Information Warfare: The Big Lie Still Works


September 9,2008:  One thing that really irritates U.S. and NATO commanders in Afghanistan is the ability of the Taliban to constantly make false claims about foreign troops killing civilians, and getting away with it. The problem is that the Taliban can make claims of civilian casualties in some remote part of the country, and many Moslem media outlets will immediately accept it without question. Then many Western mass media outlets will also pick it up, often citing the media in Moslem countries as a source. Many of the Moslem, and non-Moslem editors know they are being played, because nearly all these claims eventually turn out to be false. But bad news is news and retractions are buried in the back of the paper (and rarely make it onto radio or TV news at all).

The Taliban deliberately try to spend the night among civilians, and store weapons and supplies in residential areas. And when the civilians try to flee, the Taliban will keep them around by force (well, just by pointing their guns in the right direction). This doesn't get much publicity, and the Taliban get away with claiming their dead were actually innocent civilians. All this is particularly troublesome for the Afghan government, which is constantly forced to go along with the false claims, because most Afghans are illiterate, and all they hear are the initial false claims. So the government is forced to go along with the false claims, even when they know that, in most cases, they are simply being played by the Islamic terrorists.



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