February 24, 2005

What Is To Be Done

DONALD SENSING states the obvious but unexecuted strategy for moving forward in

Bush failing to keep the public in the loop: "The Bush administration has allowed the information status quo of the war to be maintained too long in the public eye. The information agenda has been set by the mainstream media (MSM), attenuated to a significant but not large degree by bloggers. I think the administration should begin immediately a vigorous domestic-information program to do these things:

—remind the American people ‘why we fight.’

—inform the public of successes achieved.

—educate the public of the national objectives being sought, and how.
I have no grand plan on exactly how such a program should be carried out, but its success would depend on sidestepping the mainstream media. None of this information has been unavailable in the public arena. The MSM could have been reporting such stories objectively all along but have deliberately avoided doing so.
Yet such blame cannot be carried too far because the media aren't responsible for carrying out anyone's information strategy. My complaint is that the government has no domestic-information strategy to begin with."

Just a seed, Sensing doesn't have a great deal of details but "mighty oaks, etc...." As a thought experiment, I'd propose that a joint information office be established with the responsibility to integrate information from executive departments for distribution to the public. The "JIO" would have no authority to censor anything, nor would it have the authority to direct departments what to release to itself or the public. It would have the authority and budget to reuse information through multiple media in order to carry out the tasks above.

What media, you ask? Just some ideas:

Ad buys in print and broadcast media. Direct mailing. Internet. "Trailers" in movie theaters shown before the feature film. Radio spots. Public seminars. Certainly there are downsides, but the status quo must not continue.He's right you know, but there are those in the comments who hold that the government is not empowered to do this. Fair enough one way or the other. This is a job for the private sector.

Especially if you consider, as one of my readers notes in the comments: "Another problem is that for whatever reason there seems to be no one in the administration capable of creating a compelling press release."

The reason may be as simple as the fact that nobody in the administration is the kind of person comfortable with "creative" types anywhere outside of a wine and brie art opening. Perhaps they believe that the "good" writers are all on the left and, I'll grant you that most of the writers in the Iowa school, are there. But not all. Seems to be they could draft three dozen just from spending a week scanning the blogs. Alas, that too seems to be out of their ken.

Posted by Vanderleun at February 24, 2005 11:54 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Why isn't the government allowed to do this?
I think someone has confused America with the EU. Here in America, if it isn't forbidden, you can do it. It is Europe that creates list of what one is allowed to do.
Show me in the Constitution where it says the government Cannot give press conferences or buy advertisments to join the Coast Guard or the US Army. I need a good laugh, go ahead and show me.

Posted by: stehpinkeln at August 24, 2005 4:08 PM

I'd like to see the ad that explains why Americans are dying to make Moqtada Sadr president of the Islamic Republic of Iraq.

My tax dollars hard at work again.

Posted by: lela at August 24, 2005 7:14 PM

Bush has been doing this all along, in speeches and press conferences. Perhaps he hasn't been doing it enough to counter the negative MSM, but he has been doing it.

"why Americans are dying to make Moqtada Sadr president of the Islamic Republic of Iraq."


Posted by: Yehudit at August 24, 2005 9:58 PM

Too easy to dismiss as a Propaganda Ministry, or as a Right-Wing Attack machine. It's a good idea, and it could work, but realize how it'll be treated.

Posted by: Rapier Witt at August 25, 2005 4:13 AM

If the message is getting directly to people, it doesn't matter as much how it's "treated" in the media.

On the other hand, there's no law requiring media corporations to accept ad buys from the federal government, and no particular reason to think they'd accept such ads. They're also not required to accede to the president's requests for airtime and if I recall correctly, they've refused in the past. So using media outlets to reach the public is potentially a problem.

Another problem is that for whatever reason there seems to be no one in the administration capable of creating a compelling press release. So I wonder how they'd do on ads. Not well, I fear.

Posted by: jaed at August 25, 2005 8:20 AM

It might take more than an ad campaign to sell this product.
# # #

An Islamic Republic of Iraq?
By Roger Hardy
BBC Middle East analyst

Is Iraq moving, inch by inch, towards becoming an Islamic republic? it is a prospect that is as unsettling for many Iraqis as it is for George Bush in the White House.

Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq was a centralised and largely secular state.

Now, if the Shia religious parties get their way, it will be a decentralised state with a pronounced Islamic identity.

The draft of the new constitution describes Islam as "a main source" of legislation and stipulates that no law may contradict Islamic principles.

It also says a group of provinces is entitled to form a "region", which can then expect a specified share of the national budget.

All this amounts to a radical change, and inevitably it is arousing strong passions.

The two groups who dominate the new Iraq - the Kurds and the Shia religious parties - have an obvious interest in breaking with the past.

Iraq's Sunni neighbours find all of this troubling. The fear is that a weak multi-ethnic, multi-confessional state will go the way of Lebanon in the 1970s and 1980s - and descend into civil war.

The Kurds want to cement, and if possible extend, the autonomy they have enjoyed in the north for over a decade.

The Shia religious parties want to reverse the secularising policies of Saddam, and they want the mainly Shia south to get a bigger slice of the area's oil wealth.

Some Shia are even calling for a "super-region" stretching from Baghdad to the border with Kuwait and embracing the country's biggest oilfields.

This kind of federalism - with an autonomous Kurdistan in the north and a big oil-rich Shia "region" in the south - leaves the minority Sunni Arabs appalled.

They fear being left with a rump mini-state bereft of oil. They also fear the eventual break-up of the country.

At the same time, secular-minded Iraqis - whether Sunni, Shia or Kurd - are deeply concerned about the direction the country is taking.

In many ways, Iraq is already dramatically different from the place it was just a few years ago.

Mixed marriages between Sunni and Shia, once taken for granted, are becoming problematic.

In many parts of the country, women dare not walk bare-headed in the street.

And reports from parts of the lawless north-west paint a grim picture of Taleban-style rule by radical Sunni militants.

Iraq's Sunni neighbours find all of this troubling.

There is no tradition in the Arab world of a successful decentralised state.

The fear is that a weak multi-ethnic, multi-confessional state will go the way of Lebanon in the 1970s and 1980s - and descend into civil war.

Sunni rulers in Riyadh, Amman, Cairo and elsewhere believe the one country to benefit from the disintegration of Iraq is Shia Iran.

George Bush, meanwhile, is faced with some unpalatable choices.

He is determined to stick to a tight political timetable which would enable him to start withdrawing US troops from Iraq next year.

But will his rush to come up with an "exit strategy" force him to abandon the aspiration to create a modern secular democracy out of the ashes of the Saddam dictatorship?

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/08/23 15:34:19 GMT


Posted by: lela at August 25, 2005 8:21 AM

Please read this: http://www.e-manonline.com/blog.php?entry_id=1023

Thank you.

Posted by: Everyman at August 26, 2005 8:36 AM