What a surprise!
Tom Vanden Brook and Ray Locker
USA TODAY, 29 February 2012
WASHINGTON – As the Pentagon has sought to sell wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to often-hostile populations there, it has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on poorly tracked marketing and propaganda campaigns that military leaders like to call “information operations,” the modern equivalent of psychological warfare.
From 2005 to 2009, such spending rose from $9 million to $580 million a year mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon and congressional records show. Last year, spending dropped to $202 million as the Iraq War wrapped up. A USA TODAY investigation, based on dozens of interviews and a series of internal military reports, shows that Pentagon officials have little proof the programs work and they won’t make public where the money goes. In Iraq alone, more than $173 million was paid to what were identified only as “miscellaneous foreign contractors.”
“What we do as I.O. is almost gimmicky,” says Army Col. Paul Yingling, who served three tours in Iraq between 2003 and 2009, including as an information operations specialist. “Doing posters, fliers or radio ads. These things are unserious.”
Phi Beta Iota: The real issue here is the lack of “management” across the entire US Government. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) does not manage anything. There are no standards for return on investment, inter-agency collaboration, even justification in the public interest. Budgeting is a corrupt political “game” in which the Cabinet Secretaries represent the recipients of taxpayer funds, not the taxpayers. Were OMB serious, intelligence, information operations, and public diplomacy would be managed as one account, an Open Source Agency under diplomatic auspices would establish the gold standard for truth, and no money would be invested in contractors whose primary qualifications consist of contributing to Congressional political action campaigns and playing golf. The truth at any cost lowers all others costs. We are nowhere near getting a grip on the truth.