media propaganda in the middle east
In the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, psychological operations tactics were employed to demoralize the Taliban and to win the sympathies of the Afghan population. At least six EC-130E Commando Solo aircraft were used to jam local radio transmissions and transmit replacement propaganda messages. Leaflets were also dropped throughout Afghanistan, offering rewards for Osama bin Laden and other individuals, portraying Americans as friends of Afghanistan and emphasizing various negative aspects of the Taliban. Another shows a picture of Mohammed Omar in a set of crosshairs with the words “We are watching.” This technique has been shown to be rather ineffective in terms of long term opinions change given current political and social conditions in Afghanistan.
US PSYOP pamphlet disseminated in Iraq. Text: “This is your future al-Zarqawi” and shows al-Qaeda fighter al-Zarqawi caught in a rat trap.
Iraq War This section is written like a personal reflection or essay and may require cleanup. Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style. (September 2010)
The United States and Iraq both employed propaganda during the Iraq War. The United States established campaigns towards the American people on the justifications of the war while using similar tactics to bring down Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq.
The Iraqi insurgency’s plan was to gain as much support as possible by using violence as their propaganda tool. Inspired by the Vietcong’s tactics, insurgents were using rapid movement to keep the coalition off-balance. By using low-technology strategies to convey their messages, they were able to gain support. Graffiti slogans were used on walls and houses praising the virtues of many group leaders while condemning the Iraqi government. Others used flyers, leaflets, articles and self published newspapers and magazines to get the point across.
Insurgents also produced CDs and DVDs and distributed them in communities that the Iraq and the U.S. Government were trying to influence. The insurgents designed advertisements that cost a fraction of what the U.S. was spending on their ads aimed at the same people in Iraq with much more success. In addition, the Iraqis also created and established an Arabic language television station to transmit information to the people of Iraq about the rumors and lies that the Americans were spreading about the war.
American Propaganda in Iraq
To achieve their aim of a moderate, pro-western Iraq, U.S. authorities were careful to avoid conflicts with Islamic culture that would produce passionate reactions from Iraqis, but differentiating between “good” and “bad” Islams has proved challenging for the U.S.
The U.S. implemented something called “Black Propaganda” by creating false radio personalities that would disseminate pro-American information but supposedly run by the supporters of Saddam Hussein. One radio station used was Radio Tikrit. Another example of America’s attempt with Black Propaganda is that the U.S. paid Iraqis to publish articles written by American troops in their newspapers under the idea that they are unbiased and real accounts; this was brought forth by the New York Times in 2005. The article stated that it was the Lincoln Group who had been hired by the U.S. government to create the propaganda, however their names were later cleared from any wrong doing.
The U.S. was more successful with the “Voice of America” campaign, which is an old Cold War tactic that exploited people’s desire for information. While the information they gave out to the Iraqis was truthful, they were in a high degree of competition with the opposing forces after the censorship of the Iraqi media was lifted with the removal of Saddam from power.
In November 2005, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, alleged that the United States military had manipulated news reported in Iraqi media in an effort to cast a favorable light on its actions while demoralizing the insurgency. Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a military spokesman in Iraq, said the program is “an important part of countering misinformation in the news by insurgents”, while a spokesman for former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the allegations of manipulation were troubling if true. The Department of Defense confirmed the existence of the program.
Propaganda aimed at Americans
The extent to which the US government was guilty of propaganda aimed at its own people is a matter of discussion. The book Selling Intervention & War by Jon Western argued that president Bush was “selling the war” to the public.
President George W. Bush gave a talk at the Athena Performing Arts Center at Greece Athena Middle and High School Tuesday, May 24, 2005 in Rochester, NY. About half way through the event Bush said, “See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”
People had their initial reactions to the War on Terror, but with more biased and persuading information, Iraq as a whole has been negatively targeted. America’s goal was to remove Saddam Hussein’s power in Iraq with allegations of possible weapons of mass destruction related to Osama Bin Laden. Video and picture coverage in the news has shown shocking and disturbing images of torture and other evils being done under the Iraqi Government.