Jun 13, 2007

Information Warrior Virtual Boot Camp

"The empires of the future are the empires of the mind."
- Sir Winston Churchill

Battlefield of the Media
In his letter dated July 9, 2005, senior al Qa'ida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri waxed to his boy in Iraq, the very late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:

“I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media.”

On this point, we – the Islamaniacs, the Right, and the Lefties – are all in agreement, and thus all seek to exploit that media to achieve our respective goals.

The goal of the Islamaniacs, is a world obedient to no law but Islam.

The goal of the Right is the preservation of Western Civilization through the eradication of threats – both external and internal – to its foundations (for Lefties those foundations would include the principles of freedom and the rights of man “which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence” as Sir Winston pointed out in 1946.)

The goal of the Lefties is, at best, to humiliate Bushie and settle once and for all who among them is the most Hippy Dippy, Anti-Establishment, Working-Class-Hero, 60’s Throwback, Hollywood Darling of all. At worst, the Lefties – euphemistically referred to as “Liberals” or the even-more hilarious “Progressives” - seek the destruction of free market capitalism and all that supports it.

Vietnam 101
The Islamaniacs are well aware that in order to achieve their goal, they must employ tactics beyond the military. As al-Zawahiri puts it in the above letter,“However far our capabilities reach, they will never be equal to one thousandth of the capabilities of the kingdom of Satan that is waging war on us.” What’s a jihadi to do? Here, as we have pointed out before, Islamaniacs take heart in certain black marks in American history, namely, Vietnam.

“The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam -- and how they ran and left their agents -- is noteworthy, " Zawahiri further counsels Zarqawi.

For in Vietnam they rightly see a flaming example of American military policy being dictated by public sentiment, which in turn was being dictated by mass media, which in turn was being dictated by enemy propaganda. Allow me to elucidate.

On the evening of February 27, 1968 the most trusted man in America felt compelled to express his feelings about the recent Tet Offensive in which approximately 35,000 Viet Cong were killed, 60,000 wounded, and 6,000 taken prisoner for no military success. By contrast, American and South Vietnamese dead totaled 3,900 combined; a tragic bloodbath to be sure, but in military terms, a clear and decisive victory for U.S. and South Vietnamese forces. And yet, Mr. Cronkite opined:

“To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy’s intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could. This is Walter Cronkite. Good night.”
At the conclusion of this broadcast, a woeful President Lyndon Johnson, turned from the telly and confided to his advisors, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” And so he had. And so the Fourth Estate had administered its most lethal injection of Vietnam Syndrome (other injections are extensively catalogued here, here, and in the second half of this article) into the veins of American public sentiment, galvanizing once and for all its new role as busy broadcast stooge for enemy propaganda.

For as Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army explained in an August 3, 1995 Wall Street Journal interview, “Tet was designed to influence American public opinion.” Former South Vietnamese Lieutenant-General Lam Quang Thi, lends further perspective in his 2002 book, “The Twenty-Five-Year Century.” Here he reveals (among other things) that he believes the media played a major role in the final downfall of South Vietnam. He quotes North Vietnam General Vo Nguyen Giap as stating in a French TV broadcast that Giap’s ‘most important guerrilla during the Vietnam War was the American press.’’’ This would certainly prove consistent with General Giaps’s established strategy for victory: demoralize the enemies’ resolve.

While standing before the board at a CBS annual shareholders meeting in 1985, Reed Irvine, founder of the media watchdog group Accuracy in Media, summarized profoundly the consequences of this travesty.

“Mr. Cronkite was one of a number of journalists who contributed to that communist propaganda victory, and the deaths and suffering of the millions of victims of communism in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos over the past decade should weigh heavily on his conscience."
But alas, Mr. Cronkite and his colleagues march ever onward, clear of conscience (almost as if they had none) employing the full arsenal of their industry to ensure that Vietnam Syndrome continues to debilitate American resolve for generations to come.

Sex Sells
Placing aside, for a moment, all accusations of political bias, which is any media more likely to feature: a flaming car bomb that kills 12 people in a crowded market, or General Hornkdweever’s press conference over viewing the effectiveness of select counter-insurgency tactics employed in identified hot zones? You see the dilemma. For all their purist, anti-materialist, 9th century yib yab, the Islamaniacs are well-versed in one of the most basic and base tenets of raw Capitalism: SEX SELLS – “sex” defined here as that which is big, bold, brash, exciting, and preferably on fire. Thus their selection of targets and tactics.

In reality, the majority of jihadi wingbats we flatteringly refer to as “insurgents” are little more than two-bit gang-bangers, hopped up on drugs, porn, and select Qur’an quotes looking to commit a little drive-by mayhem of which to brag to their homies in this life or the next. But their fiery tactics and choice of high profile - “sexy” - targets ensure they will be made Giants, for they know their every “accomplishment” will be heralded worldwide by a media in heat.
Here again General Giap’s genius is at play. In this analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Associate Director of the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, Joel S. Fishman, explains how Yasser Arafat – godfather of modern jihad – intended to manipulate the peace process utilizing the Marxist-Leninist strategy of "people’s war" perfected by General Giap.

One of Giap's innovations was the manipulation Western news media in a manner that turned the freedom and vulnerability of open democratic societies to his advantage. He grasped that the impact of events viewed through the prism of the media could be decisive. For example, in 1954, only four percent of the French forces in Indochina were defeated at Dien Bien Phu. However, the shock of this setback in metropolitan France - as distinguished from the event itself - shattered domestic support for the French war effort.

Although the 1968 Tet Offensive was a Vietcong defeat, and American casualty rates were relatively low, its manipulation in the American media had a strategic impact very similar to that of Dien Bien Phu.37 Further, General Giap adeptly utilized the medium of television (with the aid of eager American helpers) in order to undermine domestic American support for the Vietnam War. He said: 'In 1968 I realized that I could not defeat 500,000 American troops who were deployed in Vietnam. I could not defeat the Seventh Fleet, with its hundreds of aircraft, but I could bring pictures home to the Americans which would cause them to want to stop the war.'

Now add to all this the fact that the vast majority of those in the media are of Lefty-persuasion (As established here , here and carefully catalogued daily here, and here) and that the majority of Lefties believe – some sincerely – that America is largely in the wrong on this whole “War on Terror thing”, particularly in Iraq, and you have the current daily fiasco known as mainstream media war coverage.
The Impact
Amongst the current generation’s parents and grandparents, it was commonly understood that loose lips sink ships. The essence of this maxim was that words matter and can be of consequence, thus those using them ought be mindful of what they say and to whom, particularly where lives are at stake. (Lefties – this is, incidentally, NOT censorship but rather a call for citizens to employ a long lost art known as “self-control.”)

Everyone, including the media of the day, took this all quite seriously. But suppose they didn’t. Suppose the media of the Greatest Generation had somehow been enlightened by the Age of Aquarius in 1942 and thus produced headlines such as these:


These could have been headlines. There’s truth to all. And yet, they were not. Why? And had they been, would the American public have stood by FDR through the obstacles, setbacks, and humiliations that are the essence of any war as they did? Yet for some reason the media deliberately chose to balance its sacred duty of informing the citizenry of a free republic, with its equally sacred duty to contribute to the preservation of that free republic. Thus, it’s “spin” on most stories was neutral or even (dare we say it?) pro-American. Unexamined, however, remains the relationship between this coverage, the unprecedented public support of the day, and the ultimate U.S. and Allied victory. No doubt, all mere coincidence.

Fortunately, no such draconian 19th century clap trap befouls the hallowed halls of the Post-Vietnam/Post-Watergate School of Journalism. In its place are enlightened progressive notions such as “War is never the answer.” “The military is intended for and made up of societal rejects.”There is no terrorist threat.” “U.S. is the Terrorist.” “Bush, Reagan, Bush Sr. (insert name of Republican Commander in Chief here) is a lying racist greedy war mongering mass murderer” etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. Ergo we have the New York Times outing highly sensitive intelligence, a world wide campaign to set captured terrorist free, and a relentless stream of bomb-a-day bad news out of Baghdad from intrepid journalists who evidently can find little else to report - all without any regard for the consequences of such “reporting.”

Tail-spinning poll numbers tallied every hour on the hour make clear the effect of all this on public support for the effort in Iraq, Bushie's popularity, the larger War on Terror et al. Far less reported upon, however, is the affect this all has upon the men and women actually engaged in the conflict. Curious, don’t you think?

"Hello media, do you know you indirectly kill American soldiers every day,” posits Chief Warrant Officer Jim Funk in a recent e-mail from Iraq, where he has flown more than 80 combat missions since October 2006. “You inspire and report the enemy's objective every day. You are the enemy's greatest weapon. The enemy cannot beat us on the battlefield so all he does is try to wreak enough havoc and have you report it every day. With you and the enemy using each other, you continually break the will of the American public and American government.”

(Seems we’ve heard all this before does it not?)

"We, the soldiers, keep breaking the back of the enemy. You, the media, keep rejuvenating the enemy.”
CWO Funk is not alone in his sentiments about the media and the anti-war culture they foment...

"You may support or say we support the troops, but, so you're not supporting what they do, what they're here sweating for, what we bleed for, what we die for. It just don't make sense to me." - Specialist Tyler Johnson

"One thing I don't like is when people back home say they support the troops, but they don't support the war. If they're going to support us, support us all the way.” - Staff Sergeant Manuel Sahagun

“We are winning this war. Just look at the signs. The enemy cannot safelywear uniforms, they cannot confront us directly, and instead they hideamongst and target unarmed civilians. When they succeed in blowing up anunsuspecting marketplace, they can count on you to dutifully deliver thebig sound bite about how the civilian body count is direct evidence thatthe war is lost. Then you tell the same enemy that all they need to dois kill more civilians and wait, kill more civilians and wait, kill more civilians and wait.” - First Sergeant Steven G. Cotton

“I am an American soldier, and I have one last thing to say in defense of the “Anti-War” mindset. It is contradictory to say you support the troops, but de-construct the mission. Troops at war live the mission, and at times they die for the mission. When you deconstruct, undermine, underwrite, and sharp shoot our purpose, you deconstruct, undermine, underwrite, and sharp shoot us. We testify to the hope that by protecting young constitutional democracies abroad, we can stand worthy before our forebears who provided the same for us. I see you as utterly and completely a demoralizing agent, if you agree that enough carnage, enough explosives set among innocents, enough kidnapping and torture of young sons from their homes offsets the last full devotion of thousands of American men and women; those who died trying to defend an honorable and true idea: a free and represented Iraq and Afghanistan.” - Staff Sergeant Mark J. Anderson

"Everything we do good, no matter whether it's helping a little kid or building a new school, the public affairs sends out the message that the media doesn't pick up on. How do we win the propaganda war?" – Unnamed soldier to then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on his visit to Iraq Christmas 2004.

“I was in the Army some years ago and maintained close contact with many friends who made a career of military service. Naturally, I had an interest in what was happening in Iraq–I had friends in harm’s way. But what spurred me to drop what I was doing, get on a plane and fly halfway around the world, to a war zone, was a growing sense that what I was seeing reported on television, as well as in newspapers and magazines, was inconsistent with the reality my friends were describing. I wanted to see the truth, first hand, for myself.” - Former Green Beret and Present Embedded Blogger Michael Yon

There’s more. Much more. But you get the picture.

Given the number of “Support Our Troops” magnets one sees on any given day, one has to believe that were the American people fully aware of the extent of these sentiments among the troops, the more receptive they would be to the incessant caterwauling of we right wing nut jobs about the dangers of Lefty media bias. But how will they ever know?
Somewhere, General Giap is smiling… as are the Islamaniacs.
What You Can Do
Despair not my compatriot patriots, for we exist in a new era. Gone are the days where by mere shrewdly-timed editorial or clever juxtaposition of image and sound bite can the mainstream media alter the course of public sentiment, and ultimately history.

The difference is you and I. Via Al Gore’s internet, citizen journalists – left and right – have had profound impact on political and cultural discourse the world over. From hoax to hot lead and confirmation of both, we the great unwashed unschooled journalists of the world are daily running circles around institutional media. This de facto deregulation of information is an excellent thing. The free market of ideas is once again truly free. With freedom, as always however, comes responsibility; responsibility to report and report truthfully. If you believe media imbalance is having a detrimental/disastrous affect on Western Civilization’s efforts to eradicate this latest strain of tyranny – Islamo-Fascism, (and if you’ve read this far I can’t imagine you don’t) it is time to mobilize.

An excellent place to begin – and the inspiration for our Information Warrior Virtual Bootcamp - is the book, The Troops Need You, America! Here, author Major Eric Egland (Reserve) employs his experience as a soldier in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan as well as his operational and analytical work in defeating terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to detail six practical areas of focus through which civilians can genuinely impact the war effort for the better.

For our purposes here, I shall concentrate on Step 6 of Major Egland’s book, “Communication.” Here he recommends, “accept the realities of warfare in the media age by decentralizing the sharing of information with the media and the public.” In other words, FIND THE STORIES, SHARE THE STORIES! Rather than merely whine about media bias, Major Egland recommends we proactively seek the stories from the front the established media is not reporting – for whatever reason (see entirety of the above) - and “broadcast” them ourselves.
Where does one find such stories? Behold - for your truth-spreading pleasure, we present the following: Your Information Warrior Arsenal.

Troop blogs: Web logs by soldiers active and inactive and their immediate family members. Some fascinating; some mundane; most pro-war, some anti-war, some bloody strange; all providing perspective direct from the men and women putting their all on the line. http://www.milblogging.net/

Dawn patrol: A daily roundup of information regarding the War on Terror and more from Milblogs (the above) as well as other sources world wide. http://www.mudvillegazette.com/

Troop talk radio and Troop talk radio blog:
Vehicles for the voices of our men and women in uniform to be heard and appreciated. http://www.trooptalkradio.com/, http://trooptalkradioblog.com/

Heroic journalism need not be an oxymoron. Here then is your proof.

Black Five: Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, Matthew Currier Burden started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of his friend which was subsequently NOT reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Need we say more? http://www.blackfive.net/

Home of Heroes:
Thorough listing of stories and awards for extraordinary valor in the War of Terror. http://www.homeofheroes.com/valor/02_wot/index.html

Project Hero:
An ongoing attempt to highlight the valor of our military as they fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. http://www.qando.net/Details.aspx?Entry=3448

Patriot Man:
Saluting the brave. Remembering the sacrifice. http://www.patriotman.com/?WSCam=enhanced+patriotman&WSEvt=enhanced+patriotman

Blogs of War: Collection of numerous blogs related to the War on Terror. (Scroll down blog homepage for list) http://www.blogsofwar.com/

Information routinely dismissed as propaganda by the reputable media. YOU be the judge!
Department of Defense: News about the troops on the frontlines of the Global War on Terror. http://www.defendamerica.mil/
United States Central Command: Latest news releases http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom2/Lists/Press%20Releases/Current%20Releases.aspx

Counter Terrorism Blog: a unique, multi-expert blog dedicated to providing a one-stop gateway to the counterterrorism community.
Center for Security Policy: A non-profit organization that informs the debate and ensures effective action on vital national security issues. http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/

Media Research Center: On October 1, 1987, a group of young determined conservatives set out to not only prove — through sound scientific research — that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values, but also to neutralize its impact on the American political scene. What they launched that fall is the now acclaimed Media Research Center (MRC). http://www.mrc.org/
Accuracy in Media: A non-profit, grassroots citizen watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage. http://www.aim.org/

Middle East Media Research Institute: Timely translations of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish media, as well as original analysis of political, ideological, intellectual, social, cultural, and religious trends in the Middle East. http://www.memri.org/
Read something that just doesn’t ring quite true? Look to see if you don’t find “the rest of the story” on one of these.
News Busters: Exposing and combating media bias. http://www.newsbusters.org/
Myth Busters: Simply click on the liberal myths listed and read their debunking. http://www.myheritage.org/Issues/MythBusters/MythBusters.asp

Excellent B.S. detector for strange news stories, misinformation, fallacies, rumors, urban legends, old wives' tales, celebrity gossip… in other words, the mainstream media. http://www.snopes.com/

Conservapedia: As Wikipedia falls increasingly into dubious repute, best to check your references here. A bit green, but promising. http://www.conservapedia.com/Main_Page

Media Contacts and Addresses:

House of Representatives:

White House: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

For the widest breadth of resources regarding ANY given topic, forget Google. Dogpile (meta search engine) is the only way to go! http://www.dogpile.com/

The Troops Need You, America!

The Blog of War: Front-Line Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

The Media vs. The War on Terror:
How ABC, CBS, and NBC Attack America’s Terror-Fighting Tactics as Dangerous, Abusive and Illegal http://www.mrc.org/SpecialReports/2006/sum/sum090806.asp
When you find compelling stories, e-mail them to like-minded acquaintances. Encourage them to spread the word, emphasizing that this particular story received: A. Insufficient, B. Little, C. NO coverage in the mainstream press. (You may certainly forward them to any Lefty acquaintances you may have, but know they will likely dismiss all as ne0-con hogwash.)
If the story concerns soldiers or events from your home state or town, be sure to communicate it to your local media outlets , ever ravenous for that “local angle.”

In addition, pass any and all such stories on to national news media. Virtually all can be accessed via the “media contacts and addresses” link above. Your House and Senate representatives – Republican or Democrat – could do well with a bit of reminding about what is right with United States’ national security efforts as well. If those in the media and government you contact inform you they are aware of these stories already, no matter. What is most important is that they know we are watching!

Remember, always be polite, respectful, and dignified in your correspondence. We are not Lefties. Let’s not act like them, no matter how angry or indignant we may feel about all this.
In Conclusion
In his brilliant analysis of the media delivered before Reuters, 12, June 2007, outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair observed,

The reality is that as a result of the changing context in which 21st Century communications operates, the media are facing a hugely more intense form of competition than anything they have ever experienced before. They are not actually the masters of this change, they're in many ways the victims. The result, however, is a media that increasingly and to a dangerous degree is driven by "impact". Impact is what matters. It is all that can distinguish, can rise above the clamour, can get noticed. Impact gives competitive edge. Of course the accuracy of a story counts. But it is often secondary to impact.

It is this necessary devotion to impact that is unravelling standards, driving them down, making the diversity of the media not the strength it should be but an impulsion towards sensation above all else. …The audience needs to be arrested, held and their emotions engaged. Something that is interesting is less powerful than something that makes you angry or shocked. The consequences of this are acute. First, scandal or controversy beats ordinary reporting hands down. News is rarely news unless it generates heat as much as or more than light.”
He concluded…

“I do believe this relationship between public life and media is now damaged in a manner that requires repair. The damage saps the country's confidence and self-belief; it undermines its assessment of itself, its institutions; and above all, it reduces our capacity to take the right decisions, in the right spirit for our future.”

Here, here Mr. Prime Minister! And make no mistake, the dynamic Mr. Blair describes holds as true for America as for the United Kingdom, and will prove equally disastrous for both should we – particularly in times of war – do nothing to counteract it.

Military Public Affairs Officers are doing all they can. But legal parameters, protocols, and presumptions of propagandism have rendered their efforts largely ineffective in the face of chronic anti-militarism running rampant through the post-Vietnam media.

It remains for us then – the Information Warriors – to remind the free world that our soldier’s in the Middle East do more than just die; much more. And for this we owe them far more than most of us will ever know; at the very least, a fair telling of their work, successes, and very genuine hopes for a better world.



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