Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The lamp under the bushel basket

In From the Cold links to an American Enterprise Institute article by Michael Rubin who argues that the US goverment, the State Department in particular, is playing by gentleman's rules in the information war with Iran.

Force, though, is not the only component of the Hezbollah playbook. In Lebanon, Hezbollah used Iranian money to create an extensive social service network. It funded schools, food banks and job centers. It's a tried and true strategy. ... Driving through Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad, similar scenes unfold. While the U.S. Embassy boasts billions of dollars spent, it has little to show ordinary Iraqis for its efforts. Not so the Shiite militias. Mr. al-Hakim's son Amar has opened branches of his Shahid al-Mihrab Establishment for Promoting Islam throughout southern Iraq. They distribute food and gifts of money, so long as patrons pledge their allegiance. For impoverished Iraqis lacking electricity and livelihood, it's an easy decision. ...

It is in the info-war that Washington has stumbled most severely. The U.S. operates in Iraq as if the country is a vacuum. Sheltered within the Green Zone, diplomats are oblivious to enemy propaganda. Resistance to occupation is Hezbollah's mantra. It is a theme both the Badr Corps and firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army adopted. Why then did Foggy Bottom acquiesce on May 22, 2003 to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483 which formalized U.S. and Britain as "occupying powers." What U.S. diplomats meant as an olive branch to pro-U.N. European allies was, in reality, hemlock. With the stroke of a pen, liberation became occupation: Al-Manar and Al-Alam barraged ordinary Iraqis with montages glorifying "resistance." They then highlighted U.S. fallibility with images of withdrawal from Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia.

In From the Cold adds this comment:

Rubin reminds us that Iran's Arabic language TV service aimed at Iraqi audiences (Al-Alam) began broadcasting three months before its U.S.-funded counterpart. Today, Al-Alam remains a centerpiece of the Iranian strategy, well-funded and rewarding anyone who can provide footage that is damaging to the U.S. Meanwhile, American efforts to establish a free and independent Iraqi media have been hampered by revelations that the U.S. "paid" local papers to run favorable stories. In reality, we need to use every means at our disposal to generate positive coverage in the Iraqi media, but the episode illustrates how American idealism often hinders the accomplishment of a critical mission, in this case, achieving victory in the information war.


In a open post session to identify ways to improve US information warfare, many Belmont commenters believed that the government was by nature incapable of doing the job. Some suggestions of private and legal information warfare activities to take up the slack included:

  • Using private resources, such as bloggers, volunteers, institutes to monitor open source foreign language newspapers, broadcasts and websites to augment the official intel effort. Roger Simon at Pajamas Media tried the idea out on James Woolsey at a videotaped interview and received some encouragement;
  • Providing support for individuals being persecuted for supporting the allied cause in the War on Terror in the manner of the "Underground Railroad".

Just giving speeches and writing articles debunking enemy propaganda is "information warfare". The Times of London has an article describing Douglas Murray on his way to address a memorial service for Pym Fortuyn.

Would you write the name you’d like to use here, and your real name there?” asked the girl at reception. I had just been driven to a hotel in the Hague. An hour earlier I’d been greeted at Amsterdam airport by a man holding a sign with a pre-agreed cipher. I hadn’t known where I would be staying, or where I would be speaking. The secrecy was necessary: I had come to Holland to talk about Islam.

Last weekend, four years after his murder, Pim Fortuyn’s political party, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, held a conference in his memory on Islam and Europe. The organisers had assembled nearly all the writers most critical of Islam’s current manifestation in the West. The American scholars Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer were present, as were the Egyptian-Jewish exile and scholar of dhimmitude, Bat Ye’or, and the great Muslim apostate Ibn Warraq.

The event was scholarly, incisive and wide-ranging. There were no ranters or rabble-rousers, just an invited audience of academics, writers, politicians and sombre party members. As yet another example of Islam’s violent confrontation with the West (this time caused by cartoons) swept across the globe, we tried to discuss Islam as openly as we could. The Dutch security service in the Hague was among those who considered the threat to us for doing this as particularly high. The security status of the event was put at just one level below “national emergency”.

It might be only a slight exaggeration to say that Daniel Pipes, Bat Ye'or, Ibn Warraq and Hirsi Ali by themselves do more information warfare damage than the whole State Department cumulatively. Private effort should definitely not be discounted.


Blogger orlandoslug said...

why do we only find out about that here?

3/01/2006 03:53:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

Not just Iran but China as well,

Expanded influence seen as Chinese military goal:

Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the committee that part of the buildup includes increasing missile and nuclear forces.

Beijing also is working on space-warfare and information-warfare capabilities that can be used to attack U.S. satellites and computer systems, Gen. Maples said, noting that Russia also is working on space arms.

Gen. Maples said Iran is working to build nuclear arms and is developing long-range missiles in addition to its current arsenal of medium-range missiles.

Expanded Influence

3/01/2006 03:55:00 AM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

The main impression I took from Rubin's article is more than just a simple failure of U.S. propaganda/info. war, it is that the U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy, namely the State Department, is congenitally incapable of understanding the Iranian challenge in Iraq as Rubin defined it.

Simply put, the average State Dept officer lacks street sense. He doesn't think like a thug, thus he doesn't know how to beat a thug.

3/01/2006 04:04:00 AM  
Blogger Karensky said...

Boy have we sure forgotten what we have learned. Radio Free Europe and later on Radio Liberty were originally CIA front organizations. They actively, under the guise of profit oriented companies, recruited, promoted and (yes gasp) paid Europeans for journalistic work.
When they found voices of merit they would work to place their thoughts in other papers and media. They would even use journalists, you can hear the gnashing of teeth in NYC, as disinformation agents creating controversy for opposing groups and fronts.
Time to take this away from State and Defense and put it under NSC. Hire some hard headed pros and get er done.

3/01/2006 04:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

But private efforts ARE discounted and often discouraged or prevented.
"American efforts to establish a free and independent Iraqi media have been hampered by revelations that the U.S. "paid" local papers to run favorable stories.

In reality, we need to use every means at our disposal to generate positive coverage in the Iraqi media, but the episode illustrates how American idealism often hinders the accomplishment of a critical mission
"American Idealism" is a misonmer which does not describe reality well at all.
The problem is not idealism, but relentless anti-American, anti-corporate, anti-administration, anti-profit and anti-Bush rantings from the left, the MSM, non-profits, Democrats, and etc.
In WWII, Hollywood provided propaganda for free, now you couldn't pay them to do it, and if someone could be found that would accept payment, the ACLU and all the perps listed above would come down on them like flies on s....

Common sense and simple self-preservation have been rendered politically and legally incorrect.

3/01/2006 04:13:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

It all reminds of some fears of your Wretchard you discussed some time ago. You openly wondered why Governments are not acting more forcefully in the protection of their citizens in the faces of unarmed mobs and the like.

You openly worried that private citizens of the West would take up assymetrical warfar on their own in response to the Islamofascists employment of the assymetrical warfare and our Government's seeming lack of response to it.

Well, that seems to be the pattern here. Our government can not take action in the information war against the Islamofascists. As our left constantly rails against any attempt to portray our nation, our efforts in a positive light as untruth.

If the American left can not stand the government paying people to write about our efforts in a positive light than we have to do it ourselves.

The Krazy Kos Kid and his minions have a putdown for us on the right side of the Blogosphere. They call us the 101st Keyboard Division (or the 101st Fighting Keyboards something like that). They think it a putdown but I call it a very essential part of the conflict as is being demonstrated by the MSM and their refusal to print the truth.

3/01/2006 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

I think the reason the government does it so poorly is that traditionally private "industry" has done it so well. The government did not have to be good at it because other people in the country were so much better; it would have been like the government trying to create a national baseball team to give the U.S. dominance in that sport.

Indeed, even mere government competance at propaganda would have been considered a shameful thing here. There are even laws against showing U.S. Citizens government produced propaganda.

This war is really about the fact that we as nation produced incredibly effective propaganda as a natural consequence of our way of life. I recall seeing an interview with a German POW imprisoned in the U.S. in WWII: "They told us we were going to the United States, and we knew it to be the most beautiful country in the world." Now think: the people we were fighting thought that way!

Most of this came simply from being successful at so many important things. In WWII even our allies often thought Americans to be incredible braggarts when we said we were going to do something very quickly. They were shocked when they realized we were not bragging but simply stating facts. As Rush Limbaugh says "It's not bragging if you can do it."

So the question to ask is not why the government is not better at propaganda, but to inquire why the people who used to be so good at it are so bad - or even so negative.

3/01/2006 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger Faeroe said...

Before reading this, I had just sent a message to a cousin soon to deploy as an economics officer in Iraq. I offered my services for translations and background readings and to act as a conduit for inciteful commentary on the situation he will soon be facing.

There may not be many who can do the former, but each of us can do the latter. The very fact that we are here reading and posting is an indication of self-motivation and selectivity. I encourage all who can to reach out in this fashion.

3/01/2006 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

The bohemian elites consider the US the Big Bully of the world, and that we've brought all this bad kharma on ourselves as a consequence...
Because of what we are, the high road they've espoused to fight back is to simply put our hand on our little adversary's head and let him flail away harmlessly missing his target...
...the arrogance of this approach is offensive...
...first, what they've failed to realize is that by not engaging these radicals as an enemy worthy of respect (remember how rightious and prideful these guys are) they have dissed them and caused their fury to grow ever more hot. Second, in this miscalculating strategy, the elites have failed to jab and probe the opponent to properly gauge his distance; thus, instead of flailing about harmlessly, he's been pummelling us with body blows...
The best thing we can do is to start the process of intellectually engaging our enemy and their construct; their masses must not be allowed to be intellectually lazy and accept the hypocracy being espoused by their leaders...
...namely that they are the persecuted (also propagated by MSM) and not the other way around...

3/01/2006 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"Resistance to occupation is Hezbollah's mantra. It is a theme both the Badr Corps and firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army adopted. Why then did Foggy Bottom acquiesce on May 22, 2003 to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483 which formalized U.S. and Britain as "occupying powers." What U.S. diplomats meant as an olive branch to pro-U.N. European allies was, in reality, hemlock. With the stroke of a pen, liberation became occupation"

I gather that what Rubin is getting at is simply this: If you don't formally identify it as an occupation in international fora, then it won't be identified as such by those occupied. Whatever those tanks and hmmvs and bradleys and soldiers and civilian functionaries might be doing in the aftermath of war - in the aftermath of liberation - it's not occupying, if you don't say it's occupying. And no one else is smart enough to figure out for themselves that you are, in fact, in charge - that you have, in fact, taken possession of territory and assumed the duties of the state within that territory.

Bonus: When you fail to fulfill your actual responsibilities as the occupying power, no one will blame you because, hey, you're just the liberator.

Why didn't we think of that?

3/01/2006 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

'cause we're behind the curve, trish.

across the Board and Around the World.

The State Department has never even been in the fight.
The Sec of Def admits defeat and retreat in the Information Wars.

The Enemy has desktop video and instant access and utilizes it organicly. They are on top of the story, living it themselves.

Our side will not even step outside their walls and wire, out to where they expect the "others" to live and prosper.

Those battles, like the Military Front, have to be handled by Indigs. If we cannot hire them, we lose.

But who really cares?

3/01/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...

I believe it was ex-President Gerald Ford who said "any government powerful enough to give you everything you want is also powerful enough to take away everything you've got."

Whether true or not, I think the statement describes a special case of a more general phenomenon- that capabilities are elastic; that is to say, though developed for one purpose, they can and will eventually be deployed toward other ends.

It is this premise that makes me not concerned that the US government is, at present, demonstrably incapable of conducting a successful information war against our sworn and implacable foes.

By my thinking, were the US government so capable, there would certainly come a time when those capabilities would be directed at the populace that they were originally intended to protect. And with dire consequences.

That said, I do find it quite distressing that the US, in distinction to the US government, is not presently doing a better job of fighting said war.

The solution I envision provides for an expanded role for self-directed, highly-decentralized, geographically-dispersed networks of ordinary US/Western netizens. I envision bloggers taking the lead and the government following.

Given that so much of the capabilities to do so lie outside the government to begin with, I find it hard to envision any federal agency or government bureaucarcy beign able to marshall these resources, let alone to properly organize and direct them toward the desired end.

My interest in seeing this happen is not merely vocational. As a suit on the ground in the Middle East, I can see practical applications for the work that the such citizen information militias might produce.

3/01/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"24 hours in the life of Alice Smith, of Smallville, Anystate, USA"

A 30 minute documentary--in Arabic--


3/01/2006 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger opotho said...

I was living in the republic of Ireland (population 4 million) during Pim Fortuyn's political rise, and observed daily in newspapers and on the state-run television newscasts that it was standard practice to join the name "Fortuyn" with the names "Haider" and "Le Pen".

The day Fortuyn was assassinated these same media culprits tagged the victim as "right-wing", and took the opportunity to again remind their audiences of Haider and Le Pen.

I returned home that day to find my very normal, very average house-mates snickering over the news of his death. I was appalled by this and began to sound out anyone I could find over the next few days.

Everyone I talked to (everyone!) said the same thing: "He got what he deserved." Three days later and the story was over. The MSM had moved on.

(I noticed that there was no subsequent MSM curiosity when Fortuyn's slayer turned out to be an animal right's activist. He was admitted to being merely "deranged".)

3/01/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...


What Rubin is suggesting is that the UN designation of the US and the UK as occupying powers was a significant factor in the rise of Shiite resistance. Hogwash. We were the occupying powers whether the WH sought and gained the UN's recognition of this fact or not. Would Sadr, for instance, have been more disposed to recognize and bow to our authority if the UN had been left out of it? Hardly. Would the Badr thugs have been favorably disposed to the aims of the Coalition if we had simply called ourselves the Liberating Powers? That's nonsense on stilts.

Whatever happened, by the way, to that arrest warrant issued by the CPA for Sadr? Who determined not to execute it?

3/01/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"By my thinking, were the US government so capable, there would certainly come a time when those capabilities would be directed at the populace that they were originally intended to protect. And with dire consequences."

I agree. With both you and Gerald Ford.

3/01/2006 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger C-Low said...

I have long been an advocate for an informational warfare unit or such. This war and it looks like most future 4th generation wars to follow will be fought at least 40-60% in the media front.

It used to be that WW2-somewhat Korea our domestic media considered themselves American news journalist and was OK with that. Unfortunately today our “American” media considers themselves World Citizens and by that unbiased to the point of damaging their very own nation. This point clearly proven when after 9-11 CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC journalist all refused to wear US flag lapels (like those evil Fox guys) because it may hamper their unbiased ness. WTF when did it become wrong for Americans to be a little biased towards I don’t know their fellow Americans point of view.

Normally our gov leadership would step in to make force the US point Bush and company is woefully inadequate in this effort. That leaves the Military leadership its their mission to do or set in motion whatever it takes to make America dominate the battlefield wherever that maybe earth, sky, space, water, cyber net, Media.

Now the media is extremely anti-anything that don’t jive with their agenda example the mid-west heroes video that local carriers have refused to carry. So they will fight an information warfare effort just as much as our enemies abroad will. But we can’t just abandon the field because some elitist or enemy protest and complain.

Personally if I was in the brass I would get the qualified personnel hit Hollywood, colleges, units, and think tanks ectl.. Form a messages ideas studies points ECT. Then spread such.

In the States I would be running stories on the Iraqi’s showing how we are helping the good Iraqis and how our mission is a honorable good mission. Following that I would be running ‘what ifs” on worst-case scenario if we lose heart and retreat or if we are defeated. I would be running graphic footage or “who & what we are fighting against” showing beheadings, 9-11, innocent dead Iraqi children after bombs, ect.. all of these would be followed by web pages to get un-censored footage. It’s WAR

If the media complains or like in the mid west outright refuse to carry the commercials and shorts then I say add them on the list and attack directly at their editorials and leadership in charge. Advertise commercials shorts asking why X elitist won’t allow the US pop see these photos these commercials poke fun question patriotism pressure them to give in or be fired by others around them. It’s WAR

In the Middle East, EU and other strategic areas I would run commercials and shorts just like the states making our points or discrediting our enemies. I could easily see how anti-terrorist commercials would be showing like Aljizz does the US, mangled babies and women in Iraq as a result of Jihad with the question is this religious purity killing fellow Muslims or interviews with captured disillusioned Jihad’s. On making our points showing simple things like Iraqi’s talking trash arguing on the gov soldier steps in but the two check him with “freedom of speech”. There is so many in Egypt they cant own land so huge number of underground illegal deeds are done we can play on that kind of stuff that’s what we have appealing freedom. We should be fostering and inserting the ideals that will replace the Dictators out not the Jihad’s. Being idealistic would hurt.

If the Muslim medias don’t carry the commercials or attempt to otherwise hamper the operation we like in the states go after them petition the upper ups to cut aid to their nation or get a satellite or outside broadcast into the area of question. Then purposely run anti-pieces on their media groups who held US back or if state sponsored discredit their gov. May in the early stages make some enemies but would go along way to countering this damm English we are your friends America is good then Arabic death to America death to Israel big Satan crap.

Bottom line its WAR and all stops should be pulled out. Sitting back crying about how we are losing the media front is fine as long as it is followed with action and I just don’t see that. The back door action (has it’s place in certain circumstances) that when busted by our “American” media is then stopped and even punished is retarded. Open up let it be known we are going Media offensive and if challenged defend to the point of offensive on your attackers. 75million is chunk change I bet we spent that on hellfire’s last quarter I want to see a full court press, I want to hear foreign leadership and media tripping I want to then see our Media offensive go after those same people directly. Its WAR how you win is irrelevant there is only win or lose.

Sorry for the Rant guys this subject just gets my nerves.

3/01/2006 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I agree totally, trish, that the US was in Occupation of Iraq from the moment the statue fell in Baghdad.

We did a poor job of Managing the Occupation Battlespace from the get go.

Again it goes back to a lack of an Articulated Goal, from the very beginning.

Who is the Enemy in Iraq?
VDH amongst others agree, today, it is not Insurgents, it is not aQ.
No, now it seems the REAL ENEMY in Iraq are Common Criminals, that it is they that have destabilized the Country.

No need for boys from Ohio to chase Iraqi criminals, each one they captured is soon (within 72 hours in many cases) released.
Common criminals in Iraq is certainly not a Security Challenge for US.

3/01/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger C-Low said...

One thing I forgot for Trish and Ford Politics should be exempt from any such Media Warfare campaign, and Domestic polices left to the grass roots groups. However WAR is a national effort and therefore should be pursued with absolute prejudice until victory is achieved by ALL.

The fact that WAR has somehow become a political football is part of the problem. The constitution gives the president the right to wage war every US citizen has the right to disagree with the go or not to go run up debate, fine but once we are engaged every US citizen no matter their previous opinion is obligated to do all in their power to achieve victory for our nation.

Democracy is not meant to be always divided. We will never have 100% agree on anything its impossible, human nature law. But Democracy is an agreement that we all have our say so or vote in what happens yes, but once the decision is made by the majority its everyone’s duty no matter to make it happen and go along. That is what makes the US a nation of many yet ONE. The pres said we go, the congress agreed, its every US citizen’s obligation as being a US citizen to make it successful. They have words for anything short of this, that we were once not scared to publicly mention and call perpetrators out on with in this nation.

Don't confuse Democracy with Anarchy.

3/01/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


Where is there evidence of the US being at War?

I agree that we should be and I agree that we could be, but you'd be hard pressed to show me where the US was on the Offensive, in this psuedo War.
I hear a lot of Rhetoric of War, but little evidemce of one.
Casualties, they almost nonexistent.
Hearts and Minds won, very few it seems.
It is more likely for a US citizen to be snatched in Larado Texas, than in Iraq. So Iraq must be pretty well secured, aye?

We have troops deployeed around the World. Korea, Japan, England, Iceland, Ecuador, Guam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Italy, Turkey, Georgia, to name just a few.

So US trop deployments do not constitute War, battles do.
We are not fighting any Military Battles, there are few Movement to Contact patrols, especially in Iraq, for US.

3/01/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Coyle said...

"The event was scholarly, incisive and wide-ranging. There were no ranters or rabble-rousers, just an invited audience of academics, writers, politicians and sombre party members"

Friday morning I arrived in Amsterdam from Boston. On Saturday I went to Damn square to the demonstration in support of Denmark and free speech. There was heavy police presence, a few squirrelly Muslim males swearing under their breath, and a fair collection of libertarians from Denmark, Italy, and me and a friend. The only protesters were cryptic gang of punk rock uniformed youths, dumb and unread who chanted anti-fascist slogans. I talked to some of them and not one knew of the WW II ties between the Nazi and Islamic leadership.

The free speech people where nice enough and knowledgeable. But it was sad in how few there were, and how worrying this low number meant. You could see the small, individual effort of the signs and displays. No party funds for these people. They were almost just as alone as Theo Van Gough or Pim Fortuyn.

I didn’t see any literary types there. But then there have always been those who command language who have foreseen the Nazis, and later the Communist. They amounted to nothing. Sorry.

The political elites in the Netherlands seem clueless. Not so in the bars and streets though. I tried to be a neutral as I could mask myself, and yet bring up the subject of Islam. People seem to seethe with anger, and yet the city has a Prozac feel to it. I don’t see citizens taking physically back their streets like in Gdansk, or the Warsaw ghetto.

So, maybe the purpose of the above writers is to motivate the state bureaucracies or existing parties. But I doubt it. Nothing to this American seems to move fast in Europe. The people will want a savior, and thus maybe the anti-fascist dolts by accident might be on to something, like the old crone to Caesar.

I spent the days till Tuesday, walking and drinking and talking. The half of the taxi drivers I met were young Muslims, angry at what they thought was Europe.

I’m glad, in a lucky way I’m an America. I have guns, as do my friends, all of us willfully trained in the military due to still existent patriotism. I am glad we have a Navy, a real one, and if need be able to buy or take, by force if need be. Europe is a day’s sail away from the majority of Islam. Good luck Europe, you’ll need it.

Lastly, Pim Fortuyn wasn’t ‘murdered’. He was assassinated. There is a big difference, but what do I know, I’m rabble.

3/01/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Ah, but in a piece for today's Opinion Journal (link at Real Clear Politics) VDH says it's Islamic terrorists, not common criminals.

As my daughter says: Whatever.

3/01/2006 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Keeps a person reading, trish.
As I said:
" ...VDH amongst others agree, today, it ..."
Should have said "yesterday", then I'd have been more accurate.

Wonder who may have called Mr H and got a newly revised "Opinion"?
Could he have gotten an invitation to go hunting with Mr Cheney?
Or is that to being cynical?

3/01/2006 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

If the KGB and the Saudi entity, among others, can recruit propagandists from the the media establishment, why can't the State Department? And if the State Department can't, why is it that other (often hostile) foreign entities can?

3/01/2006 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Because the KGB, etc., mika, see the value of it and fund the effort, at War time levels.

Some of the people in the World do think there is a War, they are engaged in it, fully. While we debate who the enemy is, and whether there is anything worth fighting a War for, they mass in the fog, just outside our wire.

3/01/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

My office uses WebSense, an internet content filter service. It has, for reasons inexplicable to me, blocked It seems arbitrary to me, but in a world where there is a new URL a minute it seems an impossible task to create equitable blocking filters. It would almost make sense to have a system operator controlling content by ‘opting in’, but this would be more than a full time job.

In a larger sense of information warfare, it is totalitarian regimes that will keep information warfare from being effective, such regimes that will ban the publication of ‘offensive’ cartoons. It is anathema to a free society to block information content in the private sector, in a totalitarian society, it is an obligation.

I suspect that the actions to filter out the West that have been taken by China, North Korea, and Iran will reduce the bombardment of information on those societies, and by making information contraband, will make it eagerly sought after.

The perennial questions of information warfare states:

Deny, deceive, destroy, or exploit?

We can thank our adversaries that they have made the decision themselves.

“You can collect, analyze, and move your information faster than your opponent to get an edge. Or you can cutoff your opponent from his own information sources, distort his processing, or prevent him from issuing commands. You can fight the information war inside the weapon’s circuits, or inside the commander’s head. There is no single approach that is always the best, but the ultimate objective is always the same: collect, process, and apply information faster and better than your opponent. Whoever gets to the end of their OODA loop first gets to take the first shot. Bruce Berkowitz

It is the very insular nature of Islam that sets them back in technology. It is the craven application of violence that makes up that short coming. In the end, the West’s advantage in information processing will keep them ahead of the sheltered populace of a tyranny. The question is is whether the tyrants deny themselves the same truth.

3/01/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


I appreciate what you're saying, but don't think that's a studied response. My sense is that there are specific legal obstacles in the way of the State Department where there are economic incentives for the other. Good or bad, the system is gamed against the government.

3/01/2006 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

101st Keyboard Division – I like it.

Whether we are occupiers or liberators has a lot to do with our intentions. Our stated intentions, though not materially different from our actions, are important. I am here to free you, incidentally at that; “I am here to dispose of Saddam. Hope that doesn’t give you too much grief but it is something we really feel compelled to do so I hope you can endure this little interlude”. It sounds remarkably better than; “We are here to subjugate you to our occupation, if you do not comply with our orders we will kill you”. They are nearly the same in actions, but the bureau cats are @ssholes for stating our intentions in such a way. It is a big FU to our adversaries, an insult, an affront that demands counter action, demands violence, it begs for pay back. FU. Do you like that? Does what others say matter to you?

3/01/2006 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Excellent point Starling.

One should watch what they wish for. Americans are notoriously adverse to such things as assassinations, though we’d probably be willing to justify the killing of Saddam, Kim Jong Il, or Osama Bin Laden. Once the capable killing machine was set loose and operated in the secret that would be necessary to work, we’d all be paranoid of what we wrought, it is for this reason that we are at least a little grateful that we are inept at such things.

The Information Minister has proclaimed that the new official position is that farmer Pilkington is a friend of all animals.

I not sure how the netizen gets his opinion heard a target audience, but we can open up the dialog. Could a debating society be possible between such ethnically diverse cultures? He said she said becomes: Jesus said Sharia said.

3/01/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

"They told us we were going to the United States, and we knew it to be the most beautiful country in the world."

Wish were invaded by Norway. Yes, I have a thing for fjords.

It sounds like Pym Fortuyn was marked for death. Leave it to the MSM to paint the targets for the extremists. Several years ago I had never heard of Rush Limbaugh, except that he was an extreme racist hatemonger. Not caring for that type I never set out to listen to him. One day while driving the company car I listened to an amusing guy on the radio and found out that it was Rush Limbaugh. I listened to him for a long time afterward because I was amazed how untrue the characterizations of him were. Later I came to think of him as a pugnacious parvenu, but that is another story.

3/01/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

In the end the American consumer may be the greatest threat to the foreign meme. We are the richest market, and regardless of what our government does, we, as consumers could boycott those that we thought were wrong, unfair, or had just plain bad governance. But we consumers vote with our wallet and if we vote for Chinese goods because slave labor is cheaper, then maybe we can privatize our ports and sell to the highest bidder. While were at that, estimates have proven it would be cheaper if the federal government was run by Mexico using foreign labor. Lets clear out Washington and start saving now.

Information in the end is meant to influence others. What exactly are we trying to influence others to do or not do? We have stopped trying to influence others from buying from us, except maybe our ports, our infrastructure, our land. Wanna buy a car?

A mother who is sad that her daughter was caught before she could blow herself up and murder a bunch of innocent people, what could anything we tell her matter. Killing people is shameful?

Some have suggested that the way to influence Middle Easterners is to bring shame upon them. I suppose make a caricature of Mohammad with a bomb in his turban. No that didn’t work, as long as the MSM is in the business of molly-coddling the ‘spodey-dopes it is a hopeless cause. Ignore the b@stards, sell them porn, and bomb them to hell when it suits our purposes. Meanwhile, do not allow them access to the club.

Pat Buchanan states that Global Trade and the War on Terror are at direct odds with each other. I can’t help but think that he is right. We must lead by example and we must vote with our pocket books.

3/01/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger C-Low said...


I would say that the terrorist victims the 3,000 or so lost souls of the World trade plus the hundreds before 93’ World Trade, 2 Embassy bombings, multiple CIA agents assassinated, Cole, Kolbar, then of course the follow on thousands Bali, Madrid, London, Philippines, Pakistan, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia ect.. then of course our couple thousand soldiers lost in Afghanistan, Iraq, Philippines, and other undisclosed locals around the world. The couple billion-dollar “war supplemental” run through congress. The War footing our military has been on with Regulars, Reserves and even Guard battle field rotations they have been put on to sustain the offensive.

Yeah I would describe that as a WAR. What would you call it?

What is your definition of WAR?

3/01/2006 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There is no Law that could not be changed, mika, if there was a percieved need for it.

There are no Regulations or Statutes that cannot be modified or ignored. Mr Casey and Col North managed quite well thank you, some would say, outside the Law.

The reason we do not practice it is because it falls outside the prepercieved venue of Government.

This goes to both sterling's, trish's and my fear, in the past and for the future, of the Government trying to Information War, against US.

3/01/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I would call it a Police Chase.
Requiring Warrants, redentions, and probable cause.

I would call it Garrisoning Iraq after the removal of Saddam's Government three years ago, which had nothing to do with aq. This is seen, readily in the need for a second Authorization, specific to Iraq & Saddam. The Goals set forth in the Authorization for Use of Force in Iraq having been achieved with the emergence of a democratic Government, there.

The only other Authorization for Force is against aQ, which has found Sanctuary in Pakistan.
As normal as a Summitt approaches the General President gives US a token
WaPo says

"... MIRAN SHAH, Pakistan -- Pakistani soldiers and helicopter gunships attacked a suspected al-Qaida camp Wednesday near the Afghan border, killing more than 45 militants and angering residents who called for a holy war days before a visit by President Bush.

As news of the attack spread in the rugged northwestern region, tribesmen who sympathize with the militants came out of their homes and began firing in the air. A mosque loudspeaker urged people to "wage jihad against the army."

The offensive was in North Waziristan, a region controlled by fiercely independent, well-armed tribes believed to be sheltering al-Qaida fugitives and Taliban remnants. The militants often cross the porous Afghan-Pakistan border.

Three helicopter gunships attacked the militants' mountain hide-out near Saidgi, a village nine miles west of Miran Shah, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan said.

The assault "knocked out a den of foreign militants" and killed more than 45 of them, an army statement said.

The slain men _ most from Central Asian and Arab countries ... "

The General President didn't have even have to sacrifice a "Local" to pay his token.

There is your payback for the Cole and the WTC, 40 Arabs and Chechans killed by the Pakistani Army, just before Mr Bush's arrival.

I'd call this War:

3/01/2006 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

annoy mouse - thanks for indulging my personal reminiscences. I have few opportunities to express my anger and frustration over Fortuyn's assassination and the consequent glee which I obseved in Ireland.

In my case, I liked Fortuyn right away. His ideas were pretty much like my own - generally centrist (a.k.a. "right wing" in Europe); fiscally concerned in a conservative way; overall tolerant without being permissive or stupid about it (he was openly gay); environmentally sensitive, and so on.

The reaction to his by-now-mild immigration reform plans were a media-driven spectacle, and I agree that the media wanted him dead.

A year or so later Blunkett unveiled the UK's own immigration reforms which I thought were on a par with Fortuyn's. No one else seemed to notice that.

Fortuyn's kind of "flamboyance" - the other required term for him, after "right wing" - was in the manner of a Tom Wolfe. Even though there were threats against him, I didn't take them seriously enough, nor apparently did he.

3/01/2006 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

All I remember was that he was a PETA type.

3/01/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Who actually killed him--the press left it at 'animal-rights activist'. Anybody know any history on the killer? Wondering whom he was "loosely affiliated" with.

3/01/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

annoy mouse,

We liberated Germany and Japan. Then we occupied them. The intent of the occupation was not in contradiction to the liberation that came before it. In both cases, we assumed the basic responsibilities of the government, until such time sovereignty reverted to a native government. It's simply a legal designation laying out the authority and the responsibility of territorial occupiers.

You don't like the way 'occupation' sounds (which I suspect is ususally the case)? Get out of the business.

3/01/2006 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Actually mouse, we conquered them. We conquered them, then occupied them. We didn't liberate them.

That's another difference, between then and now.

3/01/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Cynical, Rat? No.

Let's just say that VDH doesn't know - or hasn't decided - whether he's coming or going. There's going to be a lot that.

3/01/2006 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I presume you mean for the US government to get out of the business. Semantics aren't particularly important to me, however I'd suggest that the message coming out of the State Department need not incite the ire of our enemies. It is not their job to suck up to the UN Euro snobs.

As far as the occupation is concerned, mission accomplished, time to go home. The only reason to stay if we were to negotiate permanant basing there and for that I would like to have an Iraqi ballot. If they want us there, they can damn well cooperate, if not, the next American taxpayer aid will be in the form of Daisy Cutters.

3/01/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"I presume you mean for the US government to get out of the business."

When war's most ardent propogandists feel the need to eschew or euphemize the term 'occupation' then it's time to get out of the occupation business. Stephen Vincent said as well that 'it isn't an occupation, it's a liberation.' Look what happened, not coincidentally, to Stephen Vincent.

3/01/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I suppose my argument is futile. People who are involved in business understand that there are things that are discussed with much candor internally, then a much censored version is made for consumption by your customers. I.e. internal affairs, external affairs.

Never mind.

3/01/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...


There is a milblogger conference coming up. Maybe they can hammer something out. As the Neighborhood Watch is to the Police and the Minutemen are to the Border Patrol, so could a Volunteer Information Warfare Corps be to the Pentagon and the State Department.

This was posted by phil as a comment on In From The Cold --

I have come to believe that the solution to our information war and public diplomacy problems lie outside of government. We have seen how effective the liberal dominated news and entertainment media in the US is at disseminating its message globally. There is no way that a government agency operating within the political, bureaucratic and financial limitations inherent in any gov't program can successfully compete against private media. However those of us who are pro-American, pro-liberty and who want us to win this war, could create a non-profit media organization designed specifically to wage the information war. This organization could create books, movies, spoken-word audio programs, posters, brochures, give speeches around the world, write op-eds in foreign papers, offer workshops and conferences on America and the ideals and practical skills necessary in free societies etc. There are so many things that can be done and in a private organization we would be free to experiment to figure out the most effective methods. The reality is that we are going to have this same discussion about the inadequacy of the gov't's information war next year and the year after that and so on. But we can act now and be entrepreneurial and actually make a difference in the information war while the State Dept sits around twiddling its thumbs.
# posted by phil : 12:06 PM

3/01/2006 05:46:00 PM  

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