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June 11, 2005

Bush’s $300 million makeover

Well this Washington Post story is pretty unbelievable. Or maybe all too believable:

The Pentagon awarded three contracts this week, potentially worth up to $300 million over five years, to companies it hopes will inject more creativity into its psychological operations efforts to improve foreign public opinion about the United States, particularly the military.
“We would like to be able to use cutting-edge types of media,” said Col. James A. Treadwell, director of the Joint Psychological Operations Support Element, a part of Tampa-based U.S. Special Operations Command. “If you want to influence someone, you have to touch their emotions.”
He said SYColeman Inc. of Arlington, Lincoln Group of the District, and Science Applications International Corp. will help develop ideas and prototypes for radio and television spots, documentaries, or even using text messages, pop-up ads on the Internet, podcasting, billboards or novelty items.
… The contracts come as the Bush administration has been criticized for its uncoordinated efforts to repair the United States’s post-Iraq image problems abroad, particularly in the Muslim world … “The department is always looking for ways to improve our communication efforts, and we are working closely with the State Department to support their public diplomacy initiatives where appropriate,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said in response to questions about how the new psyops program fits into an administration plan.
… “What’s changing is the realization that in this so-called war on terrorism, this is not a force multiplier; this might be the thing that wins the whole thing for you,” said Dan Kuehl, a specialist in information warfare at the National Defense University. “This gets to the importance of the war of ideas. There are a billion-plus Muslims that are undecided. How do we move them over to being more supportive of us? If we can do that, we can make progress and improve security.”

Yeah, pop-ups and podcasting should do that.

Posted by Stephen at 12:25 AM in War | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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