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June 17, 2006


-- by Dave Johnson

Abu Aardvark: The Zarqawi docs... seriously, now.

Let's just say that were I a strategist for a military which had just killed an insurgency leader such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and seized a bunch of documents full of actionable intelligence, I might not choose to, you know, release them to the media. On the other hand, had I just killed an insurgency leader such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and I wanted to follow up on that operational success by sowing confusion and disarray among his followers (and maybe even scoring some points with the domestic public opinion which my Secretary of Defense has identified as a principle theater of conflict), I might very well release a bunch of "documents" showing that the recently deceased was highly pessimistic about his prospects and that his movement was on the run.
Good idea, actually, to spread disinformtion that demoralizes al Queda. But it is a serious problem for democracy when the American media reports military disinformation. Democracy requires accurate information so the people can make informed ecisions. "Blowback" is the term for "disinformation" that is planted in foreign media but makes its way into American media. Blowback used to be considered a very bad thing, and there were protections designed to prevent it happening, precisely because of the harm it can do to democractic decision-making. These days it seems to be the intent.

(Through Political Animal.)

Posted by Dave Johnson at June 17, 2006 12:46 PM

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