For the love of stars and stripes, pick a mission and stick to it. Depending on the White House official speaking, we’re either handing off a baton of military action to European coalition leaders as previously discussed or we’re out to decimate Gaddafi to prevent loss of Libyan civilians.
Santa AND the Nativity Scene? Major Disconnect.
In the past 72 hours, the following inconsistencies regarding this country’s mission in Libya differed as follows:
* Per General Ham, the guy leading the U.S. effort in Libya, the mission is “not to support opposition forces,” or to remove Gaddafi but later added that the coalition will not support rebels if they take offensive action against Gaddafi regime, only if they are attacked.
* Attorney General Holder says Gaddafi has lost his legitimacy as a leader and must go.
* Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mullen said the goal “isn’t about seeing Gaddafi go.”
* Defense Secretary Gates said the plan was to turn the mission over to the coalition in “a matter of days“.
* President Obama said the military goal was to protect civilians but his administration’s goal was to force Gaddafi from power, but that the two items weren’t necessarily part of the same mission. So the bombs for protecting civilians, but the sanctions are for regime change. In the same mission, right?
* At this point, no agreement has been made to accept a baton of military action, which means we may continue to run around the track of missiles, air strikes and embargoes until somebody grabs the baton from us. Volunteers seem scare right now.
If such contradictory missions and mixed messages were coming out of a publicly traded company, the stock would be in roller coaster mode. If such confusion existed within a household, how would the children know what to do and what not to do? Similar to our annual Holiday Season when people display Santa and his reindeer hovering by the Nativity Scene, there’s a tangible disconnect to what you’re trying to do and what you’re trying to say.
Experience as a public relations practitioner tells me that mixed missions and messages don’t work. Target audiences lack clarity, employees decrease productivity because of uncertainty, key stakeholders become emotional, and media magnify the confusion.
To our administration: get on the same page, please. Most of us are probably less concerned about which page, but pick one.
On the other hand, maybe mixed missions is the strategy….what do you think?