Winning wars through public relations

The times they are definitely a changing — especially in the media. New technology brings new media or old media in new forms so the ever fluid, ever evolving  media is expanding in our lives in such new and different ways that the full impact hasn't been understood.  According to Daniel Pipes, a Middle East expert, the media now even affect the outcome of war.

Soldiers, sailors, and airmen once determined the outcome of warfare, but no longer. Today, television producers, columnists, preachers, and politicians have the pivotal role in deciding how well the West fights. This shift has deep implications.

Among the implications, the basics of war——fighting for total victory and the loyalty of the population to its leaders——are no longer operative

wars are decided more on the Op Ed pages and less on the battlefield. Good arguments, eloquent rhetoric, subtle spin—doctoring, and strong poll numbers count more than taking a hill or crossing a river. Solidarity, morale, loyalty, and understanding are the new steel, rubber, oil, and ammunition. Opinion leaders are the new flag and general officers. Therefore, as I wrote in August, Western governments "need to see public relations as part of their strategy."

Algeria, Vietnam and Afghanistan are examples of  how military strategists discouraged the public.  And now, Pipes concludes

The West is fortunate to predominate in the military and economic arenas, but these no longer suffice. Along with its enemies, it needs to give due attention to the public relations of war.

"Steel rubber, oil and ammunition" along with highly motivated, superbly trained fighters are still necessary; public relations in all aspects should be important new additions to the arsenal.

Ethel C. Fenig   10 18 06

The times they are definitely a changing — especially in the media. New technology brings new media or old media in new forms so the ever fluid, ever evolving  media is expanding in our lives in such new and different ways that the full impact hasn't been understood.  According to Daniel Pipes, a Middle East expert, the media now even affect the outcome of war.

Soldiers, sailors, and airmen once determined the outcome of warfare, but no longer. Today, television producers, columnists, preachers, and politicians have the pivotal role in deciding how well the West fights. This shift has deep implications.

Among the implications, the basics of war——fighting for total victory and the loyalty of the population to its leaders——are no longer operative

wars are decided more on the Op Ed pages and less on the battlefield. Good arguments, eloquent rhetoric, subtle spin—doctoring, and strong poll numbers count more than taking a hill or crossing a river. Solidarity, morale, loyalty, and understanding are the new steel, rubber, oil, and ammunition. Opinion leaders are the new flag and general officers. Therefore, as I wrote in August, Western governments "need to see public relations as part of their strategy."

Algeria, Vietnam and Afghanistan are examples of  how military strategists discouraged the public.  And now, Pipes concludes

The West is fortunate to predominate in the military and economic arenas, but these no longer suffice. Along with its enemies, it needs to give due attention to the public relations of war.

"Steel rubber, oil and ammunition" along with highly motivated, superbly trained fighters are still necessary; public relations in all aspects should be important new additions to the arsenal.

Ethel C. Fenig   10 18 06