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Monday, April 10, 2006

Zarqawi: A successful PSYOPS campaign

Through aggressive Strategic Communications, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi now represents: Terrorism in Iraq/Foreign Fighters in Iraq/Suffering of Iraqi People (Infrastructure Attacks)/Denial of Iraqi Aspirations.
-- An internal US military document, quoted by the Washington Post. The Post explains:
The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The documents state that the U.S. campaign aims to turn Iraqis against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, by playing on their perceived dislike of foreigners. U.S. authorities claim some success with that effort, noting that some tribal Iraqi insurgents have attacked Zarqawi loyalists.

For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.

Some senior intelligence officers believe Zarqawi's role may have been overemphasized by the propaganda campaign, which has included leaflets, radio and television broadcasts, Internet postings and at least one leak to an American journalist. Although Zarqawi and other foreign insurgents in Iraq have conducted deadly bombing attacks, they remain "a very small part of the actual numbers," Col. Derek Harvey, who served as a military intelligence officer in Iraq and then was one of the top officers handling Iraq intelligence issues on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an Army meeting at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., last summer.

In a transcript of the meeting, Harvey said, "Our own focus on Zarqawi has enlarged his caricature, if you will -- made him more important than he really is, in some ways."
Even though chances are good that Zarqawi no longer exists, US imperialism just doesn't know how to kill and destroy properly without a villain. Once Saddam was caught, the closest thing they could find to a villain (outside of the White House), was this alleged Jordanian terrorist, Zarqawi. Soon badly-edited videos of beheadings started to appear, and Zarqawi was blamed for every bad thing happening in Iraq, from suicide bombings to sandstorms. It wasn't long before Cheney, aWol and Rummy were using supposed statements from Zarqawi as evidence that their "strategy" was working.

We now know that not only is Zarqawi largely or entirely a myth--he's a myth intentionally created/inflated by the US military. Imagine my surprise.