OPINION & EDITOR’S COMMENT: How to lose the battle for hearts and minds

Rummy resurfaces, calls for U.S. propaganda agency

One of the many things I love about Donald Rumsfeld is that he’s totally unrepentant. Back in 2001, the Pentagon under his leadership created the controversial Office of Strategic Influence, which was closed down just a few months later after its existence became public. Rightly or wrongly, the Pentagon was accused of creating a propaganda office. Now, the former defense secretary has a bigger vision: he is advocating a “21st century agency for global communications.”

This was one of the major themes in one of Rumsfeld’s first post-Pentagon public comments at a conference today on network centric warfare sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement. According to Rumsfeld, the United States is losing the war of ideas in the Muslim world, and the answer to that, in part, is through the creation of this new government agency. [complete article]

Editor’s Comment — The so-called battle for hearts and minds suffers from the same problem that afflicts all evangelical endeavors: it insults the intelligence of the people it aims to influence. Why would one group of people acquire mental flexibility in response to pressure from another group of people who lack mental flexibility?

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