I was an auxiliary one cold November night in 1977. My mission was to navigate and ride shotgun in my buddy’s uncle’s dump truck as we drove through the DeSoto National Forest in south Mississippi with 30 G’s (guerrillas) in the back while evading the law enforcement OPFOR (opposing force). This was part of a Special Forces training exercise, similar in many ways to a Robin Sage, but the guys being trained were an Operational Detachment Alpha from 5th SF Group (I may have the Group wrong; it was a long time ago). The Exercise Coordinator had used the DeSoto National Forest for this purpose before, and had already recruited a number of local civilians to participate as auxiliaries, people who assist the guerrillas, sympathizers who don’t pull triggers, but help feed, cloth, move, supply and aid the fighters. Every resistance movement needs auxiliaries. He needed a truck bigger than any of his auxiliaries could get, so he called a buddy of his who happened to be an Assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of Southern Missisippi, who recruited my buddy, who recruited me. We spent the first four hours of our participation in the exercise chatting with the Exercise Coordinator in the darkness of a hayfield in the middle of a pine forest that was the drop zone into which the team would arrive. We were part of the reception committee. I never did see that guy in the daylight, but he made a big impression on an impressionable youth.
For about three years I have been carrying this idea of volunteer civilian infowarriors around in the back of my mind, then they changed INFOWAR to INFORMATION OPERATIONS and I had to educate myself on the component of IO where we were getting creamed by the Bad Guys, Psychological Operations. I wondered why we were doing so poorly, and found out that the Good Guys aren’t allowed to conduct PSYOP that might encourage the domestic target audience to support the war, while the Bad Guys and their auxiliaries in the Main Stream Media have unlimited and unchallenged access to our eyes and ears and hearts and minds. PSYOP scares a lot of people, especially “civil libertarians,” and there are several laws that govern public diplomacy which, because many PSYOP products and their dissemination constitute a form of public diplomacy, also govern military PSYOP. Our military PSYOP people are forbidden by law from producing programs and actions designed to nullify propaganda or mitigate its effects on the American domestic target audience. They pretend that Other Government Agencies counter propaganda outside the AO, knowing full well that strategic counter propaganda is too hot a potato to mess with.
So what to do? At last year’s Milblog Conference Public Affairs took a lot of heat for failure to conduct counter propaganda, but counter propaganda has never been PA’s mission, and they are under the same restraints as PSYOP. These legal restraints are not going to be repealed in time to win the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the enemy propaganda
which caused partial regime change in America last November,
which persuades the majority of Americans that it is not treason for the third in line of Presidential succession to travel to enemy countries and negotiate with their dictators,
which prevents mobs of peasants with pitchforks and torches from gathering to burn down the Senate Majority Leader’s castle,
is not going to be nullified or mitigated by military PSYOP or OGA, then we can either remove all sharp objects from our pockets, place our heads between our legs, and kiss our asses goodbye
WE can do it.
Who is “we,” Kemosabe?
If you are still reading this and you’re not a troll and you haven’t accepted defeat, you can be one of the “we.”