The war for hearts and minds coming out of the former Ottoman and Persian empires is creating a 21st-century study on propaganda. The word simply means information. Some, particularly in the United States, have applied a negative connotation to propaganda assuming it is biased or misleading in nature.

Turkey’s invasion of Syria to destroy Kurds in Afrin is an example. Why would one uninvited nation attack citizens of a host country? Perhaps Turkey received mixed signals from Syria—and its allies in Iran and Russia—about the Kurdish problem?

Now Turkey is recruiting Islamic State fighters to lead the charge in Afrin, according to the Independent.

Ankara benefits from a pool of skilled mercenaries who are not Turks. Who cares if they die? Never mind these new members of Turkey’s Free Syrian Army are the very terrorists Iraq, Syria, Kurds, the various Arab militia, Russia and the United States have been fighting for at least seven years.

Self-defense

Turkey is arguably applying George W. Bush’s doctrine of preemptive self-defense in Afrin. Recep Erdoğan saw a threat outside of his borders and took steps to remedy it. Of course, Bush’s folly has cost the United States $4.3 trillion so far, nearly 7,000 dead, more than 50,000 wounded and three missing in action so far.

Many still argue about the difference between mere aggression and preemptive self-defense. No one debates a country’s right to defend itself. When an Iranian drone crossed Israeli airspace, few criticized Israel for attacking. Syria suggested the attacks were aggression rather than protection because paid a heavy military cost.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

Israel’s information machine was in front of the military action providing a punch-by-punch blow—including photos of its downed F-16—before anyone else could respond to its story. The world received Israel’s point-of-view as a result. For example, the Washington Post’s lead story Feb. 11 was on the attack. Everything on the front page came from Israeli sources.

This continued in the jump until a couple of U.S. diplomats cited Israel’s right to defend itself, and then blamed Iran. Finally, 10 paragraphs into the article, Iranian officials had the opportunity to deny.

Who's defense?

When Syrian proxies attacked a U.S.-coalition position in Syria Feb. 7, U.S. planes and missiles forced the aggressors to retreat. Washington claimed the right to defend American troops. Another former Soviet T-72 tank was killed by a U.S. plane Feb. 10, according to numerous published reports. However, the Russian propaganda machine reminds anyone who reads, listens or views that the U.S. is an occupying force in Syria. Moscow, on the other hand, was invited by the Assad regime and is therefore legitimate.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson accused Syria of using banned weapons last week. “Let me remind you, six times in the last 30 days some form of chemical weapons have been used on the Syrian people,” she said at a State Department press briefing. “It’s disgusting, it’s horrific, and it’s evil, and we would like to see that stop. But we’ll keep following this, we’ll keep working on it. The government is meeting–I have to assure you that this is a top issue for us.”

Secretary of State James Mattis said the U.S. had no evidence of the attacks taking place, within 24 hours. “But we are not refuting the claims,” he added. “Because we are dealing with the Assad regime that has used denial and deceit to hide their outlaw actions.”