Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Lovelorn General and PSYOP

Unless you live in a cave, in which case you wouldn’t be able to read this anyway, the big news is the resignation of CIA Director, GEN (R) David Petraeus over an affair he had with a younger woman. While I will leave the national security implications and the “should his clearance be revoked” discussion to others, it is worthwhile to consider the PSYOP implications. 

It turns out that the discussion would center on the perceptions of the intended audience. One wag in today’s San Jose (CA) Mercury News told the story of the French diplomat who was ensnared in a ‘honeytrap’ by the KGB. When confronted with the pictures of himself engaged in love acts with a woman not his wife, the diplomat replied “I’ll take two prints of that one and three of the other.” Meaning of course, the no one in France could possibly care.

In translating that to the Petraeus incident – which of our many adversaries would want to use that kind of story as a message and what would be the point? As card carrying infidels Western Nationals, those from the US in particular, are expected to engage in what others may regard as deviant behavior, so how valuable is one story?

Since the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, there is no likelihood of blackmail, so the criminal aspect is moot as well. 

We should consider domestic adversaries for the moment as well. If the General was closely associated with one major party or the other then the games would begin much as they did when former President Clinton had his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky 15 years ago.

As with the Lewinsky story, the Petraeus brouhaha knocked some other stories off the front pages. Stories like the lingering misery from Hurricane Sandy and others were pushed to the back. Sometimes that in itself is a good thing. For example back in 1997 while I was in Bosnia one of the Persons Indicted For War Crimes (PIFWIC) was arrested. Ordinarily this would have been big news and a potential catalyst for domestic disturbances. Luckily this happened when the Lewinsky story did and scant attention was paid to said PIFWIC.

Thus far it would seem that the General Petraeus story is mostly a domestic one, but I’d be curious to hear what the readers think.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No need to publish this, but I thought you'd mention this: