4.16.2009

Pentagon Closes Office Accused of Propaganda Under Bush.

On one hand, President Obama is teetering on the edge of keeping Bush's worst torture memos secret, which upsets me greatly, and then he does something good like this.

From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON — A Pentagon office responsible for coordinating Defense Department information campaigns overseas has been abolished in an effort by the Obama administration to distance itself from past practices that some military officers called propaganda, senior officials said Wednesday.

Military and civilian critics said the office, the Defense Department office for support to public diplomacy, overstepped its mandate during the final years of the Bush administration by trying to organize information operations that violated Pentagon guidelines for accuracy and transparency.

[snip]

Questions over the proper role of the Pentagon in public diplomacy have lingered since it was disclosed in 2002 that the Defense Department had created the Office of Strategic Influence; that office, a forerunner of the Pentagon public diplomacy office, was shut down after members of Congress expressed concerns that its behind-the-scenes efforts to shape public sentiment in wartime might undermine the military’s credibility.

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