November 8, 2001 - Wall Street Journal: Peace Corps Veterans support propaganda war in Afghanistan

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 11 November 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: November 8, 2001 - Wall Street Journal: Peace Corps Veterans support propaganda war in Afghanistan

By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 12:24 pm: Edit Post

Read this story from the Wall Street Journal on the propaganda war that ‘Psyops’ Army groups are waging in Afghanistan. Many returned volunteers may be surprised to discover the Army civilian analyst who is a critical player in crafting the campaign is an rpcv and up to one-quarter of the civilian consultants to this elite unit are returned volunteers.

Read the full story here:

Army unit wages propaganda war ‘Psyops’ group opens a new front: the Afghan mind, heart

Army unit wages propaganda war ‘Psyops’ group opens a new front: the Afghan mind, heart

By Greg Jaffe


FORT BRAGG, N.C., Nov. 8 — How do you explain the World Trade Center, the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and U.S. bombs falling from the sky to millions of Afghans — many of whom have never seen a city, much less a skyscraper?

WITH THE TRADE towers still smoldering, three members of the Army’s psychological-warfare unit gathered here to search for an answer. Each had spent big chunks of his life in Afghanistan. Two were native speakers. All three, though, were initially dumbfounded. “We were just trying to find a word for terrorist or terrorism in Dari or Pashto. But there was no such word,” says David Champagne, an Army civilian analyst and former Peace Corps worker in Afghanistan who has been a critical player in crafting a campaign. Says another of his colleagues: “The entire campaign has been a tough nut to crack.”

The 4th Psychological Operations (Psyops) group is the only active-duty unit in the U.S. military dedicated to psychological operations, an Orwellian-sounding term for a strategy almost as old as war itself. Using leaflets, loudspeakers and four airborne radio stations, their job is to persuade enemy fighters to quit and to convince civilians that U.S. bombs raining down on their country will result in a better future for their families. In Afghanistan, where the population is spread out, largely illiterate and lacking even basics such as batteries for transistor radios, the unit’s job is particularly daunting.

Housed in a complex of squat cinder-block buildings with leaky roofs, rusty window casings and fraying carpet, the group consists of about 35 civilian analysts and some 1,200 Army soldiers. The civilians are some of the most eclectic in the Defense Department. Two-thirds have doctoral degrees in anthropology or history, and a quarter are Peace Corps veterans. The active-duty soldiers are among the Army’s brightest, all testing in the top 10 percent on Army intelligence tests.


Behind virtually every pamphlet and broadcast are three members of the unit, who have met almost every day since the Sept. 11 attack. Dr. Champagne, a civilian analyst with the group, spent three years in a village 100 miles from Kandahar as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching at a coeducational high school before writing his doctoral dissertation on Afghan/Iranian relations. “Afghanistan changed my life,” he says. “I went to work for the Army in 1982 because I wanted to help kick the Russians out of Afghanistan,” says Dr. Champagne, now middle-aged with a receding hairline and wire-rim spectacles.

By Matthew ( on Monday, December 08, 2003 - 8:03 pm: Edit Post

I am interested in non-conventional warfare that took place in our early campaign in Afghanistan and also that took place in our overthrow of Iraq. I am particularly interested in small operations units carrying out precision bombing with hand-held targeting equiptment. If you have any information or a good website, contact Matthew

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