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often using “truth-based” information — to borrow from the vernacular of the military specialists who deal in the manipulation of words and images — as a substitute for truth.
May 1, 2006 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Their view is that psyops can be directed toward global transregional audiences. My view is that that’s not possible because it directs psyops against our own friends and allies and even at our own public. ... In Mind Games, Columbia Journalism Review thoroughly examines the disintegrating lines between Public Affairs, Psy-Ops, IO, the public, and the truth. Some old friends are mentioned too: the Lincoln Group, the Rendon Group, the Pentagon, our own media, and others. If truth is our greatest weapon, as Rumsfeld has said, how can the administration hope to prevail in an information war when it is not honest with itself?
posted by amberglow (21 comments total)

 
If truth is our greatest weapon, how can the administration hope to prevail in an information war when it is not honest with itself?

Sounds like some motherfuckers are being inconsistent. Or disingenuous. Motherfuckers.
posted by airguitar at 5:07 PM on May 1, 2006


Another old friend is back: Ahmed Chalabi.
posted by homunculus at 5:35 PM on May 1, 2006


Hey, he may be a crook, a liar and a possible spy but at least he always says what you want to hear. That's consistancy!
posted by Artw at 5:39 PM on May 1, 2006


If truth is our greatest weapon, as Rumsfeld has said

I'm sure Rumsfeld wouldn't, y'know, lie....
posted by pompomtom at 6:53 PM on May 1, 2006


"truth-based" messages

Colbert's calling his lawyer.

The help the media can give in keeping the social peace (which is actually their natural role in a democracy)

This is a very disturbing formulation. I fear it's one that's used domestically as well.
posted by dhartung at 8:09 PM on May 1, 2006


more on all this inside and outside the military including this little gem: ... involves "internal and external communications efforts targeting soldiers, families, the public, and Congressional audiences" on the Army Reserve's "vision of the future." Specific responsibilities include "researching, writing, editing and reviewing executive-level communications like speeches and Congressional testimony, as well as development of external PR and evaluation and support of existing programs like the Reserve's Ambassador Program." ...
posted by amberglow at 8:22 PM on May 1, 2006


oy.
posted by longsleeves at 8:46 PM on May 1, 2006


In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies. -- Winston Churchill
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:19 PM on May 1, 2006


Yes, but here we have lies guarded by lies. Difference.
posted by edverb at 9:23 PM on May 1, 2006


I prefer Juan Cole's idea of translating seminal works of American political thought into Arabic and publishing them in the Middle East.
posted by homunculus at 9:49 PM on May 1, 2006


.
posted by russilwvong at 10:07 PM on May 1, 2006


The root of the problem is, these guys have no concept of limits. If they have a technique that works on the battlefield to confuse the enemy, they don't hesitate to turn it against a domestic audience when things start to go wrong off the battlefield.

Gardiner is spot on, everybody should go read his paper Truth from These Podia, Summary of a Study of Strategic Influence, Perception Management, Strategic Information Warfare and Strategic Psychological Operations in Gulf II (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6). He shows in exacting detail how both the military & the administration turned deceptive information warfare on the American people to influence us into supporting the war. Really scary stuff.
posted by scalefree at 11:19 PM on May 1, 2006


The trouble with all you reality based people is you have no imagination.
When you can create your own reality, the rules are whatever you say they are, thus there's absolutely no dissonance in this process.
[/tongue in cheek]

Your tax dollars at work!
posted by nofundy at 7:30 AM on May 2, 2006


When people talk about democracy in America being broken, this is by far the most egregious example to me. They're conducting warfare against the American public, not just in a misguided attempt to influence the enemy but purely for political advantage. These are black techniques that are inherently corrupting. When your decisions aren't your own, when you can't tell what's real & what's not, it's not democracy anymore. What we need is a new Geneva Convention to ban this stuff.
posted by scalefree at 7:48 AM on May 2, 2006


I prefer Juan Cole's idea of translating seminal works of American political thought into Arabic and publishing them in the Middle East.

God knows Americans aren't using them.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:54 AM on May 2, 2006


In some sense this is to be expected. Obviously I oppose the use of propaganda to subvert the will of the American people. But in prosecuting a war, some measure of this will occur.
What scares me is that not only does it appear that those involved in spreading this tripe are believing it as well, but that there is no core principle behind it.
They appear to be doing it for no reason other than to succeed. And they’ll roll with their tautology until everything is in ruin around them - for no reason at all.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:18 AM on May 2, 2006


The root of the problem is, these guys have no concept of limits. If they have a technique that works on the battlefield to confuse the enemy, they don't hesitate to turn it against a domestic audience when things start to go wrong off the battlefield.

Very well said. I expect this applies to more than just disinformation strategy, also.
posted by dreamsign at 9:30 AM on May 2, 2006


truth is our greatest weapon

And that is why we must never use it again.
posted by Sparx at 2:31 PM on May 2, 2006


What scares me is that not only does it appear that those involved in spreading this tripe are believing it as well, but that there is no core principle behind it.

They use it because it's easier to wave their magic wand & make people believe things that aren't true & act against their interests than to actually do the real work of diplomacy & good governance. When things go wrong, it's easier to make people believe that nothing happened than to admit they were wrong & change personnel & policies to make it go right. It's the only tool they have that really works, so they rely on it again & again & again to sweep everything that goes wrong under the carpet, to silence dissent, to distract the people from seeing the naked truth.

There's a day coming when they have to either relinquish power or seize it with both hands. Which do you think it'll be?
posted by scalefree at 7:38 PM on May 2, 2006


This article reads exactly how I imagine it would if a serious, thoughtful person translated Get Your War On into Grown-Up.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:15 PM on May 2, 2006


When things go wrong, it's easier to make people believe that nothing happened than to admit they were wrong & change personnel & policies to make it go right.

Well, to be fair, people punish those that admit their mistakes. This is why the airline industry notoriously resists change -- because everytime they improve some safety feature, the public freaks because it must have needed improvement. Much better to just leave things as they are... (pre-9/11 anyway).

Politicians have learned from experience that it pays to never admit a mistake. That's our fault.
posted by dreamsign at 4:53 PM on May 3, 2006


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