I’ve got to admit I’m a little puzzled at the reaction to my piece on information warfare below.
When someone uses words like “conundrum,” (as I did) I’d assume that they are talking about a problem with no ready solution. In this case, the collision of values between defending political discourse in a democratic republic from overt manipulation by the government on one side, and wanting to win a conflict using the tools of counterinsurgency – which include the manipulation of opinion – on the other. That seems like a very real conundrum to me (although I see one possible path out of it, suggested by Boyd).
My intent in writing the piece was to make two points: First that it’s amusing that the usual suspects are shocked, shocked! that this is happening – given that it is a part of the counterinsurgency playbook, and I assume the folks in the Pentagon read that and more, plus given the historical record here in America and pretty much everywhere else – much as if they were shocked – shocked! that in combat our troops fire real bullets.
Less amusing to me is the deeper question which is how, exactly, we can do information warfare in the context of keeping it from irremediably damaging our own polity. That’s a damn serious question, and the one I intended to trigger some discussion of in my earlier post, and to discuss in the next few days.