Saturday, June 2, 2007

News: IEDs = "weapons of strategic influence"

Question: Why are IEDs continuing to kill and maim U.S. soldiers in Iraq, when we're spending billions to prevent it?

The Pentagon's Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) – "a massive organization employing thousands of private contractors ... based in a northern Virginia office complex" – has received at least $6.7 billion in funding since 2003, according to the Boston Globe. Last February, the President requested an additional $6.4 billion for the project.

Where is that money going?

Weapon of strategic influence

According to its website, the JIEDDO's mission is "to eliminate IEDs as weapons of strategic influence."

So the problem with IEDs isn't that they kill or injure our troops. It's that they influence public opinion. They are weapons of propaganda.

"It can be mitigated, minimized, made into a nuisance," said Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs (ret.), the JIEDDO director, taking a page from John Kerry's anti-terrorism playbook.

How do we defeat "weapons of strategic influence"? Not by outfitting our troops with armor. Not by improving our intelligence and infiltration of insurgency groups. No.

We defeat them by funding sources of counter-propaganda: pro-war think tanks, pundits, and bloggers.


Those who claim that the "101st Fighting Keyboarders" aren't really fighting this war are dead wrong. They are putting themselves on the line every day to defuse IEDs – our enemy's weapon of choice.

It's certainly not page-one newsworthy that U.S. casualties from IEDs have sharply increased. Troop casualties are irrelevant. The real story is how the American public is affected by IED attacks.

Yes, the war over public opinion is going badly. But did you hear how Joe Lieberman bought a pair of sunglasses in a bustling Baghdad market? Now that's page-one news.


RepubAnon said...

Why waste all that money when there's a simpler way: Ban cameras and journalists! What's the difference between Abu Ghraib and the rest of the stops in the Cheney Archipelago? PICTURES! No pictures of IED deaths, no damage Karl Rove need worry about, therefore no problem denying it, thus, no problem!

Of course, no money directed to staunch Republican Pioneer-level donors for redistribution to loyal Bushie campaigns is really wasted...

Plotinus said...

That's certainly a much cheaper option.

David G Terrell said...

IMHO, you sorta missed the boat on JIEDDO, thinking we were fighting influence with influence... or, intending to convince them to stop nicely.

Examine the Lines of Operation on the JIEDDO website.

"Defeat the Device" -- and the hardware deployed. The first up-armored HUMV kits were done with JIEDDO money. Jammers for electronically detonated devices. Explosives dogs.

"Attack the Network" -- think of a big organized crime intelligence task force pointed to exposing people engaging in murder with explosives and conspiracy to commit the same... and feeding that information to the folks on the ground.

"Train the Force" -- collecting the TTP "Tips Tactics and Procedures" that work and making sure the word gets to every US and coalition soldier.

The reason we've spent so much is that IEDs have so much "bang" (strategic influence) for the buck terrorists and insurgents invest in them.

Compare the IED death/injury rates in Iraq from one year before JIEDDO was founded to now--big difference! JIEDDO wasn't the whole reason but, they did their part.

Bets complements,

-- a JIEDDO analyst

John Smith said...

Thank you for such wonderful and interesting article.

Strategic Influence