Study: US needs to 'rebrand' Iraq war
As the Washington Post reports, the 211-page report the United States military commissioned on the "marketing" and "rebranding" of the Iraq war has been released this week by the RAND corporation.
This report looks at ways America can wage a PR offensive, simultaneously with war, to give a positive image to the "product" as it is being "marketed" to surviving citizens of Iraq as the war goes on.
Many of the study's conclusions may seem as obvious as they are hard to implement amid combat operations and terrorist attacks, and Helmus acknowledged that it could be too late for extensive rebranding of the U.S. effort in Iraq. But Duane Schattle, whose urban operations office at the Joint Forces Command ordered the study, said that "cities are the battlegrounds of the future" and what has happened in Baghdad provides lessons for the future. "This isn't just about going in and blowing things up," Schattle said. "This is about working in a very complex environment."
In an urban insurgency, for example, civilians can help identify enemy infiltrators and otherwise assist U.S. forces. They are less likely to help, the study says, when they become "collateral damage" in U.S. attacks, have their doors broken down or are shot at checkpoints because they do not speak English. Cultural connections -- seeking out the local head man when entering a neighborhood, looking someone in the eye when offering a friendly wave -- are key.
The challenge for the advertising study, he said, was to find "something we can learn from Madison Avenue or from the marketers, the best in the world, that might help us when we're trying to deliver a message about what democracy is." In Iraq, Schattle said, the "urban population is the center of gravity" and the problem is "how we influence them to be on our side, or at least not be an enemy" when "what they see is armor." The goal of such studies, Schattle said, is to distill what works and incorporate it into future training.
Read the entire Washington Post article HERE.