Comments: Propaganda

Another story that irritates me because of the sloppy and lazy research by the reporter.

First, there are differences between Psychological operations, propaganda, and deception (disinformation). It's not semantics, the terms have significant implications in the conduct of information operations.

The reporter confuses (basic internet research would have helped) the 2002 DOD effort - which was strategic deception (disinformation) - with psychological operations. PSYOP are the employment of a variety of non-lethal capabilities designed to influence target audience behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs in support of our interests. Propaganda is one tool in the portofolio of capabilities. According the guiding principles for PSYOPS in insurgencies, the relationship with the target audience (non-insurgents) is based on security, helpfulness, kindness, and truth.

Deception, on the other hand, is another component of information operations (not PSYOP). Despite the obvious notion that deception involves falsehoods, one of the major principles is to minimize the amount of false information involved. The guidance calls for using only the minimum amount necessary to achieve the desired results - and deception operations are used against adversaries only, not neutral/non-combatant targets.

Hmm..guess doing 15 minutes of research is a lot harder than getting a provocative, but irrelevant, quote to splash across one's article.

I go into a long rant about the investment decisions made under the Clinton/Bush administrations, especially by lack of vision leaders in the late 90s in DoD (Cohen, ahem..) that put most of PSYOP/IO capabilities into the reserve. Or didn't incorporate/consider that organizations such as Al-Jazerra might have more impact on future campaigns, despite the indications from our experiences in Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia earlier in the decade.

As for that "defense analyst"..not sure where he's been the last couple of years..wonder how much DoD is paying for inane analysis like that?

Posted by Col Steve at June 10, 2005 03:48 PM

I hope you realize that from time to time, I post a link to an article like this just to see what you have to say about it? :)

I always appreciate your perspective. Thanks.

Posted by Anne at June 10, 2005 07:06 PM