Rumsfeld cribs from terror manual

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Guess which Islamo-fascist said the following: "Where the government fears the people there is liberty; where the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

If you guessed Thomas Jefferson, you're either a patriot or a subversive of the first order.

In a speech before the American Legion National Convention earlier this week, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld insisted that critics of the war are "morally confused" and most likely fellow travelers with Neville Chamberlain currently installed in the Appeasement Hall of Shame.

Mr. Rumsfeld told the audience that a "blame America first" attitude had undermined the war effort. It was his hope that sensible Americans would see through the philosophical subterfuge and rally around God, the flag and President Bush once again.

"The good news is that most Americans, though understandably influenced by what they see and read, have good inner gyroscopes," Mr. Rumsfeld said. "So I'm confident that over time they will evaluate and reflect on what is happening in this struggle and come to a wise conclusion about it."

A day earlier at Fallon Naval Air Station in Nevada, Mr. Rumsfeld told his audience that Western societies had been bamboozled by slick, media savvy terrorists who are better at getting their points across than the folks toiling with billion-dollar propaganda budgets at the Pentagon.

"They are actively manipulating the media in this country," he said. "The enemy is so much better at communicating. I wish we were better at countering that because the constant drumbeat of things they say -- all of which are not true -- is harmful. It's cumulative. And it does weaken people's will and lessen their determination, raise questions in their minds as to whether the cost is worth it."

What's prompting these questions about whether the cost is worth it? Could it be the war's agonizing death toll? The rapid deterioration of Iraqi society? The impact of the conflict on American values? The squandering of blood and treasure by an administration with no credible military or diplomatic endgame?

If the influence of Islamo-fascism prompts the public and media to ask questions put off for far too long, it sounds like it might be very good for democracy.

Embarrassed by the success of those wascally Islamo-fascists at capturing the hearts and minds of naive Americans, the U.S. military has put out a bid for a two-year, $20 million public relations contract to monitor the news from Iraq while devising strategies to give it more administration-friendly spin.

In yesterday's Washington Post, Walter Pincus wrote: "The proposal calls for monitoring Iraqi, pan-Arabic, international and U.S. national and regional markets media in both Arabic and English. That includes broadcast and cable television outlets, the Pentagon channel, two wire services and three newspapers: The Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

"The media outlets would be monitored for how they present coalition or anti-Iraqi force operations. That part of the proposal could reflect Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's often-stated concern that the media does not cover positive aspects of Iraq," Mr. Pincus wrote, adding:

"Prospective contractors are also asked to propose four to eight public relations events per month, such as speeches or news conferences, including 'preparation of likely questions and suggested answers, themes and messages as well as background talking points.'"

A person of suspicious mind might see this effort as a cynical attempt to manage the news, the very thing that Mr. Rumsfeld finds so appalling. Given his aversion to Islamo-fascist spin, Mr. Rumsfeld's contempt for the integrity of news should come as a surprise, but it doesn't.

"The enemy lies constantly -- almost totally without penalty," Mr. Rumsfeld said at Fallon Naval Air Station. On first hearing, this sounds like a condemnation of insidious Islamo-fascist media tactics. But after factoring in the military's decision to take a page from the enemy's handbook, one can't help but notice a grudging respect for the tactics Mr. Rumsfeld has often condemned. Which only goes to prove: If you can't beat the Islamo-fascists, join them.


Tony Norman can be reached at tnorman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1631.


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