Monthly Archives: August 2008

Spinning Gustav

Does God vote?

How well the strategic communications challenge of tomorrow’s land fall is met will decide the election, which will decide who wins the Iraqi and Afghan Campaigns of the Global War On Terror .

The Bush Administration must prove competence.  The American people don’t seem to believe in federalism during hurricane season.  Haitian-style mayors and banana republic-style governors will not be held accountable by the Main Stream Media for their failures.  Everything bad that happens will be Bush’s fault, and all possible ways of tarring McCain with that brush will be tried.  Katrina had seriously adverse strategic impact on the war.  Gustav could have the same, or worse, IF this hurricane isn’t spun better than Katrina was.  Much depends upon Governor Jindal.

McCain-Palin must prove empathy.  Some commenter on a blog I can’t remember the name of right now Charles at The Belmont Club had the idea of turning the Republican National Convention into a disaster relief telethon.  That is exactly the kind of maverick, unself-absorbed  rejection of stereotypical Republican cliches needed.  I hope McCain wraps up the pageantry with a minimum of butt-kissing and mobilizes the delegates for disaster relief efforts, all the while working the phones to persuade, influence and change events on the Gulf Coast.  This is an opportunity to test self-reliance coupled with volunteerism, charity, and non-governmental solutions.  I hope Sarah Palin doesn’t even show up in St. Paul.  Better she appear on a big screen, live from Ground Zero in Plaquemines Parish, in her polo shirt and cargo pants, wet and muddy from doing something besides talking.

Obama-Biden must tie any Bush Administration or Jindal Administration disaster relief goat screws to McCain, with the implication being that if the election had been held by now and they had won, the seas would have fallen and the globe would have cooled and hurricanes wouldn’t come any more.  Their biggest challenge will be in muting the unseemly triumphalism and schadenfreude of their overjoyed minions gleefully reveling in the Republican’s weather troubles.  They will call for blaming, victimhood, and sitting on your ass waiting for the government to distribute cheese.  Obama will be in Chocolate City castigating McCain for dynamiting the levies and finding fault with everything the Feds do.  America owes New Orleans, don’t ya know, and enough can never be done for them.

How the GOP Convention should deal with Gustav.

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Filed under Idea War, Info Warriors, Morale Operations, Old Media, PSYOP

ONCE A MARINE: An Iraq War Tank Commander’s Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery

Buy this book!  Comes out in October. 

The Cee-Gar Marine’s Story

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Filed under G-2

Private Military Company Paramilitary Information Support Team

Blackfive has some good stuff about Blackwater that has mostly been OBE.  I resuscitated a necropost over there and reproduced it below:

The good news is, the usual suspects have missed this thread and we have been spared their inanities.

The bad news is, this thread is dead.

Don’t know if I can revive it or not, but I will make some observations.

I’m not anti-Blackwater.  I’m not one that calls people who work for Private Military Corporations “mercenaries”.  I spent 29 months down range as a contractor.  Never had any dealings with Blackwater people, but did have occasion to observe DynCorp, ArmorGroup, USPI, SOC-SMG, EODT, Wolfpack, and Enrys.  I got no beef with any of them. 

Blackwater gets lots of hate directed their way, most of it undeserved, most of it from anti-war, anti-American, anti-capitalist propagandists.

Having said all that, I’m pondering the implications for the Counter Insurgent Supportive blogosphere of Tier I milbloggers involving themselves in the public relations campaigns of for-profit Private Military Corporations.  Pondering, not criticizing.  I’m not sure I’m against the idea enough to criticize anything.

When a blog or group of blogs and contributors and commenters acts as a People’s Information Support Team on behalf of elements of the United States Armed Forces who, for a variety of legal and political reasons, are not free to engage the domestic target audience, that can be construed by people like me as Civilian Irregular Information Operators exercising their unencumbered First Amendment rights to persuade, change, and influence.  The intended beneficiaries of such efforts are usually the troops, sometimes their leaders, and occasionally the C-in-C.  Everybody who participates in such efforts, either as blogger, commenter or lurker, has their own motivations.  I think it is safe to assert that patriotism, nationalism, respect for our warriors, disdain for internal oppositional elements and apprehension that domestic enemies, if left uncountered, will combine with foreign enemies to hurt our favorite Westphalian nation state all help motivate participants.

Does a for-profit Private Military Corporation with a robust public relations effort and free access to the domestic target audience need a Paramilitary Information Support Team?

Just asking. 

Does a for-profit Private Military Corporation deserve the same respect, good will, and positive affirmation usually afforded by milbloggers to the military?

This comment is long enough already and its getting late.  If anybody reads this and wishes to continue the discussion I’ll have it up over at my place.

As you can see, my comment above is less about Blackwater than it is about the gray areas between civilian and military, for-profit and inherently governmental, public relations and psychological operations, Irregulars and Regulars.

See B. Hussein O. and Private Military Contractors

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Filed under PSYOP Auxiliaries

Ye Shall Know the Truth

The Truth About Russia in Georgia by Michael Totten. It’s all good, below are some of my favorites:

Virtually everyone believes Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili foolishly provoked a Russian invasion on August 7, 2008, when he sent troops into the breakaway district of South Ossetia.

Virtually everyone is wrong.

Great retro propaganda poster here.

They had to stop that column, and they had to stop it for two reasons. It’s a pretty steep valley. If they could stop the Russians there, they would be stuck in the tunnel and they couldn’t send the rest of their army through. So they did two things. The first thing they did, and it happened at roughly the same time, they tried to get through [South Ossetian capital] Tskhinvali, and that’s when everybody says Saakashvili started the war. It wasn’t about taking Ossetia back, it was about fighting their way through that town to get onto that road to slow the Russian advance. The second thing they did, they dropped a team of paratroopers to destroy a bridge. They got wiped out, but first they managed to destroy the bridge and about 15 Russian vehicles.

You really need to read the whole thing.

I’ve been paying attention to the employment of Russian terror troops, and here’s  Thomas Goltz on that topic:

. . . Don’t forget, they sent in a lot of irregulars, Chechens, Cossacks, Ossetians, Ingush – basically thugs. Not normal Chechens or Ingush – thugs. Thugs out for a holiday. Many Western camera crews were robbed at gunpoint ten meters from Russian tanks while Russian commanders just stood there smoking their cigarettes while the irregulars…that happened to a Turkish TV crew. They’re lucky to still be alive. Some of the Georgians were picked up by the irregulars. If they happened to be female, they got raped. If they happened to be male, they got shot immediately, sometimes tortured. Injured people we have in hospitals who managed to get out have had arms chopped off, eyes gouged out, and their tongues ripped out.”

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Filed under IW, PSYOP

“Channeling messages through volunteers in internet forums”

British Research, Information and Communication Unit has started a counterprop campaign.

Revealed: Britain’s secret propaganda war against al-Qaida

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Filed under PSYOP Auxiliaries

Why do Americans Hate the Word Propaganda?

Because the British snookered us into WWI with it, and Wilson’s man Creel continued the scam. You can fool all of the people some of the time, but when the people find out they’ve been had they usually vote the bums out.

All this took place nine years shy of a century ago, four generations back, but America’s ability to counter adversarial propaganda, defeat hostile Morale Operations and muster up and retain the national will to exercise power on the world stage is still hampered by our inability to be objective about a vital component of psychological operations.

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Filed under Morale Operations, PSYOP

Irregulars, Militias, Paramilitaries and Russian Schrecklichkeit Truppen

Militias, Cossacks, and Chechens

Militias, Cossacks, and Chechens


Who were those masked men?


Who sent ‘em?


Who did they answer to?

“Russian troops take a village followed by South Ossetian militias and Chechen and Cossack mercenaries.”

The mercenaries and militias then expel civilians, looting property and burning villages so that the displaced have less incentive to return, “doing the dirty work” while official troops do nothing to intervene

“A week ago Russians, Ossetians, Chechens and Cossacks came and burned our house,” he told me. “All of the Georgian people living in the village had to flee.

“I don’t think I will be able to go back to my village. It’s in the area the Ossetians want to keep. I’m terrified. I’m a farmer. I have no clue how I can make a good life for me and my family in the city,”

Sulim Yamadayev has been officially dismissed from his post as commander of the Defense Ministry’s Vostok battalion in Chechnya

South Ossetians happily loot village in Georgia

“This is not looting, this is trophies,”

Russian-backed paramilitaries ‘ethnically cleansing villages’

South Ossetian militiamen have torched houses, beaten elderly people and even murdered civilians in the lawless buffer zone set up by the Russian Army just north of Gori.

A serious curfew kicked in at sundown, and the streets turned instantly lethal, not least because the tanks allowed in marauding irregulars — Cossacks, South Ossetians, Chechens and the like — to do the looting in a town that the Russians had effectively emptied.

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Filed under IW, PSYOP, PSYOP Auxiliaries