An appropriate addendum to the previous post, Mercenary Humanism (or how Blackwater wished to “save Darfur,” for itself).
Anyone who read the following items on this blog will not be surprised by the latest Wikileaks release, in particular: In Afghanistan It’s Now All About the Little Girls; Afghanistan’s Little Girls on the Front Line, Part 2; and, Engineering Division, Instability, and Regime Change with Naheed, Neda, and Allah.
Wikileaks has just released an internal CIA memorandum, dated 11 March 2010, and titled: “Afghanistan: Sustaining West European Support for the NATO-led Mission—Why Counting on Apathy Might Not Be Enough.” The CIA is concerned that public apathy toward the war (meaning that the war in Afghanistan is not a top electoral issue, yet) might turn into outright hostility “if spring and summer fighting results in an upsurge in military or Afghan civilian casualties and if a Dutch-style debate spills over into other states contributing troops.” France and Germany are the main concerns of this memorandum:
“The Afghanistan mission’s low public salience has allowed French and German leaders to disregard popular opposition and steadily increase their troop contributions to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Berlin and Paris currently maintain the third and fourth highest ISAF troop levels, despite the opposition of 80 percent of German and French respondents to increased ISAF deployments, according to INR polling in fall 2009.”
What to do, as both summer fighting upsurges in Afghanistan, and elections in France and Germany approach? Wage a propaganda war at home:
“A consistent and iterative strategic communication program across NATO troop contributors that taps into the key concerns of specific Western European audiences could provide a buffer if today’s apathy becomes tomorrow’s opposition to ISAF, giving politicians greater scope to support deployments to Afghanistan.”
And most of all, SELL AFGHANISTAN’S LITTLE GIRLS AND WOMEN, which works especially well when pandering to politically correct Islamophobia:
“The prospect of the Taliban rolling back hard-won progress on girls’ education could provoke French indignation, become a rallying point for France’s largely secular public, and give voters a reason to support a good and necessary cause despite casualties.”
“Afghan women could serve as ideal messengers in humanizing the ISAF role in combating the Taliban because of women’s ability to speak personally and credibly about their experiences under the Taliban, their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory. Outreach initiatives that create media opportunities for Afghan women to share their stories with French, German, and other European women could help to overcome pervasive skepticism among women in Western Europe toward the ISAF mission.”
Finally, as we wrote in America’s New Counterinsurgency Doll: On Store Shelves this January 20, Obama is himself the best possible salesman for war, because Europeans like him (indeed, his winning a Nobel Peace Prize on the basis of a speech must surely confirm some of that impression):
“The confidence of the French and German publics in President Obama’s ability to handle foreign affairs in general and Afghanistan in particular suggest that they would be receptive to his direct affirmation of their importance to the ISAF mission—and sensitive to direct expressions of disappointment in allies who do not help.”
(Here is another idea the CIA might consider: painting green pictures of Neda’s face on the bombs the U.S. plans to drop on Iran.)
Read the rest of the CIA report here.