27,000 to work on Pentagon’s image
The new Obama Administration is keen to tackle the problem of America's poor international image.
On Tuesday U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the Pentagon to review its ban on filming the coffins of U.S. soldiers returning from combat zones overseas, which had been imposed since the 1990s.
During the Bush Administration, the support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dropped considerably both at home and abroad. And, apparently, one of the solutions is now to throw money into public relations campaigns.
In its year-long investigation, the AP discovered that over the past five years the money the Pentagon spends on propaganda at home and abroad has grown by 63 %, to at least $4.7 billion in 2009.
That's almost as much as it spent on body armor for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2006. And, according to the same report, that’s only 1 % of the Department of Defense budget.
This year, the Pentagon will employ 27,000 people just for recruitment, advertising and PR – almost as many as the total 30,000-person work force in the State Department.
Indeed, 27,000 more jobs is not bad news. But the question is whether it is a sector where jobs need to be created and whether this news will be welcomed by American taxpayers.