What did you do with your GI Bill?
Angelina Jolie Iraq Visit

Information Operations and Morality

It seems Congress has a problem with DOD's IO:

At face value, much of what is being produced appears to be United States military, and more alarmingly nonmilitary, propaganda, public relations and behavioral modification messaging. The committee questions the effectiveness of much of the material being produced with this funding[.]

Well, let's talk about that.

Let's say there's a behavior you'd like to "modify" -- for example, the behavior of laying bombs by the side of the road at night.

The military has a lot of tools that can be applied to the task:  say, 30mm rounds from an Apache's chain gun.

If you use many of these methods, though, there is a chance of collateral damage.  Let's say you misunderstood, and the guy you thought was planting a bomb was really trying to fix his potholes.  Oops.  You just killed an innocent man, and made the war harder by inflaming all his relatives.

We've heard about this issue from the Obama administration, have we not?  Often?

So let's take another look at IO, or PSYOP.  Say you produce leaflets or billboards with pictures of the innocents killed by errant bombs.  Say it's only 1% effective:  that is, only one in a hundred of the people associated with bomb-planting are motivated by these pictures to contact us.

Well, you've just made the battlefield 1% safer, not only for the innocent who have to live among its dangers, but for our soldiers and Marines as well.

So maybe that means every so often a Marine comes home whole who wouldn't have, otherwise.  Don't think of him dying; as the administration has reminded us lately, dying is cheap.  Think of him coming home neeing limb replacement.  Think of him needing expensive VA care when he is released from service, at government expense.

It could be that you are one of those who cares less about our soldiers and Marines -- who volunteered to run their risks -- than about the civilians in theater.  So maybe this means an innocent family in Iraq or Afghanistan lives out happy days, instead of dying in fire.

What's that worth to you?