Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Great PR 

The best PR is still persuasive presentation of facts. That makes this presentation a fine piece of public relations work. It is a detailed report of weapons caches, explosives and violations of human rights that the US military discovered in Fallujah. There had been controversy about what insurgents are doing, and it is clear the aim of this report was to end questions about who was at fault. In a nearly dry manner, the report steps through every mosque that had weapons and/or was used as a fighting position, every armament found in a mosque and every violation. One can see through the photos and minimal text that the investigators wanted to leave no doubt. By time they are done, the evidence is damning. The one false note is the section on humanitarian assistance, which strains to make its point.

This is PR at its best -- evidence presented clearly and convincingly such that anyone can grasp its meaning. Even the media didn't argue with it, especially not those embedded with the troops.

Does this mean Iraqis will now befriend Americans because they have seen the light? Not in the least. It does mean international criticism of the US will be, and has so far been, muted with regard to Fallujah. There is not much one can say about torture and slaughter. The insurgents hardly showed themselves as humanitarians.

It is rare that one gets an opportunity to disclose abundant evidence like this and to build a case so convincingly. Most of the time, PR work is like Colin Powell at the UN -- delivering suppositions based on suspect evidence. In Fallujah, weapons and violence were documented beyond doubt.


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