Pentagon report about "an agenda hidden within the official rubric of a War on Terrorism"

Here is some more stuff from Dan Schwartz about the new Defense Science Board report which basically assaults what the Pentagon and White House are trying to claim about the "War on terror" etc, plus the Ukraine story and how Wal-Mart alienates the labor of Chinese people... Mr. Schwartz:

First, an unexpected bit of good sense from the Pentagon: the Defense Science Board, an advisory panel within the military, issued a report admonishing the US government for a failure to communicate effectively with the Muslim world AND warning that even if we communicate our policies and intentions clearly, there is no P.R. remedy for bad policies. (it hasn't been released to the public, so all I know is what the NYT has reported)

"In stark contrast to the cold war, the United States today is not seeking to contain a threatening state empire, but rather seeking to convert a broad movement within Islamic civilization to accept the value structure of Western Modernity - an agenda hidden within the official rubric of a 'War on Terrorism,' " the report states. "Today we reflexively compare Muslim 'masses' to those oppressed under Soviet rule," the report adds. "This is a strategic mistake. There is no yearning-to-be-liberated-by-the-U.S. groundswell among Muslim societies - except to be liberated perhaps from what they see as apostate tyrannies that the U.S. so determinedly promotes and defends."

I would add, obviously, that those yearning to be free of such tyrannies are unlikely to wish our assistance in casting of their yokes; as the report notes, we often support the dictators. "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather they hate our policies," adding that "when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy."

Further, "The critical problem in American public diplomacy directed toward the Muslim world is not one of 'dissemination of information' or even one of crafting and delivering the 'right' message. Rather it is a fundamental problem of credibility. Simply, there is none - the United States today is without a working channel of communication to the world of Muslims and of Islam."

I'm incredulous that a government agency of any striping, let alone the DOD, would say things like this. Questioning American altruism? Denying American credibility on the world stage? Betraying the rhetoric of the War on Terror? Ladies and gentlemen, this is HERESY. let's see if anything comes of it...

"The United States is deeply disturbed by extensive and credible indications of fraud committed in the ... presidential election. We strongly support efforts to review the conduct of the election and urge ... authorities not to certify results until investigations of organized fraud are resolved. We call on the Government ... to respect the will of the ... people, and we urge all ... to resolve the situation through peaceful means. The Government bears a special responsibility not to use or incite violence, and to allow free media to report accurately on the situation without intimidation or coercion. The United States stands with the ... people in this difficult time."

So goes the White House press release concerning the recent US elections. Just kidding. Everything was FINE here, but the Ukraine, it would seem, just doesn't meet international standards for electoral legitimacy, so we'll probably need a recount or maybe even a new election. The press has been all over this one; I've seen more coverage, closer to the front page, from more sources in the last 3 days alone than there has been in the 22 since our own election.

Here's a nice roundup of some Ukraine coverage via Metafilter.

Speaking of double standards, Wal-Mart has conceded to allow store associates in its Chinese retail locations to form unions. The company has fought tooth and nail over the years to prevent such perversity among its employees here in the states, but I guess even unionized Chinese workers won't ask much in the way of decent pay or dignified working conditions. The All China Federation of Trade Unions is relatively weak—not much more than an extension of the national party bureaucracy—so hey! if that's the price we pay for expanding to this enormous new market, so be it.

Happy Turkey Day!

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