How the Media Affects the Future of Tactical Combat

(New York Post) Ralph Peters - In Iraq last month, al-Jazeera constantly aired trumped-up footage and insisted that U.S. Marines were destroying Fallujah and purposely targeting women and children, causing hundreds of innocent casualties as part of an American crusade against Arabs. The "Arab CNN" immediately followed the Fallujah clips with video of Israeli "atrocities." Connecting the dots was easy. This is the new reality of combat. Not only in Iraq. The media is often referred to as a strategic factor, but we still don't fully appreciate its fatal power. We fail to understand that the media has become little more than a tool of propaganda that is increasingly, viciously, mindlessly anti-American. Real atrocities aren't required. Everything American soldiers do is portrayed as an atrocity. The implication for tactical combat is clear: We must direct our doctrine, training, equipment, organization, and plans toward winning low-level fights much faster. Before the global media can do what enemy forces cannot do and stop us short. We must develop the capabilities to fight within the "media cycle," before journalists sympathetic to terrorists and murderers can twist the facts and portray us as the villains. As we should have learned long ago, if we are not willing to face up to casualties sooner, the cumulative tally will be much, much higher later. If we do not learn to kill very, very swiftly, we will continue to lose slowly.

2004-05-21 00:00:00

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