Monday, March 23, 2009
Good News Can Be Good PSYOP When Properly Employed
The Honolulu Star reported on some recent comments by the Brigade CDR of 3rd BCT of the 2th Infantry. (see http://www.starbulletin.com/news/20090322_progress_in_Iraq_pleases_schofield_brigade_leader.html) in its March 22 edition. (Photo: http://www.arcent.army.mil/cflcc_today/2009/february/images/feb03_06/06_03.jpg)
The Bde CDR, COL Walter Piatt, proclaimed good news based on his experience in his current and previous tours in Iraq. The positive news includes increased oil production and exporting from the Baiji oil refinery benefiting the province and the country. Piatt also noted construction efforts on al-Askari, or the Golden Mosque. The Mosque, one of the holiest shrines in Iraq was attacked several times in 2006 (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/gallery/070613/GAL-07Jun13-77880/index.html) so that rebuilding the Mosque points to much progress according to COL Piatt.
While I am not now, nor have I ever been to Iraq, I wonder how much of this progress is documented by Iraqi media and how much, if any, is covered in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Surely the progress noted here as well as market openings, school building and other hallmarks of positive movement are being observed elsewhere. They could serve as evidence of the country’s growing stabilization and could also offer hope and inspiration for those in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
However, while COL Piatt and the Honolulu Star are credible in Hawaii, different sources would need to be leveraged to make the most of the good news to other audiences beyond the Aloha State. These sources would be those that are relied upon by the various target audiences.
Ideally those sources would be a complementary mix that could include several broadcast and print media. Furthermore, it would be ideal if local peer leaders could espouse the praises of the progress and exhort their local population to follow the examples of the Iraqis.
A less powerful, but workable alternative is to present the progress examples in a neutral light, documenting the success with pictures and quotes from those in the province, or respected international leaders commenting on the specific items of progress.
Perhaps it would also be useful for educational purposes if COL Piatt were interviewed and the interviews forwarded through the Army Office of Congressional Liaison or perhaps through private entities such as the PSYOP Regiment or PSYOP Associations. The success stories would serve to reinforce Congressional understanding of the role of PSYOP subsequent to combat and could help to positively influence funding and organizational decisions. SWC has provided similar educational materials such as their recent video on “Why We Fight” which documents efforts surrounding the GWOT.
In any event, good news, especially good news that could be documented represents good PSYOP when used judiciously through appropriate credible sources.