One of the
biggest challenges facing the United States in its war
against terrorism is not physical. It is the challenge
of winning the battle of public opinion, both here at
home as well as overseas. According to comments in the
recently released report from the
9/11 Commission, we
are doing a very bad job of it.
addressed this issue before (see
article), but with the continuing pressure of
the current political campaigns and world events, it
becomes even more critical that the U.S. take a more
proactive PR role than it has to date.
moving forward to let the world know more about who we
are and what we are fighting for, it appears that we are
moving backwards. For example, the Voice of America has
reduced broadcasting from 24 hours a day down to 19.
While the government continues to spend billions of
dollars on men, equipment and supplies to chase
terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s actually
reducing the amount of money being spent to spread our
ideas and ideals to these and other Muslim countries.
back to the idea of creating a Public Relations czar
with some real power that can effect changes in our
communication to other countries. Our country is no
longer viewed as the “knight in shining armor” – by the
terrorists or by many of the citizens of the countries
we are trying to help.
As the 9/11
Commission so aptly pointed out, how is it possible that
we are being outcommunicated by “a man in a cave”?