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Ear to the Ground

Losing the War of Ideas

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Posted on Aug 29, 2009
Mullen
swamppolitics.com

Mullen’s article appears just as it was announced that August 2009 now stands as the deadliest month ever suffered by U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

When it comes to the war of ideas, Adm. Mike Mullen believes the U.S. is losing. In a critique of U.S. strategic communication in the pages of everyone’s favorite publication, Joint Force Quarterly, Mullen mulls over the chasm between Washington’s words and its actions in the Muslim world.

The Guardian:

The highest officer in the US military today issued a scathing critique of American “strategic communication” efforts in Afghanistan and the Muslim world, writing that the gap between promised improvements and actual developments harms the credibility of the US message.

In an article written for Joint Force Quarterly, a military publication, Admiral Mike Mullen said that US efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere to send a positive message about US military action and development efforts hurt US credibility when they do not coincide with what the populace sees on the ground.

Mullen’s criticism comes as US officials have acknowledged the US is losing the war of ideas against its Taliban and al-Qaida enemies. In an effort to bolster its image as Barack Obama ramps up the war in Afghanistan, the administration has established a $150m (£92m) effort to train Afghan and Pakistani journalists, set up radio stations and produce pamphlets, posters and CDs lambasting Islamist militants.

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By TheHandyman, August 31, 2009 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

Our military should be like the very, very, very, last resort to solving anything. The military should be used only in the case of the most dire emergency as when this country is attack by another country with the intent of destroying or taking over the country. To use the military for anything other than that is to waste the very best defense against war a country ever had. 9/11 was a criminal act, not an act of War. Had Bush and Cheney been good moral people instead of morally bankrupt greedy barbarians, they would have co-ordinated with all of the countries in the world who wanted Osama and company and he would have been hunted down by some of the best operatives in the world. Instead they chose to use a sledge hammer to accomplish what could have been done by the turn of a key. What they did and why they did it has more than one valid explanation. But no one should question as to whether it was the right thing to do, it is obvious that it wasn’t. To use the military to do anything other than fight, destroy, and kill is like entering an Abrahms tank in a quarter mile nitro. The only way it can win is to blow the other car up! So for those who point out that the military has killed millions of Iraqi’s, tens of thousands of Afghani’s, and thousands of Pakistani’s, you are right, they did do that both righteously in some cases and they murdered in others. But that is what happens in War. It is the nature of the beast and I can say that as a Vietnam Vet! War IS hell! Ask the people in the Middle East. And those that complain that the troops were under equipped and poorly supported, that too is true. But it is also, so what?

Just what did the American People do to prevent it. Damn little. American’s for the most part are raised on blood. It is all arond us and the institutions that one would think should have been at the forefront of stopping the evil cabal that forced this war was right out in front leading the charge for revenge! This country who keeps trying to assert that it is a Christain Nation practiced none of the tenets of their namesake.

And what is going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan should not be a surprise to anyone. Obama is as bloodthirsty a Christian as Bush! He told the world that if elected President he would not hesitate to take the GWOT, of course they have a new name for it, into Pakistan! And all those people who are disenchanted with Obama now still refuse to see that what Obama has done is to happily skip down the path of murder and mayhem in foriegn countries with GOD on his shoulder. He refuses to support single payer because he says there is no money for it and yet he demands more money for the war machine to grind up ours and theirs!

Those of us who suported and voted for Ralph Nader had hoped that Obama would be everything that Bush was not. That Hope was extinguished months ago. We all know that it takes the kind of strength of character and resolve to fight against the K-Street, C-Street, and entrenched special interests to do the People’s business. There are few in Congress who have that strength and resolve, but Obama is not one of them.

We, have as a nation lost the war of ideas before! I saw it in Africa when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer when we placed the notion of supplying weapons to corrupt governments so they could subjugate their people over food, medicine and education. I saw it again in Vietnam just 4 years later. I do not think that we are a country who learns by our mistakes. We are a country that let’s evil run it because it is too busy to engage itself in the business of it’s business. We’d rather pay the evil and corrupt politicians to run it for us and then when we get really riled up, we e-mail one another while people in other countries riot and die for the rights we are giving up voluntarily. Stop blaming THEM, blame YOU!

And remember this, when anyone says they support the troops, then ask them why they are still fighting and dying over there!

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By bachu, August 31, 2009 at 12:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“…has established a $150m (£92m) effort to train Afghan and Pakistani journalists,..” wonder how much money it would cost to train US journalists.

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By Folktruther, August 30, 2009 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

Inherit!  Your back!  say, if you go to shul this weekend, see if you can pick me up a used liver cheap.  I went to some bad parties when I was young and, like the anti-hero from NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND, I think my liver is diseased.

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By Spike, August 30, 2009 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Roger, you got it.  Until the children of privilege and
the CEO’s of corporations who profit by war, and the
Congresspersons who so love war are on the front line
in the same equipment, and for the same reasons as our
kids; war will be their favorite thing.

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By diamond, August 30, 2009 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

Yes Roger Lemonde, you’re right. It’s a disgrace that the US military isn’t given even better equipment to slaughter the residents of third world countries that happen to have a lot of oil and gas just there for the taking. But why don’t we make it even more fun? Let’s give the Iraqis and the Afghanis the same weapons that the Americans have: the state of the art guns, the planes, the bombs, the missiles, the drones and then let’s see how things go. I’m guessing peace would break out in a month or so.

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By BigEasy, August 30, 2009 at 11:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ideas!? You mean like the notion of shock & awe? Is that an idea? These poor people need food, water, safety, housing, health care not more faux intellectual US Militarism. All this is an excuse to test weapons, cultivate a new generation of American warmongers and allow Washington to dominate further while terrorizing its own citizens with bogus reporting, accounting and fake stories of success. How many years does it take to see the truth here? If you could not see through Bush, you definitely won’t see through Uncle TomObama.

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By Inherit The Wind, August 30, 2009 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Anyone who thinks we are losing the war on ideas needs merely to read FT’s posts to remove any doubt.

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By Folktruther, August 30, 2009 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

It is the US War of Ideas, the truth war, that has dispowered the American people from resisting the neoliberal police state being imposed on us.  The current world financial slump and the increased destituion it has caused, a product of American deregulation, has greatly weakened the American model.  To the benifit of the whole world and the American people.

Both people and power now understand, except in US dominated countries, that Private Enterprise must be dominated by power responsible to the people.  This is occurring not only in Muslim countries where the US is trying to steal their oil reseruves, but all over the world.

The Japanese people finally threw out their right wing party, and now will probably be sold out by their mainstream left, as is occuring now in the US.  All over the world the American Idea of neoliberalism is being defeated.  Except in the US.  Until the truth war is extended to the American people, to resist American power, Americans will sit in front of their TV’s being emotionally narcatized to identify with their own oppression and the oppression of other people.

The American people musst eventually join the fight against American ideology.

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By Rodger Lemonde, August 30, 2009 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

First off I view the current wars as an obscene blot
on the American flag. Crusade 2.0 sort of sums up
the stupidity.
In defense of our military their loyalty and valor is
exemplary given the conditions of engagement. The
military mind set is to define and accomplish goals.
The American military operates with a total loyalty
and faith in the government on the assumption that
the government speaks for the best interests of
America. When the government fails the military by
defining irrational and shifting goals problems
proliferate exponentially. This whole fiasco will
have an eerie familiarity for followers of Dilbert.
WE HAVE NOT SUPPORTED OUR TROOPS
In fact we have been abusing them shamefully. We sent
them ill prepared equipment wise. We field mercenaries that are obscenely better paid to do a
few little things that no honorable soldier would do.
When our troops survive a tour of duty we send them
back. The message here is “You aren’t dead yet go
back and try again. Your family and career can wait
or mourn, whatever.”
Yes I detest war but even more strongly feel that
troops in war deserve to be treated with respect,
dignity and allowed to prosecute the war with
suitable equipment and clear objectives.

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By ChaoticGood, August 29, 2009 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

Myths, beliefs and delusions are powerful things.  They are the “shortcuts” to logical thinking. The problem is that these shortcuts often fail.
Our ham-handed attempts to manipulate Muslim thinking is laughable.  The fanatics will never listen to anything we have to say.  The moderates are intimidated by our brash militarism and cannot put our words and actions together.  The elite, educated classes don’t even live in these countries anymore.  They moved to Europe and America long ago and are watching the drama from “coffee shops”.

We are not going to solve these problems with propaganda as long as we have thousands of American Invaders on their “holy” soil.  Do we really think that we would welcome invaders in America and do we think that we would listen to their propaganda. It would not work here and it won’t work there.

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By Jean Gerard, August 29, 2009 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These Middle East wars are so OVER! Let’s quit shooting and start repairing some of the damage we’ve done and go home and stay there.  Muslims will be Muslims just like Christians will be Christians—some more rabid than others.  They’ve been living in communities for ages and could possibly teach us something about that, divisive and ego-centered as we are. But as long as we think we are better, we won’t listen to others. The thing about all war is you get into it before you know what you are doing.  If you knew what you were doing, you wouldn’t get into it.

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By C Quil, August 29, 2009 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

Jeff Huber on Mullen’s Mulligan

“Any time you hear talk about the American people losing their will to fight, you’re listening to war propaganda. The “will” stratagem often uses terms like spine, stomach, guts and other anatomical references commonly associated with courage and bravery. Like almost all war propaganda, the will stratagem is based on a false main assumption: that the war in question is good and/or necessary. Our brave troops will prevail (another common false assumption) as long as the folks back home have sufficient quantities of the proper body parts to stay the course.”

http://zenhuber.blogspot.com/2009/08/mullens-mullligan.html

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skulz fontaine's avatar

By skulz fontaine, August 29, 2009 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

Yeah the whole notion that “crusade” was a good idea? Bust from the git. Here’s
an “idea”, give up on that ‘delusion of empire’ motif and get the hell out of
Afghaniscam. Well and the quagmire called Iraqiscam. Admiral ‘barnacle’ Mullen
couldn’t “strategically communicate” with a post and that’s the entire
dysfunctionality of U.S. military. You’d think the Obama would be smart enough to
see the quagmire forest through the military trees. Hmmm, maybe the Obama
isn’t as smart as he seems to pontificate he is.

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