Pentagon “roadmap” calls for “boundaries”…

Heads up on a report just acquired by FOIA by National Security Archive: Information Operations Roadmap. The National Security Archive headline describes it thus:

A secret Pentagon "roadmap" on war propaganda, personally approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in October 2003, calls for "boundaries" between information operations abroad and the news media at home, but provides for no such limits and claims that as long as the American public is not "targeted," any leakage of PSYOP to the American public does not matter.

Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive at George Washington University and posted on the Web today, the 74-page "Information Operations Roadmap" admits that "information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa," but argues that "the distinction between foreign and domestic audiences becomes more a question of USG [U.S. government] intent rather than information dissemination practices."

The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, amended in 1972 and 1998, prohibits the U.S. government from propagandizing the American public with information and psychological operations directed at foreign audiences; and several presidential directives, including Reagan’s NSD-77 in 1983, Clinton’s PDD-68 in 1999, and Bush’s NSPD-16 in July 2002 (the latter two still classified), have set up specific structures to carry out public diplomacy and information operations. These and other documents relating to U.S. PSYOP programs were posted today as part of a new Archive Electronic Breifing Book.

Several press accounts have referred to the 2003 Pentagon document but today’s posting is the first time the text has been publicly available. Sections of the document relating to computer network attack (CNA) and "offensive cyber operations" remain classified under black highlighting.

There is a lot to digest in this and related documents. Other priorities prevent me from diving deep right now, but I’ll return to this later.

UPDATE 1 Feb 06 See ZenPundit’s posting on same (but with a different title and 3 days after this post :).

L. Paul Bremer joins the band wagon: We needed more troops

The WashingtonPost has a story on L. Paul Bremer’s new book and how his request for more troops was denied (either explicitly or implicitly). According to the article (I have ordered but not read the book yet), "Bremer recounted how Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, then the top U.S. commander in Iraq, reinforced this view, telling Bremer that with two more divisions, Baghdad could be controlled."

Continue reading “L. Paul Bremer joins the band wagon: We needed more troops”

DOD as our public diplomat in Pakistan

The headline Schoomaker champions Pakistan relief mission is just further emphasis of the empty promises of the Karen Hughes public diplomacy and the emphasis by the military on public outreach (see US Military rates PD higher the USG). True, the military is a branch of the USG (US Government), but the paltry sum the USG itself dedicated to cultural diplomacy compared to sustained efforts and funding by the military, instead of USAID or other services / functions / paths, is not to lauded. The fact the military is the outreach is great, but is the military liason w/ the civilian sector going to build the long-term relations we want? Is that the image of America we want the locals to have? Do we really want the children equating America w/ Chinooks? Is that worse or better than McDonald’s?

The Army’s role in providing aid to earthquake survivors in Pakistan “might be the most important bullets that we’re firing in this global war on terror,” said Chief of Staff. Gen. Peter Schoomaker Jan. 12.

The Army’s senior officer visited Pakistan as part of a tour through the Central Command area of responsibility over the holidays, and was struck by the positive impression U.S. soldiers were leaving on the local population.

“The most popular toy in Pakistan today is the little plastic Army Chinook,” he said, referring to the CH-47 lift helicopter that is delivering much of the U.S. aid in the stricken regions.

Chinese Public Diplomacy via UN Peacekeeping

The Chinese state media has highlighted an interesting point as part of their growing public diplomacy campaign to win the hearts and minds of the world, and not least of the impovrished and non-G8 that have important resources China needs. In the last six months, China has had generally 1,000 troops or police on United Nations peacekeeping missions.

A Chinese scholar said Tuesday that China has sent out more than 3,000 troops and policemen to United Nations peacekeeping missions since the late 1980s, reflecting its firm support of the UN’s role in maintaining world peace and security. 
"China has contributed the largest number of troops to UN peacekeeping operations among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council," said Yang Mingjie, a Chinese researcher in international relations…

Chinese peacekeepers have won extensive accolades because of their
strict discipline and high work efficiency. In January 2005, Chinese
peacekeeping riot police in Haiti were awarded a UN peace medal for
their outstanding performance in the crisis-torn country, the highest
honor granted by the UN to peacekeeping missions. [emphasis added]

By the way, the Chinese seem to prefer to participate in African PKOs (peacekeeping operations).

Public Diplomacy by Proxy

Go Trojans!The Los Angeles Times story on Private Security "Guards" (companies) in Iraq largely stems from the recent AEGIS "trophy video", but is largely an emotional reaction to larger and deeper issues that is barely touches on. Perhaps that is the limitation of the mainstream media, especially for an above the fold story like this one, but is the door into the larger debate over appropriateness and inappropriateness of private military forces.

A recent public opinion
poll shows an increasing concern that Washington is too quick to use a
military response, including private security companies that augment
"real" military force, to foreign policy challenges in lieu of soft
power alternatives. Falling outside of normal legislative oversight,
private military forces are contracted, deployed, managed, and paid
through the civilian leadership of the Defense Department and State
Department and other civilian departments (CACI, the Abu Ghraib
interegators came in through a Department of the Interior contract).

Much of what the article says has already been written about here on this site, including

  • "Security firms operating in Iraq have been cited for fraud and have clashed with U.S. forces" … see Zapata Engineering story (additional here) for one example (there are more)
  • "critics say, the contractors are expensive, reckless mercenaries who complicate the U.S. mission in Iraq" … see Consequences
  • "The private guards’ sometimes aggressive behavior has created a wellspring of anger at the U.S. presence in Iraq….Countless Iraqis have had to endure the humiliation of being forced to stop or pull off the road as a convoy of unmarked SUVs races past, filled with men waving guns and making threatening gestures…."This is not a particularly effective way to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis," said Joshua Schwartz, co-director of George Washington University’s government procurement program. "The contractors are making the mission of the U.S. military in Iraq more difficult." … see Potential Cost and the rest of the Private Military company section on this site.

Afforded perceived deniable accountability back to the White House for private military activities allows a freer hand in engagement policies extending military options in foreign policy without Congressional or public oversight. Clumsy attempts by the civilian leadership to use private military forces as indirect ambassadors and instruments of American foreign policy are paid back with public and embarrassing actions such as those portrayed in the Los Angeles Times article, among many now appearing with increasing frequency in mainstream media.

This Administration really does not get it, as this story about how undersecretary of state for public diplomacy Karen Hughes "believes that how we treat prisoners in the ‘global war on terror’ is unlikely to have a serious adverse affect on how people think of the United States." The war, as the Morocco Times puts it, "has entered a new phase":

The US and its allies must learn to separate al-Qaeda from its base of support. I am referring to the base that is not made of terrorists but of millions of ordinary Muslims and Arabs who feel disfranchised and marginalized in their own societies while the US happily supports and makes deals with their oppressors. If it really wants to win over this base, the administration must change its terms of engagement with the Muslim world and begin an honest dialogue. Washington must make serious efforts to alter the common view of decades-long of American exploitation and manipulation….

The administration has systematically ignored the multiple root causes of terrorism and as a result the US will end prolonging the war indefinitely at a terrible and debilitating cost. For this reason, the administration must begin immediately an earnest campaign, as extensive as is necessary, to win the hearts of the masses who now form the essential support for al-Qaeda and other extremist groups. Concurrently, the administration must establish a time-table for complete withdrawal from Iraq and in doing so abandon the illusion that it can bring order there or cripple any terrorist group operating there before it permanently departs.

This should be on Hughes’ reading list, but it probably isn’t. It should be on Rice’s too, but she clearly is not concerned with other points of view, believing foreign policy stems for isolated national interest and “not from the interests of an “illusory international community”

How do we promote our beliefs if we pick and choose very selectively?