Fayetteville Local News: Psy-Ops Group From Bragg Tries Music to Entice Afghanistan

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 11 November 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: November 8 - Wall Street Journal: Peace Corps Veterans support propaganda war in Afghanistan: Fayetteville Local News: Psy-Ops Group From Bragg Tries Music to Entice Afghanistan

By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, November 27, 2001 - 10:50 am: Edit Post

Read this story from the Fayetteville Local news on David Champagne and his work with the army's psychological warfare unit in Afghanistan at:

Psy-Ops Group From Bragg Tries Music to Entice Afghanistan

Music is instrumental to operations

By Henry Cuningham Military editor

When people at Fort Bragg were helping to develop a psychological campaign for Afghanistan, they figured broadcasting music would be effective because the Taliban banned music.

“The Afghan people love music,” Col. James A. Treadwell said. “However, they were not able to get any music, so we’re sending some music -- their music.”

Treadwell is commander of the 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg. He commands the Army’s only active-duty psychological operations group.

The group includes a wide range of people, from enlisted soldiers to civilians with doctorates who specialize in foreign culture, languages and politics.

Psychological operations soldiers are trained to use radio and television broadcasts and printed leaflets to encourage foreign audiences to stop fighting or support U.S. forces.

The idea used in formulating messages is, “The bait has to appeal to the fish.”

There’s a large Afghan population in the United States, so it was easy to determine what might be appealing, Treadwell said.

“The music has been very well received,” he said. “It’s instrumental music.”

The person given credit for using music to appeal to Afghans is Dr. David Champagne, the senior analyst in support of the 8th Psychological Operations Battalion. The 8th Battalion supports Central Command.

Champagne lived in Afghan- istan for 10 years and taught English there, Treadwell said.

Treadwell said several of the leaflets dropped from airplanes in Afghanistan focus on the fact that the U.S. is not targeting Afghan people.

One leaflet has a picture of a person apparently from the Taliban beating someone not complying with their interpretation of Islamic law. The leaflet asks, “Is this the future you want for your women and children?”

The campaign takes into account that literacy rates are low in Afghanistan. In some cases, pictures are used to convey information. In Arabic, the writing goes from right to left, so a series of pictures goes from right to left.

A leaflet about the airdrops of food shows yellow packages coming out of an airplane. The second picture shows a man in Afghan attire picking up a package. On the back of the leaflet, the man sits down to eat with his family.

Lt. Col. Ken Turner is commander of the 3rd Psychological Operations Battalion, which provides print, radio and audiovisual products to regional battalions.

“We will film on the battlefield, interview key communicators, try to get the message out,” Turner said. “We print the leaflets the regional battalions design.”

Lt. Glenn Ayers is commander of the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, whose soldiers might go with Rangers and Special Forces to deliver messages encouraging surrender on a battlefield with loudspeakers.

Ayers has a company in Kosovo that is providing compact discs for Albanian and Serb radio stations in support of peacekeeping operations. He has worked to increase awareness of land mines in Cambodia.

“We have a very difficult assignment, but we also have a very fulfilling assignment,” Ayers said. “My battalion is the one that most directly interfaces with maneuver commanders on the ground.”

Psychological operations offer a “nonlethal” option for military commanders, he said.

“What you are trying to do is essentially what Coca-Cola is doing,” Ayers said. “You are trying to modify behavior. You are trying to target an audience to get them to modify their behavior to further the goals of American policy makers or ground tactical commanders.”

Military editor Henry Cuningham can be reached at 486-3585 or cuninghamh@fayettevillenc.com.

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.