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Selling War

Failure to communicate In the spring of 2004, army reservist and public affairs officer StevenJ. Alvarez waited to be called up as the U.S. military stormed Baghdadand deposed Saddam Hussein. But soon after President Bush's famousPR stunt in which an aircraft carrier displayed the banner "MissionAccomplished," the dynamics of the war shifted. Selling War recountshow the U.S. military lost the information war in Iraq by engaging thewrong audiences, that is, the Western media, ignoring Iraqi citizensand the wider Arab population, and playing mere lip service to thedirective: "put an Iraqi face on everything." In the absence of effectivecommunication from the U.S. military, the information void wasswiftly filled by Al Qaeda and, eventually, ISIS. As a result, efforts tocreate and maintain a successful, stable country were complicatedand eventually frustrated. Steven J. Alvarez couples his experiences as a public affairs officerin Iraq with extensive research on communication and governmentrelations to expose why communications failed and led to the breakdownon the ground. A revealing glimpse into the inner workingsof the military's PR machine, where personnel become stewards ofpresidential legacies and keepers of flawed policies, Selling War provides a critical review of the outdated communication strategies executedin Iraq. Alvarez's candid account demonstrates how a fundamentallack of understanding about how to wage an information war has ledto the conditions we face now: the rise of ISIS and the return of U.S.forces to Iraq.
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About the Author

Steven J. Alvarez retired as a major from the U.S. Army Reserve after serving twenty-four years in the officer and enlisted ranks, onactive duty as well as in the National Guard and Reserve. A recipientof the Bronze Star and the Combat Action Badge, during his militarycareer he served as a commander of an Army public affairs detachmentas well as the public affairs officer for several general officers andpresidential appointees, including David Petraeus. In the private sector,Alvarez works as a freelance writer and public relations professional.


Alvarez's candid account demonstrates how a fundamental lack of understanding about how to wage an information war has led to the conditions we face now: the rise of ISIS and the return of western military and private security forces to Iraq. * PMCI Magazine *

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