American Strategic Communication in Iraq: The "Rapid Reaction Media Team"

Pamment, James
April 2012
Online Journal of Communication & Media Technologies;Apr2012, Vol. 2 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
The purpose of this paper is to interpret an American military media strategy designed for the Iraq war from a perspective drawing on recent theoretical discussions of space and time. The material consists of a short white paper that was declassified under the Freedom of Information Act and published by the NSA in 2007. It outlines a 'Rapid Reaction Media Team' which was tasked with designing and implementing the US-led media system at the onset of war in March 2003. Despite aiming to create a 'balanced and fair' public service television network equivalent to the BBC or PBS, the $100 million budget was derived from the $87.5 billion military budget, with the Department of Defense overseeing implementation. Hence there was a fundamental contradiction between the stated intentions of the network as a provider of balanced news and its broader position within US military objectives. The RRMT plan reveals a series of strategies, inherent conflicts, and assumptions which can be seen to enact forms of symbolic violence complimentary to that of the military. By this, I mean that it sheds light on sophisticated strategies for the 'transposition' of military force to the discursive sphere; for the exertion of violence by other means in US attempts to manage perceptions of the war. In a fundamental sense, the RRMT strategy uses media as an extension of warfare, and this paper will look at how 'actual' violence was transferred from the military battlefield to the discursive.


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