Though the United States and its allies are clearly winning the military part of the war in the Persian Gulf, they are in danger of losing the propaganda part of the war - and that can be harmful.
With his claims that American planes are indiscriminately bombing civilians and his deceptive peace offers, Saddam Hussein seems to be making gains in the battle for the public's minds.If those gains continue, Baghdad just might splinter the western Arab alliance trying to expel Iraq from Kuwait and sap the public's willingness to keep supporting this effort. No, Saddam isn't preaching just to the already persuaded. In response to his charges, the Soviet Union has started to accuse the United States of using too much military power against Iraq and seems to be weakening its already flaccid support for the alliance. If the Soviets fall away, others might leave the alliance, too.
It isn't enough, then, for the alliance just to respond to each propaganda ploy from Iraq. Instead, the alliance needs to go on the offensive - and it has plenty of ammunition to fire without resorting to lies.
Why isn't the alliance, for example, trumpeting to the world what the Jubail Wildlife Rescue Center in Saudi Arabia is doing to save the numerous species of birds endangered by the massive oil spill that Saddam inflicted on the Persian Gulf?
Shouldn't the Arab world be told more about Kuwait's promises to share more of its wealth with its neighbors once Iraqi invaders have been expelled and the legitimate government starts picking up the pieces?
Does even the public in the western world, let alone Arab nations, know how exceptionally well the allies are treating Iraqi prisoners of war? So well, in fact, that in some cases the POWs are reported to be better off than the troops guarding them. When rations have been short, the guards share with the prisoners. In fact, Scripps Howard News Service reports, the guards are instructed to treat the POWs not as enemies but as guests.
Sadly, the world's attention span is short. Such facts need to be pointed out time and again. So do the repeated efforts the allies made to negotiate with Saddam only to have him snub diplomacy.
The world must not be allowed to forget that the allies are at war in the Persian Gulf only because Saddam Hussein understands force and little else. Sadly, we must speak his language. Now let us take the offensive on the fronts where the weapons are not bullets but words and ideas.