Jeffrey LewisImages of US Policy Toward Iraq

Mr. SQ, resident ACW graphic analyst, sends along his comment on US strategy in Iraq.


Steve Clemons has a posted a copy of the US National Strategy for Victory in Iraq. (more from the NYT and WP)

The document tells you a lot more about the prospects for democratic elections in, say, Ohio than Iraq.

Rather than a “strategy,” the document is better described as the usual collection of talking points, some of which are lies—one example is the claim:

As of November 2005, there were more than 212,000 trained and equipped Iraqi Security Forces, compared with 96,000 in September of last year.

Iraq did not, however, have 96,000 trained and equipped Iraqi Security Forces (like the dapper fellows at right) in September 2004.

Adam Entous with Reuters obtained internal Defense Department documents in September 2004 that revealed only 8,169 had completed the full eight-week academy training. 46,176 of what are publicly called “trained and equipped” forces were listed privately as “untrained.”

Trained, untrained. What are you, a semiologist?

One wonders how many of the “212,000 trained and equipped Iraqi Security Forces” are, well, trained or equipped.

The document itself is an offense to the orderly mind, a mish-mash of arrows, bullet points and checkmarks that often violate the convention against “dividing” points into fewer than two subpoints. I ask you: Do paragraphs hate our freedoms?

At ACW, we like our flag draped propaganda over the top, with full paragraphs and lots of pretty pictures. So, I though I would share this brochure that a friend of mine picked up at DOD entitled From Dictatorship to Democracy.

Click on the image for a .pdf file, now with both pages.


  1. BE6-II

    Meanwhile Iran has taken a page from the book of the US and started advertising in newspapers like the New York Times. ( The advertisement links to a press release that reads like the powerpoint handout called strategy for victory in Iraq which details the white house publicity strategy for GOP unity in the coming months.

    The Iranian propaganda writing skills could still use some tweaking though. It doesn’t follow the golden “no more than 7 words and 20 sylables per sentence” rule. Its also has more text and less emotional words than Americans might be used to. All in all its a more wonk friendly read. I guess they just have more facts to misrepresent. At this pace Iran will be a democracy in no time 😉 I am sure Iran has plenty of attractive girls who can be “rescued” from “something they call a hospital” after driving into a ditch… sorry ambush. (

    All in all is looks more sophisticated than the US psy-ops operations in Iraq. (not to be confused with photo-ops units Psyops guys aren’t exactly known for their subtlety (, but using translators instead of native speakers and allowing payed for spin articles to be marked as advertisements kind of defeats the point. (Something Eurpean are used to when it comes to US propaganda in their newpapers Well, there is always the private sector They know just which journalist to give a story instead of paying pretty much all of them virtually guaranteeing everyone in your target audience already knows you payed for the story.

  2. JTH (History)

    Note image at the top
    Toyota Tundra
    Flip side of Prius