COL Bay doesn’t want you to fall for it again. You fell for it hook, line and sinker last time, unless you weren’t around back then or were too young to pay attention, in which case your parents and grandparents did, with few exceptions.
Sometime within the next six months or so, al Qaeda or Saddamist terrorists will attempt a Tet offensive.. . . At the operational level, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) suffered a terrible defeat. As NVA regiments emerged from jungle-covered enclaves and massed for attack, they exposed themselves to the firepower of U.S. aircraft and artillery. The NVA units temporarily seized many cities at the cost of extremely heavy casualties. However, Tet achieved the grand political ends North Vietnam sought. Tet was a strategic psychological attack launched in a presidential election year during a primary season featuring media-savvy “peace” candidates. “Peace” in this context must be italicized with determined irony; in the historical lens it requires an insistent blindness steeled by Stalinist mendacity to confuse the results of U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam (e.g., Cambodia’s genocide) with any honest interpretation of peace. Their “ultimate Iraqi Tet” would feature simultaneous terror strikes in every major Iraqi city. These simultaneous strikes would inflict hideous civilian casualties with the goal of discrediting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s and General David Petraeus’ assessments that Iraqi internal security has improved. The terrorists would reduce Iraqi government buildings to rubble. Striking the Green Zone would be the media coup de grace, intentionally echoing North Vietnam’s assault on the U.S. embassy in Saigon. Al Qaeda terrorists would also attack Shia shrines. Kidnapping or assassinating of senior Iraqi leaders would be another objective.. . . the terrorists will attempt a series of terror spectaculars, and kill several hundred civilians in the process, because — in the quadrennial turmoil of an American presidential contest — sensational carnage that even momentarily seeds the perception of defeat is their only chance of victory.
I remember the last Tet. Yeah, I know, I’m a geezer. But this time I won’t be a helpless 6th-Grader. This time I’m empowered. This time I and my pards have the power to inoculate or to immunize individuals in advance of any propaganda blitz by any of the organized persuaders who seek to gain by carrying the terrorist’s water.
Conditioning. Conditioning is a nonspecific means of eliminating potential vulnerabilities in the domestic audience before they can be exploited. This technique is preemptive in nature. Conditioning is very similar to a preventative action measure. This technique does not specifically address potential themes that the opponent may use in a propaganda program against the force, but seeks to remove or reduce potential vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.