2003 April 07 Monday
Observations By Richard Muller On The Iraq War

UC Berkeley Physics Professor Richard Muller examines lessons from the Iraqi war. He argues that truthful propaganda is far more effective than deceitful propaganda.

Donít underestimate the importance of the pamphlets. If they were important, and we will know someday, it will illustrate a key and underappreciated aspect of U.S. Special Operations psychological warfare. Their doctrine demands truth. It is the key to effective propaganda. Donít lie; build trust. This strange new approach (not totally accepted by the government, or other parts of the military) is based on the observation that in most conflicts, truth will benefit the United States. This was such a case. Donít destroy the wealth of the Iraqi people. It rang true.

Muller also argues that there are no software programs for doing facial recognition that work as well as the human mind. Therefore he argues that humans examining old and new pictures of Saddam Hussein are as qualified to determine if the new pictures are legitimate as the intelligence sources who claim they are using special software to make facial comparisons.

While Muller, like many other commentators, properly draws attention to the importance of GPS-guided munitions for bringing air power to a higher level he misses the importance of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). UAVs have allowed battle damage assessment to be done in real time and have greatly degraded the ability of defending forces to create fake targets and fake damage. UAVs have allowed air controllers to identify many more legitimate targets and to spot the construction of fake targets. Therefore, many more real targets have been identified for attack by precision guided munitions.

Greater accuracy in bomb delivery is just one element that has contributed to another phenomenon: a reduction in the number of friendly fire incidence. Friendly fire incidents have been reported on very rapidly and therefore the press gives an impression of a significant problem with friendly fire incidents. But as compared to previous wars the rate has been quite low. A greater ability to manage the information flowing from the battlefield and better electronic and other means to identify friendlies have worked together to reduce the incidence of friendly fire attacks.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 April 07 05:16 PM  Military War, Rumours Of War


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