21st Century Wire
How much money does it cost to get populations to think a certain way? Answer: it requires a blank cheque. But can Americans really afford it?
Chief among the pitfalls of managing any global empire – persuading the natives overseas that Rome will in fact bring prosperity and open new markets for them, and bring advanced Roman culture. In those days, it can be argued that indeed, Roman civilization had something to offer back then. But it’s unclear today what exactly the Anglo-American Empire has to offer the world at large, aside from taking control of regional markets and resources – and of course, exporting their number one product in the 21st century – war.
In previous years, the Pentagon was tasked with defending the nation from real and potential state actors overseas, but under the new Obama collective, the military arm will continue to focus on ‘managing reality’ – by any means necessary, including (in their own words):
“…persuasive and coercive means to assist and support joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational partners to protect and reassure populations and isolate and defeat enemies.”
The tradecraft here is otherwise known as ‘propaganda’, or federally-funded mass-brainwashing to be more precise.
Americans might bother asking in the run-up to the next Obama budget… “Does represent it value for money?”
In a country which is actually bankrupt on paper, Americans can only guess how much this futile operation will ultimately cost them, and ultimately add to the US government’s already bloated budget deficit. Cracks are already beginning to appear in the Federal machine at home this week, with a draft memo being circulated by the White House:
“Based on guidance to federal agencies from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), says the administration may “have to consider placing employees on temporary furlough, or taking other personnel actions, should sequestration occur.”
‘Austerity at home’ we are told, but there seems to be plenty of money available for experimental military propaganda psychological operations overseas, and also at home too.
According to the masterminds at the Pentagon the PR managers at the Washington Post:
“As part of planning for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon under Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld decided to place reporters with military units. With “embedding,” many reporters who had never been in the military service shared time with troops and essentially became part of the outfit they covered. It mostly worked to the Pentagon’s benefit.
That lesson is key to the new manual’s approach. The best way to keep Americans informed, it says, is “through the actions and words of individual soldiers.” And the best way to do that is through army units that “embed media personnel into the lowest tactical levels, ensuring their safety and security.” There is to be “a culture of engagement in which soldiers and leaders confidently and comfortably engage the media - as well as other audiences,” the manual says.
Embedded reporting was probably the single most negative developments in modern press history. The main target of this opaque effort was not populations overseas, however, it was the American people themselves. What’s more incredible though, is that there are still many who believe that the illegal war and occupation of Iraq was some sort of resounding success. Of course, all this while Bradley Manning sits rotting a military prison cell for allegedly leaking information which the world already knew.
Likewise, Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels probably thought he was doing really well with his state information arm – for a while at least, until it collapsed under the weight of its own self-regarding nature.
Herein lies the ultimate problem with constructing such an iron bubble, who we are told, manages to burn through trillions of US dollars, and cannot even properly account for it….
No, still no word of the multi-trillion dollar defense budget black hole Donald Rumsfeld let slip in his press speech the day before 9/11.
The U.S. Army has embraced what civilians would call public relations as a key part of military operations for the 21st-century battlefield.
“Combat power is the total means of destructive, constructive and information capabilities that a military unit or formation can apply at a given time,” according to a new Army field manual released publicly last month.
Added to the traditional war elements — among them movement and maneuver, intelligence and firing against an enemy — is the new “Inform and Influence Activities” (IIA). As the manual states, IIA “is critical to understanding, visualizing, describing, directing, assessing, and leading operations toward attaining the desired end state.”
I’ve written before about the military moving into PR. But this manual shows just how serious the Army has become about it. There’s now a member of a commander’s staff with a G-7 pay level whose job is for “planning, integration and synchronization of designated information-related capabilities,” the manual says.
Listed on the Web site of the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea is its assistant chief of staff, G-7, who is “responsible for planning, coordinating and synchronizing Information Engagements activities of Public Affairs, Military Information Support Operations, Combat Camera and Defense Support to Public Diplomacy to amplify the strong Korean-American alliance during armistice, combat and stability operations.”
The G-7 for the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., “assesses how effectively the information themes and messages are reflected in operations . . . assesses the effectiveness of the media . . . [and] assesses how the information themes and messages impact various audiences of interest and populations in and outside the AO [area of operations].”
Two years ago, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Cashen Jr., commander of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, wrote in Military Review magazine that Army doctrine would adopt words as a major war element, saying it “was validated in the crucible of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
With bureaucratic-speak, he described IIA activities as employing “cooperative, persuasive and coercive means to assist and support joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational partners to protect and reassure populations and isolate and defeat enemies.”
Translated: Under the “inform” element, commanders will be responsible for keeping not only their own troops aware of what is going on and why, but also U.S. audiences “to the fullest extent possible,” the manual states. Commanders abroad will be required to inform their foreign audiences, balancing disclosure with protecting operations.
The “influence” part is limited to foreign populations, where, according to the manual, the goal is to get them to “support U.S. objectives or to persuade those audiences to stop supporting the adversary or enemy”…