DOD as our public diplomat in Pakistan

The headline Schoomaker champions Pakistan relief mission is just further emphasis of the empty promises of the Karen Hughes public diplomacy and the emphasis by the military on public outreach (see US Military rates PD higher the USG). True, the military is a branch of the USG (US Government), but the paltry sum the USG itself dedicated to cultural diplomacy compared to sustained efforts and funding by the military, instead of USAID or other services / functions / paths, is not to lauded. The fact the military is the outreach is great, but is the military liason w/ the civilian sector going to build the long-term relations we want? Is that the image of America we want the locals to have? Do we really want the children equating America w/ Chinooks? Is that worse or better than McDonald's?

The Army’s role in providing aid to earthquake survivors in Pakistan “might be the most important bullets that we’re firing in this global war on terror,” said Chief of Staff. Gen. Peter Schoomaker Jan. 12.

The Army’s senior officer visited Pakistan as part of a tour through the Central Command area of responsibility over the holidays, and was struck by the positive impression U.S. soldiers were leaving on the local population.

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“The most popular toy in Pakistan today is the little plastic Army Chinook,” he said, referring to the CH-47 lift helicopter that is delivering much of the U.S. aid in the stricken regions.