Saturday, February 25, 2006

Pentagon Propaganda

The problems with the Iraqi "national" army are well documented. However, it is still amazing to watch a Pentagon propaganda campaign that would make Goebbels proud. In his last appearance before Congress, Rumsfeld spoke highly of the Iraqi security forces and even had the audacity to bristle at the negativity:
"It is simply a misrepresentation of what's taking place," Rumsfeld continued. "The Iraqi security forces are getting better every day, every week, every month. They are doing a very good job."...

In the end, Rumsfeld expressed confidence the Pentagon's plan would overcome the doubts of legislators. "We just need to tell them truth and hopefully they'll get it," he told reporters.

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt of the U.S. military Central Command on thursday:

"Those Iraqi forces are fighting bravely, courageously"..."They are learning the cold lessons in combat, the harsh lessons in combat that is accelerating their development."

You would conclude that Iraq's army is moving forward, right? It is common practice for the American government to release "unflattering" news on Friday afternoon, where it will be mostly forgotten heading into the slow, weekend newscycle. A common manipulation tool to skew the real story, the Pentagon dropped this tidbit yesterday:
The only Iraqi battalion capable of fighting without U.S. support has been downgraded to a level requiring them to fight with American troops backing them up, the Pentagon said Friday.

The battalion, made up of 700 to 800 Iraqi Army soldiers, has repeatedly been offered by the U.S. as an example of the growing independence of the Iraqi military.

The competence of the Iraqi military has been cited as a key factor in when U.S. troops will be able to return home.

What is particularly cynical about the Pentagon's blatant misinformation campaign, is it allows for the false premise that Iraqis can deal with the current challenges. The idea of progress is touted, by manipulating numbers and appearances, while the reality suggests an abysmal failure by any measure. How can it be that with all the resources, time and energy, Iraq is still without a small unit that can effectively operate? What arrogance for Rumsfeld to get testy when questioned about competence, when the truth suggests the chorus of criticism should be deafening. It is staggering, that Rumsfeld and company, are still given a forum to spew the propaganda, when the clear pattern suggests the words have no resemblance to reality.

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