Who Said the Following?


Negative attitudes [toward the U.S.] and the conditions that create them are the underlying sources of threats to America's national security and reduced ability to leverage diplomatic opportunities. Terrorism, thin coalitions, harmful effects on business, restrictions on travel, declines in cross border tourism and education flows, and damaging consequences for other elements of U.S. soft power are tactical manifestations of a pervasive atmosphere of hostility. […]

Today … the perception of intimate U.S. support of tyrannies in the Muslim World is perhaps the critical vulnerability in American strategy. It strongly undercuts our message, while strongly promoting that of the enemy. […]

Muslims do not "hate our freedom," but rather, they hate our policies. […]

[T]he dramatic narrative since 9/11 has essentially borne out the entire radical Islamist bill of particulars. American actions and the flow of events have elevated the authority of the Jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims.

Was it Richard Haas? Christiane Amanpour? Timothy Garton Ash? Kevin Drum? Try the Defense Science Board, a federal advisory committee set up to give advice to the Department of Defense. The DSB's recent report (PDF) on America's global public relations "crisis" makes for fascinating if tedious reading, not least for its recommendations on how the U.S. government can act more like an "insurgent" than an "incumbent." (Link via Secrecy News)

NEXT: Yasser Arafat Joke

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  1. I’d laugh myself silly if any of the above were spoke aloud on Fox News

  2. It was Charles Durning, playing Pappy O’Daniel, who framed the argument best: “You idiot! You can’t run on reform as an incumbent!”

  3. paging rick barton… rick barton…

    your cue to give an ironic rendition of “i told you so” to many a doubter… 🙂

    all that’s left is to see what we can do for the children.



  4. Why does the Defense Science Board hate America?

  5. Writing reports since 1956.

  6. It sounds more neoconish than Rick Barton-ish, especially the reference to “U.S. support of tyrannies in the Muslim World,” and how we should cut that shit out.

  7. This hawkish Libertarin agrees with the assesment, and we oughta start with Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Read “Imperial Hubris” from a CIA guy o read a similar assesment.

    With that said, I still think we need to be pre-emptive and kick Islamic funamentalist @ss.

  8. Steve sensed it, but here’s the money quote:

    “Recommendation 6
    The Task Force recommends that the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy should act as
    the DOD focal point for strategic communication and serve as the Department?s
    principal on the NSC?s Strategic Communication Coordinating Committee. The Under
    Secretary for Policy should coordinate strategic communication activities with the
    Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and the Under Secretary of Defense for
    Intelligence. The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy should extend the role and
    responsibility of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs to
    act as the Department?s focal point for DoD support of public diplomacy and create a
    new Deputy Assistant Secretary to coordinate all activities associated with support for public diplomacy; and provide adequate staff for policy advice, program direction, and

    There’s a lot of other stuff about setting up direct airwave communication into other countries, but this more or less seems like the DoD is interested bypassing the State Dept and setting up their own diplomacy squad. Under the guidance of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

    I’ll save you the Google charge: Douglas Feith

    Here’s another gem. Guess who’s John Hancock is at the bottom of the request for this report. p98

  9. So, this report has a neocon pedigree yet it seems that they are also giving some good advice such as condemning “U.S. support of tyrannies in the Muslim World,” I say, be careful, be very careful! Maybe they are coming to grips with reality but parts of it sound like plans for power consolidation.

    Once again on this stellar blog, I’m invited issue an “I told you so” concerning my pronouncements vis a vis US foreign policy. Thank you, but that’s not my style so I’ll just state that, to paraphrase Newton: If I came to these conclusios earlier than some on these threads, it’s because I stood on the shoulders of giants in the libertarian movement. None of these giants are of any greater stature than Antiwar.com

    If our government would have shunned the lies of the neocons and instead had been putting into practice the wisdom: Muslims do not “hate our freedom,” but rather, they hate our policies. And, adopted a non-interventionist foreign policy, the 9/11 slaughter and the ensuing carnage that it precipitated, not to mention the Patriot Act, likely would not have occurred.

    I hope this will not be the occasion for another “I told you so” invitation. But there is danger afoot yet again. The Israeli-Pentagon (Douglas Feith’s office) spy scandal gives evidence that the neocons now have Iran in their sights and as we know, they harbor no compunctions concerning getting this nation into wars not in our interest and spilling American blood if they think it will benefit the Israeli government. Now is the time to tell your rep. and senators “No war on Iran” :

  10. Maybe they are coming to grips Rick, or maybe they are dressing up the recommendations they are trying to sell. Heck, sounds like they even got you half fooled.

    Antiwar.com, christ, haven’t heard that name in a while. Is Raimondo still on his Israeli artists and poet’s flew planes that were not planes into the Pentagon before seducing the NJ gov in order to throw the election for Bush kick? Shit, gotta hand it to him, looks like he was right.

  11. chthus,

    Maybe they are dressing up their recommendations for marketability. Like I said, be careful, but some of this stuff just doesn’t sound like the standard neo line. Although, only neocons would council against “U.S. support of tyrannies in the Muslim World as undercutting our message”, and leave out the obvious one, the US government support for the Israeli occupation. Unless that’s in there too, and if it is, I will have to conclude that I have been wrong about the neocons or that they have changed!

    Come on, what Raimondo explored in a book he wrote about it, is that there is strong evidence as provided by many and diverse media sources, including FOX, that the Israeli government had prior knowledge of 9/11 and didn’t tell us.

    Antiwar.com uses lots of different writers and news outlets and where they are really good, and quite accurate in their predictions has been in the neocon machinations behind the Iraq war. They are now covering the push for an assault on Iran.

  12. Mike,

    “With that said, I still think we need to be pre-emptive and kick Islamic funamentalist @ss.”

    Pre-emption is an arguable strategy, so long as we can all agree that the @sses we need to kick belong to terrorists, not Islamic fundamentalists.

    I have no use for fundamentalists of any sort, but let’s not forget that while most terrorists are Islamic fundamentalists, most Islamic fundamentalists are not terrorists.

  13. Rick,

    It looks like you may have had the neocons wrong all the time. From p26 on pdf (p18 in report):

    “Islam?s struggle raises critical considerations for strategic communication:
    ? The contest of ideas is taking place not just in Arab and other Islamic countries but in
    the cities and villages of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere.
    ? U.S. policies on Israeli-Palestinian issues and Iraq in 2003-2004 have damaged
    America?s credibility and power to persuade.
    ? The hostile atmosphere in which terrorists act is reinforced by religious messages,
    sophisticated media strategies, and advanced information technologies.
    ? Regimes based on consent may be intolerant and oppose U.S. policies.
    ? More sophisticated influence and attitudinal segmentation models are needed.
    ? Strategists face difficult trade-offs in determining feasible choices and funding
    priorities in using persuasive, cooperative, and coercive instruments of power.”

  14. Rick,

    Upon your encouragement, I just stopped by antiwar.com for the first time in a long time and what’s there to greet me first and foremost? Not Iraq, not Iran, but a friggin’ pledge drive. Screw that, first Raimondo goes off half-cocked (don’t give me FOX as some sort of credible source reference for a claim that bold) and now he’s shilling for pennies like the beggar outside the PBS building in Oakland. Embarrassing, I’ll pass thank you.

  15. “now he’s shilling for pennies like the beggar outside the PBS building in Oakland. Embarrassing, I’ll pass thank you.”

    I was going to write a long post about the economics of running websites, but instead I’ll do something short and sweet:

    Go start your own commercial-free website with a multi-gig archive, multiple daily updates, and sufficient bandwith to handle tens of thousands of unique visitors every day, or go fuck yourself, you worthless little shit.

  16. chthus

    So if they really believe that “U.S. policies on Israeli-Palestinian issues…have damaged Americas credibility and power to persuade”, the report should call for an end to our government paying for the occupation. If that’s in there, I’ll subscribe to The Weekly Standard.

    Fox was but one of many sources on that matter and I mentioned it to stress the diversity of them. So what in the Hell is wrong with fundraising? You won’t ever see Antiwar.com trying for a government grant, like lefty political sites and PBS do, which really is wrong. Anyway, they deserve our support, as they are the 37th most frequented site on the whole web and easily the most frequented libertarian site.

  17. Actually, upon reflection (which there isn’t enough of on the Internet), my last post was unnecessarily vulgar. If a mod would delete it, I would be most grateful. Thank you.

  18. chthus,

    We seem to arguing about antiwar.com but I do want to thank you for your close reading of this report.

  19. Not at all Jack, for what is a man without his emotion? I am not offended but rather think you don’t quite see what I meant. Go have a look yourself, and if you don’t agree with my analogy in this case (Red:Panic Alert, just about broke. Orange: Anxiety attack, still in poorhouse), so be it.

    As for your choice…
    “Go start your own commercial-free website with a multi-gig archive, multiple daily updates, and sufficient bandwith to handle tens of thousands of unique visitors every day, or go fuck yourself, you worthless little shit.”

    I’ll take neither right now, thanks.

  20. Rick,

    I haven’t completed the report yet, but I doubt that recommendation is in there. Despite some of the dressing up front, it’s largely a group of scientists making recommendations on communications. I’ve been piecemealing it so far. I’ll let you know if anything juicy comes up on further review. It was just what appeared to be an attempt to suggest a mini-state dept, spawned of the pentagon and run by Douglas Feith, coupled with Wolfie’s signature calling the whole thing into being that turned my head initially. The layers never really do end, do they?

    As for the fund drive, it was style more than the act itself that prompted my response, as I tried to explain to Jack up there. Why doesn’t he run some blog ads if he’s so damned hard up for cash?

    As for Juddy’s fanciful tale of Israeli complicity in 9/11, I took a swim in that a while back and found it less compelling than the aQ/OKC connection. Revisiting it would probably rank just slightly higher than the choices Jack was offering.

  21. condemning “U.S. support of tyrannies in the Muslim World,”

    Geez, we’re knocking ’em down as fast as we can.

    Its funny how the people who say this generally turn around and also claim that we are overstretched, and never seem to see the contradiction.

    What’s even funnier is when they criticize us for supporting tyranny, and then criticize us for opposing the PLO tyranny and supporting the Israeli democracy.

    More of that nuance, I suppose.

  22. chthus:

    As for Juddy’s fanciful tale of Israeli complicity in 9/11,

    He explored no such thing, only that the Israeli government had prior knowledge of the attack and didn’t tell us. The evidence for this is heavy.

    R C Dean,

    Our government supports both the Egyptian and Jordanian regimes. Like 3 billion and 1/2 billion

    …then criticize us for for opposing the PLO tyranny and supporting the Israeli democracy.

    I havn’t seen that in this report signed by Wolfowitz. Is it in there? I’ll be surprised if it is. But supporting the brutal Israeli occupation is supporting tyranny. Also, before you spray the Israeli government with the “it’s a democracy” Teflon, consider that the Israeli democracy is one in which the head of state actually supports “Jews Only” housing area laws on government land, in open discrimination against the 15% to 20% Arab citizens of Israel:


    Also, regarding the PLO, Arafat was corrupt in his administration, this corruption was in concert with the Israeli government(see: How Israel Lost: The Four Questions by Richard Ben Cramer) and his victims were the Palestinian people, but he *was* one of the few, if not the only, Arab leaders to come to power via a democratic vote.

  23. Rick,

    If I have broad general knowledge that tomorrow some one in the country will be murdered, given it’s very nature it is unactionable and can’t really be considered against me. However, if I have specific knowledge of the who, where, when, and how, my failure to act is a form of complicity.

    Consider a wife who knows her husband is making a bomb to blow up the bank that is foreclosing on their home, he is planning it for the next day at 10:00 am. If she does nothing is she complicit? Legally, maybe. Morally, yes. Complicity need not be a participation in the act, but merely an association, a knowing and not acting. This is what Raimondo has claimed. It is a bold claim. And yet his evidence is not compelling. Could they have had some notion of something like this being one possibilty amongst many. Sure. But then again, so could anyone who reads the newspaper throughout the late nineties.

    As for the report, in your comments to RC Dean you mention the report is signed by Wolfowitz. Careful, the REQUEST for the report is signed by Wolfowitz, the report itself is by the scientist body of the DSB.

  24. Rick, this report doesn’t mention US support for Israel, granted. I was speaking a little more broadly, to the Raimondo/anti-war/on the other side crowd, which routinely throws up US support of Israel as a justification for Islamist terror, right alongside US support for other, admittedly odious regimes, while simultaneously whining about the US overthrowing the most destructive and dangerous regimes.

    I know, I know, “a foolish consistency” and all that.

    Still, if you pretend that winning over the Arab Street in the short term matters at all in winning this war, then you have to admit that first item in the Street’s bill of particulars isn’t support for Egypt, it is support for Israel. The Arab Street doesn’t need to be wooed, it needs to be completely renovated.

    As for the democratic legitimacy of Arafat’s despotic kleptocracy, pull the other one. Its got bells on.

  25. “condemning “U.S. support of tyrannies in the Muslim World,”

    Geez, we’re knocking ’em down as fast as we can.”

    – RC Dean

    Bullshit. Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Lybia – our support for these tyrannies has increased since the beginning of the global Jacobin crusade. Oh, and we’re on our way towards selling out the only Muslim democracy in the Middle East, Kurdistan.

    It’s all very well that we’re arranging for Arafat-style “elections” to provide legitimacy for our hand-picked puppets in Iraq and Aghanistan, and the suppression (for now) of the most destructive indigineous oppressers in each of those countries is surely a good thing. But our global strategy under Bush has involved virtual abandonment of the pressure on dictators from Beijing to Moscow to the Middle East, while the biggest effect of our Iraq strategy to date on Middle Easter democracy has been to undermine Iran’s student movement, and give the mullahs the opportunity to cast it as a foreign-initiated threat to national security.

    Charles Freund, in citing fledgling liberal movements as evidence that there could be a burst of democracy in the future, at least offers a plausible analysis. But we are not knocking down tyrannies as fast as we can – we slapped down a couple that stepped out of line, and redoubled our support of all the others in the process.

  26. chtthus:

    “And yet his evidence is not compelling.”

    I disagree, I think it’s very compelling. Have you read his book on the matter?: Terror Enigma: 9/11 And the Israeli Connection
    A review in Liberty contends that he is rather modest in his conclusions and in fact understates the case. (I looked for a link-it was few issues ago. Can anyone provide one?)

    “Careful, the REQUEST for the report is signed by Wolfowitz, the report itself is by the scientist body of the DSB.”

    You’re right, that’s an important distinction.

  27. R C Dean:

    “…which routinely throws up US support of Israel as a justification for Islamist terror”

    Not a justification at all, but rather, the reason-the motivation. Note that the 9/11 commission findings reveal:

    Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who conceived and directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was motivated by his strong disagreement with American support for Israel, said the final report of the Sept. 11 commission.


    See also: bin Laden’s ‘letter to America’ :

    The blood pouring out of Palestine must be equally revenged. You must know that the Palestinians do not cry alone; their women are not widowed alone; their sons are not orphaned alone.


    R C Dean:

    “As for the democratic legitimacy of Arafat’s despotic kleptocracy”

    I intended to confer no legitimacy to Arafat’s thieving regime. Democracies regularly do hideous things anyway. I was just observing the fact that he came to power via the vote.

  28. Arafat came to power by the vote. The same vote that is supposed to usher in liberal democratic culture in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Since that certainly didn’t happen in Rump Palestine, I’m left wondering, why? Is the belief that an election of a national Chief Executive will lead to trickle down democratization in the culture (the basis of the regime change strategy) false? Or are the structural problems imposed on the Palestinians so overwhelming that even the best planned prods towards democratic change there are hopeless? Or perhaps a combination of the two? What do you think, RC?

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