While I don’t generally use the Blog to comment on matters outside the PSYOP/MISO community, however, as one of my SF colleagues used to say “Deja Doo Doo” which means I’ve seen this sh*t before.
I have never been to Afghanistan or Iraq, but I see several major problems with what was said:
1. Hello!!!! What about the Taliban that seem to have bided their time and are now making gains in Afghanistan, perhaps due to the vacuum created by the departure of US troops and the inability of the Afghan government to actually govern.
2. If we are to thwart the advance of the Taliban and really degrade Afghanistan as a resource for terrorists, it seems to me that this feeble approach is not going to yield positive results.
3. My take is that Afghanistan is, for the most part, a collection of microcosms. The foundation of the country is the family, the village, and the tribe in that order.
In 2010 The Rand Organization issued a report on Information Operations (IO) in Afghanistan. (see: http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG1060.html)
Some of their findings five years ago were:
· If the overall IO mission in Afghanistan is defined as U.S. Military Information Operations in Afghanistan Afghan government and its foreign allies against the Taliban insurgency, this has not been achieved.
· The biggest PSYOP successes have been in the area of face-to-face communication and the new emphasis on meetings with jirgas (local councils of elders), key-leader engagements, and establishing individual relationships with members of the Afghan media. Also, the concept of every infantryman being a PSYOP officer, as carried out by the 1st Battalion (Bn) 5th Marines and other units, is also very effective. In this respect, the success of civic action and development projects in promoting\ a positive image of the U.S. military and the Afghan government should be pointed out, although this varies greatly among localities.
· On the negative side of the ledger, the most-notable shortcoming has been the inability to effectively counter the Taliban propaganda campaign against U.S. and NATO forces on the theme of civilian casualties, both domestically and internationally.
While the President stated that he has talked extensively with his National Security Advisors, perhaps he should talk to others who see the Emperor’s New Clothes for what they really are – a piecemeal attempt to achieve an audacious goal.