Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

American propaganda to hide illegal warfare

It is one thing to talk about victory and principles. Quite another to employ it on a sound legal foundation.

Iraq is a case study of failure, and a propaganda machine used to convince the world otherwise. [See more]

"The failure to wage the media war is a failure to command." -- This is backwards. In practice, "The failure to command -- and provide enough resources, troops, and plans to carry out a mission -- requires propaganda to assert otherwise."

It is a false analogy to compare post war Japan and Iraq. The US retained the Emperor in Japan and the Japanese embraced the American occupation. The US did the opposite in Japan -- throwing out the leadership. What would have happened had Japanese emperor been similarly removed? We had already run out of nuclear weapons.

Information in the air is not the same as command of a situation or security and on the ground. The goal of propaganda during warfare is to shape the battle, appease the enemy, and mobilize your army. Unfortunately, despite the American propaganda, the Army has not been mobilized -- there are insufficient troops, inadequately led, poorly trained, and insufficient resourced. Asking us to embrace propaganda is simply asking us to listen to louder cries of denial.

To paraphrase the writer, "any nation that is serious about winning," would implement what it hopes to win at home, and not simply talk about it on foreign air waves. Democracy isn't simply about free people sharing ideas -- it’s about people exchanging view points during debates in the legislature and before the Court. This President does not like debates -- he wants the media to have a one way message. That is not democracy but tyranny. Feel free to blog about it elsewhere.

To suggest the printing press is the greatest weapon and invoking the Middle Ages would have us embrace the wrong lesson from the wrong era. Example, as Patton would say, is the best general order.

It is curious, this many after the "mission accomplished" banner on an aircraft carrier, that we're being lectured on what counter insurgency is all about. Strange, what happened to Redon’s little flags the American liberators were to be greeted with as they marched into the open arms of the newly liberated? As the CIA and NSA already told the white House and State Department: This isn't going to work.

It is curious though, we hear lectures from Academia about "information warfare in battle" -- but the same leadership in Washington is not open to similar information from the analysts telling them the truth about WMD: There's no WMD, the law is unlawful, and no NSA intercepts are consistent with Powell's claims before the UN. If you're going to define the basis of success in terms of information, one must start with accurate information, and a track record of being able to synthesize information into credible plans and results. Strangely, information warfare is something the White House likes to preach, but not listen to--especially when adverse information is from the wife of an uncooperative Ambassador speaking with factual information.

Iraq is not a lesson of information warfare and its relationship with technology. Rather, it's the lesson that lawful war must only be used when we are committed to providing the resources. Yet, when there is no legal foundation for war, there will be no resource foundation. Simply because the enemy does or does not employ a tactic, does not mean that our nation must reciprocate. The goal is not to play patty-cake, but to defeat the enemy with lawful combat operations -- fully supported with overwhelming and lawful use of well trained and resourced personnel. TO suggest that Lawrence of Arabia, riding on his camel may or may not have done something in response to sand bound warriors is of little interest when the legal foundations for war are as empty as the legal foundations for domestic spying.

It may be interesting to discuss surreptitious placement of stories -- but when the issue changes from defeat in the field to defeat of the rule of law, you've lost more than the power of words, but the rule of law. We were told we were there to assert a principle, one that has long been destroyed at home: The rule of law. Relying on the media means we have no law, simply the rule of lies.

It may be true that local forces need support. Police need more than words. They need training, support, resources, and competent oversight. We have failed them, but have stories to tell them otherwise -- just as we hear from Katrina's devastation. Would it not be interesting if we put as much interest in "shoring up" the troops -- with training, manpower, and resources -- as we did in "shoring up" the Press releases. A well formatted paragraph does little to demonstrate we are committed to the rule of law -- our actions say otherwise, as do the words from this President's lips.

The threat to the troops is not words. Rather, the real threat is their employment without sufficient legal foundation. No amount of hand waving or information will couch reality as something it is not -- America's President has waged an unlawful war, failed to heed his advisors, and ignored the planners with credible insights. Information warfare is the icing, not the cake. We have no cake. We have a mess.

America has learned that, despite the superior technology, a mobilized citizenry in Iraq, when unlawfully invaded and occupied will prevail over those who are poorly led, poorly disciplined, and insufficiently resourced. This is not a lesson of information, but sheer passion in the face of lawless use of force.

Perhaps, if America's leadership is able to see through the unfavorable weather, they may realize America's efforts in 1776 are no different than the battles waged in Iraq in 2006 -- and a useful lesson of what may await should American tyranny impose its will on a civilian population highly mobilized to assert their rights over a tyrant at home. However, given the unfavorable weather, and poor information flow in this "information warfare economy," we have little confidence the lesson will be learned. No matter.

What America's military says it wants to do or not do is irrelevant to what its President says to Tony Blair: Bomb the media. Information warfare, in Mr. Bush's eyes isn't waged in the airwaves, but at the tip of a sword. Fortunately, the sword of impeachment remains a real threat, not something he can "make go away" by changing the channel, or hiring a new propaganda contractor.

It may be a threat to our troops if we continue to wage unlawful war -- but the greater threat is the risk to our fellow citizens. Unlawful war abroad entitles enemies to violate the same laws of war in the Continental United States. Where there is no real victory on the shoulders of lawful war abroad, we have more than worried soldiers to be concerned with -- rather, innocent civilian daughters may lawfully come under attack in America's streets, at universities, far away from their father's protection.

One cannot wage unlawful war and blame the blogsophere for saying what is self-evident: This leadership has failed, it moves without regard to the laws of war, and has no option but to spew forth propaganda to sew the seeds of deception. They have no choice but to rely on propaganda because the law and facts are not on their side.

American may control the press, but it cannot control the law or the hearts of a mobilized citizenry. Propaganda only hopes to get the enemy to avoid reality -- but is meaningless when the law trumps the civilian leadership and combat operations on the ground. Woe to the commander who ignores the laws of war and points to "only following orders" as his defense. The judges at Nuremberg were not swayed by words of tyranny, but the law.

It is a greater breach of military protocol to defy the laws of war, launch illegal wars of aggression, and pretend with words it is something else. Protocols, as the Americans would have us believe, are not relevant when they are not consistent with the American desire to wage unlawful war -- a sentiment unsurprising from a President who views the law and Constitution as just as scrap of paper. Curious he loves the paper when it has propaganda, not the law.

Information is not a strategy -- it is a tool that commanders use to assist with advancing lawful combat operations. When the law is not there, and the operations not supported, the strategy fails. Asserting otherwise with words is a failure, not a strategy.

It is curious when the Americans move without regard to the laws of war, they feign concern when names are revealed in the media. But this is of little consequences -- for the NSA has revealed our private details to those who have only one goal: Use the information to undermine the rule of law, Constitution, and right to lawfully protest that which is devoid of facts: Unlawful war against illusory WMD.

Prosperity may be a goal, but when the goal is asserted without regard to the laws -- we have tyranny chasing an illusion. It is not sustainable, as Hitler and Stalin found on the cold Siberian landscape. It is one thing to talk about success -- quiet another to accomplish it without support, resources, legal foundations, and facts. A goal cannot be asserted -- it must be achieved on the basis of a solid foundation of facts, law, resources, and results. This leadership has neither and can only rely on words to assert otherwise. That is not victory, but delusion.

We need not consider the speculative benefits of what may or may not happen in the future. The facts before us are clear: This leadership has failed to wage lawful war, ignored its analysts, and cannot organize itself to successfully wage combat operations on the ground. That is not victory. It is a fact.

Indeed, one benefit of information warfare -- the citizenry will have greater skepticism about the principles we talk about, but do not practice as we wage unlawful war not just abroad, but at home with unlawful surveillance of non criminal behavior. If you cannot convince the courts and Congress of reality, this President simply wages war, lies about it, then sends a check somewhere else. It's time to take away his pen and power and return it where it belongs -- to the people.