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Dorrance Smith, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, writes a letter to the Chicago Tribune:
This is regarding Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page’s “Blaming messenger is for losers” (Commentary, April 5).Maybe so.
The column claims that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld “recently praised the propaganda effort in a newspaper column as a clever use of ‘nontraditional means to provide accurate information to the Iraqi people.’”
This is a misrepresentation of Secretary Rumsfeld’s statement.
The secretary said:
“The U.S. military command, working closely with the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy, has sought nontraditional means to provide accurate information to the Iraqi people in the face of [an] aggressive campaign of disinformation. Yet this has been portrayed as inappropriate -- for example, the allegations of someone in the military hiring a contractor, and the contractor allegedly paying someone to print a story -- a true story.”
The secretary of defense neither “praised” this particular program nor referred to it as “clever.”
Instead he cited it as an example of how the department’s communications efforts are granted “no tolerance for innovation” from the press, noting that any attempt to try something new is met with an “explosion of critical press stories.”
Page’s explosion of criticism directed toward the secretary for even discussing the topic is a perfect example of this unfortunate phenomenon, and thus proves Rumsfeld’s original point.
Meanwhile, CENTCOM released full translations of those captured al Qaeda documents. Excerpt:
The policy followed by the brothers in Baghdad is a media oriented policy without a clear comprehensive plan to capture an area or an enemy center. Other word, the significance of the strategy of their work is to show in the media that the American and the government do not control the situation and there is resistance against them. This policy dragged us to the type of operations that are attracted to the media, and we go to the streets from time to time for more possible noisy operations which follow the same direction.Powerline notes: The Associated Press has a reasonably balanced account of the captured documents, except that--oddly--it omits any mention of the documents' references to al Qaeda's focus on the American press.
In a related story, Best of the Web observes this coverage from Tall Afar:
At least 17 civilians, including women and children, were killed late today by a suicide truck bombing in Tal Afar, a northwestern Iraqi city, according to President Jalal Talabani's Kurdish political party.Which is exactly why one bomb can be so effective there. That bit about what the President said in March was probably included in the al Qaeda press release announcing the blast.
At least 35 others, most of whom were women and children, were wounded after a white pickup truck carrying flour exploded about 8:30 p.m. in the city's marketplace, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan said on its Arabic-language Web site. The perpetrators have not been identified.
The violence came in a city that President George W. Bush has cited as an example of progress in fighting rebels in Iraq.
In closing, it's time to revisit our old pal, former Saddam army "strongman" Colonel Watban Jassam:
Tips On How To Beat US From Insurgents' ConsultantThat could never work...
To gauge US public opinion, he has become an avid watcher of satellite news channels, and never misses the White House press briefings
To win the war against the US military and Badr, Colonel Jassam advises the Omariyun to follow two short-term goals - to cement mujahideen control over the Ramadi area, and to stage operations that will increase pressure on US opinion to withdraw troops.
To achieve their second goal, turning Americans against the war, the mujahideen need to shape their operations "to support anti- war sentiment in the west", he says.