T Nation

Iraq Is Now LOST

Much to the chagrin of the ‘Freepers’…I’M BACK.

US admits the war for ‘hearts and minds’ in Iraq is now lost
[i]Pentagon report reveals catalogue of failure
By Neil Mackay, Investigations Editor

Sunday Herald - 05 December 2004[/i]

The Pentagon has admitted that the war on terror and the invasion and occupation of Iraq have increased support for al-Qaeda, made ordinary Muslims hate the US and caused a global backlash against America because of the ‘self-serving hypocrisy’ of George W Bush’s administration over the Middle East.

The mea culpa is contained in a shockingly frank ‘strategic communications’ report, written this autumn by the Defence Science Board for Pentagon supremo Donald Rumsfeld.

On ‘the war of ideas or the struggle for hearts and minds’, the report says, ‘American efforts have not only failed, they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended’.

‘American direct intervention in the Muslim world has paradoxically elevated the stature of, and support for, radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single digits in some Arab societies.’

Referring to the repeated mantra from the White House that those who oppose the US in the Middle East ‘hate our freedoms’, the report says: 'Muslims do not ‘hate our freedoms’, but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favour of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing support, for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states.

‘Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that ‘freedom is the future of the Middle East’ is seen as patronising in the eyes of Muslims, the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. US actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim self-determination.’

The way America has handled itself since September 11 has played straight into the hands of al-Qaeda, the report adds. ‘American actions have elevated the authority of the jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims.’ The result is that al-Qaeda has gone from being a marginal movement to having support across the entire Muslim world.

‘Muslims see Americans as strangely narcissistic,’ the report goes on, adding that to the Arab world the war is ‘no more than an extension of American domestic politics’. The US has zero credibility among Muslims which means that ‘whatever Americans do and say only serves the enemy’.

The report says that the US is now engaged in a global and generational struggle of ideas which it is rapidly losing. In order to reverse the trend, the US must make ‘strategic communication’ which includes the dissemination of propaganda and the running of military psychological operations an integral part of national security. The document says that ‘Presidential leadership’ is needed in this ‘ideas war’ and warns against ‘arrogance, opportunism and double standards’.

‘We face a war on terrorism,’ the report says, intensified conflict with Islam, and insurgency in Iraq. Worldwide anger and discontent are directed at America’s tarnished credibility and ways the US pursues its goals. There is a consensus that America’s power to persuade is in a state of crisis. More than 90% of the populations of some Muslims countries, such as Saudi Arabia, are opposed to US policies.

‘The war has increased mistrust of America in Europe,’ the report adds, ‘weakened support for the war on terrorism and undermined US credibility worldwide.’ This, in turn, poses an increased threat to US national security.

America’s ‘image problem’, the report authors suggest, is ‘linked to perceptions of the US as arrogant, hypocritical and self-indulgent’. The White House ‘has paid little attention’ to the problems.

The report calls for a huge boost in spending on propaganda efforts as war policies ‘will not succeed unless they are communicated to global domestic audiences in ways that are credible’.

American rhetoric which equates the war on terror as a cold-war-style battle against ‘totalitarian evil’ is also slapped down by the report. Muslims see what is happening as a 'history-shaking movement of Islamic restoration, a renewal of the Muslim world ‘(which) has taken form through many variant movements, both moderate and militant, with many millions of adherents of which radical fighters are only a small part’.

Rather than supporting tyranny, most Muslim want to overthrow tyrannical regimes like Saudi Arabia. The US finds itself in the strategically awkward and potentially dangerous situation of being the long-standing prop and alliance partner of these authoritarian regimes. Without the US, these regimes could not survive, the report says.

Thus the US has strongly taken sides in a desperate struggle US policies and actions are increasingly seen by the overwhelming majority of Muslims as a threat to the survival of Islam itself Americans have inserted themselves into this intra-Islamic struggle in ways that have made us an enemy to most Muslims.

‘There is no yearning-to- be-liberated-by-the-US groundswell among Muslim societies’ The perception of intimate US support of tyrannies in the Muslim world is perhaps the critical vulnerability in American strategy. It strongly undercuts our message, while strongly promoting that of the enemy.’

The report says that, in terms of the ‘information war’, ‘at this moment it is the enemy that has the advantage’. The US propaganda drive has to focus on ‘separating the vast majority of non-violent Muslims from the radical- militant Islamist-Jihadist’.

According to the report, ‘the official take on the target audience [the Muslim world] has been gloriously simple’ and divided the Middle East into ‘good’ and ‘bad Muslims’.

‘Americans are convinced that the US is a benevolent ‘superpower’ that elevates values emphasising freedom’ deep down we assume that everyone should naturally support our policies. Yet the world of Islam by overwhelming majorities at this time sees things differently. Muslims see American policies as inimical to their values, American rhetoric about freedom and democracy as hypocritical and American actions as deeply threatening.

'In two years the jihadi message that strongly attacks American values is being accepted by more moderate and non-violent Muslims. This in turn implies that negative opinion of the US has not yet bottomed out

Equally important, the report says, is ‘to renew European attitudes towards America’ which have also been severely damaged since September 11, 2001. As ‘al-Qaeda constantly outflanks the US in the war of information’, American has to adopt more sophisticated propaganda techniques, such as targeting secularists in the Muslim world ’ including writers, artists and singers’ and getting US private sector media and marketing professionals involved in disseminating messages to Muslims with a pro-US ‘brand’.

The Pentagon report also calls for the establishment of a national security adviser for strategic communications, and a massive boost in funding for the ‘information war’ to boost US government TV and radio stations broadcasting in the Middle East.

The importance of the need to quickly establish a propaganda advantage is underscored by a document attached to the Pentagon report from Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defence secretary, dated May.

It says: ‘Our military expeditions to Afghanistan and Iraq are unlikely to be the last such excursion in the global war on terrorism.’

http://www.sundayherald.com/46389

Hey JTF,

I am not interested in your nay-saying about Iraq. This is the kind of headline your pals used during the election. I assume to try to discredit the President and his policies. You felt that that would help your candidate.

It didn’t.

You lost.

W. has a mandate to finish the job in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You’d better hope your headline here is wrong.

The most interesting part of this article was the various measures mentioned to improve the Allied effort on the War on Terror. Constructive criticisms devoid of the “doom and gloom” headlines are far more useful to all.

I would like to suggest that headlines like “Iraq is now lost” be replaced by things like “Ways in which the Allied can more effectively combat terror.”

Thanks,

JeffR

JeffR

The sad thing is that it’s true. Ask any European and you will be surprised of his answer. The Americans (and allied) have made this world a more dangerous place than before 9/11.

Maybe you’re only fed what info the U.S government want you to hear so you’re being a bit misled?? Are you regulary whatching European newschannels? Watching Fox news isn’t a good way to get ALL the facts and aspects regarding the war.

BTW I thought Mr. Bush said the war was over about 6 months ago??

OK, Americans, flame away…

Who fucking cares if bush won the election by 4%. Even if Bush won by 80% that doesn’t change the reality of the situation.

Iraq was an early christmas for Al Qaeda. People here have simply found it more settling to accept Bush’s view then deal with reality.

Yes, we must listen to the Europeans who are superior to us inferior Americans. And we cannot watch Fox because they allow conservative thought. As if freedom of speech was meant for conservatives. No it is called freedom of liberal speech.

Anyway where does all this crap come from? It is getting irritating some of the foolishness of thought here. People still upset that Bush won cannot get over it, and can only argue that others are either superior to us, or we are ignorant and must get our news from an obviously biased news organization that they know is biased even though they never watch it. Also ignoring the fact that they not only have plenty of liberals on there, but one of the hosts in prime time has a husband who worked for the Kerry campaign.

By the way, if Iraq is lost, where did it go? Isn?t it still on the map?

I think Musharraf sums it up well.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/12/05/musharraf.cnn/index.html

[quote]JeffR wrote:
Hey JTF,

I am not interested in your nay-saying about Iraq. This is the kind of headline your pals used during the election. I assume to try to discredit the President and his policies. You felt that that would help your candidate.

It didn’t.

You lost.

W. has a mandate to finish the job in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You’d better hope your headline here is wrong.

The most interesting part of this article was the various measures mentioned to improve the Allied effort on the War on Terror. Constructive criticisms devoid of the “doom and gloom” headlines are far more useful to all.

I would like to suggest that headlines like “Iraq is now lost” be replaced by things like “Ways in which the Allied can more effectively combat terror.”

Thanks,

JeffR

[/quote]
Jeff, he’s not talking about the election. He’s talking about the reality of the situation in Iraq.

You can believe all the propaganda you want but the truth is things are not getting better, they are getting worse and worse.
Remember when Bush said ‘Bring it on?’ Remember ‘Mission Accomplished?’ What an embarrassment.
America should cut its losses and pull out. Of course that will never happen, as Jesus speaking through the American people has given W. a mandate to do what he likes. To blow billions of dollars and thousands of lives. To create a horrific mess which no amount of ‘hard work’ will solve.
If the situation in Iraq is markedly improved in a year, I’ll happily eat my words. But it won’t be.

PS ILOVEGWBUSH3 no longer.

[quote]The Mage wrote:
Yes, we must listen to the Europeans who are superior to us inferior Americans. And we cannot watch Fox because they allow conservative thought. As if freedom of speech was meant for conservatives. No it is called freedom of liberal speech.

Anyway where does all this crap come from? It is getting irritating some of the foolishness of thought here. People still upset that Bush won cannot get over it, and can only argue that others are either superior to us, or we are ignorant and must get our news from an obviously biased news organization that they know is biased even though they never watch it. Also ignoring the fact that they not only have plenty of liberals on there, but one of the hosts in prime time has a husband who worked for the Kerry campaign.

By the way, if Iraq is lost, where did it go? Isn?t it still on the map?[/quote]

Mage, what’s on your crystal ball? Clearly only Fox News.

Question: if 90% of the world’s population think one thing, and 10% another, are the 10% usually right or wrong? What would the common sense answer be?

The news in America is generally biased. American TV does not show any dead bodies or other negative images from Iraq. American reporters are embedded with units so they form a connection with those units. It’s a form of brainwashing.

The point of the article above is that the war is not being won. Progress isn’t even being made. Things are degenerating. And for those of us with access to, and the will to watch a variety of overseas news broadcasts, this is readily apparent.

It’s not about the election anymore. The knee-jerk reaction of conservatives to any criticism of the war these days is ‘Oh, you just have sour grapes.’ That’s bullshit! So now the election is over we can’t criticise anything? Bush having the support of the American people does not equate to success in Iraq! There’s no relationship at all.

It’s easy to toss words like ‘mandate’ around. But words mean nothing. Look at the number of attacks. Look at the death count. Look at Iraqi and Arab public opinion.
You have your head in the sand.

The Mage

It’s not about being superior or not. It’s about who’s giving a whole picture of what’s going on in Iraq. We’ll never get to know everything but non-american media tend to show a bit more of the truth/reality!

It seems you (americans) feel your opinion is right and everybody else are wrong. I’m pretty sure the muslims look at the situation exactly the same way. (Sorry if I generalize here, I know there are a few out there who know how to think independently.)

Every month the NewsChannels say “This is the deadliest month ever”. Is that progress? Well, not for the Americans and allied that’s for sure.

Mr. Moose,

I feel sorry for you. To maintain that the world is more dangerous due to removing Saddam is just plain ridiculous.

You sound like you are in the French Government. You know, “Don’t fight back, you might make them mad.”

Did you catch that EIGHTY PERCENT OF THE ELIGIBLE VOTERS CAST THEIR BALLOTS IN AFGHANISTAN?!?

That is TRUE PROGRESS.

Thanks for nothing, Germany, Russia, and France.

Thank you England, Poland, Australia, Hungary, Pre-Socialist Spain, and our other friends.

JeffR

Hey Soco,

September 11th was over three years ago.

Have we been attacked on U.S. soil since?

No.

Do you think Al Qaeda would like to strike us again?

Yes.

How many of the senior leaders have been killed our captured?

Seventy-five percent sound about right?

That is winning.

JeffR

DDD,

Hey pal, what happend to your name?

Damn, I liked your old moniker!!!

To be fair, you must set the parameters for “markedly better.”

Of all places, I read an article in the New York Times (page A29 I grant you) that showed the increase in exports/jobs/ and median income since 2003 in Iraq.

I say if in late 2005 the Iraqi’s have had an election, continued to build schools, jobs, and infrastructure, that will constitute winning.

Yes, there is violence. Yes, it makes me cringe when I hear about it.

Pulling out is not an option.

JeffR

DDD,

You wrote: “Question: if 90% of the world’s population think one thing, and 10% another, are the 10% usually right or wrong? What would the common sense answer be?”

First, of all your 10% figure is way off. You watch too much T.V.!!!

Second, even if the figures were accurate, I can answer your question.

The right thing to do does not equal popularity in every instance.

Want an example?

Of course you do. Flash back to 1775. Take a poll of the Europeans about whether our impending revolution should be undertaken. I submit you would have struggled to reach 2% of the respondents agreeing with our stance of overthrowing the monarchy’s control of a colony.

Flash forward to 1789 (That’s 14 years for you the math challenged among you) and ask the French the same question. You’d probably get a 80% positive reaction to the same question.

In summary, conviction in the face of uncertainty, fear, listlessness, or anger is called LEADERSHIP. It’s called “moral values.”

Thanks,

JeffR

[quote]Mr. Moose wrote:
The Mage

It’s not about being superior or not. It’s about who’s giving a whole picture of what’s going on in Iraq. We’ll never get to know everything but non-american media tend to show a bit more of the truth/reality!
[/quote]

If you think the European press is presenting a clear picture of Iraq, then please, have some more kool-aid.

Where is the European outrage at the OFF scandal at the U.N.? Ain’t heard a damn peep out of the fuckin’ Frenchies on that one.

But they’re all over a story/stories saying how we’ve "lost Iraq’.

Fuck the Eurotrash.

Mr. Moose wrote: “but non-american media tend to show a bit more of the truth/reality!”

Come now.

Are you trying to tell me that other countries news organizations are less biased than the Americans’?

Silly and naive.

Want examples? Read the French newspapers front pages/middle pages/editorials after W. won his second term.

I did and it should make my point nicely.

Thanks,

JeffR

[quote]JeffR wrote:
Hey Soco,

September 11th was over three years ago.

Have we been attacked on U.S. soil since?

No.
[/quote]

This is because of the work of the American people in terms of security and finally being aware that we are not “safe” simply because we are in America. It has nothing to do with a war in Iraq or Bush being in office. Did you really just try to take credit for that as “part of the conservative party”?

ProfessorX,

Hey, good to hear from you!!!

Did I ever say that it was solely the Conservatives that deserve credit?

No.

Do the Republicans deserve a large amount of credit for legislating change after 9/11?

Yes.

Do I think that killing/capturing 75% of the Al Qaeda leadership is due to an aggressive policy under a Republican President?

Yes.

Would you blame George Bush directly if we are attacked again?

Yes.

Thanks for the wonderful post!!!

JeffR

[quote]JeffR wrote:

Would you blame George Bush directly if we are attacked again?

Yes.

Thanks for the wonderful post!!!

JeffR

[/quote]

So, by your logic, we are wrong if we blame him had we had another attack, but is right to give him credit because there hasn’t been one?

[quote]Mr. Moose wrote:
The sad thing is that it’s true. Ask any European and you will be surprised of his answer. The Americans (and allied) have made this world a more dangerous place than before 9/11.
[/quote]

AMEN!

Why would we want to handle this like the Europeans?

Why should we care what they think of us?

If we wanted to act European wouldn’t we have given up already and asked someone else to help take care of the problem.

These issues need to be dealt with and as usual the US will handle it. Terrorism will be dealt a decisive death blow and Europe will reap the benefits as they always do.