As the American death count continues to rise in Iraq, the White House has launched a campaign to defend its handling of the Iraq occupation, addressing a number of different veterans groups. The number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq since the May 1 "end of major combat operations" has surpassed the number of troop deaths during "Operation Iraqi Freedom," begun March 19.
"Perhaps even more disturbing than the administration's indifference to the truth or falsity of the various claims it made before the war is the fact that it seemed to believe its own propaganda," the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne, Jr. writes. "President Bush and Vice President Cheney really thought that if they wished it, it would come -- 'it' in this case being not only a quick victory in the war but also a rapid rallying of Iraqis to the American standard afterward.
In an article based on "interviews with analysts and policymakers inside and outside the U.S. government, and access to internal documents and technical evidence not previously made public," the Washington Post's Barton Gellman and Walter Pincus
Maverick ex-soldier David Hackworth believed the Bush administration's claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction until recently, but now he's steamed. "A whole bunch of folks here in the USA and around this beat-up globe are all worked up over George W. Bush's 16 shifty words in his 'Let's Do Saddam' State of the Union speech when they should be taking a harder look at the president's judgment on the most critical matter to a state: war," Hackworth writes. "Don't have heartburn over those 16 words.
The Bush and Blair governments, straining to answer critics of the Iraq invasion, are pushing a new campaign. "The 'big impact' plan is designed to overwhelm and silence critics who have sought to put pressure on Tony Blair and George Bush," the Independent's Andrew Buncombe writes. "At the same time both men are working to lower the burden of proof - from finding weapons to finding evidence that there were programs to develop them, even if they lay dormant since the 1980s." Key to this new effort is former U.N.
Columnists for the Washington Times write that "the Pentagon adopted a new strategy in its search for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. It is called the 'big impact' plan. The plan calls for gathering and holding on to all the information now being collected about the weapons. Rather than releasing its findings piecemeal, defense officials will release a comprehensive report on the arms, perhaps six months from now.
Americans' suspicion of official U.S. propaganda has a long history, observes John Brown, a former Foreign Service Officer. Brown traces this tradition to the public backlash against the campaign mounted by the Woodrow Wilson administration to promote support for U.S. entry into World War I.
BBC's World Service has begun airing the first of a three-part series titled "Spinning to Win," which looks at how governments have spun news and information to audiences at home and abroad in times of war.
"If President Bush's White House is known for anything, it is competence at delivering a disciplined message and deftness in dealing with bad news," Washington Post's Dan Balz and Walter Pincus write. "That reputation has been badly damaged by the administration's clumsy efforts to explain how a statement based on disputed intelligence ended up in the president's State of the Union address." The shifting White House story about it's references to Iraq, Niger and uranium continues to draw attention to the Bush administration deception.
During the war in Iraq, Paul Moran, a TV cameraman for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), was killed by a suicide bomber. After his death, his hometown newspaper discovered that Moran also worked for the Rendon Group, a secretive public relations firm that works with the Pentagon.