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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Soft Power 

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When it pays to plant stories in Iraqi newspapers, it has the opposite effect. Credibility is the key to success in an information age. Once a message is seen as propaganda, it loses credibility and so does its source. At the same time that the State Department was training Iraqi journalists on the importance of honesty and objectivity in a free press, the Pentagon was undercutting that larger American message. In war, psychological operations are part of the tactics of battle, but the military should define them very narrowly when it comes to winning the peace. Rumsfeld once told a conference of generals that he did not understand soft power.

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