Information Warfare: July 17, 2001


It's become dangerous, from a political point of view, to have American troops anywhere near most international hot spots. Current case in point is Israel. The unrest over there is seen as an information warfare opportunity by many media, political and diplomatic players. Israel has long been an American ally, and U.S. officers regularly travel to Israel for meetings, research and joint training. But as things heat up over there, many U.S. troops scheduled for visits in Israel are being told to reschedule, or send civilians if the event date cannot be changed. Anytime there is unexpected political violence (rebels or terrorists) in foreign nations, one of the things the media look for in the area are U.S. troops. If found, and even if they are doing something completely unrelated to military operations (like reserve engineers building roads as part of their annual training, or a medical team providing aid to victims of a recent disaster), someone starts to create connections. "U.S. Troops Are in the Region," go the headlines and readers are left to let their imaginations run amok. A lot of this isn't exactly Information Warfare in the military sense. It's just generating headlines that will snag more eyeballs and boost advertising income. But not every ones knows that, and the unfounded stories generate a life of their own. Which is why a prudent general keeps his troops away from hot spots lest there be unwanted, and unjustified, side effects. 


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