Many US officials have said it … no matter how well we may (or may not) be doing in Afghanistan, we’re losing the “information war.” That is, the US is not as good at reaching the masses and influencing them as our enemies are.
I agree. (Many US public affairs officers do.) But, there is a reason for this … A commitment to truth.
Bad guys lie to influence people. It’s what they do. And, it takes no time at all to make up a lie and spread it through cell phones or other electronic means. However, US public affairs officers are supposed to tell the truth. (Notice I wrote “supposed to,” I readily admit our failures *cough!* Jessica Lynch *cough!* Pat Tillman *cough!*.) There’s nothing wrong with telling the truth, but doing so usually takes time, simply because we want to make sure we actually KNOW what the truth IS before we spread it.
The quickest way to portray the truth is with a camera (which is why the military has photographers.) Aside from it’s arsenal of weaponry, the military considers photos and video prime tools for combat.
The French agree … So much so, that they have whole cells of soldiers, dedicated to imagery and video capturing. (American forces also have the same type of set-up, but not within the PRTs.) I, on the other hand, am a one-man show when it comes to serving the audio-visual needs of the PRT.
Today, several French photogs travelled with us to Nijrab to walk through the bazaar and meet with locals. I enjoyed seeing them perform their work together, watching from a distance while silently envying their manpower.
If the camera fights the war, the French have lots of firepower.