Information: A Sword that Must be Wielded

Since 9/11, it has been the policy of the United States to employ all of its weapons, military and non—military, in waging the global war on terrorism, to defeat the Islamofascist enemy bent on destroying us and our way of life.

Information is a vital tool in the armory, hence the term information warfare.  One of the components of this vital form of warfare is psychological operations — pysops for short.  An important mission of psyops, as defined in Joint Publication 3—53 'Doctrine For Joint Psychological Operations' (5 Sept. 2003) is: 

'countering adversary propaganda, misinformation, disinformation and opposing information to correctly portray friendly intent and actions.' 

These are terms and actions that cause mainstream media knickers to become twisted; their liberal sensibilities are affronted as they avoid all mirrors.  For if they looked at themselves, what would they see?  Themselves as purveyors of misinformation, disinformation and lies in their coverage of the war in Iraq, the military and the Bush administration, deserving their own chapter in the psyops doctrine manual.

In its press release titled 'Information Operations critical to success in Iraq' the headquarters, Multi—National Force, Iraq (MNFI) stated

'The information battlespace in Iraq is contested at all times and is filled with misinformation and propaganda by an enemy intent on discrediting the Iraqi government and the Coalition... Information Operations is an essential tool for commanders to ensure the Iraqi population has current, truthful and reliable information.'  

In the central theater of the global war on terrorism this weapon is being used properly.  It is a sword that must be wielded.

Let's look at exactly what has got the Righteousness Brigades of The Media in such a tizzy.   The MNFI press release states:

'As part of our operations we have offered articles for publication to Iraqi newspapers, and in some cases articles have been accepted and published as a function of buying advertising and opinion/editorial space, as is customary in Iraq. Third parties have been employed in an effort to mitigate the risk to publishers [emphasis added].  The procedures for doing so undergo policy and legal review to ensure compliance with the law and regulations.'  

Nothing sinister here.  In fact, as we see, precautions are taken to safeguard reporters and publishers.

The third party referred to in the release is the Lincoln Group.  They aren't sinister either.  Anyone can go to their website. They are a strategic communications and public relations firm.  Information about them, their mission, their staff, etc. is readily available.  The Director of  Strategic Solutions, probably in overall charge of Iraq operations, is Andrew          Garfield.  He was a senior British military then civilian intelligence officer. He has extensive experience in information operations and psyops and was the   British Defense Intelligence Staff's first Information Operations officer. Mr. Garfield has lectured extensively — in the United States at the Naval Postgraduate School and 4th Psychological Operations Group at Ft. Bragg. (see posted bio).   Interestingly, the former commander of the 4th Psyops Group, Colonel James Treadwell, once said, 'Truth is the best propaganda.'

Here is the Lincoln Group's response to the current teapot—oriented tempest:

'Lincoln Group has continually worked with the Iraqis to promote truthful reporting across Iraq.  Our priority has always been and continues to be, accuracy and timeliness. Our clients, our employees and the Iraqis who support this effort have maintained a commitment to battle terror with a powerful weapon — truth.  We counter the lies, intimidation and pure evil of terror with factual stories that highlight the heroism and sacrifice of the Iraqi people and their struggle for freedom and security.  We are encouraged by their sacrifice and proud to help them tell their side of the story.'

And so, there it is.  The truth is out.  Multi—National Force Iraq has had unmitigated gall to promote and publish the truth about what is really going on in Iraq, the stories that the MSM rarely, if ever, publishes. 

During the last global conflict, World War Two, our government decided to establish the Office of War Information (OWI) in June 1942 (see my AT article 'When A Bodyguard Of Lies Was Possible').  Under the direction of well—known broadcaster Elmer Davis, OWI disseminated information via newspapers, radio, movies and other outlets, generating propaganda themes for them all.  Its Office of Policy Information conducted psyops abroad, propagating information aimed at weakening enemy morale and increasing support for the allied war effort. 

When the Bush administration tried to establish the OWI—like Office of Strategic Influence in 2002, the effort was sabotaged by a hostile media.  At a February 20, 2002 meeting with the Defense Writer's Group, Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith explained clearly what this new Office's mission would be. 

'I want to clarify that when Defense Department officials speak to the public they tell the truth, and despite some of the reports about the Office of Strategic Influence I've read over the last day or two, Defense Department officials don't lie to the public.' 

He went on to explain how

'the use of information in order to facilitate the work of our armed forces (to) help them fulfill their missions is very important,'


'we have an interest in the enemy not knowing, not being confident about what we're going to do.' 

He emphasized that the credibility of Pentagon spokesmen is a paramount concern and

'we are going to preserve that, but we're not going to give up on the obvious usefulness of managing information of various types for the purpose of helping our armed forces accomplish their mission.' 

The first question he took from a reporter epitomizes the ruling, the continuing, hostile attitude of the press corps: 

'Why is the military getting involved in disinformation campaigns?'   

It is now time for the administration and the Pentagon to go on an information offensive, to wage a concerted multi—media campaign to tell the untold stories from Iraq, from Afghanistan, from wherever the global war on terror is being fought.  It is time to wield unabashedly the sword of information warfare, to do so in the courageous spirit of the warriors that sword will help protect and defend.   

 Because the truth is, we must win; there can be no substitute for victory. 

John B. Dwyer is a military historian. He is a frequent contributor.