A Lesson in Information Operations

When you engage someone openly with "white" information operations, i.e. IO where your identity is clear and explicit, you imply that they are roughly your equal.  By speaking to or of them directly, you point up that they are important enough to demand your attention and your reply. 

The President doesn't do IO precisely -- as a civilian and the chief executive, he is not bound by the limits of the law dividing IO from PAO work -- but the lesson is nevertheless explicit here.

President Obama and the Democrats should wave the white flag in their strawman war on Rush Limbaugh. The Media Research Center delivered the grim casualty figures for the Democrats. Since January, the top talk show gabber's ratings have soared off the charts. Radio affiliates that carry Limbaugh's syndicated show call the ratings boost he's gotten from the Democrat's orchestrated attack on him a "dramatic surge." This writer predicted as much when President Obama cracked to Congressional Republicans in late January that they should knock off listening to Limbaugh if they expected to get anything done in Congress and with his administration.

I don't mention this to take sides in the immediate dispute -- I haven't spent enough time in the USA lately to know just what they were arguing about, and the last time I can recall having heard any part of an episode of Rush Limbaugh's show was 1996. 

As a lesson for IO practitioners in the audience, though, it's a good one.  The increased focus on IO in the military is healthy and something I am glad to see.  It is also good that the IO field is becoming considered less a collateral duty and more of a professional fighting field in its own right. 

Just as with other forms of strategic effects, however -- as with artillery, say -- you have to remember that there are potential negative effects to employing the weapon.  We are very good at making sure that we don't drop shells that will negatively impact our position on the battlefield and improve our foe's.  IO can have the same effect, and just as with artillery, there are times when it is better left unused.