Control the information from the battlefield and win

A US report shows how the enemy controlled the information on the battlefield in Fallujah and used this to force the US and Iraqi forces out, in the first battle there. The Belmont Club points out UPI coverage of the report by Shaun Waterman. Here is how the enemy worked:

First they kidnapped reporters from major Western news sources, driving them out of the city, and leaving only Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and local stringers controlled by the enemy as the sole sources of news. When the US returned with many embedded journalists and cut the enemy's information monopoly we won.

These figures demonstrate how the insurgency purposely drove the press from the field to recreate the information monopoly they found so advantageous in the opening days of the First Fallujah, when only journalists from Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya were reporting from the scene. The kidnapping campaign compelled news outlets to rely on stringers who could then be controlled by the insurgency and who could be counted on to miraculously stumble on photo opportunities showing insurgents in action, such as the Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of an Iraqi election worker being killed on Haifa Street. The effective riposte again turned out to be finding ways to break the reportorial stranglehold the enemy had established. The information blockade runners turned out to be bloggers and journalists embedded in the military, of whom Michael Yon is perhaps the most famous. The Iraqi bloggers were protected by their anonymity and the embedded journalists were protected by coalition troops. These reporters outflanked the wall of "access journalism" which was gradually restricting the majors and created alternative sources of reportage. Although few in number these blockade runners played a pivotal role in penetrating the "bodyguard of lies" with which al-Qaeda and the Sunni insurgency had surrounded itself.

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