- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cannot believe how a biased media has made the job of fighting the bad guys harder than ever. The media broke the stories about torture at the Abu Ghraib prison; the U.S. military paying for favorable articles in the Iraqi media; competing with America’s extremist detractors in poisoning Muslim minds about the United States; criticizing the liberation of an Iraq enslaved by Saddam Hussein.

U.S. public affairs officers and their operations, the defense secretary said, had fallen down on these non-career-enhancing jobs. Wish it were that simple. It could be fixed in a jiffy.

The problem appears to be one of failure to connect the dots; in some cases, failure even to see them. Here are a few that are still disconnected. Mr. Rumsfeld himself supplied the first dots when he insulted the European allies by dividing them between new Europe (good) and old Europe (bad). …

Now even staunch Bush supporters return from trips abroad appalled at the depth of entrenched anti-U.S. feelings in private conversations with kindred European souls. …

A Pew Foundation survey found 14 of 16 countries have a higher opinion of China than of the U.S. — even among traditional U.S. allies in Europe. …

President Bush remains extraordinarily unpopular abroad, with very low approval ratings except in Poland and India. …

A majority of South Korean youngsters told pollsters they would side with North Korea’s Stalinist regime in a military showdown between Pyongyang and Washington. …

U.S. porn sites, including tens of thousands of child porn offerings, rake in billions of dollars and flood the world. …

U.S. capitalism is no longer seen as the unequal sharing of blessings but as a gigantic sucking sound that allows CEOs to earn 500 times more than factory floor workers while a growing number of employers inform workers they can no longer afford to pay their pensions. …

Two U.S. financial services executives are written up making $500 million and $300 million in one year. …

Jack Abramoff, the king of sleazy lobbyists, is played in foreign media as the new face of American democracy. …

Thirty-three thousand lobbyists, the equivalent of two U.S. Army divisions, now orbit around 535 U.S. lawmakers. …

Lobbyists and Capitol Hill staffers are interchangeable professions that write the laws. …

The U.S. defense budget’s 15,300 earmarks, up 1,300 percent in the 21st century, are so many pork projects for lawmakers’ constituencies that have nothing to do with defense. …

The Iraq war generated more, not less support for pro-al Qaeda political formations in the Muslim world. …

The unanticipated Iraqi insurgency acted as a force multiplier for al Qaeda recruits from Indonesia to sub-Sahara Africa. …

A U.S.-hating, pro-Iran cleric emerges as kingmaker in post-Saddam Iraq … after the U.S. spends $400 billion to liberate and democratize the country. …

President Bush’s crusade for democracy in the Middle East gives a powerful assist to anti-American political groupings in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran. …

Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11,” a blend of truth, half-truth, disinformation, innuendo, gossip and smear, was seen by countless millions around the world as an authentic account of a neocon conspiracy that bamboozled President Bush into going to war under false pretenses. …

Since the days of silent movies, Hollywood has offered a demeaning portrayal of Arabs as shady characters who wear bedsheet headdresses anchored by absurd triple strands of oversize gold braid. …

Other impressions are formed by U.S. movie industry’s propensity to show the CIA, NSA and the rest of the intelligence community populated by hit teams with a blood lust to bump off the good guys. …

There is concern over the Bush administration’s rejection of the Kyoto Treaty on the environment and its conviction global warming is much ado about not much … as glaciers melt at an alarming rate in Greenland. …

Led by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales, popular anti-U.S. leftist movements sweep Latin America, giving Fidel Castro a new lease on life as he becomes an octogenarian … .

Yuval Diskin, the head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, says on television his country might come to regret its decision to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq. “I’m not sure we won’t come to miss Saddam,” he opined.

Connecting all the dots in the Defense Department is no mean feat for a defense secretary. And connecting the Pentagon to all the other dots that have displaced America as the shining citadel on the hill is apparently beyond Mr. Rumsfeld’s purview. But he should realize blaming MSM (mainstream media) and public affairs officers is tantamount to disinformation.

Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International.

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