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Unit 2:  Turkey's Image Abroad

Unit 1:  Who are lobbyists & what motivates them?
Unit 2:  Turkey's image abroad
Unit 3:  History of Turkish communities worldwide & reasons for a weak Turkish lobby.

Unit 4:  National & ethnic interests: Anti-Turkey lobbies, misrepresentation of facts & defamation
Unit 5:  The Turkish lobby dilemma in the United States as a case study.
Unit 6:  Problems encountered by Turkish lobbies in the EU, Germany, France & worldwide.
Unit 7:  Current Turkish lobby issues & the role of public diplomacy.
Unit 8   What can be learned from powerful lobbies such as the Jewish/Pro-Israel lobby?
Unit 9   New approaches to educating & informing Turkish lobbying groups.
Unit 10  Media relations, advertising & professional communications skills.
Unit 11  Initiatives for individuals & public speaking.
Unit 12  Initiatives for communities, campaigns, & NGO'S.
Unit 13: Fund-raising, public relations, & what can be done domestically.
Unit 14: Turkish lobbies undergo a period of transition: The need to strengthen old & new leadership.
Unit 15: Long-term strategies & lobbying in the post-September 11 era.

I. OUTLINE FOR UNIT 2Turkey's image abroad.

    1. Examples of historic misrepresentations and distortions.

        a. Image of the "Terrible Turk."
        b. Image of Arabs and Muslims bent on destroying the West.
        c. Problems in creating an informed public.

    2. The difficult task of remaking an image: America's international public relations battle.

II. EXERCISE, ACTIVITIES & PROJECTS ( See History of Orient www.silkroutes.net )

Make a list of things you think are little known about Turkey and Turkish people.
Have you ever lived abroad? Find out what are some common experiences of Turkish people living abroad.
Define the concept of "Orientalism" and research the work of Professor Edward W. Said.
Study 19th century Western images and caricatures of the Ottoman Empire and colonial attitudes toward the Middle East.
List recent and past events that may have damaged Turkey's image.

See Arab/Muslim lobby: Issues of concern to the Arab/Muslim lobby & advocacy groups (click here)

EXAMPLE: A case often encountered by Turks living abroad

If you find that the educational material in a university or public library is limited or biased, you can meet with the librarians and ask them to correct the problem. Your request for action should be followed up with a persuasive, convincing letter with material and supporting evidence so they can try to understand why your views might be right. Unfortunately, many Turks are not fully immersed in the daily life of the communities in which they live (though they should follow local events just as Turkish citizens should so that everyone is participating in the development of society). You could also write letters to local newspapers, educational boards, academic institutions, and centers devoted to the public interest if you find that this is the case in many of the libraries you visit. You can also contact members of the political, economic, or social elite, think-tanks, NGO’s, etc, who can influence the views of others (these people or organizations may tell you they do not have enough time to look into your request, but let them know you have time for them and what you have to say is important, particularly if you are unhappy about the matter, and unhappy with their position). Write to them and let them know you will be letting others know about their fair or unjust position.


How have inaccurate images of the Mongols, Ottoman Empire, and Islam shaped Western perceptions?
How do unrepresentative and repressive regimes use Islam?
How do extremists and terrorists use Islam?


Each country in the European Union, or around the world has a different image of Turkey. The image is made up of various components, such as historical events, maritime and overland relations, trade relations, travel, and whether communities of Turkish people live in those countries. Centuries of inaccurate information, myths, stereotypes, and generalizations have left their mark on the present. The activities of today's anti-Turkish lobbies have magnified some of these misrepresentations, especially with systematic allegations against the Turkish people. Recently however, the ease of travel and communication, have also contributed to the creation of a more accurate picture of Turkey. Outstanding citizens of Turkish origin who live in foreign countries are also beginning to effect public opinion and participate in the political systems where they live. The recent reforms in Turkey have also enhanced Turkey's image and have had an impact on public opinion (yet polls still show large percentages of the population in some EU countries are not willing to admit Turkey into the EU).

There have been many studies on why Muslims and Islam are misunderstood, but very few scholars, such as Prof. Justin McCarthy, have seriously examined why Turks have been
stereotyped and misrepresented. One reason is the enduring image of treasure-laden caravans snaking their way toward Europe from mysterious and exotic Turkic lands. Furthermore, over several millennia many waves of nomads have swept into Europe, resulting in centuries of vague perceptions. Cenghiz Khan, for example, has become known in the West as one of the most fear inspiring figures of world history, although historians know little about him. It is true that he led an army of Turkic warriors from Central Asia and swept into Europe in the 13th century, but was he the fiercest fighter the world has ever seen? Long before Cenghiz Khan haunted Europeans, "Attila the Hun" another "Terrible Turk," reigned from 434 to 453 over a large empire that stretched from Central Europe to the Black Sea, and from the Danube River to the Baltic. Atilla, synonymous with destruction, has also become a legendary figure in the history of Europe (it should be pointed out that many historic European figures fought wars that devastated Europe, as well as other regions of the world). The negative image of the Turkic-Mongol legacy was further enhanced by another Turkic figure, Timur, better known in Europe and America as Tamerlane. Western audiences seem to know a great deal about these figures, but in reality have only a vague notion.

One objective of Turkish lobbying should be to make Western audiences realize how their knowledge of history can often be selective and inadequate. This can be done through exhibitions, or by producing reference material such as multi-language web-sites. One aim could be to highlight the fact that the military successes of the 14th century also led to magnificent achievements in which Tamerlane left behind a civilization of learning filled with architectural and artistic splendor. Another leader whose achievements receive little attention as a Turkic figure is Babur, the founder of the Moghul Empire (1526-1857). The Taj Mahal is but one of the marvels created by the dynasty of the first six Turkic Moghul leaders. The flowering of learning and science, art and architecture, similar to the Timurid period, were the most lasting achievements of the Moguls (which included magnificent monuments, gardens, mausoleums, palaces, paintings, portraiture, ink drawings, and scientific studies of birds, flowers, and animals).

Many Westerners are not aware of the contributions Islam has made to different civilizations. One important period of the rise of Islamic science and knowledge took place in "Islamic Spain," or Al-Andalus, when three religions thrived and coexisted. Some of the famous reminders of this period of Islamic rule include the Alhambra at Granada, the mosque "La Mezquita" in Cordoba, the Alcazar in Sevilla (which was founded as early as 712), and the few Synagogues that remain in Andalucia.

Some of the greatest philosophers of the period were Avicenna (Ibn Sina, who died in 1037) and "Aver roes" (Ibn Rushd, died 1198), a follower of Aristotle whose commentaries on the Greek philosophers influenced European thinkers. Ibn al-Arabi (died 1240) was one of Islam's well-known mystics who taught that because all life is derived from one being, all religions are one. Another famous figure was the physician Maimon ides.  Sadly, much of the finest achievements of Islamic culture were lost due to the destruction of libraries during the Christian re-conquest of Spain. The period of Islamic rule in Spain, which began in the 8th century, ended with the Islamic surrender of Granada in 1492, when both the Muslim and Jewish populations faced expulsion. But it was the Jews who suffered the worst. Some found homes in parts of Europe, while many took refuge in the Ottoman Empire, which they helped to enrich.

When Muslim civilization, stretching from Spain into Eurasia, emerged as a center of science and art, invaluable exchanges of information took place (partially as a result of the Crusades). Because of the scientific knowledge that was transmitted from the Islamic world to Europe, the origins of European science lie in the Islamic world, though not all Westerners are aware of this. Twelfth century translations from Arabic to Latin had an impact on European knowledge of medicine, astronomy, alchemy, metaphysics, geography, and philosophy.

Western audiences also have distorted knowledge about the Ottoman Empire, how the Sultans lived, and how the empire was run. Until the 19th century, rarely were Turks shown as having compassion and tolerance for other people, despite Ottoman laws ensuring minority rights and the inclusion of different ethnic groups in Ottoman leadership. A short-lived "Turquerie" fashion in Europe created a dimension of amusement, however, the common image of a Turk was the stereotype of an oppressive Sultan, busy with cruelty and indecent harems, yet with enough time to murder infidels. Images of Cenghiz Khan, the crusades, the Ottoman conquests up to Vienna, Midnight Express, and the recent violence in the name of Islam are today combining with fears that fundamentalist Islam threatens the world. The complexities of these subjects must be seriously examined by Westerners and by Muslims as well as how misconceptions play a major role in the public perceptions of problems and issues.

Turkish people are ignorant about Turkey's bad image abroad and the prejudices that exist. Like any nation in the world, Turkey has to deal with its domestic problems, but it must better explain the "root causes" of some of these problems. The general public must be aware of the distortions of the realities associated with these problems, and have the collective will to improve Turkey's image.

Some of the types of frequently asked questions are demonstrated below:
--Can men take up to four wives?
--Was Ataturk a dictator?
--Why is torture and human rights abuse common in Turkey?
--How hot is the desert in Turkey?
--Did your relatives massacre Armenians?
--Why does Turkey oppress the Kurds?
--What are "honor killings"?
--Why is the military so powerful?
--When will women be allowed to vote?
--Is the press censored?
--Was Islam spread by the sword?
--Why was the Ottoman Empire so large?
--Is it safe to travel in Turkey?
--Are drugs easily available?

An often encountered comment: "Oh, I've never been to Turkey, but I've seen Midnight Express."

It is difficult to blame people for having the wrong impressions of Turkey if they have never heard anything good about Turkey, never traveled to Turkey, or met a Turkish person. Such people are most susceptible to being influenced by inaccurate information.

It is true that some historical events and facts have not helped to enhance Turkey's image, such as the "destruction" or "fall" of an already weak Byzantine Empire, and the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. (1) The devastation brought on by Cenghiz Khan is frequently used to recall barbaric periods of history, often without mentioning any of the barbaric acts of the West during the Middle Ages.
Many nations have had periods of an exploitative and violent history, which they would prefer not to be reminded of, but which should not be forgotten (such as during fascist leaderships under the Nazi party, Mussolini or Franco, Chairman Mao's China, Stalin's Russian, the colonial massacres by Europeans, the crimes against humanity by the Khmer Rouge, the use of atomic bombs, the wars between white settlers and native Americans, the genocides in Africa, and the recent Balkan genocide in the heart of Europe). However, a nation's image should not be shaped by its past alone, but also by the future aspirations of its people.

The Turkish military intervention in Cyprus, after the massacres of Turkish Cypriots, has also often been presented in an unfair manner by the Western media. (2) Other past and present issues, such as the death penalty, equality of women, child labor, and human rights have received the attention they deserve, as they should by the press of any country. It must however be added that in many cases when negative subjects related to Turkey are presented, they are not placed in context and are often from one perspective (other nations such as the U.S. enforce the death penalty, and in the West and countries around the world people are abused daily in prisons, by human smugglers, child pornographers, and criminal organizations, although there are laws to protect them). Turkey's image has also been effected by the large number of political asylum seekers from Turkey who have lived in the West, and the influx of thousands of ethnic Kurdish migrants to Europe (many of whom faced hardship due to the fight against PKK terrorism in southeastern Turkey, but many of whom also claimed persecution and torture in order to work in European nations).

In addition, studies have shown that positive coverage of Turkey is limited in the Western mass media. It is believed the reason for this is due to selective reporting, which does not present the larger picture (would it be fair to frequently report on hate-crimes and xenophobic attitudes in the EU without covering positive aspects about Europe?). In the Western press, Turkey has repeatedly been accused of neglecting its ethnic Kurdish citizens in the southeast, but these reports fail to mention that the region is also populated by Turks with no Kurdish identity, who would also like to improve their living conditions, especially after stability is brought to nearby Iraq. The press which criticizes Turkey for not protecting the rights of its ethnic Kurdish citizens also does not recognize the fact that Kurdish groups maintain family codes of honor and traditions of a feudal structure, and are often responsible for honor killings, preventing girls from getting an education, and for clan and tribal rivalry and violence. Many of the problems faced by Turkey are due to issues relating to development, and are unfortunately reflected in the educational problems, lack of infrastructure, rapid urbanization, lack of employment, and other socio-economic conditions which must be improved so that all citizens, no matter what their ethnic or religious background, have equal opportunities.

Although a great deal of misinformation is spread by anti-Turkish lobbies, Turkey can not blame them for all the negative PR Turkey gets, and Turkish people must make a greater effort to explain the realities of Turkey.

Other factors that influence the way people from Turkey are viewed are linked to the negative Muslim and Arab image in the American news media. The depiction of Muslims has been receiving greater attention since the U.S. launched the war against terrorism, and passed legislation such as the Patriot Act. However, long before the Sept. 11 attacks by Middle Eastern men, there has been racist material in the American press, particularly with caricatures of Arab sheikhs (in addition to other stereotypes and negative depictions of racial and ethnic minorities). The leaders of Arab-Muslim organizations have criticized the press for tolerating defamatory material, which would not be tolerated about Jews for fear of anti-Semitism. Muslim bashing and negative remarks are now more common, along with insults and slander of Muslims, which is often not a concern although comparable references to Jews would be deplored. As a result, many Arab-Muslim organizations have been increasingly expressing discontent due to the repeated defamation and dehumanization of Muslims in the media. The reason for rising intolerance is partly due to the tendency to equate violence and terrorism with Islam.

The pro-Israel lobby has been accused of media distortion by Muslim-Americans and by organizations who study how pressure groups use the media to advance their cause. According to one view, "The Arabs and Muslims have been subjected to more than traditional prejudice against new arrivals to the American shores. General prejudice against Islam has existed in the West from the days of the Crusades. Broadly, the Western image of Arabs and Muslims revolves around camels, harems, terrorism, Khomeini, and enmity and hatred toward Christians and Jews. In addition, the effort of the Jewish lobby and publicists in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, and every large city across the continent has misrepresented the Muslims and Arabs, creating the image of the ugly Arab and ugly Muslim. For the uglier the Arab and Muslim image, the brighter the image of Israel, it is thought." (The Politics of Minority Coalitions edited by Wilbur Rich, Westview Press, 1995, USA).

Because of a lack of understanding of how the majority of Muslims (over 1 billion) lead peaceful lives, the Sept. 11 attacks have led to varying degrees of paranoia, fear, and insult of Muslims, resulting in Islamophobic hate-speech (which often leads to discrimination and violence). In Oct. 2002, Reverend Falwell announced on CBS that the Prophet Muhammed was "a terrorist."  Well-known supporters, such as Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) have called Islam evil and "a wicked religion." The former president of the Southern Baptist Convention has called the Prophet Muhammed "a demon-possessed paedophile." Pat Robertson has described the Muslim Prophet as "a robber and a brigand" in addition to describing Islam as "a monumental scam." In addition, comments from Vatican officials, European Union leaders, and the European mass media, have singled out Turkish Muslims as having different values.

An example of media distortion was after the 1995 Oklahoma City bomb attack, when it was assumed Muslims were responsible due to initial media speculation (the devastating bomb attack turned out to be an act of homegrown U.S. terrorism, with no Muslim involvement).

Another issue of concern (which reflects upon the image of the Arab-Muslim communities in America and Europe) is how to prove that certain organizations which raise money for Islamic charities are not dangerous. How is evidence gathered about groups who are "suspected" of being affiliated with groups "suspected" of terrorism? Can new counter-terrorism measures target the Muslim community for social discrimination and political persecution? Is it fair to inhibit people from contributions to social programs in the Middle East, such as orphanages and women's centers? Although Arab and Jewish Americans have tried to plan joint efforts to attract investment to help the Palestinians, Arab-Americans feel that stopping the flow of money to charities can undermine Palestinian economic development. There are many other cases Arab and Muslim groups are concerned with, along with members of the ACLU who see threats to civil liberties. The image of Muslims has been further shaken by the surveillance of Muslim communities, profiling, detentions and requests for interviews with community members. The Arab-Muslim communities, which are not well organized or experienced in public relations, have not adequately voiced their concerns, especially under the intense scrutiny and atmosphere of suspicion. Even though Muslim American organizations vehemently stated that they were opposed to terrorism and upheld the rule of law, they have been repeatedly blamed for not having demonstrated enough of an outcry and expression of outrage. Although many Arabs in the U.S. are not Muslim and do not wear a veil, they have become fearful for their families who might be targeted due to events that take place in the rest of the world (and those who do wear a veil, or turbans such as Sikh Indians, are fearful due to past attacks). There have already been attacks on and threats to Muslim places of worship and Arab-Muslim social centers. U.S. and European officials have been working with community leaders in order to identify ways of enhancing mutual and cross-cultural understanding, and inter-faith dialogue. Nonetheless, after the post-Sept. 11 period, gaps have been created between Muslim and non-Muslim communities, as well as between the Muslim world and America in particular.

In Europe, not only is there hostility towards Muslims, but a resurgence of anti-Semitism, and increased racism against asylum seekers and gypsies. Reports have found that discrimination in employment and housing have increased since the Sept. 11 attacks, in addition to vandalism, and verbal and physical attacks. Statements made by respected leaders in Europe, such as EU politicians and members of the Vatican, have also contributed to hostility towards Turkey and to public fear of Turkey. Certain circles have voiced their objections to Turkey's EU membership on the grounds that Turkey is not part of the European culture, geography or history. The European media has correctly noted that baseless allegations have provided those who are opposed to Turkey's EU entry with arguments to justify what is essentially prejudice. Some political developments within Turkey, such as the coming to power of the Justice and Development Party, and Turkey's own unease and suspicion about its Islamic roots, have also given Europeans reason to worry.

It is not easy for a nation and its people to always have a positive image around the globe. Changes in world public opinion are also reflected in the changes that America's image has undergone, especially in the last decade due to U.S. policies related to a variety of matters, such as the newly established International Criminal Court, the rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, the doctrine of pre-emption, the use of intelligence, disarmament treaties, trade issues, security rules, the weakening of the UN, the failure of Mid-East peace negotiations, American justice in Guantanamo, abuse of Iraqis, and the war in Iraq. Moral and religious claims made by U.S. officials have also led many to believe that the U.S. is on a self-appointed historical mission, with a messianic militarist leadership. Even for the U.S., who is the world's leading communication society, and known to be the land of public relations wizards, the task of remaking its image is difficult.
Many commentators stress that America must use soft power to regain hearts and minds to enhance its image. However, some international commentators maintain that no amount of public relations can compensate for unpopular foreign policies.

The worldwide deterioration of America's image has an impact on Turkey's image as well, since Turkey is a close ally of the U.S. (the impact is most clearly evident in the Muslim-Arab world and in Europeans circles who view Turkey's EU candidacy as an Anglo-American Trojan horse). The explosion of anti-U.S. feeling around the world complicates Turkey's U.S., EU, and worldwide lobbying efforts. It has also melted away the sense of a common response to common threats, and some argue that it has even made a "clash of civilizations" more likely in a more dangerous world. This growth of anti-American feeling is a worrying development for the Turkish lobby since it may be overburdened with the responsibility of trying to bridge widening gaps that could have been avoided between cultures and civilizations.

The rebuilding of America's image will take many years according to a statement in 2004 by a State Department official in charge of public diplomacy.  In an alarming report it was acknowledged that the overall U.S. approach to public diplomacy lacked strategic direction. Since the report, the U.S. has been carrying out programs under an existing budget of $600 million for worldwide public diplomacy, which includes a wide range of efforts, including exchange programs, partnerships between American embassies and local institutions, distributing textbooks and supplying textbooks to local schools.  A greater role for America's private sector is also being urged, particularly for media companies, in developing creative ways to reach out to Arab youth. Some companies are also focusing on how to improve the image of U.S. brands and promote international business.

America has been struggling with an international public relations battle since 2002, after international polls revealed that the attractiveness of the U.S. had declined significantly in dozens of countries. U.S. officials were frustrated that the U.S. had no coherent plan for molding public opinion worldwide. Charlotte Beers, who was the U.S. undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs in 2002, launched an expensive public relations campaign to enhance the image of America and its foreign policy, focusing on disaffected populations in the Middle East and South Asia. After 17 months of mixed reviews Beers resigned. While some praised her efforts, others wondered how a Madison Avenue advertising executive could change the image of the U.S. and soften anti-American feelings.

In addition to public diplomacy, nations use various other methods to influence world public opinion. Throughout history, many countries have long been engaged in information warfare (a strategy for countering propaganda and for changing perceptions). Towards the end of 2003, it was reported that the Pentagon had made plans for an effective strategic influence campaign (which may have considered providing false news items and disinformation) to influence foreign policymakers, foreign opinion makers, and public sentiment abroad. Additional objectives were to improve America's image, and to gain support for its overseas war on terrorism. Some news reports referred to the proposed plans as "I.O.," information operations, or psychological warfare, which were to be run by an Office of Strategic Influence, or Office of Global Communications.

In general, the American people have been admired and respected by the world, and have an image of being altruistic. Like other nations who seek to improve their image, America will need to employ various methods of image building as it strives to better explain why America does what it does, and promote better understanding of the principles and institutions that shape American values. It is often through cooperation and through fostering greater interaction with other societies that images and perceptions are enhanced. The improvement of America's image will help it to rebuild relations with its allies, and will have a positive impact on Turkish-U.S. relations. Americans must therefore find ways to remind world public opinion of the good America has done in the world for universal values, security, stability, promoting democracy, and of the sacrifices Americans have made.

    (1) Constantinople was in decline in the 13th century and had been attacked before the Ottomans took control of the city. Crusaders had attacked Constantinople in 1203 when the Pope's army destroyed whole sections of the city and even damaged the world's largest church Saint Sophia.
    (2) Reasons for the intervention are often not given, such as the massacres of Turkish Cypriots and the July 15 coup against the Greek Cypriot president when Greek Cypriots sought to unite with Greece.

Panel condemns image U.S. gives to Muslims

By Thom Shanker The New York Times
Thursday, November 25, 2004

WASHINGTON A harshly critical report by a Pentagon advisory panel says the United States is failing in its efforts to explain the nation's diplomatic and military actions to the Muslim world, but it warns that no public relations plan or information operation can defend America from flawed policies.

The Defense Science Board report says U.S. institutions charged with "strategic communication" are broken and calls for a comprehensive reorganization of government public affairs, public diplomacy and information efforts.

"America's negative image in world opinion and diminished ability to persuade are consequences of factors other than the failure to implement communications strategies," says the 102-page report, completed in September. "Interests collide. Leadership counts. Policies matter. Mistakes dismay our friends and provide enemies with unintentional assistance. Strategic communication is not the problem, but it is a problem."

The study does not constitute official policy, but it is described by the Pentagon's civilian and military leadership as capturing the essential themes of a debate that is now roiling not just the Defense Department but the entire U.S. government.

The debate centers on how far the United States can and should go in managing, even manipulating, information to deter enemies and persuade allies or neutral nations.

The rub is that in an environment of 24-hour news and the Internet, overseas information operations easily become known to the American people, and any specific government-sponsored information campaign not based on fact risks damaging the nation's overall credibility.

The Defense Science Board report, "Strategic Communication," proposes a permanent "strategic communication structure" within the White House National Security Council and urges elevated roles and responsibilities for a designated senior officer within other government organizations, including the State Department and the Pentagon.

The report compares the national security challenge of the post-Sept. 11 world to the decades-long struggle against Soviet communism. But the study then argues that the government's cold war-era communications institutions have not understood that the Islamic world and extremists operating within it present different challenges. The report scolds the government for casting the new threat of Islamic extremism in a way that offends a large portion of those living in the Muslim world.

"In stark contrast to the cold war, the United States today is not seeking to contain a threatening state empire, but rather seeking to convert a broad movement within Islamic civilization to accept the value structure of Western modernity - an agenda hidden within the official rubric of a 'War on Terrorism,"' the report states.

"Today we reflexively compare Muslim 'masses' to those oppressed under Soviet rule," the report adds. "This is a strategic mistake. "There is no yearning-to-be-liberated-by-the-U.S. groundswell among Muslim societies - except to be liberated perhaps from what they see as apostate tyrannies that the U.S. so determinedly promotes and defends."

The report alluded to President George W. Bush's address to a joint meeting of Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks, when described the motives of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups: "They hate our freedoms, our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."

The report said, "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather they hate our policies," adding that "when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy."

In the eyes of the Muslim world, the report adds, "American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering."

The report also says: "The critical problem in American public diplomacy directed toward the Muslim world is not one of 'dissemination of information' or even one of crafting and delivering the 'right' message. Rather it is a fundamental problem of credibility. Simply, there is none - the United States today is without a working channel of communication to the world of Muslims and of Islam."

Larry Di Rita, the Pentagon spokesman, said no formal decisions had been made about reorganizing how the Pentagon and military communicate.

"We're wrestling with this," Di Rita said. "But it doesn't change the underlying principle, at least with respect to the Department of Defense. Our job is to put out information to the public that is accurate, and to put it out as quickly as we can."

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