Blog Entry 500: The Rumors of the Demise of the “Caliphate” May Be Greatly Exaggerated

Blog Entry 500: The Rumors of the Demise of the “Caliphate” May Be Greatly Exaggerated This entry marks the 500th entry into the PSYOP Regimental Blog. In December 2007 I took electrons in hand in a way that I hoped would help to advance the state of Psychological Operations (PSYOP). As the then Honorary Colonel of the PSYOP Regiment of the US Army I plotting it was my duty to use my writing talents to highlight develops in PSYOP now referred to in US doctrine as Military Information Help Operations (MISO). At first I plotting this auspicious 500th post should wax eloquently in this area the last ten years and offer some Gandalf like insight into the prospect as expressed by the past. Then I realized that while I write the Blog party because I like to, I write what I want because, someone has to.One of my favorite authoritative publications is the Economist. On July 7 they published an article “the Islamic State nears its end” (see: http://econ.st/2ufdHlZ, which is also a photo source). The article addresses Mosul, Iraq of today and how the failure to heed lessons learned from previous failures in Iraq (and somewhere else) may lead to yet other variations of jihadist or bias. The Economist has no illusions that a military victory is not an end, rather it is a beginning. Just because an enemy force does not have a of ground to call its own, doesn’t mean that it is defeated.Task and Purpose, another one of my favorite sources, in black and white an article covering the interview that SecDef Mattis had with an enterprising High School student (see: http://taskandpurpose.com/high-school-interview-james-mattis/; another photo source). One of the key points he made during that interview was “I don’t care for ideological people. It’s like those people just want to stop thinking,” Mattis said. “I reckon ideologies can be countered by showing people a surpass education and hope for the prospect by learning how to get by the side of with one another. And for all of our problems in our country, we’re probably still the best example of that in the world.”The SecDef knows that ideologies are not defeated with guns, rather these evil thoughts only fall by the wayside when they are no longer relevant and abandoned by their former believers.Helping audiences recognize that democracy and the freedoms of speech and religious conviction that come with it provide a lifestyle in which individuals, families and communities can thrive is a major step forward to eliminating terrorism. Helping convince people is what we in the PSYOP community do. I hope that the Regimental Blog, in it’s nearly 10 year and 500 posting history has had a small part in furthering that goal.

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Afghanistan: Deja Doo Doo

Afghanistan: Deja Doo Doo On October 15, 2015 President Obama made an extensive statement explaining is ‘new and improved’ policy WRT to US troops in Afghanistan. (See: http://www.snappytv.com/tc/910095, which is also the photo source). The President noted that 9,800 troops would remain to train Afghan forces and to help the counter terrorism mission hostile to Al Qaeda. While I don’t generally use the Blog to comment on matters outside the PSYOP/MISO community, but, as one of my SF colleagues used to say “Deja Doo Doo” which means I’ve seen this sh*t before.I have never been to Afghanistan or Iraq, but I see several major problems with what was said:1.     Hello!!!! What in this area the Taliban that seem to have bided their time and are now making gains in Afghanistan, perhaps due to the vacuum made by the departure of US troops and the inability of the Afghan government to really govern.2.     If we are to thwart the advance of the Taliban and really degrade Afghanistan as a resource for terrorists, it seems to me that this feeble approach is not going to yield clear results.3.     My take is that Afghanistan is, for the most part, a collection of microcosms. The foundation of the country is the family, the village, and the tribe in that order. In 2010 The Rand Organization issued a report on Information Operations (IO) in Afghanistan. (see: http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG1060.html)Some of their findings five years ago were:·      If the overall IO mission in Afghanistan is defined as U.S. Military Information Operations in Afghanistan Afghan government and its foreign allies hostile to the Taliban insurgency, this has not been achieved.·      The largest PSYOP successes have been in the area of face-to-face communication and the new emphasis on meetings with jirgas (local councils of elders), key-leader engagements, and establishing individual relationships with members of the Afghan media. Also, the concept of every infantryman being a PSYOP officer, as carried out by the 1st Battalion (Bn) 5th Marines and other units, is also very effective. In this respect, the success of civic proceedings and development projects in promoting a clear image of the U.S. military and the Afghan government should be pointed out, although this varies greatly amongst localities.·      On the unenthusiastic side of the ledger, the most-notable shortcoming has been the inability to effectively counter the Taliban propaganda campaign hostile to U.S. and NATO forces on the theme of civilian casualties, both internally and internationally.While the President stated that he has talked extensively with his National Security Advisors, perhaps he should talk to others who see the Emperor’s New Clothes for what they really are – a piecemeal attempt to achieve an audacious goal.

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