Information Warfare: November 30, 2002


U.S. soldiers from the 4th Psychological Operations Group (in Ft Bragg, NC) produce an eight page newspaper (in Pushtu, Dari and English) for printing and distribution in Afghanistan. The reporting is done in Afghanistan, then sent back to Ft Bragg via the Internet. Most of the troops putting the paper together in are reservists, including some soldiers who were born and raised in Afghanistan. Because of the low literacy rate in Afghanistan, more emphasis is placed on radio broadcasts. But the irregularly published newspaper provides a permanent record of the news as it is seen in the United States, and the ability to provide images in a country with very little television. 

For four months during the Somali operations in 1992, the 4th Psychological Operations Group published a daily newspaper in Somali. The 4th Psychological Operations Group is no doubt getting ready to publish a daily newspaper in Iraq. Such an undertaking will be more important in Iraq, which has a very literate and educated population. Such a newspaper would serve as an example of American style journalism. While Americans tend to criticize U.S. papers, in most other parts of the world, bias and outright lies are taken for granted in newspapers. While the Psychological Operations troops are trying to get the American point of view across, they know from past experience that the best way to do this is to just play it straight with the locals. 


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