The Washington Post
had an odd front-page item today on a 211-page study conducted by the Rand Corp. for the U.S. Joint Forces Command. The subject: how to boost the image of U.S. military operations through "shaping" the product and the marketplace.
In an urban insurgency, for example, civilians can help identify enemy infiltrators and otherwise assist U.S. forces. They are less likely to help, the study says, when they become "collateral damage" in U.S. attacks, have their doors broken down or are shot at checkpoints because they do not speak English.
I see. So, in other words, public relations is more challenging in a foreign environment in which your "target customers" suspect you might kill them.
While not abandoning the more aggressive elements of warfare, the report suggested, a more attractive brand for the Iraqi people might have been "We will help you."
You'll notice, of course, that the report put this in past tense -- it's a little late for Iraq -- so the administration will have to keep it in mind for the next war.