Information Warfare: November 10, 2001

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The Information War is being fought as diligently as the one with bombs, and apparently with more skill and intelligence. The Pentagon first recognized the importance of the media battle in the 1980s. Year by year, more government organizations have joined in working out plans for this aspect of future wars. It's hitting full force this time around, although Americans don't see much of it. That's because most of the war is directed as foreigners. For example, the message being beamed to Moslem countries concentrates on such things like; Saddam Hussein has killed more Moslems than anyone else in the last century. Most wars against Moslems in the last fifty years has been waged by other Moslems. America has, in the last ten years, sent in its soldiers four times to protect Moslems (Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia). America was the major supporters of the Afghans in their war against the Russians during the 1980s, and has been paying for most of the humanitarian aid ever since. America is the home for millions (as many as eight million) of Moslems and at least 4,000 Moslems serve in the U.S. armed forces. Arabic speaking Americans are being used to speak on Arab language TV and radio to put the American message across. Although the CIA has been flayed for moving away from "people on the ground" over the last 20 years, this was at the insistence of Congress. And through the 1990s the CIA has been recruiting more people for this dangerous and vital job. In particular, the CIA has been interested in recruits with language skills for Middle Eastern and Asian nations. The Army has long maintained one of the best foreign language schools in the world and has been turning out linguists for intelligence and special forces units. All this effort won't win a war by itself, but it sure helps.

 


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