Losing the War of Ideas
Posted on Aug 29, 2009
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 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.
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.