The meat of the Smith Amendment to H.R. 5658 in "[combating] the spread of violent terrorist ideology ... by requiring the President to develop a comprehensive interagency strategy for strategic communication and public diplomacy."
I am still very angry over the recent New York Times disclosure of a Pentagon information apparatus use of retired military officers as "military analysts" whose long service enables them to "give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world. those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance."
So ... information apparatus? Public diplomacy? Strategic communication? Pure and simple propaganda? The U.S. version of Pravda?
What's the dif?
Adam Smith, author of the Smith Amendment, is my congressman, Ninth Congressional District, State of Washington.
The Smith Amendment:
* Requires the President to develop a comprehensive interagency strategy for strategic communication and public diplomacy by the end of 2009;
* Increases Congressional oversight by requiring the Administration to report to Congress on the State and Defense Departments’ respective roles in strategic communication and public diplomacy; and
* Requires the Administration to assess and report back to Congress on the Defense Science Board’s recommendation that the U.S. establish an independent, non-profit organization to support the U.S. government’s strategic communication efforts.
Smith goes on to say:
Our nation’s multifaceted fight against al-Qaida and their allies includes efforts to counter their ideology – a war of ideas. Terrorist groups aggressively push their narrative through new and traditional media with the aim of radicalizing and recruiting from new populations. Through clever use of the Internet and a steady trickle of video messages distributed to and through the media, al-Qaeda drives its central messages and takes us on in the marketplace of ideas. Numerous commissions and experts recommend improving the United States’ engagement with foreign audiences beyond traditional government-to-government relations. Unfortunately, U.S. efforts remain insufficient to counter violent extremist narratives around the world.
Yes, but... It's more than a "war of ideas" or ideology. There is the factor of behavior. U.S. international behavior, which is something that I am certainly not proud of, most especially after the last seven years of U.S. horrors internationally.
But, it is more than what Bush and his ideologues have managed to pull off, horrific as that may be. The United States has a long and dishonorable history in its dealings with peoples and states of the Middle East, witness the 1953 takedown of a democratically elected leader in Iran, or our "invisble hand" in the installation and support of murderous thug Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
It cannot be denied that our nation has succumbed to six of the Seven Capital Vices:
Lust, as in unbridled lust for the oil of the Middle East.
Gluttony, as in wasteful and gluttonous consumption of the resource of oil in our wasteful vehicles and unconcern for Corporate Average Fuel Economy, (CAFE). Economy? Us? Economize?
Greed, like Lust and Gluttony, sins of excess, avarice, wanting what belongs to others even if we have to steal it or gain through other unethical means, as well as consuming far too much of this increasingly rare commodity, wastefully consuming far too much.
Wrath, becoming angry if we do not get our way by unlawfully overturning the governments of other nations, (Iran in 1953), waging war against Iraq when it looked like Saddam Hussein was going to deal in Euros rather than U.S. dollars for Iraq's precious oil.
Envy, as in being covetously envious of the oil which belongs to the states and the people of the Middle East.
Pride, as in our prideful racial belief that it is our God-given right to plunder the Middle East and steal their oil because we are the Superior White Race and they are the Inferior Brown People,
The only sin missing is Sloth, and the United States assuredly has not been derelict in energetically pursuing its lustful, gluttonous, greedy goals, fueled by our envy and pride, using the wrathful instrument of war.
America, get thyself to the confessional and humbly get down upon your knees and confess your multitude of sins so that you may grow in goodness and grace and renounce these heinous sins!
Sarge has rightly pointed out that America was Slothful in its response to Katrina and global warming.
So, America, you are guilty of ALL of the Captial Sins: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride.
Post Postscript: I don't think we were very quick in responding to the 2004 tsunami tragedy either.