Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Paying for hearts and minds. Yours.

The United States of America’s government is paying The Lincoln Group to plant articles written by American troops in the Iraqi press. What’s wrong with that? I mean other than the fact that it was a cool $100,000,000.00.

We are at war in Iraq, and there is an active insurgency resisting our presence there. It may be a fool’s errand, but the mission is to gain the hearts and minds of Iraqis and to promote democracy there. Personally, I am persuaded that we are going about it all wrong, but as the web-chatters would say, WTFDIK?

It seems to me that a program of getting the Iraqis to accept democracy by placing the written word in their hands is better than say, burning their skin off with phosphorous. “Better,” as in more moral. “Better,” as in more effective. But, you know, that’s just my opinion. Anyway, we're doing both.

So, here’s what’s wrong with that American Department of Defense contractors paying to place articles in the Iraqi press.

The average Iraqi who picks up the Baghdad Bugle knows very well that Americans are not being greeted with candy and flowers, and that the Iraqi army is not standing up. They have fewer delusions about the Americans standing down than the 72% of us who think that George W. Bush is not generally truthful. The typical reader of the Mosul Mavin doesn’t need a paper to know whether or not the bases being built are temporary or if the oil revenues are flowing. If the Karkuk Crier writes about the humane treatment of Iraqi prisoners in American custody, what it basically is saying is, “we don't give a damn about our credibility; we just want some of that Lincoln Group payola!” In other words, the DOD is not targeting the Iraqis with its subcontracted propaganda.

Who then are the intended targets of the articles in the Iraqi press? You. Here’s how it works. Cindy Sheehan, or Jack Murtha, or Joe Blow stands up and says, “Hey, this is a damn quagmire. Energy production, employment, industrial output – you pick the measure – things are worse now than they were before the war began. Rape rooms are back, sectarian warfare is breaking out, terrorists are being trained, and religious tolerance is down the tubes. Those are not Iraqi battle-ready battalions – they are private militias of religious warlords. Etc., etc., etc. It’s all true, too.

But then up jumps Bill O’Reilley, Rush Limbaugh or Joe Blow-harder. He says, “What does Cindy Sheehan or Jack Murtha or you know? You’re over here. Let’s look at what is being said by real people on the ground; let’s listen to the Iraqi people.” Then he reads some lies placed in the Faluga Fishwrap by Spec 4 Armstrong Williams.

The main stream media, ever consciencious to present both sides of an argument, repeats the points made by each side. The typical listener comes away confused, and unsure about what is true and what is not. Hey, that's good enough for the crooks and liars who are running the government.

It is against the law for the American government to spend your money on propaganda to influence you. And that’s just what they did. And that's what's wrong with the paying for the hearts and minds of folks.

"... and tell 'em Big Mitch sent ya!"

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