Das Pentagon und seine Massentäuschungswaffen

--- Im Pentagon ist mal wieder eine Debatte über Lug und Trug im Rahmen der psychologischen Kriegsführung sowie der "Info Operations" im Gange, berichtet die New York Times. Wie schon so häufig geht es darum, inwieweit etwa auch die amerikanische oder die weltweite Öffentlichkeit sowie die Medien im Infowar bewusst getäuscht werden dürfen aus strategischem Gutdünken: The Pentagon is engaged in bitter, high-level debate over how far it can and should go in managing or manipulating information to influence opinion abroad, senior Defense Department civilians and military officers say. Such missions, if approved, could take the deceptive techniques endorsed for use on the battlefield to confuse an adversary and adopt them for covert propaganda campaigns aimed at neutral and even allied nations. Critics of the proposals say such deceptive missions could shatter the Pentagon's credibility, leaving the American public and a world audience skeptical of anything the Defense Department and military say - a repeat of the credibility gap that roiled America during the Vietnam War. The efforts under consideration risk blurring the traditional lines between public affairs programs in the Pentagon and military branches - whose charters call for giving truthful information to the media and the public - and the world of combat information campaigns or psychological operations. The question is whether the Pentagon and military should undertake an official program that uses disinformation to shape perceptions abroad. But in a modern world wired by satellite television and the Internet, any misleading information and falsehoods could easily be repeated by American news outlets. The military has faced these tough issues before. Nearly three years ago, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, under intense criticism, closed the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Influence, a short-lived operation to provide news items, possibly including false ones, to foreign journalists in an effort to influence overseas opinion. Now, critics say, some of the proposals of that discredited office are quietly being resurrected elsewhere in the military and in the Pentagon. ... Administration officials say they are increasingly troubled that a nation that can so successfully market its cars and colas around the world, even to foreigners hostile to American policies, is failing to sell its democratic ideals, even as the insurgents they are battling are spreading falsehoods over mass media outlets like the Arab news satellite channel Al Jazeera. "In the battle of perception management, where the enemy is clearly using the media to help manage perceptions of the general public, our job is not perception management but to counter the enemy's perception management," said the chief Pentagon spokesman, Lawrence Di Rita. ... The fervent debate today is focused most directly on a secret order signed by Mr. Rumsfeld late last year and called "Information Operations Roadmap." The 74-page directive, which remains classified but was described by officials who had read it, accelerated "a plan to advance the goal of information operations as a core military competency."

Da können wir ja gespannt sein, was wir von Rumsfeld und Co. in Zukunft noch so alles aufgetischt bekommen. Ein etwas sperriger Propagandabegriff für die neuen Bemühungen ist jedenfalls schon gefunden (fast so treffend wie Kollateralschaden und dergleichen Erfindungen des Pentagons): Defense Support for Public Diplomacy. Mehr zum Thema in Telepolis. Zu Psywar-Taktiken in der Schlacht um Falludscha siehe auch dieses Posting.