Monday, October 27, 2008

Syria Raid a PR Pickle

Scooped Again: The Pentagon Monday confirmed reports that U.S. special operation forces raided a small village inside Syria over the weekend. That's all the spokesman, who insisted his name be withheld, announced. At least eight persons were killed, according to Syrian newspaper accounts. The Bush administration's strategy to attack terrorist targets on the Iraqi and Afghanistan border is both sound and logical. Foreign terrorists use the safe havens to enter the two countries and kill our soldiers. The problem is it takes the military weeks, if not months, to report details of the strikes. Meanwhile, Americans learn only what our allies and enemies in the Middle East report in their newspapers and television broadcasts. The Syrian raid is the latest example. While the U.S. is telegraphing its message it will not tolerate foreign terrorists entering the two countries from neighboring borders, cries of civilian deaths, aggression and crimes against invaded sovereign nations are voiced throughout the Middle East. One Syrian from the attacked village of Sukkariyeh said women and children were killed in the raid at a construction site. An AP reporter said he counted only eight male bodies at the mock funeral site Monday. The timing of the raid comes at an inopportune period. The Iraqi parliament is considering its government's approval with the U.S. for a troop security and withdrawal pact. Syria is working with Iraq, Lebanon and Israel for peace and trade agreements. Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai has complained for more than a year that U.S. military air strikes in his country be curtailed because they are killing too many innocent civilians. The new government in Pakistan echoes the same complaints. War is hell. There is bound to be collateral damage. The Pentagon has not been transparent. The U.S. may be winning the war against al-Quada but losing the propaganda war for the minds and hearts of the Middle East as a result. You can't win one without the other. The next U.S. president must correct that imbalance.

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