If only we could get the propaganda right …

Forgive me if I mentioned this story before, but a few years ago I caught a discussion about "public diplomacy" by a senior official in the United States Information Agency. Among his recommendations for improving the reporting of Al Jazeera was that we should "stop shooting them."

While I wouldn't argue with that, the comment has come to symbolize for me the limitations of U.S. propaganda efforts since the inception of the War on Terra. Despite a series of "Public Diplomacy Tsars" ranging from Madison Avenue hotshot Charlotte Beers to long-time Bush "wife" Karen Hughes, we've been behind in the information war from the get-go.

This story, from the LA Times, shows that our opponents don't need a highly sophisticated message in order to make an impact:

The men with laptops sat around an unadorned conference table, chatting amicably about their plans and operations.
The scene on the newly launched Al Zawraa satellite television channel could have been footage from the boardroom of any company, if it weren't for the ski masks the men wore and the subject of the meeting: future mortar attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq.

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