The Outcome of War is Decided in the Mind

Over at Xark, there has been, as usual, a lively discussion about the war in Iraq, how to define victory, and various opinions offered on the future of our involvement. From your scribe’s perspective, things don’t look too good. Not because of the failure of effort militarily, but because the opponents of the war have won the battle in terms of framing the debate and thus have made their perception of the situation the current reality. In fairness, to use Xark’s Equation (adopted by the algebra student in me), MSM opposition + Administration fumbling = MCF (Major Charlie Foxtrot). You might say that the anti-war groups in the US have fought the kind of war that our President and military commanders should have fought in Iraq.

Over at Winds of Change, Nitin Pai writes of the new methodology of war, wherein the major strategy must be the winning of the hearts and minds, not of the attacked, but of the attackers. A taste:

What this means, in effect, is that citizens have become combatants in the war of convictions. The side that believes that it has won wins. The side that believes it has lost loses. It is misleading to think of this as being about propaganda or public relations theatre, which though important, can be exposed or seen through. It is about truth, not necessarily the objective truth, but what is widely regarded to be true. The study of how public opinion forms has become all the more important. What instruments should the state have to fight this war? How should it equip its citizens? More importantly, what are the rules of the game? Is it even possible to ‘win’ wars any more?

As they say, read the whole thing here.


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