Media-Military Relations, United States, Washington

The Bi-Products of Our Labors: Charting Progression Through Progress Charts

This week I hand in my thesis on media-military relations to my adviser, the Georgetown University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Proquest, and hopefully a few people who will be generous enough to edit it before then. As is often the case when you write something longer than 700-800 words, getting people to read something closer to 10,000 words can be a bit tricky. I am not suggesting tools of deception, “psych-ops,” or anything so ordinary as blackmail. Rather, humor and a little prodding.

Inspired by the magnanimous work of Bill Mauldin, Second World War cartoonist with the U.S. Army, I created a few cartoons, one of which I am sharing here. Without further ado, some scenes from the war room (gentlemen, no fighting…):

“The more things change…”

In the past two years as a student in the security studies program at Georgetown, I have learned to adjust my own pedagogical background in various ways to a culture where the military dominates. One aspect of this has involved adjusting to methods I never quite understood, such as Power Point. Yet in two years, I have managed to produce only one – the content of which I sent to my thesis adviser:

“This is not a Power Point slide.”

He responded in the same medium:

“Less humor. More thesis.”

Now, back to work on the thesis. Inspiration to write about post-9/11 era to flow from this actually real enough COIN (counterinsurgency) flow chart to be pilloried by Stephen Colbert in a hilarious segment “Afghandyland” (“Where you can’t win and you can’t quit”):

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) counterinsurgency (COIN) flow chart. General Stanley McChrystal said, “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.” McChrystal is gone; the war goes on.

Here is the battleplan for tackling the media-military relations puzzle in American provided to me by my thesis adviser:

An Azeri friend saw this and commented, “adore that guy.” Ah, the post-Soviet mind.