WRL: New media, Afghanistan, Iraq and Al Qaeda

March 24, 2010

A few bits and pieces I’ve spotted recently:

1. Leveraging New Media (pdf):

A US military report on the Israeli Defence Force’s use of new media in the conflict in Gaza re-published in the Australian Army Journal. It’s from the middle of 2009 but I’d not picked it up before.

It’s authored by Lieutenant General William B Caldwell IV, US Army, Mr Dennis M Murphy, and Mr Anton Menning. Not a particularly surprising conclusion if you keep track of Caldwell’s thinking:

"As the media environment continues to fragment in the future, engaging ever diversifying platforms and channels will become more difficult for the military. But, as General Creighton Abrams reputedly once said, ‘If you don’t blow your own horn, someone will turn it into a funnel.’ Under conditions of the current new media blitz, his possibly apocryphal words might be paraphrased to say, ‘If you don’t engage, someone else will fill the void.’

Surrendering the information environment to the adversary is not a practical option. Therefore, the military must seriously consider where information and the new media lie in relationship to conventional warfighting functions. One thing seems sure: we must elevate information in doctrinal importance, and adequately fund and staff organizations dealing with information."

2. Al Qaeda Central and the Internet

A new report by Daniel Kimmage claims Al Qaeda is "today primarily a media phenomenon" but that it faces "grave challenges".

3. The myth of American newspapers supporting the Iraq war

Greg Mitchell argues that at least by the eve of the invasion US newspaper editorials were reflecting serious concerns about the war in Iraq. (Too little, too late?):

"Of the forty-four papers publishing editorials about the war, roughly one-third reiterated strong support for the White House, one-third repeated their abiding opposition to it and the rest–with further debate now useless–took a more philosophical approach"

4. Of Mice and Bureaucrats: NATO, Afghanistan, war reporting and the truth

An insight into the story behind the story of the reporting of an alleged NATO ‘cover up’ of civilian casualties which NATO denies. There is more here by the journalist who believes he was being lied to.