The reality in Iraq, as the L.A. Times reported this morning, is that the U.S. military is distributing misleading “covert propaganda” in Iraqi media outlets:
As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq. … The storyboards, several of which were obtained by The Times, read more like press releases than news stories. They often contain anonymous quotes from U.S. military officials; it is unclear whether the quotes are authentic. “Absolute truth was not an essential element of these stories,” said the senior military official who spent this year in Iraq.
Of course, in the public relations-driven “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq,” the Bush administration condemns the exact same behavior:
Isolate enemy elements from those who can be won over to the political process by countering false propaganda and demonstrating to all Iraqis that they have a stake in a democratic Iraq [National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, 11/30/05]
It’s Bush’s Iraq strategy vs. Bush’s PR strategy.