Amid all the hoopla, outrage, paranoia, fear, uncertainty and doubt expressed over the influence operation pulled off before and early in OIF are occassional nuggets of PSYOP goodness like this:
From PSYOP to MindWar: The Psychology of Victory by Colonel Paul E. Vallely, 1980.
Yeah. That Paul Vallely. And I mean that in a good way.
UPDATE: Paul Vallely sees a high-profile New York Times story on military talking heads as a hatchet job.
“The American people will understand it’s bullshit. It’s bullshit coming out of the Times,” Vallely said. “Nobody ever directed what we said.”
“I’m not happy with the Defense Department backing down because of the newspapers, especially the New York Times,” Vallely said. “I think it makes it look weak.”
And Vallely is the host of a talk radio show called “Stand up America,” which is broadcast on the Internet. Some of his columns have appeared as guest opinions in The Daily Inter Lake.
“Everyone told it like it was except Wes Clark, who had a political agenda,” Vallely said.
Had Karzai’s parade gone according to plan there would be no images of Sunday’s National Day ceremony now appearing on any of the international channels or newspapers. A burst of small arms fire and a few mortar bombs transformed it into a much more sensational event for the press who with steadfast incomprehension have filed exactly the images and moments that the Taliban’s own propaganda manager would have chosen himself. By doing so they boost up a global interest in the particular aspects of its disgrace, the sense of pantomime, the rout of be-medalled parade soldiers scampering across the parade square before the Taliban fire and worst of all rows of dignitaries diving for cover behind their seats on the flag decked parade stand. Thanks to the media all that remains of this tragic day are these relentlessly unforgiving and unqualified images.
The incident on Sunday demonstrates a classic propaganda of the deed partnership in which the insurgents with growing skill select a media-significant target and with witless incomprehension international reporters beam the most sensationally damning images of the event around the world so as to deliver the worst possible interpretation. There is no need for a Taliban subtext or even a photo caption, the images speak powerfully for themselves sending messages of a stricken regime put to flight in their gilded uniforms by the daring fighters of the Taliban.
The Taliban’s Propaganda of the Deed Strategy
But the press is not the enemy and it is self-defeating to treat them as such, so all you good little PA types go ahead and piss all over yourselves in your enthusiam to suck up to the press while Irregulars who declined to partake of the Kool-Aid retain sufficient visual acuity to notice and critique the Emperor’s wardrobe malfunctions.
Beggin’ the Colonel’s pardon, but, with all due respect, sir, grass is not blue and the sky is not green.
Politicized Military Would Lose Public Trust, Official Says
The People have to understand that the military serves the political masters The People choose to saddle them with. Enthusiastically, sometimes. With gritted teeth, sometimes. Professionally, almost always.
The People have to understand that the choices they make at election time have consequences. Congress decides what the military gets paid. Congress decides which generals and admirals get promoted. Congress decides how large the military will be, where it will be stationed, and how much money will be spent on barracks maintenance, ammunition, body armor. Presidents come and go. Eight years and they’re gone. Representatives stay decades. The length of entire military careers.
The People have to understand that their choice for Commander-in-Chief has great bearing on who gets sent into harm’s way, for what purpose, whether they’re in it to win, lose or play patty-cake. The People have to understand that their own answers to polling questions, their own support or opposition, their own grant or denial of legitimacy, plays out on the battlefield. Somebody pays for The People’s resolution, or lack thereof, in blood.
The People have to understand that nobody swore any oath to defend them.
My perception is being managed here to perceive attempted innoculation from post-Inaugural charges of being Former Regime Loyalists.
And they wonder why 73 plus percent of military members are registered as Republicans
From TF 134 Strategic Communications Plan:
In fire support terms, High-Payoff Targets (HPTs) are those targets whose loss to the enemy will most contribute to the success of the friendly course of action. In communication terms, high-payoff targets are most often referred to as Key Audiences—that is, those audiences who can appreciably affect the success or failure of the counterinsurgency mission here.
• The Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen of Task Force 134
• Internees and their families, Tribal Chiefs and Sheiks
• The Iraqi People and their Leaders
• The Middle Eastern Islamic Community
• Coalition Nations, United Nations Partners and Non-Governmental Organizations
• Our Own Communities and U.S. National Decision Makers
We must never take for granted the support we have at home. Without it we would be unable to persevere; a necessity in times such as these. Sharing our successes with those at home is essential to preserving U.S. popular and political will.
Camp Cropper ain’t Luft Stalag III. That which we needed four years ago we now have in great abundance thanks to Lynndie England’s Blue Falconry.
TARGETED AREAS OF INFLUENCE
In fire support targeting, the best places to engage HPTs are called Targeted Areas of Influence (TAIs). In communication planning, these points or areas where the organization can best influence a target are not only geographic, but modal as well. That is, organizational communication engages key audiences regionally and through various targeting modes to include traditional news media and interpersonal transactions that encourage supportive behavior.
• Command Leadership
• Iraqi News Media
Nearly 80 percent of Iraqis cite television as their most important source of information. We will be aggressive in securing their interest, and open to providing them the greatest access possible.
• Middle Eastern News Media
Arabic-language news organizations have tremendous reach; we will leverage this capability to speak to the greater Islamic community throughout the region.
• Arab Religious and Academic Influencers
• Senior Coalition, United Nations and Non-Governmental Leaders
• Western News Media
The western press is here in Iraq, and they are curious about what we do. Again, transparency is essential, and our enthusiasm in providing access speaks volumes of our intentions. The same can be said of the so-called “hometown” news agencies, which might not have a presence in Iraq, but can certainly be targeted through direct communication.
Enthusiasm? Stay tuned tomorrow
Rather than spin it as a propaganda victory, we should be ridiculing their incompetence. A big deal should be made of the bravery and professionalism of the Afghans in Karzai’s Personal Security Detail. Pashtuns respect successful assassins. They’ve been whacking each other since Alexander the Great came through. Ridicule directed at the Taliban, and the surviving wannabe assassins, would embarass the hell out of old muj who still support this gang that can’t shoot straight. Back in their day, they got their man, by cracky!
Making a harsh example of the Officer-in-Charge of event security and his chain of command would be good, too. Dans ce pay-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un generale pour encourager les autres.
Psychology: The Hard Truth about a Soft Science
Genghis Khan didn’t have psychologists, but he did PSYOP. Spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt amongst one’s enemies has a much longer history than the “discipline of psychology.”
Taliban bitten by a snake in the grass
We’re across the Rhine and we don’t even know it. Okinawa will be bad. Victory is nigh.
The moonbats really hate the idea that Rumsfeld ran a successful influence operation on them. Not a perfect influence operation. Not an influence operation that wouldn’t impact the credibility of future influence operations. But it worked. For a while.
We invaded Iraq to destabilize the entire Middle East, so-called “friends” along with acknowledged enemies. Probably not a good idea to publicly rub the noses of the friendlier of our so-called “friends” in that unpalatable fact. Americans as a rule value honesty, straight talk, saying what you mean. Lefty Americans whine incessantly about hypocrisy, fixating on it in tiresome tirades of projection.
We’re a Westphalian nation-state superpower at war with a stateless, amorphous, ad hoc group of Islamic religious extremists who are stereotypically Arabs, Persians or Pashtuns who do not value directness like we do. We have a big problem with effectively differentiating messages for our different target audiences. The Bad Guys hear and read everything we do. The domestic oppositional elements within our polity seek out any inconsistancies between messages to politicize for their benefit.
We need code words for the discerning to pick up on in determining the intended TA.
“We just need to make them two-and-a-half times better than the enemy.”
The New Strategy for Afghanistan’s Cops isn’t so new to regular readers of this blog.
Regime change in America has been the shared short-term common goal of both the oppositional elements within our own polity and the stateless, amorphous, ad hoc group of Islamic religious extremists who are conducting a global insurgency of opportunity against us. That which they have worked so hard to achieve, to the point of killing themselves and others, literally by deed and non-kinetically by word, is going to occur on schedule in nine months just as if they hadn’t expended any effort towards that end at all. It is not too soon for those who will be Former Regime Loyalists come January to start thinking about their futures.
Under two of the three likely scenarios, COunterINsurgents with a reputation for having served their former Masters too well will suffer retribution. In the worst-case scenario that retribution could include an all expenses paid vacation at Club Fed. Ask Scooter Libby if that’s a paranoid wing-nut fantasy. In the bad- but-better-than-worst-case scenario the retribution will be more of a velvet hammer, survivable but not career enhancing. Field grades with fond memories of being a butter bar in the Balkans can relive their youth delivering the pizza to Darfurians in Meals On 8-Wheels Stryker Brigade Charity Teams.
Either of these scenarios will see a lot of good people suffering emotionally from the implicit rejection of the legitimacy and worth of the sacrifices made so far in this war. Many who can will put in their papers and bail. Some will stay in the hope of being an agent in place in the cause of damage control, hoping to mitigate the insanity until the adults come back to power. Some will stay to welcome their new Democratic overlords.
I encourage the Regular Public Affairs/Public Diplomacy/Strategic Communications/Perception Management/persuader-changer-influencer types to start wargaming. There are Golden Parachutes to pack, rat lines to recon, Auxiliaries to recruit, virtual caches to dig while the environment is still permissive. If we get the lesser-than-three-evils-best-case-only-because-the-other-two-suck-so-bad scenario these preparations will not have been wasted, because while we were getting ready we were clarifying our thoughts on what flavor of kool aid we’re willing to gulp down and ask for more and what flavors we’ll sip and spit out when nobody is looking.
I think Abnaa al-Amriki sounds a helluva lot better than Fedayeen George, don’t you?
Excellent review here.
“American combat soldiers don’t want pity.” Yon says, “They’re ready to fight to the end; they just don’t want it to be for naught. They have been fighting for two nations, one of which didn’t seem to notice. The Iraqis noticed.”
“We can win this war,” Yon declares. “And if we do it will be a victory of the same magnitude as the fall of the Soviet Union. It will not be a victory for the Republican Party. It will not be a victory for America and Great Britain and others ‘against’ Iraq. It will be a victory for freedom and justice. It will be a victory for Iraqis and for the world, and only then will it be a victory for us.”
LtCol Michael has been an effective practitioner of Muddy Boots IO. Cannonette had the pleasure of meeting him and the Mrs. last year.
The people who appreciated Muddy Boots IO are almost out the door. Good luck, sir.
By mid-2007, some Al-Qaeda-related Web sites were broadening their agendas. “Media jihad” included entering online forums with large American audiences in order to influence “the views of the weak-minded American” who “is an idiot and does not know where Iraq is.” The “weak-minded” were to be targeted with videos showing U.S. troops under fire and with false messages purportedly from American soldiers and their families lamenting their involvement in the Iraq war. At the same time, Web forums for Islamist audiences featured information gleaned from Western news reports, such as poll results showing lack of public support for the war and, occasionally, information about weapons systems that news stories published.
No shortage of weak-minded Americans already primed by decades of first Soviet, then multiculti/PC/tranzie/environmentalist whacko brainwashing to be easily influenced by anti-Western, anti-American, anti-capitalist propaganda.
Politicians don’t get re-elected pointing out the stupidity of large numbers of their constituents.
Regularly constituted Executive Branch Department Public Affairs/Public Diplomacy/Strategic Communications/Perception Management/persuader-changer-influencers won’t touch this with a ten foot pole. The power of the beneficiaries of a weak-minded electorate to punish is greater than the power of the strong-minded electorate to reward.
All we can do is endeavor to persevere. Horrendous events may eventually raise the IQ-level amongst the survivors. While we wait we can be educating the educable and convincing the rest that Gaia wants them to reduce their footprint to 0.
Filed under Idea War, PSYOP
Those to whom this most applies will deny the allegation and demonize the alligator:
They think Republicans and people like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and Halliburton and global warming represent the real threats. But it’s apparent to me that what happens is that these terrorist nut jobs monitor US Drive-By Media reports, and they end up parroting whatever the Democrats say. And why not? Because the Democrats rip this country to shreds on a daily basis. So the terrorists naturally think they have willing accomplices; they have a brotherhood with the Democrat Party.
The Democrats, you see, are out there saying: “We are responsible for global warming! It’s destroying the world! It’s destroying the planet!” In other words, America is dirty, rotten, and evil. That’s what the jihadists want the rest of the world to think, too. So all they have to do is wait and see what liberal Democrats say in this country and echo those sentiments — and, lo and behold, Ayman al-Zawahiri did just that in his latest tape.
Strange bed fellows. Even stranger in 9 months when the counterinsurgent-supportive become the Loyal Opposition, the current “Loyal Opposition” assumes responsibility for retreat and disgrace, and the insurgent-supportive element within the newly-victorious counterinsurgent’s party demands their pound of flesh.
What goes around, comes around.
An unconventional era of warfare requires unconventional thinkers. That is because this era’s range of security challenges, from global terrorism to ethnic conflicts, from rogue nations to rising powers, cannot be overcome by traditional military means alone. Conflict will be fundamentally political in nature and will require the integration of all elements of national power [Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic]. Success, to a large extent, will depend less on imposing one’s will on the enemy or putting bombs on targets, though we must never lose our ability or our will to unsheathe the sword when necessary. Instead, ultimate success or failure will increasingly depend more on shaping the behavior of others, friends and adversaries, and most importantly, the people in between.
Every attempt to change the behavior of fence-sitters and insurgent-supportive elements in the domestic target audience turns to shit. To even utter the unpalatable truth that there are indeed oppositional elements within the polity who see political advantage in American defeat evokes howls of spittle-flecked invective from the usual suspects, causing most counterinsurgent-supportive types to recoil in disgust and give up any attempt at rational discussion with such people.
I don’t foresee many nails following Secretary Gates’ request standing up to be hammered. I’m beginning to think truly unconventional political warfare is beyond the capability of anybody on the inside. Unless they cover their tracks really well.
Mark Steyn is a very smart guy. You Regulars should pay attention.
As for “gun-totin’,” large numbers of Americans tote guns because they’re assertive, self-reliant citizens, not docile subjects of a permanent governing class. The Second Amendment is philosophically consistent with the First Amendment, for which I’ve become more grateful since the Canadian Islamic Congress decided to sue me for “hate speech” up north. Both amendments embody the American view that liberty is not the gift of the state, and its defense cannot be outsourced exclusively to the government.
He has pretty much nailed the philosophy behind a counterinsurgent-supportive virtual militia. Our favorite Westphalian nation-state is at war, but chooses not to fight the War of Ideas like a real war. Irregulars reserve the right to annoy the enemy any way we can, including domestic enemies beyond the reach of .mil retribution. And many of those enemies can be annoyed on the Internet in rare moments of spare time, when we’re not at the mall.
Amriki tribal chauvinists should appreciate this:
“Were I a Kerry voter, though, I’d feel deep anger, not only at them returning Bush to power, but for allowing the outside world to lump us all into the same category of moronic muppets. The self-righteous, gun-totin’, military-lovin’, sister-marryin’, abortion-hatin’, gay-loathin’, foreigner-despisin’, nonpassport ownin’ rednecks, who believe God gave America the biggest d*** in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land ‘free and strong.'”
I love that, even though I don’t have sister, but I DO have a passport, and I don’t despise cute foreigners who smell good.
George Orwell is credited with saying “He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.” Old farts like me who remember 30-volume sets of Encyclopedias made from dead trees often have tidbits of information filed deep in the cob webs of their long memories acquired back in the Web 0.0 era, but they don’t remember in enough detail to win an argument so they look it up. Or try to look it up.
Beware of the biases of your information providers. A lot of stuff ends up down the memory hole.
By patrolling Wikipedia pages and ensuring that her spin reigns supreme over all climate change pages, she has made of Wikipedia a propaganda vehicle for global warming alarmists. But unlike government propaganda, its source is not self-evident. We don’t suspend belief when we read Wikipedia, as we do when we read literature from an organization with an agenda, because Wikipedia benefits from the Internet’s cachet of making information free and democratic. This Big Brother enforces its views with a mouse.
Everybody that puts any content on the Internet has an agenda. I have mine. Lawrence Solomon has his. And Kim Dabelstein Petersen has hers.
You are responsible for what you keep in your head. You have a choice of whose truth to accept. Choose wisely.
The Many Forms of Radical Islam All Threaten America by Peter S. Probst
. . . American-based Islamists and the groups they represent are increasingly reliant on sophisticated Political Action operations designed to eviscerate government capabilities to uncover and dismantle terrorist cells and support mechanisms. They capitalize on our government’s failure to recognize and counter their Political Action activities, which are being promoted through a variety of instruments including seemingly independent and benign front groups established to advance the radical Islamist agenda. They use our freedoms, constitutional guarantees, and the advantages of an open society as both a sword and shield in this latest iteration of ideological warfare.
They seek to foster malignant self-doubt as best expressed by the question so many of the well meaning ask: “Why do they hate us?” The answer should be painfully obvious but, regrettably, eludes too many political figures and pundits. The truth is the Islamists do not hate us because of the freedoms we enjoy. They do not hate us because we are wealthy and powerful. They do not hate us because of our support of Israel. They hate us because they see us as the prime impediment to the realization of their messianic vision of a global caliphate under Sharia law. They recognize that they cannot conquer us through force of arms, economic warfare or even terrorism. Their strategy is one of Political Warfare to sap our strength, self-confidence and will to resist and, thereby, leave us vulnerable to more conventional forms of aggression. History has taught that once a nation’s internal defenses are compromised and the public psychologically disarmed, a country can fall into the hands of an adversary like a ripe fruit – a strategy practiced successfully by both the Bolsheviks and the Nazis.
Political Warfare is an unfamiliar concept to most Americans. Essentially, it is an umbrella term that embraces a panoply of strategies, tactics and capabilities. It is, in essence, a tool kit from which the operator may draw to mount and tailor a campaign to demoralize, paralyze, bleed and, ultimately, vanquish an adversary. At its most effective it is usually a mix of Psychological Operations, Political Action, and Terror. Tactics may oscillate between extreme violence and the apparently benign, the aim being to erode the public’s will to resist and to foster a readiness to accept seemingly reasonable compromises that in reality represent a slippery slope to ultimate surrender. The approach is insidious and effective.
They know us better than we know ourselves. This is why Regulars can’t fight the War of ideas against these people. Half of their political masters do not particularly want the War of Ideas fought.
Soldier’s Efforts Bring Fresh Eggs to Troops
Hard to explain to somebody who has never experienced a military Dining Facility in the morning the real significance of this accomplishment. Man, I missed real eggs! The first meal I begged Cannonette to fix me when I got home was fresh eggs, sunny side up.
Breakfast is the best meal of the day in the military. Sets the tone for the way your whole day is going to go. A whole lot of fresh egg-deprived troops had a good day.
Chow is a big deal. The people that hook up the troops with a variety of good food are unsung heroes.
Wish I was back at KAF.
Read Outside the comfort zone: 24th MEU leaves the wire for the first time.
I hope they come up with some kind of competition between the Canadian LAV III’s and the USMC LAV’s. 8-wheeler motocross?