The Defense Department is considering issuing a secret directive to the American military to conduct covert operations aimed at influencing public opinion and policy makers in friendly and neutral countries, senior Pentagon and administration officials say.
Such a program, for example, could include efforts to discredit and undermine the influence of mosques and religious schools that have become breeding grounds for Islamic militancy and anti-Americanism across the Middle East, Asia and Europe. It might even include setting up schools with secret American financing to teach a moderate Islamic position laced with sympathetic depictions of how the religion is practiced in America, officials said.
Senior Pentagon officials say Mr. Rumsfeld is deeply frustrated that the United States government has no coherent plan for molding public opinion worldwide in favor of America in its global campaign against terrorism and militancy.
The addition of the word "militancy" is interesting. It affirms that we have absolutely no problem with not holding ourselves to the standard to which we hold everyone else, and it expresses our explicit willingness to crush nations who defy our interests (e.g. Bush's support of the coup attempt in Venezuela).
Washington Post: Casey Kasem or Freedom?
After an Iranian court sentenced the reformist academic Hashem Aghajari to death last month, the largest and most sustained student demonstrations in years erupted in Tehran. As they grew, day after day, U.S.-operated Radio Azadi, or "Radio Freedom," was their favorite medium. Every day, student leaders would call by cell phone from the roiling campuses to the radio's headquarters in Prague and narrate the latest developments live. Each night the radio would broadcast a roundtable discussion, patching together students and journalists in Tehran with exiled opposition leaders to discuss where the reform movement was going.
In an act that mixes Hollywood arrogance with astounding ignorance of Iranian reality, the board has silenced the most effective opposition radio station in Iran at a time of unprecedented ferment. In its place, at three times the expense, the United States now will supply Iran's revolutionary students with a diet of pop music -- on the theory that this better advances U.S. interests.
Maybe the US will build a series of Mosques which feature televised prayers by Brittany Spears, followed by a day of music videos.