Bush Wages Propaganda Campaign to Boost Zarqawi
The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign
to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal
military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has
raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe
may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie
the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The documents state that the U.S. campaign aims to
turn Iraqis against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, by playing on their
perceived dislike of foreigners. U.S. authorities claim some success with
that effort, noting that some tribal Iraqi insurgents have attacked Zarqawi
For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have
been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's
role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the “U.S.
Home Audience” as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.
Some senior intelligence officers believe Zarqawi's
role may have been overemphasized by the propaganda campaign, which has included
leaflets, radio and television broadcasts, Internet postings and at least
one leak to an American journalist. Although Zarqawi and other foreign insurgents
in Iraq have conducted deadly bombing attacks, they remain “a very small
part of the actual numbers,” Col. Derek Harvey, who served as a military
intelligence officer in Iraq and then was one of the top officers handling
Iraq intelligence issues on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an
Army meeting at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., last summer.
In a transcript of the meeting, Harvey said, “Our
own focus on Zarqawi has enlarged his caricature, if you will — made him
more important than he really is, in some ways.”
“The long-term threat is not Zarqawi or religious
extremists, but these former regime types and their friends,” said Harvey,
who did not return phone calls seeking comment on his remarks.
Plays Up Role of Zarqawi
Jordanian Painted As Foreign Threat To Iraq's Stability
Jack Murtha has been telling this story for months. There are
only around 1,000 foreign insurgents fighting us in Iraq. Most of the conflict
is happening among Iraqis, “former regime types” and others who are
battling for the soul of Iraq. It's called a civil war.
President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld are playing up the role of
Zarqawi, something Juan Cole has been writing about for months, as has Billmon, because it serves
Bush's larger “war on terror” trumpeting, with a side of be very
afraid, but don't worry, we'll protect you mantra. Without that theme,
George W. Bush would not be sitting in the White House today.
Let's face it, Republicans have had two tracks: tax cuts and national
security. But the tax cut strategy isn't working so well because middle America
is getting socked, with poor America ready to rise up and fight back, as we'll
see today across this country in rallies for immigrant rights and respect, which
I'll get to in another post. But it's on national security that the hit has
come hardest for Bush. Americans are getting the message that hitting hard isn't
enough. It takes more than guns to win the larger battle, which is lost on Bush
and the Republicans.
Propaganda is how President Bush and his administration keeps
everyone's attention. Whether it's Zarkawi or bluster on Iran, they continue
to go back to what's worked before, because they're too weak to actually dig
in and solve the problem. Bush has no leverage at all on Iraq, while he's allowed
Iran to get the upper hand by legitimizing Iran's
President Ahmadinejad. Iraq and Iran are connected, as are all foreign policy
issues in the end, but with President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld in power the
meaning becomes quite different.
There is still not enough conversation today about the long-term
bases that have been constructed in Iraq, which I would guess are not just for
keeping Iraq from falling apart. I got into that subject during my recent Washington Journal appearance, with my opponent Rick Moran saying it's ludicrous, because we're not planning any “permanent” bases like Oman in Iraq. It's semantics. There are miles of concrete in Iraq, with bases constructed to house thousands of U.S. soldiers. If you don't want to call them “permanent,” fine. But there is a long-term strategy for the entire
region that also includes making sure Iran doesn't get the bomb, but likely
reaches further and includes why we're building large bases. The point is that the strategy foundation of Bush is militarism
alone, armament, hard power, with soft power ignored because Republicans don't
understand it. It hasn't worked out very well so far, but it's the only card Republicans have got.
Everyone needs to take a more critical eye towards the news and news
reports going forward. As we learned last week, the Leaker in Chief is not above
selectively using classified information to make his point, leaving important
details out of the picture because Bush serves only himself, his presidential image and his legacy.
In an election year, the bluster and hard talk on Iran, with the
bone of withdrawing some troops from Iraq — while actually maintaining large
long-term bases in Iraq, which no one is talking about — will serve as Bush's
only bone to throw to the Republicans facing the mid-term elections. Think of
the propaganda to build up the threat of Zawkawi as the model. Now all Bush
has to do is replicate it, with our Leaker in Chief going to any lengths to get the job done. Bombs away!