In the current issue of Rolling Stone there is an interesting article stating that Lt. Gen. William Caldwell misused his “information operations” offices which is supposed to manipulate foreigners, to manipulate members of Congress and other Americans.
The horse manure he has stepped into is that there really is no clear bright line between using “public affairs” to manipulate Americans nd using “information operations” to manipulate others. The techniques used are the same, and with the internet that has ensured that information flows easily and quickly across borders. Plant a story in an Iraqi newspapers, and the bureaus of the major American newspapers would read it and write about it in 24 hours. That shouldn’t be a problem unless the story were false. Not sup[posed to lie to the American people.
Aggressive journalism is a good thing, and has a role to play especially when the military fails in self-examination.
I found the facts if the Rolling Stone story most interesting. It seems that Hastings is trophy hunting, He has his own personal agenda and it really is simple: Promote himself; Make a General look bad; maybe imply that Afghanistan is not going well. Information operations should not be trying to spin Congress. It is illegal. If a Congressional Delegation wants to speak to people about what they are doing, briefing them is perfectly fine.
Caldwell seems preoccupied with advancing his career than to defeat the Taliban. Again a compromise of values made by one or a few makes the whole enterprise look corrupt, in light of the fact that a whistleblower is mistreated. As I am reading this article, I have become to understand that as opposed to competent military analysis, the Army generals, who are pushing this affair in Afghanistan, put a pretty face on the information to dupe influential congressional leaders.
There has always been propaganda since WWII. They showed us newsreels that were supposed to inform the public and influence the American people to support the war effort. My parents bought war bonds. Public opinion of the war is directly linked to our elected officials opinion of the war. The news media has been slow to discover the lies, once again, that the military is telling. We were told that in Viet Nam were winning the war, then we saw body bags every night on primetime news and we finally learned the truth. Like Iraq and Afghanistan, the Viet Nam war could never be won. But they lied to us for years. Propaganda. The problem with really effective propaganda or public relations is that come to believe our own huge lie.
Congressional Delegations involved includes John McCain, Al Franken, Carl Levins; Rep. Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee.
The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in “psychological operations” to manipulate visiting American senators in providing more troops and funding for the war. – Rolling Stone
As for the operation targeting U.S. senators, there is no way to tell what, if any, influence it had on American policy. What is clear is that in January 2011, Caldwell’s command asked the Obama administration for another $2 billion to train an additional 70,000 Afghan troops – an initiative that will already cost U.S. taxpayers more than $11 billion just year Among the biggest boosters in Washington to give Caldwell the additional money? Sen. Carl Levin, one of the senators whom Holmes had been ordered to target. – Rolling Stone
Like Viet Nam, Afghanistan has no real, legitimate government. Karzai is corrupt. We are committing the same incompetent acts. Viet Nam fell. We should let Afghanistan fall and fight the real enemy……Taliban and al Qaeda.
- U.S. Probes Psy-Ops Allegations (online.wsj.com)
- Report: Army targeted senators with psyops (msnbc.msn.com)
- U.S. probes if senators targeted by Afghan psy-ops unit (reuters.com)