Like the maker of an out-of-favor car or sneaker, the U.S. military needs a new "branding" campaign to earn civilian support in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots, a report for the Pentagon said on Tuesday.But then there's the reasonable element too, that element that might indeed be helpful, and which is an entirely different thing than branding (in sum, "wild bullshit doesn't always work, even when, astonishingly, you believe it yourselves"). This is the part where the main recommendation is basically to get a new commander in chief.
"We will help you" could be the pitch, said the 211-page survey by RAND Corp., a nonprofit research group that carries out many studies for the Defense Department.
It said the U.S. military "brand" had been tarnished by, among other things, images of Abu Ghraib prison; the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and post-invasion gaps in getting Iraqi civilians electricity and clean water.
"It's not just a matter of putting the right 'spin' on U.S. military actions," said Todd Helmus, a behavioral scientist and the report's lead author. "It's synchronizing what we say with what we do."