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Rumsfeld Requests 24-hour Propaganda Machine 1327

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the brainwashing-not-out-of-the-question dept.
jasonditz writes "The BBC is reporting that US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is unhappy with the existing propaganda systems in place and insists that the US must create a 'more effective, 24-hour propaganda machine' or risk losing the battle for the minds of Muslims. In an era where we've already got government-created and funded media outlets and the Pentagon bribing Iraqi journalists to run favorable war stories, not to mention other departments paying journalists to endorse their positions, it begs the question, how much more can they possibly do?"
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Rumsfeld Requests 24-hour Propaganda Machine

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  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:20PM (#14757018) Homepage Journal
    They need to install mind probes in the brain of every one of us. As well as receiving suggestive messages they also act as a tracking device. People will accept it because they get 2% off gasoline when they fill up and there's a shorter line at the airport for people who have been chipped.
    • If Rumsfield wants to improve the image of the United States, he and the rest of the Bush administration should simply resign.
    • You're correct about everything except where the mind probes go -- our alien subcontractors will explain further ...
  • by Snarfangel (203258) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:20PM (#14757020) Homepage
    Don't use cartoons.
    • Re:Three words: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tempestdata (457317) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:36PM (#14757151)
      Well .. I dont think muslims have a problem with all cartoons. Just cartoons that make fun of religious figures they respect.

      This is off topic.. but... I'm hoping some people will read this and help them 'understand' the behavious of those rioters.

      I know you were just joking around, (or maybe the right word is 'think') but to me (a muslim) the cartoons of prophet mohammad were mildly amusing. Especially the one that said "STOP! we have run out of virgins!". But I see the reaction by other muslims to be more cultural than religious.

      Its hard for a westerner to understand. But think of a religious figure such as a prophet as a father figure.
      In the west, its okay to say things like "I hate my father." or "My father is a S#%^@#" ... In the east, this is just not culturally acceptable.
      In the west, its okay to make fun of Jesus. Here is one I heard while living here in the west - "Q: Never ask yourself What would jesus do? Answer: Coz He'd Get crucified and DIE!" I am willing to bet that any practicing christian who reads this might be amused, but would more likely find it unfunny. Some would find it offensive. This is in a culture that is quite tolerant about making fun of people who are in a position of respect.

      Now, if me.. a brown muslim guy, were to go the the American heartland and crack similar jokes at peter's expense. I would eventually run into a christian red neck would think I deserve a punch.

      Think of those rioting muslims, as the lowest level of muslims. They are the brown trash. They are the economically poor, religiously fanatic, aggressive, cocky mob. They are being constantly told that the west is targetting muslims, and then they are seeing jokes made about a person they respect. What do they do? They riot. Bloody idiots.

      The majority of muslims over the world, simply frowned at the prophet being made fun off. Very much as they would frown if you insulted or made fun of their parents. It is a cultural thing.

      Some like me, realized that the west didn't mean to offend me, and we take it in our stride, giggle, smile and point out 'hey buddy.. that was a bit insensitive"

      Another thing I want to point out.. that the word "Muslim" is about as descriptive as "Christian". There are as many kinds of muslim as there are kinds of christian. Baptist, Born Again, protestant, presbeterian, orthodox, catholic, etc. There are many differences between each of them.. Most of the terrorism, and a lot of the rioting is being caused by a particularly extremist sect that is deeply entrenched in Saudia Arabia, and was the backbone of the Taliban. Wahabism. It was founded by an Islamic scholar Abdul Wahab. I am not a wahabi. :)

      • Re:Three words: (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jez9999 (618189) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:55PM (#14757283) Homepage Journal
        Yeah, we've heard that comment a lot in the UK. I'd still say there's a difference of degree; if you published that WWJD joke in a big newspaper or national TV station in the US, there might be some people writing in with criticism, or whatever, but would there be violent riots? Many thousands of people marching around with placards such as 'behead the infedels', 'I love the prophet/lord/saviour more than my life', etc? I seriously doubt it. The degree to which Muslims want to impose their culture and morality on the rest of society seems to be significantly stronger than other cultures.

        Disclaimer: There are exceptions, not all Muslims can be classified as one group, yes I'm generalizing, you may be an exception, etc.
      • Re:Three words: (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:04PM (#14757340)
        I think the majority of Westerners are confused by how there aren't riots when someone blows themselves up in the name of a prophet, but when when they make cartoons about a prophet then all hell breaks loose.

        Does killing children getting candy from soldiers not profane this prophet?
        • Re:Three words: (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tempestdata (457317) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:11PM (#14757388)
          Because it is the same bunch of people rioting who are supporting that massive stupidity of suicide bombings.

          Those that dont riot over the cartoons, are the same ones who dont riot over anything. They are the people just trying to get a job, buy a car, a home, go for a vacation, get a bigger tv. etc.
      • Re:Three words: (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Borg453b (746808) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:25PM (#14757483) Homepage Journal
        I don't have any mod points, but I found your post insightful. Furthermore, I am glad that you have seen all the cartoons, and not just the one with the bomb.

        Satire is a fundamental part of Danish culture. A large part of our recent entertainment is provocative - but lighthearted. No one is spared jokes - and at the risk of sounding offensive, the mentality can be summarized as:

        "Nothing to us is holy".

        Religions, Politicians (be they local, or world leaders), nations, languages, and first and foremost the Danes themselves are mocked in Danish media.

        Some, I think, may frown upon such an attitude - the fact that there, to some people, now no longer exists something which is beyond scrutiny or playful jest. This mentality may be perceived as generally disrespectful or sacrilegious, bereft of principle or ethics - but to me, therein lies one of our chief principles: that northing is beyond jest or scrutiny.

        It is my impression that many Danes now think less lightly about the cartoons, and many would rather not have had the (private) newspaper print the article and cartoons. Most are shocked by the reactions and lasting consequences. Many would agree with the news papers apology - but near to none would have our government apologize: they are separate bodies, and most Danes would never have the government intervene with the free press.

        I stand by the article and the cartoons today; and I hope that most Muslims are not too offended. Equally, I would think it a sadder world, if comics or jokes involving Jesus or other religious characters were banned.

        As an amateur cartoonist and professional graphics designer, visual expression is very important to me - and as a citizen of a democracy, so is the free press.
      • Re:Three words: (Score:5, Insightful)

        by east coast (590680) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:30PM (#14757524)
        Now, if me.. a brown muslim guy, were to go the the American heartland and crack similar jokes at peter's expense. I would eventually run into a christian red neck would think I deserve a punch.

        From a westerners prospective if a guy punched you over this he'd be considered a random kook. He'd probably be arrested as well. What we see as westerners is a large group of organized people protesting in a fairly radical fashion that is not only leading to deaths but also seem to be almost winked at. This is a much different scenario than the random redneck. Not only that but the fact that the violence isn't well focused is what also bothers me... A guy in Denmark makes an off-color cartoon so people in Pakistan burn down a KFC? WTF? That's pure non-sense. Now, if you were telling your joke and a redneck guy would go out and burn down a mosque you may have a point.
      • Re:Three words: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by marko123 (131635)
        Let's not forget the leaders who pervert a religion to turn believers into soldiers to gain more power.
      • by glrotate (300695) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @09:09PM (#14757776) Homepage
        "But I see the reaction by other muslims to be more cultural than religious."

        Sorry, but I'm not buying that one anymore. That argument just doesn't hold water when Muslims are rioting from Nigeria [bbc.co.uk] to Indonesia [bbc.co.uk]. Futhermore, isn't the culture in these countries defined, to a great extent, by Islam?

        I think many in the West are finnaly getting wise to what the "religion of peace" is all about. After the Van Gogh murder, the subway attacks, the French riots, and now the "cartoon riots", I think many of use who once felt that islam was being portrayed unfairly are reconsidering our position.

        • by Stalyn (662) on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:37AM (#14759226) Homepage Journal
          Then why aren't any Muslims in the United States rioting? The truth is the whole cartoon thing is about politics. Muslims in the USA have a voice and avenues to express themselves. In these other countries Muslims are pretty much oppressed by authoritarian regimes. The cartoons just ignited all their frustrations about their lives and gave it focus. These people are angry but it's not about cartoons.
  • by tempestdata (457317) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:21PM (#14757027)
    I think that it is double plus good!
  • by lixee (863589) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:22PM (#14757035)
    Thanks god for the BBc, AlJazeera, Slashdot and other less biased media.
  • "Begs the Question" (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:22PM (#14757039)
    Go look it up and learn something new.
  • flip-flop? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dotpavan (829804) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:24PM (#14757052) Homepage
    Separately, President Bush said the US should not be discouraged by setbacks in Iraq and must realise it is at war.

    ......

    However, he also used his speech in Florida to claim progress in the war on al-Qaeda

    So, who is flip-flop again?

  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:24PM (#14757054)
    Propaganda comes in 3 flavours:
    White - factual.
    Grey - some facts, some half-truths and a little bit of lying.
    Black - all lies.

    Just for the benefit of a doubt, I'm going to guess that he wants to focus on distributing more white propaganda.

    That means that he seriously believes that the people opposing us would stop if they just heard how nice we are.

    That boggles the mind.
    • That is exactly what Rumsfeld wants. White propaganda. I mean, the Pentagon defended the Iraqi story plant thing by saying "everything we say is true".

      So another words, say me and a bunch of troops brake down your door at 2am, shoot your father, tear up the place and take you to a horrible prison for six months and later releace you. You learn that they were looking for terrorists and real sorry for your father and gave your children some rations before they left, then Rumsfeld could say:

      "We are helping the
      • by khasim (1285)
        Because while all that is said can be considered "factual" (to certain people), not all that occured was said.

        So, a different source could publish more factual information on the event and your propaganda drive would fail.

        And THAT is the core problem when dealing with propaganda. It only really works when YOU are the one seen as providing the most accurate information.

        Even if you're lying, the lies have to be perceived as factual.

        Right now, Al Jazeera is perceived as providing more facts and fewer distortio
    • by mnmn (145599) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:16PM (#14757433) Homepage
      Hmm.

      I wonder why in the English language 'white' is always good and 'black' is quite bad. It must make the language of english-speaking black people quite ironic.

      Such linguistics blacken the face of european languages. Such niggardly use of language should be stopped.

      --

      Your linguistic white knight.
  • by flyingsquid (813711) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:28PM (#14757083)
    By focusing on what the United States does, not what it says. When the United States occupies an Islamic nation on pretenses of WMD and Iraq/al-Qaeda connections that were (at best) wildly inaccurate, then allows that country to descend into anarchy and insurgency, kills tens of thousands of civilians in the processes, goes around roughing up people more or less at random and engaging in the same kinds of torture that the former dictator did... well, no shit you're gonna be unpopular. All the slick TV spots in the world ain't gonna change that.

    On the other hand, when you're a force that's saving lives and making things better- as the U.S. military was in Indonesia- our popularity goes up. The problem isn't the perception of our foreign policy, the problem IS our foreign policy. The neocons need to get out of their little alternate universe of spin and start dealing in the real world, like the old-school Republicans of Bush H. W. Bush's administration.

  • by Mutatis Mutandis (921530) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:28PM (#14757085)

    The history of government propaganda is long and diverse, and includes successes as well as failures. Effective propaganda does not need to be evil. During WWII, Allied propagandists printed newspapers for Axis soldiers, and they were much appreciated by their recipients for being rather more reliable than the official German news sources.

    Rule 1 of effective propaganda is telling the truth. At least most of the time. There is nothing that really beats that, when it comes to convincing people.

  • by JayBlalock (635935) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:28PM (#14757091)
    ...that maybe - just MAYBE - if, rather than spending billions of dollars on propaganda to convince the Muslims that we're nice to them, we instead took those billions of dollars to ACTUALLY be nice to them, something might be accomplished?

    You want to know why people listen to Bin Ladan and his ilk? Because there are a lot of poor, miserable, hungry people over there whose lives suck, and he (and Zarquai and all the rest) are managing to successfully convince them to blame an innocent third party. Ok, not ENTIRELY innocent *cough*assassinations*cough* but still, the theocrats and fascists sitting in power are FAR more to blame than the US.

    And when people are hungry enough, and desperate enough, and you tell them, "THAT guy! HE'S to blame!" They'll believe you.

    Especially if That Guy has never done a damn thing they've ever seen to help them.

    • Well, this post certainly raises a question: if the US was nice to Muslims, how would we know? Out of the billions of actions carried out by the US, I'm sure some of them could be construed as such (State Department not defending cartoons -- instead saying they are deplorable, huge amounts of aid being funneled to to Middle East, etc.) , but they don't appear in the news. If it doesn't bleed, it does not seem to lead, as they say.
    • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:36PM (#14757146)
      You mean like all the credit the United States got for aiding Muslims in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Bosnia from 1994-now, Kosovo from 1999-now, the defense of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the liberation of Kuwait...

      Yea, the United States has spent tens of billions to help and be nice to Muslims and it got the US nothing.
      • Afghanistan (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tony (765) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:40PM (#14757174) Journal
        When we helped arm and train the Afghan Muslims (including Saudi Muslims like bin Ladin) to fight the Soviet Union, we promised to help them rebuild their country after. Instead, we left Afghanistan to their warlords, and eventually the Taliban.

        We did not aid them in rebuilding their country. Once they accomplished our common aim (displacing the soviets), we left them to their own poorly-funded devices.

        Yeah. Not keeping promises is part of what got us into this mess.
  • by deragon (112986) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:34PM (#14757130) Homepage Journal
    It begs the question, how much more SHOULD they do? Should we, western society, have to do propaganda to win the hearts of Muslims? Or should we simply rely on saying the truth, including the ugly side?

    I would like to see a 24/7 channel established which would be objective. Propaganda channels can only go so far, because people eventually realise that the picture shown by them is too rosy, and when this happens, the channels loose all credibility. I do understand the need to have a western channel in Iraq, because I suspect that Iraqi channels might not be objective either. I know that in Canada our national television channels are not always objectives. So if I cannot trust my own country channels, I guess I cannot trust those of Iraq.

    But for a 24/7 channel to be objective, it should be established by an international organisation and have muslisms on its board and production staff. Editorials from both camps should be allowed. Of course, who is to say that it will be totally objective? But it would be a start.
  • by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel.hedblom @ g m ail.com> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:36PM (#14757147) Homepage Journal
    What the US needs is to act with caution and responsability and be a good world citizen. Stop using torture and avoid collateral damage in foreign countries. Demand the same things from both friends and foes (like, why let Israel have illegal nuclear weapons but bash Iran wich has none nor the ability to develop them).

    et rid of the need to alter the reality and the problem is solved.
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:26PM (#14757492)
      Stop using torture and avoid collateral damage in foreign countries. Demand the same things from both friends and foes (like, why let Israel have illegal nuclear weapons but bash Iran wich has none nor the ability to develop them).


      I can agree on the issue of torture. There's a fundamental human rights issue here that we (the US) are wont to trot out when convenient. We need to be sure it can't be used against us. But even more... its the right thing to do and, for the most part, reflective of our society.

      The collateral damage issue is interesting. It seems to me that US forces already tries to avoid collateral damage. It sounds more like you're calling for elimination of collateral damage - and that's a fantasy. You might also note that US forces tends to avoid friendly fire too. Even so, it still happens. Collateral damage is, indeed, tragic. It provides no real military advantage. And it's a gold mine for anti-US propaganda. I'm curious as to why you seem to think US forces do not attempt avoiding the situation.

      And, finally, Iran. Sure - they don't have weapons nor at this point the ability to produce them. But you're being willfully ignorant if you believe that they do not have the desire to build them. And that's the point - limiting that ability. Does Isreal have nukes? Yes. So does India. So does Pakistan. But when countries like Iran talk about Isreal being wiped off the face of the earth, and with a decided lack of simular dogma from Isreal... you'll have to forgive the US for not being so concerned with Isreal's nukes. Pakistan and India are more dangerous simply due to their history of rattling sabres at each other - though that seems to have settled down. The issue is not who HAS nukes, but who is most likely to use them.
    • Responding to the parent, trying to stop some of the B-S.

      Explain how Israel's nuclear weapons are illegal. When did Israel agree not to have nuclear weapons? Should Israel, which faces countries which demand daily that it be wiped off the map, give up its only real strategic weapons system?

      Sorry, I'm one of the bad guys - Israeli. The Iranians have made it perfectly clear that as soon as they complete the development of nuclear weapons, they will use them. Against my family, against civilians. Israel

  • Very Bad idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreakNO@SPAMeircom.net> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:40PM (#14757175) Homepage Journal
    Once regular sources of information have become tainted with disinformation, people will turn away to what they feel are more "trustworthy" outlets.

    If you destroy TV, radio, newspapers and even the internet with lies, people in need of the truth will turn back to the pulpit, to obtain comfort and security from the man who spits bile at infidels, women and modernity, and who tells them that masturbation is wrong and menstruation is unclean and that we're all tainted by some sin that someone who never even existed committed.

    I live in a country that was like this not too long ago. I'd rather not have to go back to it, or see anyone else forced to either.
  • Just the opposite (Score:5, Interesting)

    by davmoo (63521) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:40PM (#14757179)
    Its been my experience in talking to friends who are not US citizens and do not live here that the quickest way to get them to distrust any information source is for them to find out it is backed officially by the US government.

    An even more sad fact is that speaking for myself as a US citizen and a US resident, that also makes me distrust the information source too. And I have found that to be true regardless of which party is in power.
  • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:49PM (#14757249)
    In 2004, the US government launched Alhurra [wikipedia.org], a 24-hour propaganda news network that was created to counter Aljazeera.

    Maybe Rumsfeld didn't get the memo, but that's not surprising considering that he doesn't even use e-mail [msn.com].
  • by Comatose51 (687974) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:53PM (#14757279) Homepage
    Just blame the media! Even controlling for some bias, etc., the media usually reports on what happens. The media may distort but it's usually a lot harder to do that when you don't give them a starting point.

    "Our enemies have skilfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but... our country has not," he said. Mr Rumsfeld said al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists were bombarding Muslims with negative images of the West, which had poisoned the public view of the US.

    How is it possible for al-Qaeda to be so far ahead of us in PR when we have entire industries built on PR and marketing??? Or is it because we are in fact doing a shitty job? Pictures from Abu Ghraib weren't simply made up by the media. Someone in our leadership screwed up (notice how they sacked the soldiers but few officers) and the TRUTH go out. The truth will get out eventually.

    The US must fight back by operating a more effective, 24-hour propaganda machine, or risk a "dangerous deficiency," he said.

    No, the US must fight back by doing a better job instead of trying to distort the truth. We've already lost a ton of credibility when no WMDs were found. A propaganda machine isn't going to help. It's make people believe us even less and then we'll truly be in a "world of shit". Rumsfeld and our leadership need to get it through their heads that saying "2 + 2 = 5" a million times isn't going to change the fact. Face it, we're a foreign country in someone else's land. That's not going to make people happy. When things don't improve like we've promised and car bombs start going off, they're going to be pissed. Remember how ridiculous the Iraqi PR minister was when he try to tell everyone that Americans are being defeated as our tanks moved into Baghdad? That's how Rumsfeld is going to look when he get this PR machine going.

  • by presarioD (771260) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:04PM (#14757345)
    if something is wrong, build a bubble of illusion around it, repackage it and sell it for profit, by no means address the problem or gasp fix it! Can it become more naive and simplistic than that? Wasting time and resources, treating the international community with a recipe that can work only on the domestic one which is tightly controled and shielded from reality.

    Unless they buy all international news outlets and impose strict control on them, find a way to ban reporting of their attrocities altogether (persecute underground/independent reporting), filter out or censor internet communications, and crash dissent on an international scale, they might as well try to empty the sea with a tea spoon.

    American hubris at a grandiose scale. The informed citizen will read a report about another massacre perpetrated by the american arrogance and then a report of how an american hero saved a dairy cow from certain death in the killing fields of iraq and somehow the latter will weigh over the former? Sure if your name is Joe Sixpack and you live around 38 00 N, 97 00 W...

  • by caseih (160668) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:07PM (#14757372)
    After reading the headline I immediately had the thought 1984 pass through my mind. Slashdot is good at promoting that kind of thought. Then I went and read the article. And you know what? Rumsfeld is right. In many respects we in the west are losing the war of ideas with facist islam. I think it is very cynical and one-sided to call what Rumsfeld is talking about "propaganda" while conveniently neglecting to recognize that these islamofacists such as Al Qeada and similar groups in Iraq are already recognizing the tremendous power of propaganda and are using it on us. Do we recognize this? If we truly value our western society, free and open as it is, patriot act notwithstanding, then we should be very alarmed that somehow more and more people are becoming convinced of these other points of view that directly threaten our very way of life. If anything the cartoon stuff should illustrate that clearly. While I think the cartoons were in very poor taste, the fact that a few radical imams and clerics have managed to stir up a couple hundred million people over a simple drawing should be setting off some huge warning bells in our minds.

    So how do we convince others that our way is better? We're going to have to talk to them. And that is the very definition of propaganda. Even Slashdot is really propaganda. It's not a bad thing; it's just the free expression of ideas with the intent to convince others of these ideas' legitimacy (trolls and OS religious zealots notwithstanding). I'm surprised that people on slashdot would bash Rumsfeld for saying these things since ensuring a free expression of all ideas is supported by almost all slashdotters!

    So For those that don't care to read the article, Rumsfeld is merely saying that these people, who have sworn to destroy the west if they can, are using propaganda much more effectively than we are. We need to be better arguers (hint to all americans: western-style logic does not apply to the Middle East), and come up with better ways to help people see that having a totalitarian, facist, Islamic state is *not* going to bring about any benefit to them in terms of people or religion.

    While I have huge problems with our current administration, I do understand the Middle East, and I recognize that some things have to be done. I greatly fear what will happen as these aberations of Islam continue to spread. As we can see from the Denmark fiasco, it's not just America that is being targeted. Islam is at a cross-roads. Maybe we can influence the cooler Islamic heads to bring back the original, peaceful meaning of Islam. That is what Rumsfeld is talking about.
    • by nagora (177841) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:38PM (#14757575)
      Rumsfeld is right.

      WARNING: This never happens.

      we in the west are losing the war of ideas with facist islam.

      No. What is happening is that when you reduce yourself to the level of your opponent, as the US and increasingly the UK have done, it becomes impossible to take the moral high ground for the simple reason that you are no longer on the moral high ground.

      such as Al Qeada and similar groups in Iraq

      And there entirely because of American actions. Iraq was not an islamist state; Saddam and OBL hated each other with some passion. Even the term "Al Qeada" was in fact invented by the US and was not used outside until after 9/11.

      So how do we convince others that our way is better? We're going to have to talk to them.

      WRONG! Show them. Stop bombing and invading countries for their oil and stop locking people up for years without carge, never mind trial, on the say-so of a bunch of bounty hunters with no interest in justice, just in a nice pay-cheque. Not too hard, is it?

      I'm surprised that people on slashdot would bash Rumsfeld for saying these things since ensuring a free expression of all ideas is supported by almost all slashdotters!

      If he meant a word of that then perhaps. But he doesn't.

      (hint to all americans: western-style logic does not apply to the Middle East

      Hint to American government: locking people up with evidence is not going to win you friends. Just as installing a power-mad dictator into a country and supporting him with guns, planes, and bioweapons while he slaughters his own people will not make those people grateful when you come twenty-five years later to remove that dictator in order to secure the country's oil supply for your own use.

      I do understand the Middle East,

      You hide it well.

      Maybe we can influence the cooler Islamic heads

      Perhaps we should stop the billion-dollar recruitment drive for the other side then.

      That is what Rumsfeld is talking about.

      No, what Rumsfeld is talking about is what Rumsfeld always talks about: keeping Donald Rumsfeld in a position of power. He was doing it in the eighties when he made up the crap about invisible Russian submarines, he was doing it when he sold WMD to Saddam (receipts are all on file in the Senate Banking Commitee records, in public), and he was doing it when he acted to prevent the UN completing its search for those same WMD because he knew that, against all expectation, Saddam had in fact disposed of them all (partly by dropping them on the Iranians with help from "calibration teams" from the CIA under Bush Sr.)

      Rumsfeld is an old liar who's been caught out again and again. But he's one of America's aristocracy and just can't be got rid of. He knows he, and Rice, can talk about democracy until the day they die but they'll never have to face an election if they don't want to. Hardy a glowing example of the superiority of the Western system of government.

      TWW

      • by caseih (160668)
        Sorry to break it to you, but Jihad started long before America was involved with either Afghanistan or Iraq. And if you think a hasty withdrawal from even the entire region will end all the problems you have your head in the sand my friend. Surely the cartoon row made that clear.

        You're very first comment about "WARNING: This never happens" has discredited pretty much everything you had to say. As did your comment "you hide it well."

        I definitely meant to imply that "talk to them" means also show them. B
  • by Jeremi (14640) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:11PM (#14757389) Homepage
    how much more can they possibly do?



    The only thing that would make a difference would be to actually change their foreign policy to be less aggressive and unilateral, and to treat the rest of the world as partners to be co-operated with in good faith, rather than as marks to be subjugated/exploited/suppressed. Trying to solve the problems by propaganda alone is merely putting lipstick on a pig, and won't fool anyone.


    Of course, the above won't happen any time soon, because it would involve sacrificing much of the profit that our current policies squeeze out of the third world.


    (disclaimer: this isn't meant to be flamebait or a troll, it is merely my honest appraisal of the situation)

  • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:16PM (#14757428) Homepage
    Just broadcast Fox News over there.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:17PM (#14757438)
    Let's face it. The value of propaganda lies in its credibility. Or rather, the readiness of people to believe it.

    To convince your own population is easy. That's how the nazi propaganda managed to keep the Germans in line even when it should've been obvious that the war is lost. They've been brainwashed for so long, and it WAS actually more or less true what they heard until about 1941, so they believed it.

    When you try to convince your opponent, or at least an "undecided" person, you can't start with lies. You have to use truth, in other words, you have to first of all put some action before your words. Promises won't work. They've heard promises before, from Al Quaida and their former government. They have heard lies before. And people who have been subject to heavy propaganda only to have it revealed as lies are very resilent against this kind of tactic.

    Ask anyone in eastern Europe.

    So first of all, you have to put some "good" actions into place, then you can use your media to stress their existance and use this in the war for the minds. And I hope Rummy has this in mind, not some half-assed promises and long-term goals that nobody cares about.
  • by kitzilla (266382) <paperfrog&gmail,com> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:31PM (#14757531) Homepage Journal
    the US must create a 'more effective, 24-hour propaganda machine.'

    What? FOX News went off the air?

  • by 3seas (184403) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:39PM (#14757580) Journal
    ... is needed is HONESTY?

    Oh wait... that would fuck up 98% of the worlds beliefs.

    Hmmm... maybe its time for that.

    At one time Islam was the strongest force behind human advancement, gathering knowledge of all kinds and developing it further as well as being productive with such knowledge. Islam was considered of the highest quality products and education.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Islam [wikipedia.org]

    then an ottoman feeling the pressure to go to war in his royal ?(or whatever you want to call it) position, though there wasn't a real cause for it, started the downfall of islam in going to war.

    Knowledge begets knowledge... and specific knowledge, such a war knowlegde, begets its own kind.

    War is destructive and the opposite of productive....

    Just ask father physics and mother nature. They are very persistant in telling you, no matter how much you don't listen.

  • by rewinn (647614) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:54PM (#14757674) Homepage

    We must replace google, yahoo, msn et cetera with a Patriot Search Engine [outer-court.com] to ensure that Government-Approved Information is delivered to your desktop!

    It can also that your search terms are automatically submitted to the government for analysis, without the risk of judicial oversight, congressional enactments, or probable cause. This will make your even more secure from terror, terrorism and terrorists!

    Surely if you are a true patriot with nothing to hide and interested only in The Truth As Patriots Know It To Be, you will use Patriot Search [outer-court.com] today. If you don't, then surely in the interests of security someone will have to find out why.

  • by gadlaw (562280) <gilbert&gadlaw,com> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @09:06PM (#14757755) Homepage Journal
    Come on now. There's plenty of reason to jump on the present administration but this isn't one of them. Every company, every public figure, every organization with an ounce of good sense takes a bit of care with public relations. They have to do so, otherwise folks, organizations and other countries who mean them harm and no good will own the field. If you are the United States military and you only let the liberal pressdanistas define what is reported and said and discussed about you then you're going to have major public relations problems. In other words, if that next door neighbor of yours who doesn't like you is the only one who speaks about you to anyone and everyone guess what everyone is going to think about you? It would be a good idea for you to be able to speak for yourself about who you are and the military in the United States, run by elected civilians, should be able to do the same thing. The very fact that so many of you automatically run to the 'propaganda' tag instead of the 'public relations' tag goes to show that the effort at public relations is needed.
  • by code65536 (302481) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @09:14PM (#14757798) Homepage Journal
    It's so nice to see them recognizing that public opinion is such an important battle field.

    But are they really doing all that they can do win this battle? No. Take, for example, the prison torture scandal. I don't care whether or not the response to the scandal was appropriate or not; that is totally irrelevant. What is relevant is whether the world thinks the scandal is relevant. Pulling a Clinton by trying to play technicalities with the definition of torture does not help. Duking it out with McCain on the issue does not help. Forget propaganda! If you can't make the right gestures, you won't be going anywhere.

    In many societies (particularly in Japan), it is considered the honorable thing for the guy on top to publicly apologize, accept responsibility, and/or resign even if something was totally the fault of some underling. Did Rummy do any of that? Nope.
  • by jafac (1449) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @09:22PM (#14757863) Homepage
    I thought you went to war with the propaganda machine you have, not the propaganda machine you'd like to have. . .
  • by grolschie (610666) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @09:37PM (#14757938)
    This video will freak you out! [soundandfury.tv]. google "rumsfeld disease" [google.com].
  • Here's an idea (Score:5, Informative)

    by deanj (519759) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @09:43PM (#14757968)
    How about actually reporting ALL the news that's going on there.

    Not just the bad things.

    The American people have such a screwed up idea of what that whole country is like... You'd think that ever square inch of that place was ready to explode, rather than what's happening in a relatively small area where Saddam loyalists and jihadists (who came over the border) are right now.
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @11:07PM (#14758393) Journal
    In an era where we've already got government-created and funded media outlets and the Pentagon bribing Iraqi journalists to run favorable war stories, not to mention other departments paying journalists to endorse their positions, it begs the question, how much more can they possibly do?"

    I think this is simply disingenuous. The United States certainly has propoganda organs, but I think it's indisputable that it also has the most free and open media community (circus) in the world.

    I think Rumsfeld's point is more that, Fox news aside, every other media outlet in this country seems dedicated to 'taking down' the president in any way that they possibly can. In an era where a higher percentage of Washington reporters voted Democrat than REGISTERED Democrats, and where media networks formerly of some standing don't hesitate to run stories without research, plaigarize from web blogs, and outright fabricate evidence (Courier Font for the win, Dan) out of their irrational hatred of George Bush, I don't think it's suprising for a senior member of the administration to say that it would behoove the government to act more aggressively to get GOOD news about US efforts out and AROUND the anti-US media conglomerates.
  • by Simonetta (207550) on Monday February 20, 2006 @02:23AM (#14759181)
    What kind of propaganda system do they want? Are they talking about a news service like Voice of America used to be for Eastern Europe during the Cold War? Basically an unbiased news service that brought the same news found in USA newspapers to people who had no access to non-Communist news sources? That service is already provided by CNN and, to a certain extent, the newer-more open Arab news services like al-Jazira.

        Or do they want a focused pro-American pro-West service to counter the incessant anti-American message coming from Iran?

        Perhaps they are talking about a 'black' propaganda service, where stories that may or may not be true are introduced into the 'Arab street' for the sole purpose of provoking an extreme reaction. The Arabs and the Pakistanis will go into violent riot mode on just rumors now. For example, I doubt that anyone rioting in Libya, Syria, or Pakistan has actually seen any of these editorial cartoons that have whipped them into a frenzy. It is also doubtful that anyone in the west would have started massive street riots without actually seeing the provocative images themselves. It's unlikely that provocative images or unproven news rumors would cause riots in the west anyway.

        Having a 'black' propaganda service that could introduce false rumors would allow the controllers of this service to have a 'light switch' to start violent street riots in the Islamic world at any time that is convenient for them.

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