreaus wants to improve the ability of his staff to get the job done, and LA Times decides that is something to get up in arms about. Despite what the LA Times would have you believe, Information Operations is not about spinning the media.

Unfortunately, much of our news media has become the unwitting, or witting, purveyors of our enemies propaganda--and yet nobody is up in arms about it. Wake up LA Times.

...whether you call it "spinning the media" or not, is that they want to control who finds out what, both inside Iraq and outside of it. That cannot be good news -- not for the "democracy" we're allegedly trying to build in Iraq, nor, in the long run, for what's left of our democracy at home.

I can't help but note your Orwellian use of the words "politically correct news." I think of that as meaning what our political and military leaders approve of even if it's a passel of lies. You seem to define it as meaning what Big Brother doesn't control, even if it's true.

Very Orwellian indeed! So only the government lies? That's an interesting (and disturbing) concept, especially if you think it true.

Of course not.

But they're the ones with the armies and the real weapons of mass destruction, the ones who invaded Iraq and lied about their reasons because they didn't think the public would buy their war if they told the truth, and they're the ones you seem to be defending.

And your present target, the L.A. Times, along with most of the other mainstream media the right-wingers love to hate, did little to challenge those false reasons. So I'm sorry if you don't like what they're saying at this late date.

As for that old "politically correct" buzzword, those quickest to use it seem not to know or care that it begs the question, "In whose politics?" When they use it, their unexamined premise is that the "politics" is all on the other guy's side while their own mind is innocent as the child who doesn't see the emperor's clothes. To defend the Bush/Cheney regime's war effort with it is ludicrously self-defeating considering that this administration is the politically dirtiest in living memory, and this war one of the sleaziest in U.S. history.

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