Teach the Children Well


Judicial Watch, the conservative government-watchdog group, just filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Dept. of Defense over details of Pentagon programs involving "'strategic influence, perception management, strategic information warfare and/or strategic psychological operations' through media consultants, 'think tanks,' foreign expatriate political organizations and Internet sites." From the press release:

Judicial Watch is seeking, among other matters; information on a "peace movement" Internet site that reportedly was funded and established by the Pentagon called "Empower Peace." The site was developed by The Rendon Group, a media consultancy firm the Pentagon has paid more than $40 million dollars to since 2001, and targets participation of American school age children, teachers and schools in what appears to be a "grassroots" peace movement. The Rendon Group's relationship with the Pentagon has been reported in the New York Times and public relations trade magazines. "Empower Peace" offers "cultural awareness," interactive web broadcasts between New York and Jordan, as well as Boston and Bahrain, and interaction with school age children of Islamic countries. There is no indication on the site that it is a project of the U.S. Defense Department.

Full complaint [PDF file] is here.

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  1. Cultural awareness? How awful!

    I’m sure that if this site had instead encouraged school-aged children to use their Islamic counterparts as “targets” in online video games, Judicial Watch still would have been the first in line to register a complaint.

    I mean, peace?!? My Judeo-Christian God!!!

  2. The Pentagon obviously has no business targeting American children with “strategic influence, perception management, strategic information warfare and/or strategic psychological operations’ through media consultants, ‘think tanks,’ foreign expatriate political organizations and Internet sites.”, but even beyond that…

    …Look at all the waste–again! I mean, a $40 million budget and all the taxpayers got was a crummy web site?

    I know, it’s like the old story about the two old ladies in a restaurant. Old Lady One says, “The food here makes me nauseous!” Old Lady Two replies: “It makes me sick too, and the portions are so small.” This, of course, begs the question: If the food tastes so bad, why would she want larger portions?

    The answer has something to do with the total stinking more than the sum of its parts, I think. I mean, yeah, I don’t want the government to target American children with psy-ops, but if they’re gonna do that, for goodness sake, can’t they show a little fiscal restraint? I mean, there’s gotta be a more cost efficient and effective way to target children with psy-ops.

    …You could launch a breakfast cereal with a Saturday morning cartoon tie in–“NeoCons, it’s an important part of any breakfast!” For $40 million, you could hire Cirque de Soleil to produce a school to school traveling show featuring tumbling Islamic fundamentalists. …and that’s just off the top of my head.

  3. I agree, Ken. It is wasteful spending, first and foremost.

    Somewhere, a Halliburton executive is wondering to himself, “How the hell did we miss out on this?”

  4. Halliburton doesn’t concern itself with chump change. Now, if they’d budgeted $4 billion for the project, we’d be all over that!

  5. Outside of the egregious amount of money spent, I’m not sure what to think. What exactly is “strategic influence, perception management” and “strategic information warfare?”

  6. A long-winded synonym for “propaganda.”

  7. Ah yes, peace, or as it’s sometimes known:


    I’m not sure what the goal of this site is. It looks like some ridiculous spoof of loopy liberal activism. Maybe it’s supposed to be like The Yes Men, only backwards.

  8. We should teach our children the difference between those who love Peace–known as the Coalition–and those who do not–known as the Axis of Evil, whose list we update regularly.

    Peace is war, children. And war is peace.

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