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No Propaganda Obama

John Brown

No Drama Obama is -- in the case of Afghanistan -- no propaganda Obama.

In comparison, of course, with the improperganda used by presidents in conflicts such as the war in Vietnam or the more recent misadventure in Iraq. No fabrications like the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" or weapons of mass destructions are being used to "justify" the planned escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

Why a No Propaganda Obama?

--The President is an honorable man (aren't we all honorable wo/men?), and apparently doesn't want to lie to the American people about the need for more troops in Afghanistan. In other words, he, a man of conscience, refuses to sell his war through crude, manipulative propaganda.

--The Afghan war is not popular among Americans. So glamorizing it is not good politics.

--In his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama stressed that the Afghan war was justifiable (his way of saying that although he was against the war in Iraq, he still intended "to get the terrorists"?)

--Obama doesn't want to look like mission-accomplished Bush, who -- we now know -- so blatantly lied to get public support for his macho-man invasion of Iraq.


From a longer-term perspective we have other possible reasons why Mr. Obama is not acting like a war salesman -- or feels the need to even act as a war salesman -- as he goes about expanding his Afghan war:

--We don't have a nation-wide military draft; and in a time of economic hardship, the Pentagon can be staffed with the unemployed. So, no need to "sell" war to the populace, even if it doesn't particularly like it.

--Robots, rather than men/women, are increasingly fighting our wars. No need to propagandize robots.

--War is good for business -- business being the "military-industrial complex" Mr. Obama has been so careful not to offend (as the administration's bail-out of Wall Street suggests).

Most Important

-- And, perhaps most important, war has become as American as apple pie. As Andrew J. Bacevich puts it, "permanent war has become the de facto policy of the United States."

US taxpayers have gotten so used to wars (even those they don't like) outsourced to the professional military that there's no need -- beltway pundits/bandits, perhaps not so imaginary, would argue -- for the US government to promote war anymore.

Not even overseas through "public diplomacy."

Bottom Line

Bottom Line: War is now, like, so, like, totally all-American (have you noticed how many ads on NFL football games are by the military?).

So why does Mr. Obama even need propaganda for his Afghan war?

War, after all, has become, for the U.S., as "natural" as much of the so-called "food" we buy in supermarkets.

Except for American soldiers in coffins. And Pakistani children killed by a Predator drone.

Meanwhile, "President [Obama] is on track to spend more on defense, in real dollars, than any other president has in one term of office since World War II," reports National Journal's Government Executive magazine.

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John Brown, a former Foreign Service officer, compiles the Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review

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