Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: The Army: "Business as Usual", or SNAFU as an art form.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Army: "Business as Usual", or SNAFU as an art form.

"Within hours of the launching of the largest military attack since WW II, the armie's system for supporting the reporters who were covering it collapsed. Only small pieces of it survived to help journalists with units in the battlefield during the 100 hours of the ground war."
Chapter 2 of the book "Hotel Warriors" goes to great lengths to describe the ineptitude and lack of enthusiasm the army displayed in it's handling of the press corps. Generals and politicians recognized the propaganda power of the media and planned for extensive coverage, but were unable to impress the rank and file. The author puts forth the notion that many officers had an ingrained distrust of the press, blaming them for losing the Vietnam War. (That notion would be funny if 55,000 Americans and a million Vietnamese hadn't died.) So if you don't trust them, you mistreat them, and that's going to make things better? Very short sighted, and a flaw corrected by the administration of Bush2, which learned from the first Gulf War how to spin a war, and even how to make one disappear from the public consciousness, say with a distraction like ruining the economy.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A great post. You have raised some of the key points from Fialka and Braestrup's book.

One of the points that I found most interesting was the idea that the Pentagon could set media policy but that the public affairs officers and the soldiers themselves had their own ideas about how to treat the press. The 'lessons of Vietnam' really shaped this generation of officers attitude towards the media.

3/26/2008 10:01 PM  

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