The expected pull-out of Dutch troops from Afghanistan after their government's recent fall has prompted CIA experts to propose targeted and tailored messaging to the French and German publics because "counting on apathy might not be enough." The suggestion is made in a memo circulating in the intelligence community which is marked "no foreign distribution."
The memo speculates that European anti-war opinion may increase sharply, from "indifference to active hostility," if civilian and allied casualties rise with the summer offensive the US plans against Kandahar.
European opinion is generally opposed to the military mission, but the intensity of public feeling is low. The German and French governments face regional and state-level elections this spring.
"Appeals by President Obama and Afghan women may gain traction," the memo observes.
The thrust of the internal document is to preserve the military mission despite widespread public misgivings, relying on a combination of citizen apathy and targeted messages to wavering voters. The abysmal-level of public favor for the war was shown in polling that the "Obama factor" only increased French support from 4 to 15 percent, and from 7 to 13 percent among the Germans.