Thursday, December 23, 2010
Old School PSYOPS
This is a great find from the Internet Archives: a U.S. Army training film from 1968 titled Psychological Operations in Support of Internal Defense and Development Assistance Programs.
In Part 1, the U.S. Ambassador to Hostland has a frank exchange of views with a couple shifty-looking local officials who request the USG's assistance with putting down an insurgency. (Check out the note-taking, coffee-serving, embassy secretary.)
The call goes out to Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton, psychological operations staff adviser. LTC Hamilton consults with the embassy's USIS and USAID representatives, and reads into the local situation. He learns that "as with most countries that find themselves in the midst of a Communist inspired insurgency, Hostland has a population with a doubtful sense of national unity."
In Part II, LTC Hamilton shows the locals how it's done. He orders up a printing team, a radio team, and lots of loudspeakers, and goes to work getting the Hostland peasant mind right.
He firms up that weak sense of national unity by sending folk dancers out to tour the provinces (it's just that simple). Next, he does localized development programs, especially small ones since "one finished well is worth far more than an unfinished dam.” His highest priorities are internal security and medical attention for civilians, because the Hostlandian civilian must see that his welfare and safety are the major interest of his government before he will "perceive things from the desired viewpoint.”
After just half an hour the situation has turned around, and the peasants are favoring the military over the insurgents. Really, it makes me wonder why we haven't made more progress in Afghanistan by now.