Wednesday, May 17, 2006

More on neocon-Pentagon management of "evil" media in Iraq

What has made Ajami such a topic of conversation on
this site of scholars specialized in Mideast affairs
is not some breakthrough analysis, but his brazen
neocon-ish shift from one side to the other. And,
while his earlier work showed some respect for depth
and complexity, his most recent is totally devoid of
these scholarly traits, though he is promoted as a
scholar. I must say that I personally have had the
same disappointing epiphany about Robert Kaplan. I
long thought him a most profound scholar of Central
Asia. But, as I think the text below shows, he has
also moved in service of the neocon "betrayed by evil
media" neocon-ish perspective.

Below is a necon think-tank-- AEI-- "event" where
their man Donnelly pontificates as usual on the media
and the military while Gen. Franks' PR "information"
man is let loose to prove exactly how incoherent and
sophistic the Pentagon is on the issue of the
"information war"; and finally, Kaplan bespeaks his
weird principles to explain why the media is so evil
and what to do about it.
What is most interesting is the date of that event:
Dec. 8, 2004, soon after the re-election of President
Bush. I look forward to analysis on the part of list
members-- with the advantage of knowledge about events
since-- on the mental formats that identified the
neocon and Pentagon perspectives on management of the
press as a factor in the "information war." Every
pathology has a mechanism behind it and its deviance
from normality is usually self-expository for those
patient enough to study the phenomenon. I will spare
you my reading of this text and much prefer reading
your analysis.,eventID.953/transcript.asp


Transcript Print Mail

Winning Hearts and Minds: Information Warfare in the
Global War on Terror

December 8, 2004

Unedited transcript prepared from a tape recording

11:45 a.m. Registration

Noon Discussants: Brigadier General Vincent Brooks,
U.S. Army
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly
Moderator: Thomas Donnelly, AEI

1:30 p.m. Adjournment

MR. DONNELLY: To information warfare, to use a
horrible term of ours. But what we're going to be
talking about today to me really goes to the most
fundamental question about the nature of warfare

So, this is not going to be a simply a role or a
discussion of the role of the press in war time or in
Iraq specifically, although I'm sure we will touch on
those issues. But in preparing for this session, I
was naturally, as I probably too often am, was driven
back to Clausewitz, who is always a refuge for the
academic out of ideas. And his fundamental definition
of war was, of course, as an act of force to compel
our enemy to do our will. And the striking thing
about that to me is that the measure of victory is
always, to use the term of Clausewitz, which we would
have used, a moral measure. That is, it--or perhaps
psychological is a more modern translation of that
term. In other words, it's a human contest between
two animate contestants, and the contest is never over
until your enemy accepts, if you will, your version of

So, again, when we're talking about the war that we're
embarked upon today, again the probably unhappy
accepted term is the Global War on Terrorism, it, just
like every other war, is a contest of wills, and if
there were any doubt about that, I would think that
recent headlines are a pretty strong testament to that
and certainly recent statements of American generals
and American supreme commanders ought to reflect that.

We're going to be talking about the Global War on
Terrorism today. What is the Global War on Terrorism
is a pretty good question. And what is our will, so
to speak, or what is our goal in the Global War on

The President has defined it I think quite accurately
and quite percipiently as an effort to transform the
political culture of the greater Middle East, and
that's a short phrase that could stand a huge amount
of textual deconstruction and analysis, but I think
it's the right one.

And again, I would emphasize that this is
fundamentally or first an ideological struggle,
perhaps between three parties: the status quo, the
sort of autocratic collection of governments in the
region; between one other revolutionary party, the
Osama Revolutionary Party, if you will, the Islamic
Revolutionary Party, seeking to establish quite a
different political order in the region; and, of
course, ourselves. We are also a revolutionary party
by the standards of the region, by the political
measures of the region. But we're obviously trying to
impose or to enact quite a different revolution from
Osama bin Laden. We're trying to bring a liberal
democracy or a set of liberal democracies to the

Once again, it's clear that in this struggle, the
moral dimension is paramount.

One of two other questions of a real fundamental
nature: we ought to discuss today what is information
warfare? It's a term of art that's bandied about or
has been bandied about military and strategy
communities for the last 10 years without what I would
regard as a very precise or useful definition. I was
just reading the conclusions of the Defense Science
Board Task Force on Strategic Communication, which is
another sort of euphemism for essentially the same

And when you read these government documents, it
sounds like literary analysis done by government
agency. It seems pretty arid and hardly very
insightful at capturing what's really going on or what
really ought to be going on.

The DSB report speaks to my mind too much about how to
improve our poll numbers abroad, and speaks of public
diplomacy in crisis as though all we really needed to
do is to make people like us a little bit more, and
everything would be hunky dory. This is, again,
entirely without reference to our fundamentally
revolutionary purposes in the region, and perhaps the
measure of success in the near term is simply to make
our purpose clearer rather than to make it immediately
popular. It ought to be no surprise that trying to
bring about a fundamental political change in a pretty
fair sized part of the planet is not immediately
popular, either with the entrenched powers in the
region or our friends and interlocutors elsewhere who
have gotten used to the status quo.

Finally, I think we ought to take a step back and
reevaluate what is strategic communication, and how
really this can be a tool or can it really be a tool
of the United States Government or any government?

So much of our strategic communication, thought of
broadly, emanates from American culture or things that
are not really part of the government and are very
difficult for the government to control. And when the
government tries to control them, they usually screw
it up and do a bad job of it.

And you could argue that in the Middle East that it
was the unintended consequences of our past strategic
communications, of our promulgation of a set of
political principles and a popular culture and a high
culture that reflected the love of freedom in the
American people that got us into trouble in the first
place, if you go back, say, to the Iranian Revolution,
and the image of America as the Great Satan. It's
both the image in that culture of an oppressor or a
potential oppressor and a great seducer.

So, when we think about how to win the hearts and
minds of people in the Arab Middle East, in the
Islamic world more broadly, clearly we ought to first
of all think about our own purposes, our own culture
and our own selves and what we want to accomplish
there, and then also obviously undertake a more
intensive and, you know, holistic and perhaps even
literary kind of an analysis of the culture--or the
set of cultures with which we're dealing.

And so, with that very broad and pompous introduction,
I want now to turn the microphone to our guests. We
have two really distinguished, and we'll have time for
questions later. Let me just go through the program
of events. Each one of our presenters is going to
have about 15 or 20 minutes to say what they would
like to say, and then there will be some discussion
between the two of them before we go to the question
and answer session. And we'll be done in about an
hour and 15 minutes.

Speaking first will be Brigadier General Vincent
Brooks, whom everybody knows I suppose the face and
the voice of Operation Iraqi Freedom, or at least the
initial phase of it. His bio is in your packet, and
so I won't recite his military curriculum vitae, but
he's here for a purpose, and he genuinely needs no
introduction. He's been a very well known face and
personality in American culture for some time.

I'm also very pleased to have Robert Kaplan with us.
I myself am a recovering journalist, and I really wish
that I had his job and I could go back to being the
kind of journalist that he is, except that I'm rather
older and I'm less interested in traveling to the
really ugly parts of the planet and sleeping on a cot
and sleeping anywhere but my own bed these days.

Again, he's a very prolific writer. His range of
subjects over the past 10 or 15 years is really quite
astounding, and the thing that I envy most about him
or admire most about him is his willingness as a
journalist to tackle not simply faraway places and
strange cultures, but big ideas. Again, from my own
past, I don't like to allow academics to have sole
proprietary ownership of big ideas. And I think what
Bob has done, not simply through his sort of travel
writing, if you will, but through his willingness to
challenge the status quo, the intellectual status quo
over the past 15 years is something that I certainly

And finally, lately, he's taken to hanging out with
soldiers and people in the military, which is what I
used to do as a journalist, and something that more
journalists ought to do.

So, with those glowing introductions and with gestures
of great respect to both our panelists, General
Brooks, the microphone is yours to say, to give us a
presentation that you care to.

GENERAL BROOKS: Thanks, Tom. I'm really delighted to
be able to spend some time with you today and share
some thoughts from the perspective of a military
practitioner here.

And the thoughts that I'll share with you really
are--they're my views. These are things that are
gained from my own personal experiences in a variety
of positions, and you've seen the bio.

Most recently, I would tell you I've changed positions
into being the Army's Chief of Public Affairs, just
this week. And that is a little bit different than
my--most of my experience in the past, which has been
in operational assignments or as a planner and those
types of things.

Prior to that, I was in the Joint Staff and served as
the Deputy Director of Strategic Plans and Policy for
the War on Terrorism, and we can certainly give some
insights. That's fresh on my mind in terms of these
challenges we face in the war on terrorism and what it
is or is not, and how we're approaching it.

And then before that, then you may have seen me in my
work with General Franks at Central Command.

I want to spend just a few minutes here. I probably
won't take the full allotted time, but just to share
some thoughts with you up front on the challenges of
fighting wars in the information age.

Now, it's a little bit different, as I characterize
it, than the title of this forum. And I think it's
important to make that distinction, because that's
really what we're talking about. We are in a
different kind of an age now. It's different than
what Clausewitz spoke of. Much of what he says
certainly endures, but it's a different environment

And what I want you to know today is that you have
military professionals who are thinking about this
complex environment and this changed environment that
we're living in a thoughtful way, trying to wrestle
with these difficulties. The answers are not easy to
come by. There are no panaceas. There are no simple
solutions really, either, because what we're
fundamentally talking about is the essence of human
behavior; and when you're looking at how you cause
humans to behave, one way or another, or what people
consider to guide their actions, it's a complex
environment to say the least.

I am of the opinion that the information age presents
us a domain within which we must conduct our
operations. We use the term in the military battle
space, and the thought behind that is that's the
physical and other methods--the area that surrounds
your work, to keep it as simple as possible.

We're well acquainted with the traditional battle
spaces of air, land, sea, space, and, to be truthful,
we've achieved a high degree of effectiveness, if not
dominance, in those battle spaces.

But the information battle space is a little bit
different. It's much more difficult to gain a
dominance in that area as it regards your adversaries,
because it is open also to those who are not your
adversaries. It's open to the public. It's open to
foreign audiences with whom we have no grievance.
It's open to interested parties. It takes different
forms. It flows in different ways. It's ubiquitous.

And because of that, it causes us to have to think
differently about every one of our actions and how
they might resonate in each one of those different
what I call conduits of communication. And, for
example, if we were to think that all we have a
responsibility to do is to inform our own population,
then we might miss the fact that there are others who
are interested and who are watching the networks that
inform our population. We might miss the fact that
the Internet, while it may pass through the United
States, doesn't terminate in the United States. It
doesn't originate in the United States; and,
therefore, anything we say or anything that's posted
on the Internet might be out there.

Our adversaries know this and are quite skillful at
it. Many have talked about the term asymmetric
warfare, and I'll just give you a short thought on
some practical applications of asymmetry.

In the simplest way, I would define that as taking
actions that have an effect in an indirect way against
something that cannot respond in kind. A simple
definition of it, and you may or may not accept that,
but that's how I characterize it.

And, so, you might seize an aircraft and use it as a
missile, which is essentially a military act, but you
do it for the purpose of an economic and a social
impact; where the traditional response is that
military action cannot be responded to directly in a
military way. Certainly, not in the immediate sense.
Where attacks might occur to generate a crisis in
governance that causes people to have feelings of
insecurity, and I hope as we get into this a bit
later, we can talk about the difference between
insecurity and security, because they're not the same,
and they're not opposites either.

So, nevertheless, we have adversaries who understand
this; who understand that an action can be taken that
would have consequence, but it can be magnified many
times over and achieve a completely different set of
outcomes and effects by introducing that action into
the information domain.

Direct competition exists between us and our
adversaries in that battle space. And if we don't
recognize it as such, then we will yield that battle
space to adversaries who seek to do us harm, who might
seek to have us come to an end. And that's just not
an acceptable solution for us.

And, so, what we face now is how do we condition
ourselves to fight in this new battle space in a way
that has the necessary effect on our adversaries while
not having an unnecessary or undesirable effect on our
colleagues, our friends, those who are interested in
our own public? Considerable challenge. Information
goes where it goes. And I found this first hand while
I was in Qatar as General Franks' Deputy for
Operations and spokesperson. If we have not thought
our way through a simple comment about a Coalition
member, and how that might resonate inside of that
Coalition member's capital, where there are any number
of political issues, social issues that may hinge on a
perception of the quality of the Coalition. If we
haven't thought about that, then we're not fighting in
the information age. We're not sensitive to the
realities that we face right now. And, so, we have
that kind of an experience that goes through all of
what we do.

The reality also is that some of the communications
conduits are regulated and some are not. I use the
Internet example again because it's proliferating so
rapidly, and because it does penetrate so many
different parts of the world. Even lesser developed
parts of the world have access to Internet and cell
phone technology. Just completely bypassed the wired
age, if you will.

And so, information can flow that is not regulated and
may not be truthful, and may, in fact, be
operationally oriented against us. As a public
affairs professional now, I know that our obligation
and our essential task in public affairs is to operate
from a foundation of truth. We have to because truth
and credibility are linked together, and our
communications cannot be effective without the
combination of the two. But our adversaries don't
have those rules.

And so, deliberate disinformation. Deliberate
psychological operations information, directed towards
us, will be evident, is evident on the Internet. I
take the example of Zarqawi's practice of beheading
people in the Middle East. It's one thing to take
someone hostage. That will have an effect. It's yet
another thing to behead that hostage. That has an
effect also. It's different. It has a different
shock effect. It has a different terror value, if you
will. It's yet another thing to film that and make
the film available. And the selection of the conduits
of communication are very important. We have a great
example to study here. By putting it on the Internet
as opposed to television where there are editors,
producers, broadcasters who have discretion--you put
it on the Internet, where there's less regulation.
And frankly, the outcome is every hit is another
beheading. Every hit for that search is another
query. Every person who has an interest in knowing
that there is a fighter out there somewhere standing
up to the United States may be inspired by that. Or
others may be put in shock by that. The terror effect
is multiplied well beyond the specific target set of
just Coalition forces, because it's in the information
domain. The same occurs with what we say. And so, we
just have to think our way through that and be very

We do have some strategies out there that help us;
that recognize this new age and the new environment
that we're in. I'll give you the example of the
national strategy for combating terrorism. It came
out several years ago, shortly after 9/11; produced by
the National Security Council staff. It's not a
classified document. And it highlights the importance
in combating terrorism of bringing together all
instruments of national power. Now, those vary from
one country to another. Every country has its own
different set of instruments that are effective in
their use.

We in the military profession have been studying for
some time this idea of other instruments of power,
more than the military instrument, because the
military instrument, especially in war, is generally
not enough. And this war is no exception. The
military instrument is not enough to achieve the final
outcomes, to go back to the Clausewitzian view.

But our traditional view has been that there were
four--diplomatic power, intelligence power, military
power, and economic power--in the hands of the United
States. That strategy adds three additional ones that
I think are very instructive. And they highlight that
there is something different about this kind of war
that we ought to consider. And that we have
instruments available to us. If we harness those
instruments and use them in a coordinated way, they
can have a positive effect.

And those additional three are financial
power--different from economic power--information
power, which should be the subject of what we talk
about today, and law enforcement as an instrument of
power, certainly as it relates to an international
community and the importance of imposing the rule of
law in places where we encounter someone who's
absolutely lawless. And so, these instruments are a
recognition that there is, in fact, power in

So, then, how do we organize ourselves for that? And
that's part of the debate that I think is ongoing
right now. How do you organize yourself as a specific
entity within the government or as a government or as
even a different institution? How does AEI organize
itself to harness the information age to achieve what
AEI seeks to achieve? And you could apply this to any
organization, any institution--financial, business,
industry--any number of organizations.

When it's all said and done, what we find is in the
information age, the outcome often is a matter
of--it's all about what's on your mind. Your mind and
the mind of anyone else that might receive
information. It's all about what's on your mind.

And while we're not in a battle for your mind, we are
in a competition with an adversary who seeks to
introduce things into your mind, into your
consciousness in a way that would cause you to make
decisions, undermine your will, cause you to be
afraid, have terror, feel insecurity. And that must
be combated, and we cannot avoid you being a witness
to that.

There's probably some historians in the room that
would take us back to the first battle of Bull Run,
with observers on the battlefield. And I wonder if
we--if it's really been that long since we had direct
observers to our warfare on a continuous and regular
basis. Maybe there's something instructive about
that, and the consequences and the shock and the
horror that came with that experience--it really
wasn't a picnic. It wasn't something even pleasant to
watch--is reminiscent now. Warfare is not pleasant.
It's the worst of all human activities. And, in some
cases, it's unavoidable, as it is right now.

Let me move on to a couple other thoughts here, and
then I'll stop.

Just a few thoughts about how we use information. And
this certainly comes from the perspective of a public
affairs officer, but also as an operator that has to
fight in the information domain.

Our first intent is to inform. There's no question.
We must inform dialogue, discourse, and publics,
principally our own United States public. But, as I
said earlier, the information goes where it goes.
Part of what we seek to do and forgive me for popping
my P's here. Part of what we seek to do is to bring
the reality of what goes on within the institution out
into the public so that there is not a difference of
viewing the same reality. Some say that perception is
reality. I don't know I think that there is only a
single reality. But there are different perceptions
of reality that can be influenced by any number of
things. You and I are witnessing a moment right now
just by being in the same room together, but you're
seeing it differently than I am. That's just the way
it is for humans.

So, what we seek to do is try to inform, but also to
bring the reality of what we are, and what happens
inside an institution into the public so that there's
a clearer understanding, a clarity, a context to all
other things relative to the institution when they
occur. And that's hard work. Sometime it works.
Sometimes it doesn't. We want to get as close as we
can so there's no discrepancy on what reality is and
no lack of clarity. But the fact of the matter is we
will always see things a little bit differently, and
that's okay.

We want to also be able to impart things like feelings
of confidence. That was very important as General
Franks gave me my charter. We need to show confidence
in what we're doing or no one else is going to be
confident in what we're doing. It's not a false
confidence. It is the confidence inside of the
formation. Bring that out and show people that you,
in fact, are confident that we're going to be
successful; that the work is ongoing. It's being done
by professionals who are the best in the world. And
while there will be many uncertainties, we got many
professionals out there who do remarkable things.
That's confidence. That's not cockiness, and it must
be articulated or you will never know that it's there.
We have that obligation.

A freedom from fear or at least certain fears. We're
never completely free from fear, but certain
fears--fear of failure, fear of uncertainty--is
classic examples of that.

Feelings of objectivity. What is we see? Put
yourself inside of walking into a surgical ward and
observing total hip replacement. The surgeon might
say, hey, this is really going well. That was a good
cut. Hey, good job on that. Bring them up just a
little bit. And things are happening in there that
you're going what on earth is this? This is just
brutal. We got saws and hammers and screws and
drills. How can anyone ever possibly get away from
this? It's not the same view of reality. A different

And so, we try to bring that objectivity out.

Feelings of our determination that we're not going to
be deterred. That's just the nature of who we are.
You can tell us to stop, and we will. But until then,
we have a mission to perform, and we're going to do
that mission. And we're determined to get it done as
well as we can under all circumstances that we face.

Periodically, it's important also to show that there
is a contrast. We might show frustration in some
things, but you'll also see that we have a view of
solution, because frustration is not enough for
someone that's action oriented. Sometimes we'll show
that there are contrasts in the reality that is faced,
and the nature what our soldiers and Marines
especially, but all of our service members face when
they're out there, where you might have extraordinary
violence on one street and compassion on the next.
And if we don't bring that out and expose it to you,
you might not know it's there. And we have a
responsibility to do that. That's anyone else's
responsibility to bring the realities into the
understanding of the public domain.

Everyone knows that skillful communicators have always
considered their audience, and my thought to you is
what audience. When we're communicating as a
government, there's interest. There's always interest
in what the United States is doing. We can't avoid
that. That's okay. We ought to be proud of the fact
that we have a respected position of leadership. Not
everyone agrees with us. That's okay.

We adapt and change over time. We always have. We
stand on the principles for which we stand. We emerge
from errors in our past and come out differently. I
certainly know that. I'm an African American. Do you
think I don't know that? I'm part of the United
States Army. There were issues with the Army and
African Americans. There aren't now. Look at me. We
adapt. Our nation is the same way as this example.

But we also know that because information goes where
it goes, methods of control have to be reconsidered.
Your control ends in the information domain when you
introduce information into that domain. And so, you
must think in advance about what it is that is
introduced. That's where control ends. And it's okay
to have control. Be careful about what you say is the
message there. If you're careless in your
communications at home, then there will be
consequences you need to think about. If you're
careless in your communications as a government, the
same occurs. It's just human nature.

I think I'll probably stop right here. I'll tell
you--let me just close with the thought that my views
of public affairs and the role of public affairs
officers. It's a very important role, and it is an
emerging role that's more important now than ever,
because the information age is with us, and it's here
to stay. So, public affairs officers have to be
masters of bringing the conduits of communication to
the actions that we're engaged in, whether that means
introducing our action into the Internet or
introducing our action into the public directly by
engagements like this, talking in our communities,
talking to family members, talking to those who are
interested, testimony on the Hill--all these things
are direct communications. We've got to be part of
the conduits of communication.

We're also the coordinators of that public access.
We're the ones who bring it together and make it
possible for the public to have that experience that I
talked about before. What happens inside the
institution is felt outside of the institution in a
clearer way.

There's no question that we're advisers to the
communicators. And we're also communicators
ourselves. We have to be. We ought to be thinking
about what it is we're doing.

But we deal in the world of truth. We must deal in
the world of truth. Truth is very powerful. I've
discovered that and had it reinforced over and over
again. Truth is far more powerful than lies. And the
United States and certainly the public affairs parts
of the United States and the United States military
believe very strongly in that.

But truth is also not enough. I learned that lesson,
too. It's not enough to simply be truthful when you
face an adversary who is not. You must also have
developed some degree of trust and confidence or the
truth will not survive the onslaught of lies. That's
a difficult one for us to try on, because to gain that
confidence, we must engage. We must sometimes find
ourselves wrong. We must make corrections when we
have unintentionally done something we didn't intend
to do. We have to make adjustments when our actions
don't match our words, either by design, by bad
planning, or by mistake; or the confidence won't be
there. And so, the combination of truth and
confidence makes it possible for us to fight against
our adversaries.

Last thought: truth without confidence is the genesis
of doubt. If you begin to doubt, then the power of
truth begins to go away.

I hope that's enough to at least stimulate you, and I
look forward to the questions and answers period, and
I'll turn it over to Bob. Thanks very much.

MR. KAPLAN: Thank you very much. It's truly an honor
for me to be here today at AEI, which is really always
been bubbling with ideas, never more so than now.

And it's a particular honor to be here with General
Brooks. He's too--probably too modest to say so, but
he is a war fighter by another name as a PAO, because,
you know, fighting the information war is every bit as
important as taking things street by street in some
cities in Iraq.

A hundred years ago, there was a great naval
strategist, Alfred Thayer Mahan, who said that the
seas were the common, the great common of warfare, and
he who controls the seas controls the battle space.

As you see, General Brooks kind of stole my
introduction that I was going to use. But I would put
it this way: that now, cyberspace, information is the
new commons that the U.S. military has to adapt to and
kind of be able to mold and manipulate in this new age
of warfare.

In fact, in an age of mass media, the media has to be
considered a gray area threat, simply 'cause it's so
influential. We have always known that you can win on
the battlefield, and lost it politically. But in
today's age, losing it politically means losing it in
the media. So, the media is a gray area threat, and
it's a terrain of battle, every bit as much as the
seas or the dry land space.

And, therefore, because of lessons learned that are
accumulated in dealing with the media, the military
needs almost a doctrine, a battle--

[Break in recording.]

The military has a whole series of manuals--the fleet
marine force manuals for Marines, the Ranger Handbook
for Army infantry--all about lessons learned. How to
do ambushes better, et cetera. Little by little, the
same thing will have to accumulate with dealing with
the media. And one big challenge of the media is that
very few people own up to is that there still is an
American military, but there is less and less an
American media. What there is is more and more a
global cosmopolitan media that has an American
contingent that is dissolving into that global
cosmopolitan media. That is nothing good or bad.
It's just a reflection of social and economic and
cultural and other trends in an increasingly
interconnected world, where journalists feel more and
more socially comfortable, and with more and more kind
of a sense of alliance and rapport with fellow
journalists from other countries than they do--than
their fellow Americans, who are officers, and
particularly NCOs from a different social class and
region of the country from themselves.

And, therefore, one of the challenges the military
faces is how to break down that barrier.

Now, let me move back a bit in talking a bit about
doctrine. First of all, I--all my statements today
come from my own experience--General Brooks is seeing
things from the top. I've been embedded with
non-commissioned officers for the most the last nine
or 10 months of the previous 18 months in Iraq,
Afghanistan, the Philippines, Colombia, Kenya. I
spent the summer in West Africa with a platoon of
Marines, and so a lot of my ideas will come from that.

But one of the most--two of the most interesting
experiences that I've had media wise have been with
the Marines in Fallujah last spring and with Army
Special Forces in the southern Philippines a year and
a half ago, where there was a big media component to
what ultimately transpired.

In Fallujah, the first battalion of the Fifth Marines
coming in from the south and the second battalion of
the First Marines coming in from the north were, in my
estimation, 'cause I was in the center of Fallujah
with a platoon, in my estimation were about two or
three days from taking down the city. And, at that
point, a third fully rested whole battalion of
Marines, the third battalion of the Fourth Marines
came in from western Iraq. And everything was in
place--excuse me, I'm recovering from a
cold--everything was in place to box in the insurgents
in the first week of April of this year.

Well, what happened was a cease fire was called, and
though you may accuse the Bush Administration of
incoherence of sending in the Marines only to pull
them out, a big factor was that the media coverage
became so negative that it put a lot of pressure on
the newly emerging Iraqi authorities so that this was
a factor in calling the cease fire.

Now, the Marines had planned out every small step
tactically of how they were going to take every
section of the city. But being with them and watching
the Pentagon on television, I sensed absolutely no
commensurate planning on the part of the Pentagon in
planning out an information war for what was very,
very predictable. What was very interesting about
Fallujah last spring was that nothing unpredictable
happened. The Marines invested a city. There was a
very small minimal number of civilian casualties. The
international media, particularly the Arab media
concentrated almost exclusively on those civilian
casualties. That put the requisite political pressure
on newly emerging Iraqi authorities, and all this was,
you know, Information 101. It was all very

But the Administration seemed to have no strategy for
how to deal with it. There were pictures of mosques
with holes in them, which seemed to indicate that the
U.S. bombing was indiscriminate. In fact, the holes
in the mosques indicated how discriminate it was,
because every mosque was filled with explosives. It
was a command and control center, and the U.S.
Marines, with the Army and Air Force, had gone to
extremes to only damage the small parts of those
mosques where they knew that there were insurgents
operating. None of this was explained adequately to
the public.

And this is where an information strategy really kicks
in. We know that there was one voice, one face, a
fireside chat manner to the world in the American
public during Operation Iraqi Freedom. That was
General Brooks. We saw the same thing in Kosovo with
Jamie Shay, who is the British NATO spokesman. But
when the unconventional side of this fighting started,
there was no central spokesman. There was no war
room; no place to centrally organize a message getting

Now, that's one bad story. Let me give you a good
story. In the summer of 2002, Army Special Forces
invested the island of Basilan in the southern
Philippines, the first time the American forces were
south of Luzon since World War II. They set up
clinics--dental clinics, medical clinics, veterinary
clinics. They trained Filipino commandos. They
ejected the Abu Sayyaf and Jama'a Islamia guerillas
from the island. It was a great success.

But the real big success was that the first--was that
the first Army First Special Forces Group, forward
based in Okinawa and out of Fort Lewis Washington,
played the Filipino media. They embedded the Filipino
media in with American troops. They took them around
constantly on tours. They told them everything that
they were doing. They had a narrative, a story, so
that by the end of the summer, the United States
military was getting positive press in the Filipino
media for the first time since the Americans were
ejected from Clark and Subig Bay exactly 10 summers

And that was an example of a successful media
strategy, where it was realized that the media was the
center of the battle space.

One of the things I've learned with the Marines--I
mean, everyone gets--other services get angry with the
Marines because the Marines are always getting such
great coverage. And it's interesting. Having spent
the spring, the winter, the spring, and the summer
with the Marines, Marines are probably among the most
conservative people in the Armed Forces in terms of
their political views. The media is probably among
the most liberal groups in society at large. Yet,
this very conservative element has managed to get very
positive media coverage. So, why is that happening?
Why is that true?

Well, one of the things Marines do is they know to
keep a crowd mentality developing among the press.
They break the press up. If you have five
journalists, you put them in five different
battalions. You go as out of your way as you can to
make sure they never see each other. That way, you
don't get a herd mentality developing.

You know, it's just one little thing. If there is
such a thing as a hostile global cosmopolitan media,
if there is such a thing as the media being a
different economic, social, regional, somewhat hostile
group to the military, you make it less of a group by
breaking it apart and giving each member an individual

That's what the Army did with the Filipino media.
That's what the Marines have done, you know, and
others have done.

Let me say this: the minute a war becomes
unconventional, I've noticed, the minute it's not, you
know, a conventional mass infantry invasion, assault,
where it's a small battle space with large numbers of
troops within, and it changes to a wide, vast battle
space with small clusters of troops hunting down small
clusters of combatants, suddenly the victor becomes
the person or the team that masters the story or the
narrative. The one who presents the most compelling
narrative story is the one who's going to be seen as
the political victor in the conflict.

And if you saw last spring and this summer, in my
opinion, there was no compelling narrative coming out
of the Administration as to what was happening inside
Iraq. I--you know, one of the things I learned in
Lebanon is that when the media stops covering
something, it usually means that something has become
a success. The media stopped covering Lebanon in
1991. By 1993, everybody realized that the war ended
in 1991, because there was less and less fighting;
less and less car bombing, so the media got deployed
elsewhere, but nobody wrote the story that the war is
over. Well, there hasn't been much date coverage from
Kurdistan lately, in the last year. From the end of
this June, when the Army did wonderful work in Najaf
and Karballah, really rewriting tactics in terms of
converting fast from a battle rhythm of urban fighting
to urban reconstruction and humanitarian development,
suddenly Karballah and Najaf got less and less in the
headlines. And we stopped reading about the Shiite
south, and everything became focused on the Sunni

The minute I saw that, I said, well, the
Administration can make a plausible argument that
we've got two-thirds of the country going in the right
direction. It's just a matter of persistence to take
down the other areas.

I never heard that--I never heard that articulate in a
concise fireside chat manner by the Administration, by
the Pentagon, by anybody. And, again, he who weaves
the most compelling narrative will win the information
war when the fighting is unconventional, because the
public cannot be expected to kind of follow all the
little movements of all these little battles that are
taking place. That's why the Pacific War was harder
to follow than the European theater, because the
island configurations in the Pacific were so random.

You have to help the public out on this things.
Remember Samarra last--two months ago. To me, Samarra
was a turning point. It was the first time that Iraqi
forces, taking the lead, took down a city with minimal
civilian casualties. It was a great success for the
U.S. military. But I was in Spain at the time,
overhearing American tourists talking about Samarra,
and they were saying, well, now, there's violence in
Samarra. It's another disaster, because nobody had
helped them out. Nobody had put the pieces together
for them.

Another phenomenon that I've noticed is that many
troops have--many individual soldiers, Marine, airmen,
and sailors have their own laptops. Many, much of the
time, have access to cybercaf├ęs on bases. They write
home letters and notes to their girlfriends, to their
friends. Sometimes they even write unsolicited
narratives to web sites, to news web sites, because
they've become so frustrated at what they're reading
in the news of what the media is reporting, which is
so different from their reality, when they were there.

I think we're going to seen explosion of this kind of
thing in the future. I think in the future you could
see American troops reporting the American perspective
of the battle on their own, and the media will provide
the transnational, global cosmopolitan perspective,
because all the parts are in place for it. It's just
a matter of two or three people having an enterprising
web site that all the troops will send their
narratives to the same place that everyone will look
at. Now, that will not--an American perspective, the
troop perspective, will not whitewash problems. It
will not make things look better than they are. But
it will--it will, as I put it in an article I've just
published, submerge the cult of victim hood and
promote warrior virtues.

The troops don't want to be seen as victims. They
don't want to be seen as victims of a bad reserve
system, of a failed policy. That's not how they seem
themselves. They get increasingly upset when they
read about this.

Again, in an information age, when you're dealing with
a global media with a herd instinct, the minute the
media clusters together to cover one battle in an
unconventional setting, you will often lose, because
you will never be able to fight cleanly enough for all
the elements of the media, no matter how pro--I mean,
I have seen Marines. I am not exaggerating here. I
have seen Marines in Fallujah take bullets to save
Iraqi civilians. But if you saw the world media
coverage last spring in early April, you would not
necessarily get a sense of that. So--


The goal. The goal is to deal with problems before
they get on page one, to keep them on page five,
before they are ratcheted upward. The more quiet, low
key and off the radar screen the American military can
operate, the more will it be able to win the battle in
the information age.

The American military has been accomplishing some
wonderful things in the Philippines, Colombia, of the
coast of Kenya, in West Africa--many other places I
could name and go into details. And one of the
missing elements in all those parts is there is no
cluster of media. There is one or two journalists
only. And that's it. And they are dealing with
problems and snuffing them out or at least keeping
them on a low burner, so they're not ratcheted up to
the level of Afghanistan or Iraq.

One or two other points and then I'll close up. In an
age of emerging democracies, the rules of engagement
will become more and more restrictive, because
emerging democracies means emerging local medias. And
emerging local medias in former dictatorial societies
will be, by very definition, inexperienced, somewhat
unprofessional, sometimes overly aggressive, getting
things wrong, occasionally believing in conspiracy
theories, and like everyone else in this newly
emerging democracy, they're testing it out. They're
moving forward by trial and error.

So, the idea that they will be suddenly the solution,
a local media simply isn't right. And one of the
things a new feisty local media does in emerging
democracies, like Georgia, Colombia, the Philippines,
country's in West Africa, like Mali and Niger, where
American soldiers and Marines have been deployed over
the last year, is that they will--they will simply
will not countenance American troops running around
killing even the worst guys on their soil without
raising a fuss.

So, increasingly, as rules of engagement become more
restrictive, we're going to be back to the original
method of unconventional warfare, which is embracing
our indigenous brothers, training indigenous troops to
be very professional, fight their own wars, and we
will help them with P3 surveillance planes and other
things. So, we'll be the Filipino army, the Colombian
military increasingly who will hunt down and kills the
bad guys, and that gets less world media attention;
and that's another way that you win.

Finally, let me just say that the American military
now has the toughest job I think of any military in
the history of mankind. It's to provide the security
armature for an emerging global civilization and
institutions, and the more that those global
institutions emerge and regional institutions emerge,
the less thankful they will be to the institution that
helped create them in the first place, the American
military. And that is the kind of thankless task that
the American military has to face up to. Thank you
very much. It's been my pleasure.


MR. DONNELLY: I would like to add my thanks to both
of you for great presentations. And I would like to
indulge the audience to ask a few questions that
occurred to me, and to begin, sort of work backwards,
with some of Bob's points. First of all, I'd like to
invite both of you to a comparative analysis of
Fallujah in April and Fallujah now. Bob, I would say
a lot of what you would--agree with much of what you
said about the situation in April, but--and obviously,
the Fallujah campaign in the kind of the larger sense
is hardly complete. But clearly, there's some very
distinct differences between then and now, not simply
that the military operation has been more decisive.
And to use your framework for analysis, I'm not sure
that there's been a central war room or even a central
message that's come out. It's been kind of dispersed,
but it's been much more effective I would say. We've


MR. DONNELLY: Shooting the wounded event. The
Marines were very good A, about, again, we had
much--many more embedded reporters, so that may--


MR. DONNELLY: Set the conditions for success, but A,
and also the Marines sort of immediately when the
event happened put spokesmen on television, including
one young captain who had just been wounded and still
had stitches in his face from an IED in Fallujah. So,
you know, I don't fully understand, you know, we don't
know the full picture of what exactly happened, but,
you know, without having a General Brooks like
central, you know, fireside chat fatherly figure or
figure exuding confidence, to use your term, you
shouldn't have used the surgery thing. I'm about to
go under the knife next week. It's not really very

So, again, without having that central sort of
authority figure--


MR. DONNELLY: The message A, that the combat would be
tough, and that this guy maybe made a, you know, snap
decision, and he got the benefit of the doubt at least
in the American media, including even CNN.


MR. DONNELLY: Which is a pretty remarkable thing.
So, I would invite both of you first to sort of do a
comparative analysis of Fallujah in the spring and,
you know, the Sunni campaign now, and see if you see
any differences.

MR. KAPLAN: Sure. Well, first of all, it wasn't just
the Marines. That was one thing I left out. The Army
played a major role even last spring. Fifth Special
Forces Group was with the Marines, and it was really
theater-level urban combat.

I think the key thing that's been missed that you
alluded to was last spring and last summer there were
very few embeds. Most of the reporting was out of
Baghdad. And there were just--weren't that many big
media like experiencing what the troops experienced.
I noticed that changed pretty dramatically after the
election, the American election, when it's--maybe
because it stopped being seen as Bush is losing the
war; the election was past us, so all the politics
were out of it and they went back to the bread and
butter of just covering the military kind of. I don't
know, but that may have been a context.

But one thing I am aware of, press coverage was far
more sympathetic this time than last time, and there
were a lot more embeds this time than last time. And
I think there's got to be some kind of a correlation

Also, the Marines, like everyone, learned from last
spring. You know, you know, everyone keeps improving
their information strategy. That's one thing.

Also, this time the U.S. military went in with a lot
of fire power, much more than the last time, and the
final thing is remember when General Conway, when
Lieutenant General Conway, the--you know, the one MEP
[ph] commander at the behest of superiors negotiated
that truce that put in there--you know, Iraqi forces.
When he did that, nobody knew if would fail, because
you can't predict the future. So, because it was
tried with a good faith effort, it seemed fairly
reasonable, and it failed ultimately. So, having it
fail, I think the media and the public was more
accepting of the fact that we tried everything
possible, and this is truly the last resort. So, I
think that also made a difference.

GENERAL BROOKS: First, I appreciate the point of the
jointness of the operation. That certainly is a
lesson that was applied before it happened in the
first Fallujah, and it happened in the second Fallujah
as well. And I had the privilege of going up and
receiving remains from soldiers and Marines who were
killed in Fallujah as they arrived at Dover Air Force
Base. And there were nine that day. And the next day
there were 25. And so, the reality comes in a very
different way, but there I stood with a Marine
contingent and an Army contingent who formed the
cordon at the ramp of the aircraft, and seven of the
nine were Marines in that case. And two of the nine
were Army soldiers. It didn't matter. They traded
off carrying off their comrades off the aircraft. The
Marines would go grab one. The Army would grab the
next. And each time, we remained at a position of
honor as they passed us. In one case, it was a
soldier who accompanied his brother. They're in the
same unit.

But what was instructive about that was not just the
jointness of that moment and what it reflected from
the fight, but there were two of them who we weren't
even quite sure we had the units right, because it
said this company of this reconnaissance regiment of
this division, which was an Army division--the first
two parts were Marine; the second was Army--the third
one was Army; the fourth one was Marine; the fifth one
was Army. And, so, if you ran the lineage of the
unit, it looked like there was some confusion. Were
we sure this was a Marine or was it a soldier or what
was it? And what it really talked about was the task

So, we had Marine small units inside of Army
battalions inside of Marine brigades inside of Army
divisions inside of a Marine force. And, so, I've
talked to that point a bit longer than probably I
needed to, but the reality of the jointness is
certainly there, and that is a lesson.

The tactics that were used. You talked about the
importance of doctrine. I certainly agree with that,
and doctrine can take us further. It never is full
enough to account for everything that might occur, and
so doctrine always becomes a base upon which we make
our decisions when we get into action.

But there are some very good techniques and procedures
that have emerged from Samarra, Najaf, now Fallujah as
well in terms of how do you do precision engagement
with a significant amount of force in a fortified city
that still has noncombatants inside of it with lots of
fire power, facing lots of fire power, some of which
is unconventional or indirect. Improvised explosive
devices, grenades, booby traps, all these things that
are well known to be in Fallujah.

From the information perspective, though, let me talk
about that. And I would certainly agree with the
point that the first battle of Fallujah was impacted
by the activities that happened in the information
domain, and they had a political consequence to them.
Well, that's certainly nothing new in war, but it's
something absolutely common and should be expected in
every fight in the information age.

The consolidation aspect of an operation, when we talk
about this term consolidation, at the end of an
attack, we try to make sure that the gains that have
been achieved aren't lost; that ammunition is
redistributed; that supplies are taken care of; that
the wounded are moved off; that information is
gathered from adversaries who are on that--every small
unit knows how to do that. There's an information
aspect about it as well that happens from the lowest
level and then goes to the highest levels also. So,
how do you consolidate the gains that occurred in the
physical battle space in the information battle space?
And chances are there's a time delay between the two,
because the physical effects don't have their
resonance until people recognize the consequences of
what just happened.

Now, we saw some of that in the second battle of
Fallujah here within the last few months, where
tremendous success by the Coalition force, by the
multinational force on the ground, including a very
important role by Iraqi forces, a reinforcement of the
lesson from the first Fallujah, that followed a few
days later, when it was evident that there was
physical success, there was suddenly a counter
pressure in the information domain: the accusations
of killing innocent civilians, television broadcasts
of people on the street in some cases who were viewing
a very different reality than correspondents were. I
recall looking at a translated news report where a man
on the street in Fallujah was saying we just shot down
one helicopter. We've hit two more. There's at least
one jet we've knocked down. We're fighting left and
right, and he was quite serious. He was also quite
wrong. And so you see this counter pressure to try to
change the perception of what's really happening
inside of there.

Now, how do you take that way from your adversary,
knowing that it's going to come? By introducing more
and more information of what is really occurring into
the public domain. And here's our challenge. If
we're showing the successes, and I certainly witnessed
this firsthand, then we in the military are often
accused of engaging in propaganda. This is where I go
back to the point of trust is not enough. I'm sorry.
Truth is not enough. There has to be confidence as
well, or there is still doubt. We have to take the
heat on that anyway and still introduce information
into the information stream that is truthful; that
reflects the reality that is in there, and to try to
put it in context as well.

Some of that occurred very well in the second
Fallujah. But you now know that there were 350 caches
inside of there--in mosques. So not only did we have
the precision engagement that Bob talked about in the
first time relative to mosques, but we also gave you
the count of that great number of mosques, the city of
mosques, 350 of them were certainly outside of what
would be--considered a protected site, and we also had
the rest of the stories of the atrocities, the places
where murders were obviously being committed, where
blood was all over the place. All these things were
out there, and you have to introduce that into the
public domain. It's not propaganda. It's the truth,
and it has to be brought out or it will not be

And the last point I'll make is the power of the image
is more significant than power of the word. It's been
said that a picture is worth a thousand words. I
think that's a gross underestimation. A picture is
worth a whole lot more than a thousand words. A
picture locks in a different snapshot of reality, and
while you may perceive it differently, you're not
creating the image in your mind, which is already well
away from the reality.

And so, more and more, we've got to consider the use
of images, our adversaries do, and sometimes we do it
by accident. Abu Ghraib is an example of that. There
are imagers that are out there. And the images go,
and they have power that is well beyond the power of
the word; and they can completely change an
environment if we're not careful. Thanks.

MR. DONNELLY: I have one more question. I beg the
indulgence by the audience because there is I think an
important theme that was in both presentations. And
that was the accelerating demassification of the
media. The thing that has been really amazing to me
has been the number and the easy access that even
somebody like me has to soldier blogs and soldier
e-mail. If you're talking about, you know, something
that exudes con--or has credibility and genuineness
about it, and is also, you know, filled with ground
truth, that is clearly a new dimension in the
information domain, if you will, and, if you're
talking about the cosmopolitan, you know, satellite TV
media, even that seems like a dinosaur whose time is
going to be relatively ephemeral when you have stuff
like this going on. Again, I would invite both of you
to elaborate and to discuss how, you know, just the
direct availability of--I mean, it's almost like being
embedded with units to, you know, some degree. And if
there's anybody--you know, direct and especially
credible form of communication from the front to the
home front. Those seem to be the really genuine
article to me.

MR. KAPLAN: Well, let me just give you a visual
example of that. As I said, I spent last spring with
the First Battalion of the Fifth Marines. We were at
a forward operating base just outside Fallujah for
several weeks. And there was a cybercafe on the base,
and the caf?was open 24 hours a day, and it was always
filled with Marines, sending messages, reports home.
The only time it closed was when somebody was killed
or wounded, or there was an operation being planned
because they wanted them to tell the parents first
before they got it second or thirdhand. So, whenever
that would happen, the caf? you know, the e-mail
connection would be shut down.

Also, you know, being with Army Special Forces in
South America, in the Far East, this was also
prevalent. You know, it's kind of--it's very hard to
control. And there's always--what I found interesting
is in a Marine platoon or a Special Forces A Team,
you'll always find one or two people who just have the
natural gift of writing. They're just able to tell a
story. You know, they're just--you know, it's like
some people have language skills, and they're just
very effective communicators of what they've actually
experienced on the ground. So, I think this is
something really worth watching, and it doesn't
necessarily provide a total benefit for the U.S.
military, 'cause scandals can come out this way as

You know, as I said, it's not going to whitewash
things to make things better than they are, but it
will pro--you know, it is providing the troops' own

GENERAL BROOKS: The--one of the great beauties of
embedding was that journalists were able to witness
for themselves the things that we had long since been
talking about but couldn't create the image of, for
example, the type of esprit that forms inside of units
that are tested together; the common bonds that are
inside of that are hard to put your hands on until you
see or have been a part of it; and also the hardships
that are there. That was good. It was very helpful.
And I think there are many journalists now who have a
very different perspective and can report with a
higher degree of precision and accuracy and clarity
because of the experience.

But there was a challenge for us, and that is when you
have the world viewing an experience of an individual
soldier, what you have is that individual soldier's
view magnified many times over. And that individual
view is out of the context of even what's happening to
the platoon to the left or the right. Now, we as
military leaders have always dealt with that, with a
few adages like the first report is always wrong. And
it's generally true. You're going to get a report.
Somebody's been shot. Got to get down to the range
quickly. It was his own weapon. And away you go
calmly knowing that this--someone's been shot, but the
essence of the rest of the story, you got to peel the
onion back a bit to find out what the reality is.

Well, that goes straight from real time into global
broadcast now. That's what embedding did. Can you
chase all of that? Absolutely not. Is it worth
chasing? No. It isn't, because the rest of the fight
is different than that. There's a completely
different layer of activity, and many layers of
activity that are beyond the individual experience.
Is it real? Absolutely right it is. It's the
ultimate reality TV show. But that has to be put in
the larger context.

So, when a third of Seventh Calvary is in contact, and
is firing over the sides of their vehicles at close
range, but the rest of the Third Infantry Division is
not in contact, is moving at a high rate of speed to
their west, it's not a problem. It's not a problem.

Now, if you're in the fight, it's a big problem. And
if you're looking at the fight, it's a very big
problem, and you might project it or extrapolate it to
be that's the rest of what everyone else is facing. A
hundred and thirty thousand troops. They're all in
fights over their shoulders. Not so. So, this is a

Now, the blogs are an example of the world from the
soldier, Marine, sailor, airman's eye. And there will
be realities in those blogs. We want them to
communicate. Every soldier has got a story. And the
more we provide access, the more that story comes out,
and the fullness of the experience can come out. But
there are some who recognize the nature of the
environment that they're dealing in. Some recognize
that it's possible to gain political leverage on your
chain of command by putting it into a public domain.
Say it isn't so.


And frankly, we have to also recognize that individual
experience can be used in other ways. Let me give you
an example. I just happen to have it sitting in front
of me here. Glad you asked the question.

I mentioned already that I read daily transcripts of
Arabic language media. It's important. I want to
know what's being thought, what's being said, and
whether or not we're being effective in our
communications, and, you know, is there something we
ought to address, just we do with all other media. And
so, I look at that.

One particular one I saw yesterday, Al-Aham, which is
an Arabic language, out of Iran, has this, and I'll
just read it to you, if you'll bear with me.

The anchor says: eight U.S. soldiers have filed a
lawsuit against the Pentagon, which they accuse of
having forcibly extended their contracts in Iraq,
although they have technically ended. One U.S.
soldier went to Canada, and has demanded political
asylum after he deserted the U.S. Army because he
refused to serve in Iraq. Correspondent: U.S.
occupation soldiers--and the word choice is important
here--U.S. occupation soldiers in Iraq are worried
about their situation. Some of them have deserted the
Army, and others have filed a lawsuit against the
Pentagon. One U.S. soldier went to Canada, and has
asked for political asylum because he refused to
perform his military service in Iraq. He considers
the war in Iraq to be illegitimate and illegal. The
lawyer for eight soldiers who filed a lawsuit against
the Pentagon stated that seven of them preferred not
to reveal their names because they feared retribution.
He added that six of them were in Iraq and that two
others were in Kuwait. They protested against the
U.S. policy that prohibits the resignation of soldiers
and their transfer to other units.

That didn't play very much back here. I mean, it did
play. Those individuals are American soldiers. We
certainly have concerns for them. We're going to deal
with their circumstances as they requested. There is,
in fact, a lawsuit, so there's truth in side of here.
But that truth is being used in other ways, and so
we've got to come to grips with what it means when
people can communicate directly into the information
domain while not over controlling it. That simply is
not going to match our soldiers. It's not going to
match the reality of the people who have grown up in
the information age. Something has to be done. We
got to sort our way through that, and we haven't quite
figured it out yet. And that's okay.

MR. DONNELLY: Okay. I'm going to remind everybody of
the rules of the AEI road. One, wait for the
microphone. Two, for the benefit of the transcript,
please tell us who you are. And three, ask a real
question. Chris, are you the microphone guy? All
right I'm going to start with the back left and work
my way forward and to the right. So, just the
gentleman to your--actually, let's start with the
woman in the far, far back--last row.

MS. PLUMMER: Hi, my name is Anne Plummer. I'm a
reporter with Inside the Army. I'm interested in,
General Brooks, how you'll see this play out after the
war is long over--the relationship between the media
and the military. Something that I think is
interesting is that a lot of the general officers in
the Army know that they can remain quiet and not speak
with reporters and go about their business and be
promoted and so forth, and they don't really feel a
need to engage the military. And I think a lot of
that came from Vietnam. I'm wondering if you see that
changing after Iraq?

GENERAL BROOKS: I think it's already changing.
First, part of this is generational. You mentioned
Vietnam. Most of our Vietnam veterans have departed,
but certainly the behaviors that followed within the
military culture have not completely departed, and
they lag behind the individuals who had the firsthand
experience of Vietnam. Now, having said, there's
another generation that's coming up behind us; the
ones who are blogging; the ones who are very
comfortable going on and sitting with Sam Donaldson or
anyone else--a Ted Koppel, Oprah Winfrey. We've had
some very interesting programs here of late, some of
which we didn't know were coming. The individuals
made contact themselves, and, in most cases, did a
terrific job of highlighting things that if we had
told them what to say, they would have said that. Or
at least we would like for them to have said it. I
don't know if they would have if we told them. But
they certainly said the kinds of things we thought
were important.

The point to be made there is this: there is a higher
comfort in our junior ranks with communicating, and so
that will cause a pressure on old foggies like me to
adjust the situation and adjust to the situation in
such a way that we can communicate in a way that's
natural, and yet, take care of the responsibilities
that we have of being careful about how the
information is used.

As for the seniors, I think that there is an emerging
understanding that there is a need for a culture of
engagement; that we have to be more open; we have to
tell our own story. We have an obligation to do that,
and we frankly should be dependent on any industry to
do that, not even the commercial communications
industry. We have a responsibility to communicate for

And so, we spend a lot time training our generals to
do that; conditioning them to do that, and time will
change our approaches as well. That's my thought on

MR. DONNELLY: Bob, did you want to add anything?
Okay. Okay. And now, the gentleman that I almost got

MR. KARAICHO: My name is Neveen Karaicho [ph]. I'm
on Hora TV. The 9/11 Commission Report stated clearly
that in order to win the war on terrorism, we need to
get on the table of very strong coalitional states in
which the Arabs are influential and progressive
partners. I mean, how could we do this in light of
the fact that we don't share the same definitions
regarding terrorism, innocent people, civilians. I
mean, you could refer to Fallujah as a very good
example on that. For Al Jazeera TV, thousands of
civilians have been killed at the end of the Fallujah
operation, while for the Pentagon 1,600 militants have
been eliminated. I agree with your, Mr. Brooks, that
truth is very strong. But guess what? It's diverse.

GENERAL BROOKS: Well, it's a great observation, and
the perspective is different of the same reality, and
what we do is have as much open access as possible so
that the other views are considered in what we say and
what we do; and that there, in fact, is a real
discourse that occurs, not a false one, not one that's
manipulative or adaptive to try to take it--make it
something that it is not.

Now, there's more to it certainly than just the
distinction between what one considers to be a
terrorist and what one does not. I'm certain that the
citizens of Fallujah can make some distinctions in
there, no matter how they make the definition. And
while there may be some definitional differences,
that's not the essence of where that story seems to
diverge. It's not just 1,600 citizens that were
killed. You know that. And so do the people of
Fallujah. It wasn't just 1,600 citizens. Any damages
that were done to noncombatants. There are any number
of things that could cause that. It's not just
Coalition and multinational force action. The
citizens know that. The public has to know that. And
so, we have to engage in the discourse together to
address things that are really, truly concerns to
people in that country. Absolutely. And try to do
that from every conduit of communication we have to
make it happen. But when people receive different
views of the same reality, remember what I said: doubt
is what lingers. And when doubt occurs, the power of
the compelling argument is what wins the day.

MR. KAPLAN: Yeah. I would just like to say that
you're always going to have differences on like grand
existential questions, like what constitutes terrorism
and all of that. But that doesn't mean you can't make
progress on nuts and bolts kind of issues that come up
one after the other. For instance, you see implicitly
that several Arab government in the Middle East are
backing the elections by encouraging their Sunni
elements of Iraq to take part. You know, and that is
an implicit kind of agreement of American policy.

Also, when you go through the Middle East, you find
it's not monolithic. For instance, many travelers who
have just been coming back from Libya say they have
been extremely welcomed, particularly because they're
Americans, because the Libyans associate the American
ouster and the years with no American as time of total
repression, of poverty, of stagnation, and they
associate, you know, the better relations with the
United States with a sense of openness, tourist
economy, stability. If you talk to people in Tunisia,
in many other places, you'll find a whole gamut of
different opinions below the service. I think there's
a lot of stirring going on in the Middle East in that

MR. DONNELLY: Yeah. I would--just to piggyback on
Bob's comment that I just think that the political
dialogue in the Arab world and in the region is a lot
richer than we really understand. And how many of the
images that are projected play out in that debate I
think is, you know, worth a second and third look

The original Osama bin Laden critique was that America
was a weak horse and would leave. That's a lot harder
argument to make these days, even in the most--the
images that we regard as most violent and most, you
know, disturbing play out in a very different way in a
different context.

So, I'm very, you know, I would say that our own
government has not done a good job of thinking these
things through or coming up with a really useful
framework for analysis, and there's just a lot that we
really don't know or don't understand.

Please try to be patient. Let me--Chris, go with this
gentleman over here. We are running short on time.
I'll try to get as many as we can, and so I ask
everybody to keep their questions brief.

I wish. I wish. We'll get around to that. Everybody
would--the gentleman with the microphone.

MR. COHEN: Ariel Cohen, the Heritage Foundation. A
question to General Brooks in particular but also to
Bob Kaplan. We were talking about the globalized
environment. We're talking by implication about the
English speaking media or western media. How do you
see this battle field of media, battle field of ideas
being addressed, engaged, and eventually won in the
Muslim world and in the Arab world, in the Arab
street, when you have still the predominance of Al
Jazeera. You have people like Sheikh Qaradawi. You
have the mosques, and you have the unreformed
education system. Thank you.

GENERAL BROOKS: Well, first it's a marketplace. We
have the--the powers of competition are in effect.
The desire to gain market share for our communications
industry happening within the Middle East; the
proliferation of stations and broadcasting entities is
remarkable. Some are relatively controlled by other
entities. Some are relatively free. But all of them
are competing for the same interests.

There is perhaps a dominance of one or two networks,
but that's not an exclusive--it's not exclusive. It
really depends on where you are. So, if you happen to
be in Lebanon, you might be more interested in
watching Al Manar. If you happen to be in Iran or if
you're in southern Iraq perhaps, you might be more
interested in watching Al Alam. So there are others
that are out there as well.

The question is does that then balance the view. And
what then must we do to engage that? First, I think
we have to recognize that it is a conduit of
communication we cannot ignore. Again, I go back to
the fact that there's interest out there, and the
example of the eight soldiers is certainly
illustrative of that; and that when we communicate we
ought to always think about this may resonate
differently in the Middle East than it does in
mid-America. And be careful about what we say and how
we say it. And have thought applied to that in

We ought to also seek the opportunities to engage as
much as possible. I certainly encourage military
leaders to go over to the foreign press center, for
example. When we rolled out our findings from General
Kearn, General Jones, and General Faye for the
investigations into the detainee abuse, we went to the
foreign press center and had a second briefing after
the Pentagon briefing. And we've had subsequent
interviews directly with Al Jazeera, recognizing that
it's important to articulate what it is we're doing,
why we're doing it, and what we have done to correct a
problem that embarrasses us and that needs fixing.

So, these are some of the things that's being done.

There's also a recognition that there are ideological
underpinnings that regenerate terrorist threats; and
that there has to be a concerted and deliberate
approach toward addressing the ideological
underpinnings of that. And that's more than just
information. That's also a reconciliation, if you
will, between words and actions over time, and a
conscious analysis of that frankly is the essence of
what strategic communications is all about.

MR. KAPLAN: Yeah. Let me just add a little bit of
context to that question. The Arab world, the Greater
Middle East, has only in the last 10 years become a
mass society. A mass society means mass media, which
has only come around in about the last 10 years or so.
The Arab Middle East has seen great social and
economic change over the last 50 years. Fifty years
ago, most of the Middle East was rural. Now, about 60
percent is urban. Mass consumer societies, et cetera.
Yet, in many places you still have emergency military
law ruling. So, you have not seen the concomitant
political evolution as you have with social and
economic evolution, and I think that the next
generation of Arab rulers or the coming one, no matter
what American foreign policy is, are simply not going
to have the luxury to rule quite as autocratically as
the past generation.

And as you have gradual liberalizing trends anyway in
the greater Middle East, you're going to see each of
those societies focus more and more on their internal
problems, because that's what tends to happen.

It's true that anti-Americanism is the bumper sticker
that you unites kind of all factions. But also keep
in mind that it may cut less and less deeper as the
years and decades go along, as it gets refracted
through a lot of domestic upheavals and all. For
instance, the U.S. military took down Fallujah in a
particularly brutal manner; yet, I did not see massive
demonstrations anywhere in the Middle East. It's kind
of like when they take these surveys, do you like the
U.N.? And 90 percent of Americans say yes.
Therefore, the U.N. is popular. Not it doesn't mean
that at all. Where does the U.N. rate on that
priority list? Maybe number 35, and the person
wouldn't even have mentioned it if he wasn't asked the

So, you know, it becomes how deeply this is felt, and
what's really struck me about the Middle East in the
past six months is how little political demonstration
there has been to sometimes very rough tactics,
necessary but rough tactics on the part of the

MR. DONNELLY: I'm sorry. We'll never get to anybody.
Chris, if we could just swing to this side of the
room, then this young lady right here. And then we'll
take one more after that.

MS. AIRMART: Hi, Leah Airmart, ORC Macro. This
question is primarily for Mr. Kaplan.

Actually, your story about the positive press for the
Army in the Philippines prompted this question. What
difference does it make or should or shouldn't it make
to information war planners in the United States that
most of the population in a lot of the areas that
you've discussed perhaps not Iraq, but certainly
Afghanistan, almost all of West Africa and East
Africa, their only plug into the public space is
through one or two radio stations or word of mouth.

MR. KAPLAN: Well, actually, again, in, you know, in
emerging democracies, which is much of the world,
you're seeing emerging diversified local medias.
Whether you go--I mean, even in poor West African
countries, to say nothing of the 84 million people who
live in the Philippines or the 50 million or so in
Colombia--you go to a newsstand in the morning, you
see stacks of different papers with different points
of view increasingly, not to mention local blogs and
web sites. And one thing I would like to add--one
thing that the U.S. Army discovered in the Philippines
or rather Special Operations Command Pacific, and also
that the U.S. Army Civil Affairs Team discovered in
East Africa is that it always helps to show the
military in a non-fighting way, in some kind of civil
affairs, humanitarian role whenever it's possible to
do so, because it breaks the stereotype so to speak.

And that's actually possible to do with complete
honesty in most, if not all, places.

MR. DONNELLY: We have time for just one more. I'm
going to try this gentleman in the second--yes. Yes,
you, sir. And I apologize to everybody else, and
we'll end with a promise that we'll take the issue up
again in the future.

MR. BAYUMI: My name is Arat Bayumi. I'm with the
Council on American Islamic Relations. But first I
want to thank you for this excellent panel. Second,
the Defense Science Board report, recent report, on
public diplomacy raises some very interesting points,
like, first, it talks about a problem or lack of some
kind of leadership and in terms of public diplomacy.
The reports says there isn't resources, there isn't
enough reorganization of the public diplomacy and

So, I want to ask Mr., General Brooks and Mr. Kaplan,
is the Army or is the Pentagon--Defense--Department of
Defense getting enough resources, enough
reorganization, new ideas to fight the old ideas.

Second, the report also raises a very important, which
is about the definition, the specific definition of
the word of terrorism. It says high U.S. officials
don't have clear and shared understanding of the
meaning--all of the word or terrorism. And at first I
want to ask, like, are you mainly focused on fighting
certain small groups in Iraq or maybe in Afghanistan
--what is the main goal? Like where is this after
fighting or defeating some groups in Iraq, where is
this leading the U.S.? Like, what's the main goal?
Thank you.


GENERAL BROOKS: I promise to try to keep it short.
First, the question about enough resources to fight
the war of ideas and enough reorganization. First,
it's excellent that there is healthy discourse and
debate on the need, and that will lead us; that will
lead us to exactly where we need to go, and it will be
an evolutionary process, not one that changes over
night to be sure. And, yes, we are participating in
it. The military does have a voice in some of those
considerations and what ought to be there.

I'll just hold there, and let Bob go through the rest
of it.

MR. KAPLAN: First of all, I think, to take the second
part first. I think terrorism will be with us for a
long time, because it's the contemporary manifestation
of conflict.

You know, there was always--has been military conflict
throughout history. There will always will, and the
technology, the time we live now, makes a particular
kind of asymmetric fighting, you know, using
civilians, et cetera. You know, so I think that
that's what terrorism is.

In terms of, you know, the resources, diplomatic, et
cetera, keep one thing in mind; that the classic
boundaries between military activity and diplomacy are
fast breaking down; that in many parts of history
there was no clear distinction between if you were a
general or a diplomat. You often did both or all in
the same day. And it's only in--you know, with the
Napoleonic--you know, professionalization of
militaries. In the 19th and 20th centuries that you
saw the military as the military and the diplomats as
the diplomat.

This is all breaking down now, because both--I mean,
increasingly you need ambassadors who know how to
operate almost as generals, like in Colombia, the
Philippines and Pakistan, et cetera. And you need
generals who are increasingly diplomatically savvy as

You know, so this--you know, I've always said that the
biggest enemy Washington faces in the war on terrorism
is the rigidity of its own bureaucratic boundaries.
You know, we need more and more cross fertilization
between the departments.

GENERAL BROOKS: And I'll come back to the last part
of your question. It is a particular manifestation of
extremism as we see it. The extremism, wherever it
spreads, is something we must combat. What we
ultimately seek is a world where it's simply not an
option, and it's not tolerated by anyone in whatever
definition you have that applies to you at a given
time. And there should be some common views of what
is or is not acceptable behavior where one's effort is
to specifically terrorize someone that cannot be

MR. DONNELLY: Thank you both very much. Thanks to
the audience for sticking around. Please join me with
a round of applause for our guests today.


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