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Fred Thompson talks about our lame propaganda effort
Posted by: McQ on Friday, June 01, 2007

Yesterday in a post entitled "The Long War" I talked about our serious lack of a positive propaganda effort to counter those efforts made by our declared enemies and those who are attempting to subvert freedom. I've talked about that lack of an effort many times in the past (here, here, here, here and here) Fred Thompson sounds a similar theme using Hugo Chavez's latest move as his starting point:
Well, he's done it. Hugo Chavez was already systematically silencing criticism of his autocratic rule through threats and intimidation. Journalists have been threatened, beaten and even killed. Now he's shut down the last opposition television networks in Venezuela and arrested nearly 200 protesters – mostly students. It’s a monumental tragedy and the Venezuelan people will pay the price for decades to come. Americans are also at risk as he funds anti-American candidates and radicals all over Latin America.

It’s equally tragic that the U.S. is in no position to provide the victims of this emerging dictator with the truth. There was a time, though, when Americans were on the front lines of pro-freedom movements all over the world. I'm talking about the “surrogate” broadcast network that included Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, often called "the Radios."
But as Thompson points out, we watched the USSR collapse, patted ourselves on the back, reduced our military and, additionally, reduced "the Radios".
Now, of course, we know that the Islamofascists, many trained by the old Soviets, were making plans and plots of their own. Unfortunately, the plans to broadcast a pro-freedom message into Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Kurdistan and Ukraine were shelved or diluted. Reagan's ideological audacity was replaced with a more "diplomatic" tone.

And see where it's got us? Not only has Islamic totalitarianism spread without a true ideological challenge, many of the freed Soviet bloc countries are slipping back into repression. Russia is making the same old threats and even protecting Iran's efforts to build nukes.
Obviously Thompson is not saying 'the Radios' are the answer. In fact it would be rather naive to believe that the radio effort was what caused the Soviet collapse. But there is no question they had a key effect:
Cynics still say that the USSR fell of its own weight, and that President Reagan’s efforts to bring it down were irrelevant, but Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev say differently. Both have said that, without the Radios, the USSR wouldn't have fallen. The Radios were not some bland public relations effort, attracting audiences only with American pop music. They engaged the intellectual and influential populations behind the Iron Curtain with accurate news and smart programming about freedom and democracy. They had sources and networks within those countries that sometimes outperformed the CIA. When Soviet hardliners and reformers were facing off, and crowds and tanks were on the streets of Moscow and Bucharest, the radios were sending real-time information to the people, including the military, and reminding them of what was at stake.
This is a critical point about a critical program. Positive and smart propaganda is one of the absolute key elements in any win against Islamic fundamentalists. It is an important extension of soft power, which when used as Thompson points out, in a smart way, can have an profound effect. It too is an part of the overall "GWoT" and it is one at which we are, at the moment, doing a very poor job.
 
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Read his words all at once, inserting in your head his voice...

And tell me he doesn’t sound like the next Reagan...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
How about we skip making him President, and just make him Communicator in Chief right now...

We really do need to get better about pushing our ideas and ideals out into the world.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Of course we also need to get around the reactionary left here at home too. They constantly call for "winning the hearts and minds" but the second we try to actually do that with news stories or programs such as this, they scream "LIES AND PROPAGANDA!"

Some coherent opposition is all I’d ask for.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Yeah he’s got quite a voice. Too bad he doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. We broadcast Voice of America in Venezeula right now. Here’s the very story this nitwit says we’re in no position to provide. Also, (and unlike the Soviet Union in 1953) CNN and Fox News are carried on all the cable and satellite carriers there. Here, for example, are the channels one gets when one subscribes to Supervision’s cable service in Caracas.

And, "plans were shelved"?!? What does he call Al Iraqiya?

There’s nothing to the man except his drawl.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Here’s the very story this nitwit says we’re in no position to provide.
Uh, no he’s not. What part of "Islamofacist" didn’t you understand and how does a link to a Spanish language VOA site counter that?
And, "plans were shelved"?!? What does he call Al Iraqiya?
Lame, discredited and mostly unwatched.
Here, for example, are the channels one gets when one subscribes to Supervision’s cable service in Caracas.
Well first off, they don’t get RCTV anymore. And secondly, all the other Venezuelan networks listed except Globovision are state run or state affiliated. And, of course, he’s after Globovison now. He’s also after CNN. But hey, always nice to have an apologist for dictators among the commenters.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Hugo Chavez was already systematically silencing criticism of his autocratic rule through threats and intimidation. Journalists have been threatened, beaten and even killed. Now he’s shut down the last opposition television networks in Venezuela and arrested nearly 200 protesters - mostly students. It’s a monumental tragedy and the Venezuelan people will pay the price for decades to come. Americans are also at risk as he funds anti-American candidates and radicals all over Latin America.

It’s equally tragic that the U.S. is in no position to provide the victims of this emerging dictator with the truth.
Well the "victims of this emerging dictator" are mostly spanish speaking so a broadcast in that language might be an effective way of providing them with the truth.
Lame, discredited and mostly unwatched.
Maybe, but not "shelved", not at all "shelved", in fact just the opposite of "shelved".

Apologist, schmapologist. Hugo Chavez could be evil incarnate and that wouldn’t mean we should pay atention when Fred Thompson decides to pretend that Caracas is behind some kind of Iron Curtain with no access to the US viewpoint, and pipes up with "maybe we should have propaganda of our own" as if nobody had ever thought of that before.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Thompson is obviously a very smart man; he agrees with me.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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