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What are the different tools of propaganda and how have they been used by governments in the recent past?

Information or Propaganda?
In the age of 'spin', can all communications by governments be dismissed as propaganda? A more plausible allegation seems that while some forms of government communications - like public information campaigns - are aimed by and large at simply informing the public, most - government advertising, speeches, pre-election campaigns - are a mix of information and propaganda. One context where propaganda is a key concern is during times of war and conflict.  This essay takes the examples of the Gulf War in 1991 and the run up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 as two cases where the US government used propaganda to achieve its own political objectives. It aims to establish the most common techniques of propaganda used by governments, and highlight how they have been put into practice recently using the US in two different situations as a case study.

In 1937, the Institute of Propaganda Analysis (IPA) - founded by journalists and social thinkers in the US to educate the American public about propaganda and its use - defined propaganda as:

The most widely used tactic during wartime is using the element of 'fear'.  US government warned the world of Iraq's  WMDs and the danger they presented in1991. More recently, it linked Iraq with international terrorism, claiming that Saddam would  not have hesitated to supply or use these weapons against other nations, and 'disarmament by force' is was the only solution. The idea here is to 'scare people and [offer] a specific recommendation for overcoming the fear-arousing threat…[to be] perceived as effective for reducing the threat…'

Information Vs. Propaganda
The propaganda tactics listed by the IPA fit perfectly in the nature of wartime communications by the US government during the Gulf War in 1991 and leading up to the invasion of Iraq by a US-led coalition in 2003.  According to Peter Knightly, award-winning investigative journalist,  government communications reek with propaganda as they go through the four stages of preparing a nation for a war - from presenting the crisis as irresolvable through peaceful means and demonising the enemy and its leader, to accusing it of atrocities - often fabricated to evoke emotion response. The devices of propaganda do not apply as extensively to other forms of government communications such as public information campaigns.  While pre-election and policy campaigns may use the 'Plain Folks' and 'Bandwagon' devices of propaganda, wartime government communications remain the most complex  mix of information and propaganda. 

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