The Military Is the Message

Should "deceptive techniques endorsed for use on the battlefield to confuse an adversary" be adopted "for covert propaganda campaigns aimed at neutral and even allied nations"? Last year, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld accelerated "a plan to advance the goal of information operations as a core military competency." Pentagon spokesperson Lawrence DiRita said, "Where the enemy is clearly using the media to help manage perceptions of the general public, our job is not perception management but to counter the enemy's perception management." Critics warn that the distinction between supposedly truthful public affairs and psychological operations will be lost, that "misleading information and falsehoods" intended for foreign audiences "could easily be repeated by American news outlets," and that "such deceptive missions could shatter the Pentagon's credibility."