Monthly Archives: November 2007

What the SecDef Didn’t Call For, But Should Have

MountainRunner, writing under his meatspace name in SWJ, explains what SECDEF was trying to do last Monday, and what my .mil buddy was seeking our input on a week ago.  Hmmmm.  You don’t think that Regular sought out the opinions of Irregular Auxiliaries to gain insight into how it might play in Peoria, do you?  Anyway, I want to thank my commenters on that thread.  I don’t know and I may never know if we made any difference, but I suspect that we did, and that suspicion is enough for now.

Go on over to SWJ and read.  Much as I sincerely appreciate your comments here, many more eyes will see what you have to say over there.   

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Filed under PSYOP Auxiliaries

The Taliban Have a Plan

From Strategy Page:

But the Taliban have a plan for getting rid of the smart bombs, and it depends a lot on foreign journalists. These folks are always looking for an “exciting” story, and nothing is more exciting than “atrocities” committed by NATO or American troops. Defeats by NATO or American troops also plays well with the foreign reporters. So the Taliban endeavor to feed the foreign journalists as many suitable stories as possible. The Taliban understand that the story doesn’t have to be true, just plausible. The news cycle is short, and the media proceeds on the assumption that news consumers have no sense of history. If the Taliban can get a story out there, they have succeeded, no matter how much the story is later discredited. Recently, for example, Taliban propagandists got some journalists to run with the story that the Taliban actually controlled most of the country, and were ready to take over. This was absurd, but too good to pass up for headline starved reporters. Atrocity stories move well, as do rumors of NATO troops misbehaving with the locals. The Taliban may be medieval in their social thinking and economics, but they are out in front when it comes to spinning the media

The Taliban believe that most Western nations can be convinced to withdraw their troops if enough negative media and dead troops can be generated.

This is the kind of propaganda that is not being properly countered, because NATO and ISAF and DoD and the Administration do not want to recognize the Western media as conduits for enemy information operations and deal with “journalists” and news organizations appropriately.  There is no stomach for such a confrontation.  The counterinsurgents fear the media’s vengence.  The negative publicity the media can dish out against the counterinsurgents deters them from taking actions which would break Western media personalities of their bad habit of carrying the Taliban’s water.

Regulars have a tough time dealing with situations such as this, so rather than call attention to their impotence they stay quiet and hope no one notices.  The counterpropaganda technique of silence is always the default position for them.  Irregular proxies, should they choose to accept the mission, are free to conduct Relentless, destructive critique of MSM persons and publications until the aid they give to the Taliban is widely recognized and the credibility of their accounts is significantly degraded.  American, British, Canadian, Australian, Dutch and Romanian Irregulars should collaborate in raising the awareness of their respective domestic target audiences of the symbiotic relationship between the media and the enemy, and encourage skepticism.

Are there enough Irregulars who care about the soldiers in Afghanistan to make a dent in all the Taliban propaganda?

UPDATE:  Posted the above before I read The Jawa Report .  Go check out the YOUTUBE SMACKDOWN.  You, too, can play a role in countering propaganda through restrictive measures.

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Filed under Old Media, The Forgotten War

SECDEF Strategically Communicates His Embarrassment

Civilian Irregular Information Operators in Kansas alerted me to this speech by Secretary Gates yesterday:

The way you institutionalize these capabilities is probably not to recreate or repopulate instutions of the past such as USAID or USIA.  On the other hand just adding more people to existing government departments such as Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Justice and so on is not a sufficient answer either.  Even if they were to be more deplyable overseas.  New institutions are needed for the 21st Century.  New organizations with a 21st Century mindset.

For example, Public Relations was invented in the United States, yet we are miserable at communicating to the rest of the world what we are about as a society and a culture, about freedom and democracy, about our policies and our goals.  It is just plain embarrassing that al Qaeda is better at communicating its message on the internet than America.  As one foreign diplomat asked a couple of years ago, how has one man in a cave managed to out-communicate the world’s greatest communications society?

Speed, agility and cultural relevance are not terms that come readily to mind when discussing U.S. Strategic Communications. 

That part starts at 36:26 on your RealPlayer feed.  The War Lord of Argghhh! was in the audience and thinking about me while SECDEF said that.

I’ve lived through some history myself, but my memory holds no recollection of a Secretary of Defense seeking funding for OGA’s.  He has seen how low-speed, high-drag, lackadaisical route-step  InterAgency  non-hackers are gumming up the wheels of progress and it sounds like he seriously wants to do something about it.  But I’m afraid he’s out of his lane, and the same heroes who think a tour in the IZ is a death sentence will fight the program, unless echelons above SECDEF burn a few pour encourager les autres, which I don’t see happening.

UPDATE:  After I record the above and transcribe it myself the Warlord of Arggghhh!!! finds the DoD transcript.

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The nature of IW requires the US Government to achieve the level of unified action necessary to integrate all available instruments of national power to address irregular threats

Well, we’re screwed then.

Ran across that in Irregular Warfare (IW) Joint Operation Concept (JOC) Version 1.0, which I found at the USMC Center for Irregular Warfare that SWJED found for me.

What they’re talking about requires buy-in from the “Loyal Opposition.”  Politicians would have to set aside their own advantage to work together for the good of the nation.

Ain’t gonna happen.

 

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The Regulars’ RFI On USIA

Regulars, by God!
Our readership here is small, but high quality. We don’t get many hits, but the hits we do get come from some interesting places. We are being read by elements in the .mil, and their feed back is gratifying.

One of our .mil readers wants to know what y’all have to say about the U.S. Information Agency and whether or not it should be reconstituted.  The USIA disappeared along with  all those Army divisions and  air wings.  Peace Dividend, you know.  Now it is being missed, and what it used to do doesn’t seem to be getting done. DoD, being one of few islands of competence in the .gov, is all about work-arounds to get ‘er done without or without InterAgency participation.

So, does anybody have any ideas?  Donald Rumsfeld had some, but they threw him under the bus.  Or did he jump?  Anyway, what do YOU think?

I’ll tell you what I think.  I think we’re too afraid of lawfare from the domestic opposition.  I think careerist bureaucratic homesteaders use Smith-Mundt as an excuse to sit on their thumbs and discourage anybody with more gumption from showing them up.  I think Smith-Mundt needs to go away.  I think the idea that politics stops at the water’s edge is dead along with the idea of a “Loyal Opposition.”  Strategy and strategic communications are going to have be left to the political operatives of the party in power.  I think a reconstituted USIA couldn’t do much for a divided nation.

What do YOU think? 

UPDATE:  Some useful links pertaining to this discussion:

USIA Fact sheet

USIA

Public Diplomacy

THE U.S. INFORMATION AGENCY ON THE INTERNET NOT FOR AMERICAN CITIZENS?

 

USIA’S INTEGRATION INTO THE STATE DEPARTMENT: ADVOCATING POLICY TRUMPS PROMOTING MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING  You might want to read this one.  When I started this post I didn’t know a helluva lot about USIA, but I’m learning.  I’m thinking now that USIA was valuable in the dissemination of conditioning propaganda to foster in external audiences generally positive views on America and Americans even in the face of specific American policy controversies.  They could still consider America a force for good in the world even while disagreeing with actions of the US Government.  I think the “promoters of mutal understanding” gained for us the benefit of the doubt that we rarely enjoy any more. 

 

 

Thanks to John and Consul-At-Arms for the help.

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Filed under PSYOP Auxiliaries

Civilian Irregular Cyber Scout Helps ID Bilal Hussein

I love it when a plan comes together.  Distributed, non-hierachical, unconventional pajamahadeen strike again.

UPDATE: Holy crap, The Jawa Report credited with Bilal Hussein prosecution?!?!

A reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, informs me that The Jawa Report had something to do with Bilal Hussein’s prosecution. Apparently Bilal Hussein had been picked up in a raid in which he wasn’t the target. That target was a known al Qaeda operative, Hamid Hamad Motib, and bomb making materials were found in the house.

Hussein was arrested and taken to Abu Ghraib, but no one knew who he was. Just another low-level insurgent, I’m guessing.

He had been sitting in Abu Ghraib for a month, and nobody realized that he was the AP photog who had snapped dozens of staged photos with al Qaeda fighters. The reader was in Abu Ghraib as an investigator working on an unrelated case when he saw Bilal Hussein and recognized him from the extensive coverage we had on The Jawa Report.

He reported it up the chain of command and within days Bilal Hussein was transferred to a different facility, NCIS got involved, and eventually a criminal investigation opened on him.

He ends the e-mail with:

THANKS to you guys…you REALLY ARE making an impact on the [the war on terror] … you can claim credit

Hell, I hope so! I’ve communicated with the source before, and he seems legit to me.

The Jawa Report, sticking it to al Qaeda propagandists from the comfort of our living rooms. Any one wish to complain about the “chickenhawk” bloggers now?

It’s stories like these that make it all worth it!

Outstanding!    

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Filed under Morale Operations, Old Media, PSYOP Auxiliaries

Today’s conflicts are not only won on the battlefield, but through the use of websites and blogs, over the airwaves and on the front pages of our newspapers.

I didn’t hate Donald Rumsfeld. 

This is a time in which warfare is being waged in the realms of space and cyberspace. In China, the recent test of an anti-satellite missile has shown that our network of satellites could be vulnerable to an attack that could cripple both U.S. military and civilian communications. Small bands of organized hackers earlier this year demonstrated by their attacks on Estonia, that the governments and financial institutions of advanced nations can be paralyzed through cyber attacks.

These enemies have learned a crucial lesson about warfare in the 21st century — a lesson others seem slow in understanding. Today’s conflicts are not only won on the battlefield, but through the use of websites and blogs, over the airwaves and on the front pages of our newspapers. Through skillful propaganda operations, the enemy successfully leverages their asymmetric attacks to encourage potential recruits to join their violent cause and to try to convince those of us in free nations to give in to hopelessness, self-doubt and despair.

Their decentralized networks have been able to effectively employ the tools of the Information Age, while the U.S. government remains ponderous, muscle-bound and unable to respond in real time to the deceits of these enemies. To succeed in this first struggle of the 21st century, we will need fresh thinking and capabilities well beyond the Defense Department. If free people are to meet the challenges posed by what will be a long struggle against violent extremists, we will need all elements of national power, private as well as public — diplomatic, economic, as well as intelligence and military to work in concert. We will need to rethink and rearrange our domestic and global institutions designed for the Industrial Age to better suit the Information Age.

Emphasis mine.  He makes sense to me.

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Filed under CND, IA, Idea War, Info Warriors

Fred Thompson on National Will

Fred Thompson discusses national will with Bob Owens and Roger L. Simon in this video linked here.  For the benefit of readers who can’t listen to video in their cubicle, here’s a transcript:

Bob Owens:  We just caught part of your speech.  You mentioned will, several times, in relation to the American people, which is something we have not fully engaged in.  What can we do to recapture the will of the American people?

Fred Thompson:  Yeah.  I was referring to a passage in Andrew Roberts book, A History of the English Speaking Peoples since the 1900’s, and he points out that the will of a people is at least as important as its military might in prevailing in a conflict.  I really believe that that’s true.  Ya gotta understand you’re gonna have some bad times.  You’re gonna have some difficulties.  You’re gonna have to understand the need for doing what you’re doing and the need for perseverance.  That’s one of the most important jobs I think nowadays of a President of the United States, of having communication with the American people and explaining those things.  Here’s what we’re doing and here’s why we’re doing it.

Roger L. Simon:  A lot of us have felt that the Bush administration has failed in that regard.  Public relations has been one of their weak spots.  How is a Thompson administration going to recapture that, recapture the will of the people?

FT:  You gotta be honest with people and bring them along for the ride.  You can’t just say everything is fine, don’t pay much attention to it and go on about your business on a daily basis and then be able to sustain yourself in the bad times.  You gotta be honest up front.  What we’re gonna have to do is face up to the need to make a substantial committment, fiscally, in this country.  Arrange some of our priorities, and understand that we’re gonna have to rebuild our military, we’re gonna have to modernize our military, we’re gonna have to replace our equipment, and do all those things necessary for the long haul.  You can’t do it on the cheap.  You can’t do guns and butter.  In past conflicts when our nation has faced difficulties non-defense spending has gone down substantially.  Not this time.  We’re still operating under the assumption that the conflict all has to do with Iraq and Afghanistan and once that’s over it’ll all be over,  which I think a lot of people still think.  And secondly, we’re not gonna have to make additional financial committements to it.  Both of those things are erroneous.  And a President has to communicate the truth to the American people.  On the front end.  Because you can’t expect, if you don’t have the American people on the front end of this you’re not gonna have them on the back end.  

 The American voter has to be persuaded that the course of action is the correct one and that the benefits are worth the cost.  Meanwhile, the “Loyal Opposition” and its media organs stop at nothing to persuade the voter otherwise.  The last actor we elected President had similar problems, and overcame them through bypassing the opposition’s media organs.  Can a President Thompson do for new media what President Reagan did for talk radio?  Only if he gets elected.  And if he does, it might just be because he made better use of new media than his rivals.

UPDATE:  Here’s an example of Fred’s use of new media.  Go look, and compare that message to the other candidate’s Christmas ads.

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Filed under Idea War

A Telling Question Puts Things into Perspective

From The New Editor via Instapundit:

On PBS’ Washington Week in Review Friday night, New York Times’ reporter David Sanger asked Time magazine’s Karen Tumulty what the relative dearth of discussion on Iraq during Thursday’s Democratic Party presidential debate said about the “utility” of raising the issue for the party going forward in the campaign season.

As a public service to my readership, here is the transcript of Ms. Tumulty’s answer, recorded from the podcast, transcribed by me:

Sanger:  Karen, two months ago, we would have all said that this debate on Social Security or on the health care plans would get blotted out by Iraq.  We heard very little about Iraq last night.  What does that tell you about the Party and what they think about the utility of raising the issue?

Tumulty:  Well, I think that that in fact was one of the most fascinating things about the evening, and except that they once again had the argument about who was right about Iraq first . . . [stepped on by Sanger]

Sanger:  We’ve heard that before

Tumulty:  Exactly.  I think that if you look out there and you look at the polling I think that there is at least a subtle shift in the political dynamic on Iraq and it may be because people think it’s getting better and it may be because people think that they’re going to give the politicians a little bit of breathing room on it but there was really not a lot of specific discussion as to where you go from here and this was the first debate where that was the case.

Omission is the primary way people downplay their own “bad.”  

When they downplay, intensify.  “They” are attempting to omit their defeatism,  obstructionism, and non-support.  Whoever delayed, obstructed, or sought to prevent victory and profit politically from defeat must now suffer the consequences. 

Iraq ‘progress’ shifts US political sands

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Filed under Idea War, PSYOP

They’re Talking Like They’re Beginning to Get It

Gleaned this from Jedburgh at SWJ:

We live in a world of citizen journalists, where every action or operation is witnessed, taped and reported, individual actions are amplified, and organizations face the challenge of strategic implication. In today’s flat world, a seemingly isolated interaction in the morning becomes fodder for bloggers immediately, appears on local television news by noon, and is international news by evening.    Captain Hal Pittman, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Joint Communication)

 But he didn’t mention any products for the domestic target audience.

Combating ideological support for terrorism poses a variety of daunting, new challenges for U.S. public diplomacy. Terrorists have shown themselves to be adept at exploiting the freedom of the Internet to spread their propaganda directly to young Muslims around the world. Our traditional communication tools are designed for mainstream media and have little impact in this new information ‘battlefield.’ Our audience stretches beyond the traditional opinion leaders and political elites to include the general public and specifically the youth who are the target of extremist propaganda. . . . we need to continue to develop new tactics to counter an elusive and decentralized non-state foe who uses the Internet and new technologies to spread its ideology of violence.

 Our State-DoD sub-PCC explores ways to enhance our cooperation and develop shared communication strategies. Already in the works are initiatives on coordinated web hosting and content, video and blogging, a renewed effort to identify and find ways to empower credible Muslim voices, develop a shared image databank and strengthen the effectiveness of Military Information Support Teams (MIST) work in our overseas missions. 

The Counterterrorism Communication Center

Under Secretary Hughes established the Counterterrorism Communication Center (CTCC) last summer to coordinate overall overt USG strategic communications messaging in the war of ideas and to produce and disseminate effective messaging to counter terrorist ideology, especially in the Arab and Muslim world but also in Europe and elsewhere.

The CTCC is a small but truly interagency organization, with staff currently drawn from the Department of State, Department of Defense, the National Counter Terrorism Center and the intelligence community. Working with State, DoD and other USG agencies, it produces strategic communications plans, develops effective narratives and themes to undermine and counter terrorist messaging, and produces specific messages for use by State and DoD communicators. It responds with talking points to breaking events and works closely with the Rapid Response Unit in the State Department’s Public Affairs Office to put out a daily anti-terrorism message. CTCC messages go to more than 2,000 key U.S. government communicators, including the Combatant Commands and all U.S. Embassies, who build on the themes and information in the messages, customizing them for local audiences in order to achieve the greatest impact. Our efforts focus on undermining and putting extremists on the defensive by exposing how terrorists recruit and exploit young people, destroy mosques and religious sites and murder women, children and innocent victims, such as the tragic events of last week that resulted in the deaths of 59 schoolboys, five teachers, police officers and other innocent adult bystanders in an effort to target members of the Afghan parliament, six of whom died in the attack.

The CTCC is intended to be a small, collaborative, interagency resource with a daily mission of providing the intellectual leadership necessary for countering terrorist ideology and extremist propaganda through coordinated messages.  — Duncan MacInnes,  Principal Deputy Coordinator,  Bureau of International Information Programs,  U.S. Department of State  


So the Counterterrorism Communication Center is responsible for counterpropaganda.  Finally, an answer to the question I asked 18 months ago.  They’ve maintained a pretty low profile to stay under my radar this long.  Are they Smith-Mundt’ed out of the domestic audience?  A google search brings up this lone reference to the CTCC.  Maybe their products are released by others?

Somebody amongst my readership has some OSINT on CTCC.

UPDATE: 

Among the latest efforts is the Counterterrorism Communication Center (CTCC), set up in April 2007. In a memo, the CTCC says it “is an interagency office, housed within the State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs. The center was set up to provide leadership and coordination for interagency efforts in the war of ideas, and to integrate and enhance the US government’s diverse public diplomacy counterterrorism efforts.”3

3. US Department of State, “Introducing the Counterterrorism Communication Center,” memo, 12 July 2007.

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Filed under Info Warriors, PSYOP Auxiliaries

Civilian Irregular Counterpropagandists Pushing Back

I know this thanks to Mrs. Greyhawk, one of the IO Warlords whose gravitational pull often captures me.

Never heard of Jim Wrenn before today, but he’s an outstanding counterpropagandist:

You know that in every war, propaganda plays a vital role in enhancing or diminishing the motivation of each side to continue, escalate, de-escalate or abandon the struggle. Although you know that with respect to most wars throughout human history, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to seriously contend that one side was totally “right” and the other side totally “wrong.” But you also know that in some wars, one side’s goals fit the definition of a perfect evil even though the other side’s goals may be only an imperfect “good.”

You know that “propaganda” is argumentative rather than “objective” or “neutral,” but you also know– as did Churchill and Roosevelt in World War II– that in a world in which lies are propagated to disguise, spread and support evil goals, the truth cannot survive through passivity but must instead be supported by truthful arguments (i.e., truthful propaganda). You know also that today the opportunities for descriptions of wholly aberrational “wrongs” committed on the side of “right” to be propagandistically disseminated throughout the world in a manner falsely portraying a tiny “truth” as though it were a broader truth are exponentially greater today than was the case during World War II.

Give ’em Hell, Bashman!

 

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Slimed Battle Space

Back when I owed obedience to a peanut farmer and tanks had piston engines, a class of butter bars and I spent the night in a foggy valley with our protective masks on, because the OPFOR had set off smoke pots with CS grenades in them and the noxious cloud was caught by the fog and wouldn’t dissipate.  I had forgotten my optical inserts and was not enjoying my training, so after a few hours I took my mask off.  I choked and cried and hacked and coughed and put my mask back on.  The lesson I learned from that experience didn’t sink in, so I repeated the experiment.  Some time around 0300 I put my mask up.  I had accustomed myself to the CS. 

I left my mask, web gear and steel pot on the TC hatch and went for a walk around the battle position.  Nobody moving.  Most tanks buttoned up.  Those few heads that were out of the hatches were down.  Nobody had declared all clear.  I had declared it for myself and I was the only dismount around.  I could see and hear normally.  I walked down the road in the dark, very faintly illuminated by the sliver moon on the other side of the fog and smoke and CS above me.  I heard somebody crunching up the gravel trail towards me.  I stopped.  He nearly walked into me.  It was my Tank Crew Instructor, coming back to work in time for Stand To.  “All Clear?” he asked, voice garbled by his gas mask.  He had an infantry mask because he rode on a chair strapped to the loader’s hatch and there was no hose hook up for him.  I just nodded my head and grinned.

The CS was still there. I was used to it.  He was not.  I was consigned to the Gunner’s seat for the rest of the exercise.

The center of gravity in the Long War/GWOT/Third Great Jihad/Twelfth Crusade is the area between the ears of the American voter.  That battle space was slimed by the Soviets and clumps of it are still being kicked up and their ideological descendants are re-weaponizing it.  Whoever would attempt to change people’s minds must acknowledge that some of the minds are totally beyond change.  These minds are impervious to rational discourse.  We waste our time trying to bring them over to our side.  They cannot bear the effects of the CS and they will not endure the suffering it takes to get used to it.  They will put their masks back on and view the same world those of us who have declared “All Clear” inhabit as a completely different place.

Civilian Irregular Auxiliary Psychological Operators can overtly oppose and openly counter BDS-afflicted moonbats using techniques  unacceptable to the Regular’s political masters, particularly ridicule.  The objective is not to rehabilitate the mentally ill, but to prevent the unafflicted from taking them seriously.

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Anybody who questions Our Patriotism is a NAZI

 

Just as there are counter measures for electronic warfare, and counter-counter measures, propagandists can anticipate likely responses of counterpropagandists and conduct counter-counterpropaganda.  I stumbled upon some counter-counterpropaganda that uses the counterpropaganda technique of forestalling to poison the well and kill the messenger when anybody is taken to task for anti-war, anti-military opposition to the Iraq Campaign of the Long War.

I had never heard of Lieutenant Colonel William J. Astore, USAF (ret.)  until today.  Seems he’s concerned that the defeated and disgraced U.S. Army and Marine Corps are going to scapegoat their domestic “Loyal Opposition” like the defeated Kaiser Heer tarred the Socialists, Spartacists and Social Democrats with the Dolchstosslegende after the First World War, and he wants to nip that in the bud before anybody even thinks of going there.  Dr. Astore is a bonafide historian!  He served, man, unlike you chickenhawk Bushbots.  He’s got cred!  We shall explore where he has cred shortly.

Writing in al Jazeera Magazine, Dr. Astore compares President Bush to Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, Vice-President Cheney to General Erich Ludendorff and the Surge to the Kaiserschlacht:

The world’s finest military launches a highly coordinated shock-and-awe attack that shows enormous initial progress. There’s talk of the victorious troops being home for Christmas. But the war unexpectedly drags on. As fighting persists into a third, and then a fourth year, voices are heard calling for negotiations, even “peace without victory.” Dismissing such peaceniks and critics as defeatists, a conservative and expansionist regime — led by a figurehead who often resorts to simplistic slogans and his Machiavellian sidekick who is considered the brains behind the throne — calls for one last surge to victory. Unbeknownst to the people on the home front, however, this duo has already prepared a seductive and self-exculpatory myth in case the surge fails.

The United States in 2007? No, Wilhelmine Germany in 1917 and 1918, as its military dictators, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and his loyal second, General Erich Ludendorff, pushed Germany toward defeat and revolution in a relentless pursuit of victory in World War I. Having failed with their surge strategy on the Western Front in 1918, they nevertheless succeeded in deploying a stab-in-the-back myth, or Dolchstoßlegende, that shifted blame for defeat from themselves and Rightist politicians to Social Democrats and others allegedly responsible for losing the war by their failure to support the troops at home. The German Army knew it was militarily defeated in 1918. But this was an inconvenient truth for Hindenburg and the Right, so they crafted a new “truth”: that the troops were “unvanquished in the field.” So powerful did these words become that they would be engraved in stone on many German war memorial.

Dr. Astore wrote a book on Hindenburg, so he has unassailable moral authority.   And he is not the only forestaller.

Back in 2004, Matthew Yglesias first brought up the possibility. Last year, in Harper’s Magazine, Kevin Baker detailed the history of the stab-in-the-back, suggesting that Bush’s Iraqi version was already beginning to germinate early in 2005, when news from Iraq turned definitively sour. And this October, in The Nation, Eric Alterman warned that the Bush administration was already busily sowing the seeds of this myth.

Other Iraqi myth-trackers have included Gary Kamiya at Salon.com, and Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith at Commondreams.org. Just this August, Thomas Ricks, Washington Post columnist and author of the bestselling book, Fiasco, worried publicly about whether the military itself wasn’t already embracing elements of the myth whose specific betrayers would include “weasely politicians” (are there any other kind?) and a “media who undercut us by focusing on the negative.”

Lots of projection in all the above angst.  Dr. Astore’s bandwagon is not one I would care to jump on.  al Jazeerah Magazine is not a venue in which I would like to see my by-line.  He retired from active duty and got his Ph.D in history  and I would normally be inclined to admire him, but he has revealed too much for that.  I appreciate and respect his previous honorable service to our country, but I’ll save my admiration for another Air Force officer, Greyhawk, whose opinion I value much more.

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The Weaponization of Perversion

Secret History: Sex Bomb

Verrrry interesting, and very applicable to what is going on in our culture today.  Never could figure out how to get LiveLeak embedded on this page, but the links below will take you there.  YouTube and LiveLeak are new to me because I spent the last couple years in places with limited band width, but internet video is obviously a powerful propaganda and counterpropaganda tool.  This is a program from the English History Channel that probably won’t air in the States.
 

Part 1 of 5

Part 2 of 5

Part 3 of 5

Part 4 of 5

Part 5 of 5

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A troubling predisposition on the part of the press to believe the worst about those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan

Slandering the American Soldier
An American media tradition.

By Mackubin Thomas Owens

Death to the Drive By Media!  Long Live blogs and talk radio!

Seriously, dissing the troops can no longer be tolerated.  It must stop, and it will stop, if you and I speak out against it vociferously and refuse to patronize the media outlets that disseminate it. 

 

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Filed under Old Media

Sappers, Miners, and Underminers

I was a kid in when I first heard about “sappers.”  They were the little guys slinging satchel charges and blowing holes in the perimeter wire and bunkers.  I was a big Combat! fan and I knew what satchel charges were, and I had a father in Vietnam and I knew these sappers were trying to kill him.  Also around this time I remember hearing the word “undermine” in reference to the people back in the States who were demonstrating and protesting and spitting on soldiers in airports.  I didn’t really know what “undermine” meant back then, but it sounded sneaky and underhanded to me.

I grew up, learned a few things, absorbed a brain full of arcane trivia and gained a vague awareness of military history and and fortifications and siege warfare and sappers and miners.  Land mines have not always been what we think of today. 

History records the use of mines in ancient times in connection with siege operations.  Reference is made to their use by Alexander the Great, by Caeser, and by other generals of note in history.  They were freely used in the middle ages in the attacks of castles and walled cities.

The object to be obtained by the use of mines during those periods was either that of a breach in a wall, or that of a subterranean passage which would allow the besiegers an entrance into the interior of the place, and an opportunity of capturing the place by surprise.

When a breach in the wall was the object, the mines were driven under the foundations, and these foundations held up by supports made of timber.  When the excavation was significantly large for the purpose the besiegers set fire to the supports.  These being burned, the foundations fell into the excavations made, and a breach in the wall was effected.  — A Text Book of Military Engineering for the use of the Cadets  of the United States Military Academy, Parts II and III comprising siege operations and military mining, with an appendix giving the principles of fortification drawing  , p. 130.

Those old time military miners dug tunnels into the earth just like any other kind of miner.  And the object of all that pick and shovel work was to undermine.

How is your morale these days? 

Are you more enthusiastic about your tribe/nation-state/political party [pick one] and more confident about its success in the future?  Or less?  Speaking as a proud member of the al-Ameriki tribe, I’m slightly more enthusiastic than usual, this being a national holiday and all, but my confidence is wavering.  I see a lot of undermining going on, and I don’t like it, and I’m looking for ways to stop it, and repair the damage.

Somebody is running Morale Operations on my people.  They are my enemies.  I want them neutralized or destroyed.  My perception has been managed by somebody so that I perceive my government to be incapable, incompetant, or unwilling to counter these Morale Operations.  I can hear the tunnelers digging.  Our walls will fall if nothing is done.  The garrison commander chooses not to hear the digging.  The Royal Engineers don’t think it’s their job. 

Grab a shovel, boys and girls.  The Civilian Irregular Corps of Sappers and Miners have counter mines to dig. 

 

 

H/T: PurpleSlog

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Filed under Morale Operations

Gotta Mission For Ya

supporting the 18 year old with the rifle

Click here

Read / Observe

Orient

Decide

Act

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Filed under PSYOP Auxiliaries

Lending Dignity to what would otherwise be a Vulgar Brawl

Great pics here, pay particular attention to  7 of 90.

Remember.  That’s your mission for today.  

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Filed under About

We OWE Them Remembrance

Battlefield memorial defaced — Tippecanoe Battlefield Monument in Indiana, November 9, 2007

Local Veteran Fed Up With Memorial Vandalism — Veterans War Memorial at Sacramento’s Capitol Park (H/T Wake up America) — Sep 3, 2007

Vietnam Veterans Memorial defaced – Andover MA, September 1, 2007

Vietnam Memorial Wall Defaced This Weekend (September 7-9, 2007)

Vandalism. Desecration. Cowardice. Coddling. Enough is enough.

Once is an accident.  Twice is coincidence.  Three times is enemy action.

Unpleasant to think of enemies in our midst.  Much easier to downplay and minimize and forget and do nothing, and ignore the broken windows and absolve ourselves of responsibility as we withdraw into gated communities and cede the commons to the anarchists.  But the easy way is always mined.

Seems to me that those of us who understand our duty have shirked it long enough.  We have to change the narrative in American society until monument desecration is once again recognized by the upper 99% as rude, crude and socially unacceptable.  We have to change the narrative in American society so that when the punks who do these things brag about it their own peers adjust their attitudes for them with up close and personal intensive wall-to-wall counseling, and are commended for it.  We have to change the narrative in American society to one in which we can ALL love our country, warts and all, and we can ALL honor our country’s defenders, and we can ALL be worthy of the blood shed for us.

I’m not sure how to change the narrative in American society, but refusing to go along with the dominant narrative is a start.  The Silent Majority must speak out against the dominant narrative, every time, relentlessly, until the dominant narrative veers under the weight of opposition and its own internal contradictions.  Quit biting your tongue.  Speak your mind.  Call them on it.  Hold your ground. 

This will be hard.  The right thing to do usually is.

Teaching America

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Filed under Idea War

We may no longer have the morale and legal will to fight a shadowy and adaptive enemy

“We”, the collective “we”, as in the American people as a whole, allow this.  Those of us who are at the mall and those of us whose default position makes our warriors baby killers until proven innocent are paralyzing our leaders with lawfare.

Investigating our soldiers to death

“There is nothing to come of this except making my soldiers scared to pull the trigger, and that’s all that this is doing. They see me getting questioned every day over something as dumb as firing back when fired upon. God only knows what they would be trying to do if we accidentally killed one the ‘wrong’ people.”

The few of us that give a shit need to raise holy hell about every one of these cases.  We need to link to them, comment about them, call into talk radio shows and generally bring so much heat and misery and hellfire and scunnion down upon the heads of the generals that let this happen to their people that they start sticking up for them instead of throwing them under the bus.

We also need to increase the numbers who give a shit, and decrease the numbers slinging the baby killer epithet.  It takes a certain amount of faith and belief in the righteousness of the cause to maintain sufficient public support to continue the war. 

UPDATE:  I made this comment at FR

There has to be some certainty that the cause is just, that our defenders are good and that the enemy has brought their demise upon themselves, or America will never win another war. Our leaders owe us some serenity on that point, our defenders must remain good, but We The People owe our leaders some followership and our defenders the benefit of the doubt. WE have a duty to resist assaults on our morale and efforts to undermine the war effort. A nation that continually proves itself unworthy of its defenders will someday have none.

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Filed under Lawfare