The Wisconsin State Journal advocates a US attack on Iraq, but WSJ columnist George Hesselberg remembers 'Nayirah.' He recently wrote a column suggesting "perhaps we should question some of the evidence being gathered to justify an invasion of Iraq. The column was not appreciated by several readers, including ... Teddy Fedkenheuer, of Baraboo: 'To either accuse or blame an American President of lying to the American people ... is un-American. ... You are also implying that his stand on Iraq is also 'smoke and mirrors.' I find that offensive.' ...
PR crisis manager Nick Nichols, who advises companies to use attack-dog strategies against pesky activists, delivered another fiery speech this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference, branding environmentalists as terrorists and comparing them to Hitler. "A lot of [my] clients look like food to the more extreme environmental groups," he said.
The accusation that Iraq has used chemical weapons against its own citizens - Iraqi Kurds at the town of Halabja - is a familiar part of the debate over whether to go to war. According to a controversial article by Stephen C. Pelletiere, however, the facts surrounding that claim have been selectively presented and distorted.
In his State of the Union address, President Bush asked Americans to imagine what would have happened if the Sept. 11 hijackers had been armed with poison gas or germs. "However, U.S. officials and private analysts said Bush's suggestion that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein might give such weapons to terrorists - and the implication that the risk of American retaliation can no longer deter him - stretches the analysis of U.S. intelligence agencies to, and perhaps beyond, the limit," reports Warren P. Strobel.
As it prepares for war with Iraq, the new White House Office of Global Communications (OGC) is "revving up a global effort to defuse its image as arrogant and overbearing," reports Randall Mikkelsen. The State Department is creating an Islamic media center in London to manage U.S. communications with the al Jazeera satellite television network. The OGC is also organizing "daily telephone conference calls to coordinate foreign policy messages among U.S. government agencies and representatives of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
'War Is Sell,' and the techniques being used by the US are familiar marketing and PR strategies. The Financial Times notes today that the Bush Administration has "published a dossier depicting Saddam Hussein's government as an 'apparatus of lies', as President George W. Bush maintained a high-pitched note of impatience with the Iraqi leader. ... However, the White House's own version of agitprop also skates over some aspects of history. ...
"Two former government scientists who
spent years investigating stress in dolphin populations
charged this week that superiors at their federally
financed laboratory shut down their research because it
clashed with policy goals of the Clinton and Bush
administrations. The scientists ... said their research indicated that the practice of chasing and encircling dolphins to catch tuna exposed the
dolphins to dangerous amounts of stress. The accusations, by Dr. Albert Myrick, a wildlife
biologist, and Dr. Sarka Southern, a research associate,
"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.
"The expressions of concern about the nation's safety by Mr.
Bush's prospective challengers, voiced in interviews,
speeches and television appearances over the last three
weeks, suggest that the focus of the Democratic White House
candidates in 2004 will go well beyond the traditional
Democratic fare of education, the economy, jobs and health
care. While so far the criticisms lack many specifics beyond
asking for more money for police agencies or the creation
of an additional intelligence force, campaign aides said
"The United States edited out more than 8,000 crucial pages of Iraq's 11,800-page dossier on weapons, before passing on a sanitized version to the 10 non-permanent members of the United Nations security council," reports the UK's Sunday Herald. Apparently the report includes embarrassing evidence of U.S. and European culpability in aiding the Iraqi weapons programs, dating back to before the Gulf War, but covering the period of Saddam Hussein's rise and his worst crimes.