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Rumsfeld Requests 24-hour Propaganda Machine 1327

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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  • 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?

  • They can stop. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by republican gourd ( 879711 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:25PM (#14757061)
    I think that the US Government is past the point of no return on the propaganda thing. It depends on two concepts: that the rest of the world trusts the good things that they hear about America, and that the rest of the world isn't smart enough to find out the truth themselves.

    I'd wager a guess that most of the people who care enough to pay attention to the propaganda war have probably figured out its rigged. In fact, since this is so well known (Hell, the government is even *admitting* it these days?!), it can only be serving to darken and discolour any actual real positive information that may be out there.

    What they really need to do is start using truth. There *are* still enough good things about the United States to be proud of. Unfortunately, our arrogance tends to obscure that. We're like the mean guy at the party that won't shut up.
  • Re:Slashdot? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Richard Allen ( 213475 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:28PM (#14757088)
    I'm sure I'll peak back once in a while, but this site has become worthless. I used to come here because I could read things here sometimes a year before it hit the mainstream media ... but between the slow-to-be-released stories, the duplicate posts, and the apparent move towards anti-America stories - it's time to remove Slashdot from my "Favorites".
    This isn't posted to inflame. Just telling it how it is. Editors need to take note. From talking to friends, I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. As another voice gets modded down ... the site will continue to lose it's appeal.
    Read my posting history. I'm not a troll. I'm a dissatisfied customer.
  • by Distinguished Hero ( 618385 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:35PM (#14757143) Homepage
    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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:38PM (#14757158)
    Americans have come to believe their own stereotypes. They think that they are angels who are fair to the whole world and can do no wrong, and that other countries don't like them because supervillain-like men keep telling people to hate America.
    If America really wants to "win the minds of Muslims", here's a four step program:

    1- Help create a soverign Palastenian state,do not control it stealthily from the background
    2- Withdraw your troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia
    3- Don't prosecute and/or torture Muslims because of their choice of religion
    4- Stop talking of how much better you are than other countries and stereotyping Muslims. Most Muslims actually chose their lifestyle and beleive in it. Not everyone is an oppressed woman, a person jealous of Western progress, or or a person who wants to escape to America on the first chance.
  • Very Bad idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    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 Oldsmobile ( 930596 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @07:43PM (#14757207) Journal
    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 Iraqi people by fighting terrorists and feeding the Iraqi children."

    Nothing he said was untrue, but your father is dead, you were in prison for six months and someone came into your house and busted the place up.

    If some Iraqis came and busted up my house in the middle of the night and took me to prison, I know I'd have an IED with their name on it. Once I got out of prison that is.... ... unless I was involved in some kind of weird human pyramid shit while I was there and came back home packed in ice.
  • 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 Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:01PM (#14757327)
    No, the Taliban was not the only group in Afghanistan in the 1980s during the war against the Soviets. The United States, Pakistan, China and the United Kingdom, among others, aided a number of tribal groups and splinter groups in the War. The Soviet Union was not a paradise compared to what the Taliban set up, it was much worse. The Soviet Union left behind millions of mines, they destroyed the agricultural systems, they booby-trapped toys and grain, not the Taliban.

    Why did the United States go into Kosovo? Because the EU and United States decided that opposing Serbia was the way to go.

    The United States defended Saudi Arabia against Iraq in 1990-on, the Saudi military was and is small and ineffective compared to the Iranian and Iraqi militaries. There was never a plan to take the Iraqi capital in Desert Storm/Shield/Saber.
  • Re:Three words: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tempestdata ( 457317 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:04PM (#14757344)

    That too is a cultural problem. I dont know who is going to step in and stop it.. but its certainly not going to be ME! And that is exactly how everyone there thinks.

    Since I was a child, I was taught.. and all the kids around me were taught "dont get involved in other people's messy business." , "Its somebody else's problem" "stay away from trouble.. and those people are trouble".

    That would explain the great deal of corruption, human rights abuses and tyrannical governments in that region of the world too. No one is willing to take it upon him/herself to take on the corrupt, the tyrannts, the fanatics and the other idiots. They just put up with it.. or leave. In my case.. I left.

    American culture is different. They can and will intervene when there is a problem. A lot of todays americans are descended from people fleeing religious and cultural persecution. They were taught differently by their parents, as my children will be taught differently by me. We fleed once, and are in a land that will treat us well.. "make sure we dont loose what we have gained through so much hardship. It is your duty to intervene, and take it upon yourself to fight the corrupt, the tyrants and the fanatics from taking over".

    So in summary, you guys might as well do it.. because you'll grow old waiting before anyone in that region of the world rises up to fight them.
  • 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.
  • Re:Three words: (OT) (Score:1, Interesting)

    by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:19PM (#14757458) Homepage
    This is very much about more than cartoons. The west has been manipulating the middle east for years, and continues to do so to this day. Muslims in the middle east have every right to hate the governments and businesses of the west, as they've been looked down upon and toyed with for years. They have been exploited, we did put basically all of the puppet governments in place, we are continuing to support Israel who is continuing to behave badly. The west has also been scapegoated for so many years that the we are now seen as the cause of a lot of things which do fall on the feet of corrupt or indifferent governments.

    But the outcry for violence against westerners by Muslims has been atrocious. "Behead the infidels" "Kill those who make fun of Mohammed," etc. They called for violence, they killed people, they've been killed... it's a stupid situation. And instead of taking it to the people who are actively trying to wring the middle east dry, they attack the Danish. The Danish. The only thing the Danes ever killed anyone with was delicious confectionaries.

    It is going to be difficult to convince people that the middle eastern countries are ready to sit at the international table with the rest of the world and behave like civilized people when they're running around threatening to chop people's heads off and burning down embassies over a newspaper cartoon.

    The fact that it is a newspaper cartoon makes it all the worse: there might not be a tradition of this in the muslim world, but in the West the newspaper cartoon is officially the lowest, dirtiest, least funny form of political communication. They're always poor in taste and poor in execution. They're the Fox News of cartoons.

    And so, of course, we joke about it. That's the western way of expressing displeasure with something. That's our way of letting someone know when they've gotten too serious. You're allowed, in the west, to expose basically any viewpoint so long as it is funny. That's how gay people came to be accepted in our culture, and before that, women. You can expose anyone to anything so long as it is funny.

    I think the western view of the situation was well-summed-up by a fark poster
    "You know what is blasphemous in my religion? Burning down embassies and killing people."

  • 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.
  • You see, after seeing all these riots I began to fear... what happens if all muslims are like the Wahabi? Sometimes I've even had the thought of WWIII beginning because of something like this. Specially after a) Iran enriching uranium, and b) Hamas getting elected.

    How plausible this would be? I know not all muslims are like the Wahabi you speak of, but how permissive are all muslims with them as to let them riot without anybody punishing them?

    Are my fears unfounded? Thank you.
    (Knowing this is offtopic, I wish you could at least mail me, my e-mail acct is in my profile)
  • Re:Three words: (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:37PM (#14757566)
    Bah. You sent me off a google hunt to find out.
    The bible seems pretty clear that you have to follow Jesus to avoid being toasted:

    "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." - John 3:36).

    He who believes in him (Jesus) is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:18).

    "Whoever believes (in Jesus) and is baptized (in His Church) will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned"- Mark16:16

    And I still don't know why Muslims don't find this offensive.
    Perhaps if the pope stood on his balcony in Saint Peter's square and said -"Muslims? You are all gonna burn!!!". It would not contradict the bible one little bit.

    I think we have made these Gods in our own image, and as our self image changes, so do the Gods.

    Still, Paul, as always, puts his finger on it:
    "If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing" Paul (1Cor.13:1-3)
  • Re:Three words: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by grrrgrrr ( 945173 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:37PM (#14757569)
    I respect your opinion a lot but i think there is something else happening here too. The people that riot are not fanatics or idiots i think they they are poor people that are being manipulated by undemocratic and corrupt governments and religious leaders. I agree with Karl Marx who said "Religion is the opium of the masses"
  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:39PM (#14757580) Homepage 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. []

    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 The Bungi ( 221687 ) <> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:47PM (#14757630) Homepage
    Afghanistan in the 1980s? That was THE TALIBAN!

    Nope. Go educate yourself. Completely different group of people.

    So to placate them

    That's ridiculous. I bet your view would be slightly different if you were one of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who were being displaced, tortured, prosecuted and massacred.

    Number 1 - FROM WHO?

    It was Saudi Arabia shitting their pants at 6 Iraqi divisions parked in Kuwait that asked the (previous) Bush administration to set up camp. The Saudis could not defend their asses if their collective lives depended on it. And of course if Hussein had actually marched into Saudi Arabia (over parts of which he also had vague historic claims) the world would be much different now.

    Yes, liberating Kuwait wasn't a bad thing

    Except if you're Kuwaiti.

    We WERE going to march to Baghdad during that war

    Absolutely not. Read up and educate yourself. That everyone and their mom wanted the 101st Airborne in Baghdad just for shits and giggles doesn't mean the administration was actually considering it. They never did.

    no knowledge whatsoever of the area

    That's rich, considering the ball of tripe you just wrote up.

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

    by tenchiken ( 22661 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:49PM (#14757642)
    Really? Go check out the Iranian mullahs. Here is a nasty secret. They are filthy rich. Also note that almost all of the 9/11 hijackers were fairly well off, and educated in Europe. For that matter realize that Bin Ladin himself was a very rich man before the US and Saudi's started cutting him off....
  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:51PM (#14757654) Homepage
    To date, what form of government is advancing and which is in decline?

    That's a very good question... what forms of government are advancing?

    My personal view would be that socialist governments are in decline (Russia, China), democracies are mixed (Eastern Europe, USA), and authoritarian/theocratic regimes (Iran) are on the rise.

  • Re:Three words: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by marko123 ( 131635 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @08:52PM (#14757662) Homepage
    Let's not forget the leaders who pervert a religion to turn believers into soldiers to gain more power.
  • Re:Three words: (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 19, 2006 @09:00PM (#14757715)
    Well, to be fair, the redneck would also probably take it out on the Pakistani guy at the gas station or 7-11. Viewed in those terms, it makes sense.
  • 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 [] to Indonesia []. 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 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 caseih ( 160668 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @09:17PM (#14757822)
    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. But from the outset their propaganda machine has spun everything we have ever done as being evil. How are you going to counter that?

    I agree completely that our policies have really accelerated a problem that was already increasing. I'd rather bring this issue to a head now than wait another 10 years for another 9/11. If you believe that we caused it in its entirety then it is you who has fallen victim to their propaganda (which is okay; I've already established that propaganda itself isn't good or bad). I also agree that much of these problems come from oil. Except that it's not western greed of oil itself that is causing the problem; oil merely makes it much worse. If the middle east had no oil, there'd still be problems with islamic facism, terrorism, and extremism. It's just that it would never have left the region because they'd essentially merely be another eastern-horn-Africa (which, but the way, is the birthplace of Islamic extremism). And certainly leaving the middle east to implode on itself would be a viable option if it wasn't for the oil.

    Has America lost the moral highground? Maybe. In what sense? In the sense of something being right and something being wrong? If so, then what position do you want us to take? If we have lost the moral high-ground, how do we get it back? Just withdraw from Iraq? In that case there's still the issue of our evil capitalist system (money, sex, power). This disparity will still cause problems.

    So the issues are not as easy as you want them to be.
  • BBC Gone WILD! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kibbled_bits ( 808617 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @09:17PM (#14757826) Homepage
    Islamo-Fascist countries in the Middle East have government-run media that portrays western culture negatively. Regardless how you feel about the US, we are a free country in fact the majority of the media is liberal and anti-establishment. In these countries both sides are never reported and the government engages in one-sided anti-Western journalism. Rumsfield is simply talking about the US Govt responding to OTHERS propoganda, and you can add BBC to that list.
  • by Spit ( 23158 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @09:21PM (#14757851)
    They were all military operations, the grandparent was suggesting that humanitarian opererations may be more effective.
  • by grolschie ( 610666 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @09:37PM (#14757938)
    This video will freak you out! []. google "rumsfeld disease" [].
  • Re:Three words: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by _Bucktooth_ ( 255094 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @10:25PM (#14758205)

    I encourage you to read this [] book.

    Basically the author, John Perkins, [] makes the case that: in it's own interest, America has actively promoted corruption, tyrannical governments and human rights abuses in developing countries around the world. The author says he should know, he was one of those doing it.

    While I have spent a little time in USA, and have met many wonderful Americans, the actions of those in power in the US make it a target for many in other countries. If you are really interested in "make sure we dont loose what we have gained through so much hardship. It is your duty to intervene, and take it upon yourself to fight the corrupt, the tyrants and the fanatics from taking over"., then start by educating yourself and others around you.

  • Wrong title (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MrNougat ( 927651 ) <ckratsch@gmail . c om> on Sunday February 19, 2006 @10:26PM (#14758208)
    Should read: "Rumsfeld Requests Another 24-hour Propaganda Machine"

    Because, really, when the administration can spin "We leaked the identity of an active CIA agent, which is tantamount to treason" into "It's the fault of the media for publishing the leak we gave them," along with, "Oh yeah, it's no problem that there are warrantless wiretaps going on; the real problem is that someone spilled the beans," and who can forget "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction" -- dammit, the whole government is already a 24-hour propaganda machine, and its target audience is the American citizen.

    If they want to add another audience, they're going to need another machine.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not wearing a tinfoil hat, and I am generally prepared to give the bemefit of the doubt. But I have to call shenanigans on this administration.
  • by Asic Eng ( 193332 ) on Sunday February 19, 2006 @10:34PM (#14758248)
    Tell me - would you rather have the Bush administration in power or the Ayatollah?

    Why would it occur to you that *that* is the choice to make? Out of the billions of alternatives, why chose those two?

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

    by Mr. Flibble ( 12943 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @12:58AM (#14758833) Homepage
    That's perhaps the most frustrating thing that non-Muslims see in this whole situation. We hear constantly that "it's a small minority", etc., but we don't see moderate leadership taking that visible stand and trying stand up for civilization.

    That is because western news outlets don't air the moderate views. It is far more inflamitory to air the radicals, and inflamitory news gets higher ratings.

    You can quickly find the majority of moderate Muslim leaders decrying the cartoon riots and the associated outfall with a quick google search, but you won't find the same on CNN or Fox.
  • Re:Three words: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheRealGrendel ( 940395 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @01:50AM (#14759049)
    The real problem is the fact that there does not seem to be any real prohibition against making drawings of Mohammed. slamic_mo_full/
    in fact it seems to have been quite common in the past.  This time some Islamofacists decided to be offended and since the original cartoons were not bad enough they added some (of their own making, which were worse then any of the others.  So lets cut their heads off) terrorism_blog/2006/02/fabricated_cart.html
    I think that one of these days some of them will get their wish and piss us off enough to get a good old game of "Cowboys and Muslims" going.

  • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @03:52AM (#14759461) Homepage
    It's a very deeply hostile situation there. You think it's coïncidence that the wars stopped when both sides got nukes? That doesn't mean there can't be another war between them, of course, but I don't think any serious observer of that situation doubts that the fact that both sides have nukes is a serious stabiliser. Neither side wants to commit suicide, and with both of them having nukes, that's essentially what it would be.

    Iran has plenty of faults, but in comparison to their neighbors they actually look pretty good. Unstable? By what standard?

    Why would it surprise anyone that the elected President (yes, unlike our "allies" in the region, Iran is a functioning republic) would voice the widely held sentiment of his countrymen that Israel should be wiped from the map? Why is that even considered worth mentioning? Who in the region, except Israel, *doesn't* agree with that?

    The Israelis have tons of nukes, the Iranians are, at best, many years away from having one. The argument could be made that an Iran with nukes would actually make the region more stable. It's certainly done that in every similar case.

    And finally, who says it's up to the US to decide who will be allowed to have nukes? That's exactly the kind of heavy-handed presumption, and bald-faced disregard for law, that makes the US so unpopular in most of the world already, and down that path lies only madness.
  • by arevos ( 659374 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @05:24AM (#14759757) Homepage
    Get this in perspective: worldwide, roughly 200,000 people have protested the Muhammad caricatures - that makes less than 0.02% of Muslims.

    Whilst it's easy to say that only of Muslims are extremists, I'm curious as to what proportion of Christians, Buddhists or Hindus hold similar extreme views.

  • by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @06:21AM (#14759875)
    And before you try and tell me Mutually Assured Destruction does not work, ...

    MAD does not work as soon as one side believes that dying for the cause is perfectly fine, or in other (game theory) words that the destruction of the other side is worth more than their own survival. I believe the term in game theory for this is "spite".

    Neither the US nor the USSR believed that the other side had to be destroyed even at the cost of their own destruction, because both sides believed that in the end, their "superior" system/ideology would end up assimilating the other side (and guess what, that's sorta what happened, with totalitaritarian communism being so fundamentally flawed that it's almost impossible to do worse).

    Now, put a religious nutcase on one side who thinks that eradicating the infidel pest is worth any price, then MAD suddenly becomes a quite good way to accomplish this.

  • by sesshomaru ( 173381 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @08:47AM (#14760303) Journal
    The used to say the same thing about Synagogues in Nazi Germany and Imperial Russia. In fact, they even created a propaganda book about it, called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion [].

    "Thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands, of Jews have died because of this infamous forgery." -- Rabbi Joseph Teluskin

    So, this is the propaganda that is always used when you want to get rid of people, "Sure they sound good in public, but in their secret meetings, they outline their evil plan."

    I want to stress how bad al-Qa'ida has been for the world's Muslims, and how much harm its existence has done to them. As a terrorist organization, it is good at acheiving its own goals, but those have nothing to do with helping Joe (or Mohammed) in the street Muslim. They are mainly about:

    1. Acheiving Political power for Bin Laden and company.

    2. Scoring propaganda points to that end.

    Any help to ordinary Muslims is merely a coincidental by product to these two ends. Do you think Bin Laden didn't know what would happen when his organization attacked the United States?

    No Shi'ite can support al-Qa'ida because it would force them to change their religion, and the Shi'ites believe just as strongly as the supporters of al-Qa'ida. Why do you think that the U. S. is turning Iraq into a defacto Shi'ite state? Ironically, during the cold war, it was the Shi'ites who were considered the threat due to the loss of Iran, which is why U. S. (which created al-Qa'ida, I'll note, as a force to use against Soviet Russia in Afghanistan) supported Saddam Hussein for all those years.

  • Re:Three words: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by abb3w ( 696381 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @09:44AM (#14760523) Journal
    "Nothing to us is holy".

    Better phrasing: "For us, there is nothing so holy that it may not be mocked."

  • Um, we're trying it your way with Iran and North Korea.


    In regards to either country.

    And the stakes in both situations are infinitely higher than they were with Iraq.
  • by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @09:48AM (#14760541)
    Remember, the higher ups don't believe that they should die for the cause, they think others should do the dying for them. Noone really wants to die and someone who knows he's just making shit up when talking about a great afterlife. I think all major religions despise suicide and the higher ups know that God won't approve of an action that is essentially suicide (and for a cause that God wouldn't approve of).

    Really, I don't think the leaders believe that they are really supported by God but they know that claiming it keeps the grunts motivated.
  • by avalone ( 894335 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @10:29AM (#14760723)
    Yes & Unfortonally it's called fox news

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982