Telling Stories to Sell War

"At a press briefing Dec. 18, State Dept. public diplomacy chief Charlotte Beers announced that her division has asked author Ken Pollack to interrupt a book tour and travel overseas to talk about his book 'The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq.' Turns out the State Dept. also has been courting foreign journalists over the past year. 'We set up many more responsive facilities than we've had in the past for the foreign press at the president's ranch in Texas, at the White House and in our own State foreign press centers, which are Washington, New York and Los Angeles,' Beers said. A former Madison Ave. executive, Beers extolled the importance of 'storytelling' in convincing overseas audiences that the U.S. is only trying to do good. 'And that's something that we really have to get better at. This is an emotionally laden universe now. It's not just the facts that are operating in the world now,' Beers said. Hence, the State Dept. has just published the book 'Iraq: From Fear to Freedom.' Beers made sure to point out a passage by President Bush: 'I hope the good people of Iraq will remember our history. America has never sought to dominate, never sought to conquer. We have, in fact, sought to liberate and free. Our desire is to help Iraqi citizens find the blessings of liberty within their own culture and their own traditions.' In the middle of Beers' briefing at the National Press Club in downtown Washington, several protesters stood up and began shouting, 'You're selling war and we're not buying.' "