Confounding our Enemies and Astounding our Friends, Honesty in Twenty-First Century Warfare
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
Propaganda and disinformation characterized indispensable components of 19th and 20th century warfare. Examples such as Leni Riefenstahls Triumph of the Will or Frank Capras Why We Fight series made no attempt to honestly display differences between nations, but instead cast all arguments in black and white. In an age where audiences had no readily available resources to question the accuracy of such works, propaganda and disinformation represented effective methods to target the will of large groups of people. The information revolution and the flattening of the world has forever altered the use of information and disinformation in warfare. The evolution of warfare in concert with the information revolution, as well as current political, demographic, and religious trends, also contribute to the downfall of propaganda and disinformation. Twenty-first century warfare, or Fourth Generation warfare, does not emphasize the destruction of enemy forces, but instead targets the minds and will of political decision makers. The primary ordinance on this battleground of ideas is not artillery shells, tank rounds, or bullets. It is legitimacy. This legitimacy, the key to victory in the battle of ideas, can only be won by honesty. This study concludes with a synthesis of this deeper understanding of truth and honesty with a thorough awareness of the nature of 21st century conflict to clarify the relationship between the two. In the 21st century, Soldiers will fight violent extremists more often than they will face the armies of other nation states. In such confusing warfare, the temptation to use any means will be ever present. As American Soldiers, we must be courageous in the face of such temptation and heed the words of that uniquely American philosopher, Samuel Clemens, who wrote When in doubt, tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.
- Information Science
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics