Posted by rdom on February 26, 1998 at 14:51:25:
Transcripts from I-Bomb
Were living through the greatest upheaval, the greatest social,
technological and economic upheaval, since the industrial revolution.
We are already beginning to see the decline of the nation-state and
ironically, at the same time, the rise of nationalism.
You see giant corporations, some of the biggest in the world, having
been turned into dinosaurs.
Today we have family forms in infinite varieties.
The way we work, the way we create wealth . . .
Were seeing much more individuality and much more freedom for the
The technology is changing rapidly; social institutions are changing
rapidly; values are changing rapidly; and, not inconsequentially, the
entire concept of military action is also changing.
WINN SCHWARTAU (Author, Information War)
Modern society is wired.
NARRATOR (ZAM BARING)
Wired and therefore vulnerable to a new kind of war.
With over a hundred million computers tying our communications,
finance, transportation and power system together, we face a potential
electronic Pearl Harbour.
A threat that challenges all the traditional notions of warfare.
If the information warrior comes at our computers, our networks and
our communication systems, the modern military has very little
War is changing. (Archive: smart bomb hitting target) This is one
image of its future. In 1991 the world thrilled to the range, speed
and accuracy of war in the Gulf. It was a war that the United States
armed forces were trained and equipped to fight, but unlike some of
the enemies they may face, they had the technology to beat Saddam
COLONEL JOHN A. WARDEN III (Gulf War air planner)
The most important technology that we had in the Gulf War was almost
certainly precision projectiles.
COLONEL ALAN D. CAMPEN (Editor, The First Information War)
Cruise missiles . . .
GBU27, a 2,000 lb bomb . . .
They had laser technology, stealth technology.
The 117 stealth fighter was able to penetrate some of the most
extensive, even heaviest air defences in the world.
But the planes and the bombs are not what made the Gulf War different.
Alvin and Heidi Toffler have been writing about the future for the
past 30 years. Now they have turned their attention to war. They
believe Desert Storm was different because it provided the first
glimpse of how the basic currency of war may be changing.
The Gulf War will never be repeated. It is not a model of wars of the
future, but it is an extremely important war in the history of
warfare, because it represented both the past of warfare and the
future of warfare. For example, when I say the past: Saddam Hussein
took his troops, lined them up on the border masses and masses of
troops, masses and masses of tanks. This is the way wars have been
fought ever since the industrial age dawned. And indeed the US and the
coalition responded. They used traditional, industrial-style mass
destruction. They tried to destroy everything in sight. What you saw
in Baghdad was the beginnings of the warfare of the future.
US ARMY INFORMATION FILM INFORMATION WARFARE
Persian Gulf, 1991: the first outbreak of third-wave warfare,
It was the first information war. Not that information hasnt always
been a key element of war, it has been the Battle of Britain being
one example of the use of radar information to position a virtually
destroyed Royal Air Force. But the use of information was
serendipitous. If it was there and if it was correct, it was used.
Information war uses information in a very fundamental way.
This concept was central to the strategy created by Colonel Warden for
the air war in the Gulf.
The most important part of the battle plan, the first part of it, was
designed heavily to take away the Iraqis complete set of information.
Information was a target.
We didnt want Saddam Hussein to be able to see what was happening, so
we hit the strategic air defence system, the radars.
Without information, weapons will not achieve the accuracy they have.
The forces will not be in the right place.
We didnt want Saddam Hussein to be able to talk, to give people
instructions as to what to do, so we took away the telephone system
from him. We didnt want Saddam Hussein to be able to gather with his
staff, so we took away the primary command centres that Saddam Hussein
and his generals and his political cronies were inclined to use.
It was the first war with a notion that an enemy could be brought to
his knees by denial of information. It was actually tested and proven
on the battlefield.
CNN ARCHIVE: PETER ARNETT
. . . and I think, John, that air-burst took out the
telecommunications you may hear the bombs now.
What is happening now is the emergence of a new, third-wave war form
that has its own special characteristics and is highly dependent upon
the application of knowledge. It embodies the concept of deep battle
that the battle is not waged where the soldiers are, necessarily, or
where the front lines are; the battle may be waged a thousand miles
And it was this strategy of deep battle that made the Gulf War
different from any that preceded it.
The technology of precision, of stealth, of rapid information movement
enabled us to do something that had never been done before: to wage an
entirely different kind of a war for the first time in history.
Literally in a matter of hours we were able to impose shock on the
entire Iraqi system. We were able to do it from the inside to the
outside, as opposed to the old-style Clausewitzian attrition approach
of coming from the outside to the inside. We were able to fight all of
the key battles of the war almost within the first 24 hours, and after
that first 24 hours, even after the first hour, there was almost
nothing that Iraq could do from a military standpoint to get itself
out of the impossible problem in which we had put it.
Lets go back a bit to 1956 when Khrushchev said: We will bury the
West. What he was really saying was that the military industrial
complex of the Soviet Union would win out over the military industrial
complex of the West and note that its industrial. What Khrushchev
didnt understand was that 1956 was the first year in the United
States that white-collar and service employees outnumbered blue-collar
We had the introduction of the birth-control pill; we had the
introduction of mass television; it was the year of the spread of jet
aviation. The industrial complex, military or not, was at its end
The industrial revolution gave rise to mass societies. This was not a
question of East or West. Wherever you had the industrialisation
process, you created societies based on mass production, assembly-line
production. They were brute-force machines for the purpose of
manufacturing millions of identical objects. Parts were
interchangeable lives became interchangeable.
This was true in the military, too. Chief of Staff of the United
States Army, General Sullivan:
The assembly line is probably the perfect metaphor. You had men, you
had warriors, that you would mobilise, put into units, equip, and it
was all a linear process.
You had mass media, the newspaper, you had television, you had mass
education, you had mass entertainment, mass recreation; and as far as
warfare was concerned, you had, for the first time in history, mass
Both the First and Second World Wars were characterised by
industrial-age warfare: lots of munitions, lots of men just
pulverised, no manoeuvre, no movement, just industrial warfare,
grinding each other into the ground.
The third wave brings with it a fundamental change in the structure of
our societies we move from the mass, industrial society that arose
during the last 200 or 300 years to a new kind of society in which
more and more things are demassified. In the factory, instead of
long production runs of the same product, we see more and more
customised production. In distribution we see more and more speciality
stores and boutiques. In communications, instead of two or three
networks, or one or two giant networks, we see more and more different
channels. The same thing is true in the military more and more
different functions within the military, more and more diversity up
and down the line.
What were talking now is simultaneity. (Archive: Panama City, 20
December 1989) In my view the first war of the 21st century was
operation Just Cause. What you saw there was the United States of
America seizing 26 to 28 objectives from midnight until daylight. We
simultaneously shot the enemy down with parachutists from the air,
with Special Operations forces, marine forces on the ground, naval
forces off the ocean, all leveraged by the microprocessor.
The chief characteristics of the third wave or information age are
destandardisation, . . .
Now what were faced with purify water, distribute water in Goma,
Zaire for instance is not war as we know it . . .
. . . demassification, . . .
Up to about 500,000 people have been released from this organisation .
. . . desynchronisation.
The United States Army has soldiers in 70 countries a day.
And as we move towards the third wave, and societies become more
internally complex, more and more information is needed to handle
routine events. Information is the central resource of the third-wave
economy. It is the oil of the future. You cant manage a society any
longer in the way you did before whether youre running a company,
running a government or running an army. You now have far more complex
problems, you need more information, and that cant be done on the
back of an envelope.
At the other end of a telephone you have access to the largest
computer system in the world. There are switches all over the United
States, all over Europe, all over Eastern Europe, Russia, southern
Asia that connect over one billion people to each other, allowing them
to speak to each other. At the other end of the computer today I can
access over 35 million people, over three million different computer
systems, in 167 different countries. Its like having the combined
information wealth of the planet at the end of your computer, at your
One of our big challenges today is to prepare the army for the 21st
century. What has changed in the last five or six years that makes
that different is the information explosion.
And this explosion means that the US military are not just attacking
enemy information systems, theyre revolutionising their own. General
Sullivan, General Salomon and General Hartzog are leading the charge.
Their war cry: digitise the battlefield.
I was involved in the 1989 operation in Panama, and the command
centres were noisy places where a lot of people ran around and there
were little sticky things that were put on acetate maps. Well, I was
just involved last year in the assistance to Haiti. The commands were
issued over video links, there were a number of sources that you could
ask for information and get it in near real time, by video or audio.
It was instructive to me that all this change had occurred in the last
The information age has altered the whole nature of time and space and
distance. Weapons can be launched from any place on the globe, in the
air or on the sea. The information will flow over electronic means.
The commander can sense the battlefield regardless of where hes
The way that we are doing this is through a digitisation process.
. . . harnessing the power of the microprocessor to put battlefield
information in the computer, and digitally pass it between battlefield
The turf, the ground, the environment is all put into a digital
reality and simulated within an electronic box.
Information: it makes you more efficient, more effective, able to do
more with less.
Harnessing this power, the armys Materiel Command, led by General
Salomon, is concentrating its efforts on:
Upgrading our existing weapon systems to make sure that we get this
information technology embedded in all of our weapon systems so you
can hear the Bradley, that can talk to the Abrahams, that can talk to
the Apache, that can talk to the Paladin. So we have this horizontal
technology integration to get this common view of the battlefield.
There is some doubt though about the militarys approach to
digitisation. Former math prodigy, Martin Libicki:
MARTIN C. LIBICKI (Senior Fellow, National Defense University)
Digitising the battlefield might be necessary for the way that we
might want to fight future wars, but if were still thinking of
fighting wars around very visible platforms, such as tanks, in fact we
may be putting our money in the wrong direction. Perhaps we should be
thinking about not necessarily how we make the tanks smarter, but how
we use information warfare to conduct operations without having to use
the tank at all.
In the age of deep battle the same question might be asked about the
I see absolutely no way that information-age technology can replace
War is a dirty, personal thing, and the soldier is at the centre of
The soldier has to be able to link into and perform in an environment
in which information moves rapidly. So the soldier is getting all of
the same attention that every other part of the battlefield is
SPECIALIST JACKSON (US Army)
My weapon is the modular weapon system. This system has been designed
to allow me to mount various types of weapons and sights according to
our mission. Im currently equipped with the M203 grenade launcher, a
daylight camera and a thermal weapons sight.
Give the soldier a small television camera, and then that information
that the soldier gathers can be transmitted back to his operation
These sights, along with the helmet-mounted display, will allow me to
engage targets on the battlefield, day or night, in any weather
conditions, without using the current cheek-to-stock aiming method.
Our 21st-century land warriors move in to clear out bypassed pockets
In my pack Im carrying the soldiers computer. This computer will
have an integrated global positioning system, which will allow the
soldier to know his position on the battlefield at all times. The
computer will also have several preformatted reports, which will allow
the soldier to send his reports in a more reliable and efficient
Information assists in the prosecution of the war.
The computer will be connected to a radio, which will allow me to
receive both digital and voice-message traffic.
It is not an end to itself, but it is a supporting technology that
improves all aspects of war fighting.
With my present combat ensemble I am the land warrior.
But just as the army is changing, so are the threats new threats
that may challenge the relevance of the military itself.
The shift to third-wave information warfare is not just a question of
plugging a computer into an existing weapon system, for example, or
giving everybody a computer. What it is, ultimately, is a battle for
control of the information flows of the world. In the Gulf War you saw
classic examples of the use of propaganda and perception management,
by both sides. In Washington, there was this stunning example of a
traditional form of propaganda: the atrocity story. There you had a
young woman appear before television cameras and talk about babies
being ripped out of incubators in Kuwait, and this horror story, of
course, struck everybodys heart. It later turned out that she was
related to the Kuwaiti embassy and that she was really apparently
following a script prepared by a public-relations agency, and that
this was not necessarily true. On the other hand, at the very same
time, there was Saddam holding hostages and patting the children on
the head in front of the television camera to convey an avuncular
image of himself, what a nice guy he is, to the rest of the world. In
the era of information warfare, all of that is going to become far
more important and be managed with far more sophistication.
At Leeds University Dr Phil Taylor has studied how the military manage
the media, and why they think its so important.
DR PHIL TAYLOR (Institute of Communication Studies)
Most of the senior American personnel in operation Desert Storm were
Vietnam veterans. They were deeply influenced by that experience,
including the media experience that they had. They believed that they
had lost the war in Vietnam almost because of television, not through
any of their own failures, which has been used as a justification for
imposing restrictions on media coverage of battles ever since, right
the way up to operation Desert Storm.
PETE WILLIAMS (Former Pentagon spokesman)
In all the discussions about the policy for accommodating reporters in
the Persian Gulf, I never heard anybody say that we had to be worried
about losing the war on television.
They arranged journalists into pools which were attached to the troops
in the field. The journalists in the pools, of course, were dependent
upon the military not just for their safety, but for access to the
The second element was back in Riyadh and Dhahran, where the vast
majority of journalists were holed up in hotels. They were called
hotel warriors because their ability to report the war was limited
to the official briefings that were held by the Americans and the
British, the Saudis and the French.
Former CNN correspondent, wild man Chuck de Caro, thinks this
reliance on the military compromised the journalism.
CHUCK DE CARO (President, Aerobureau Corporation)
The media, by entering into the pool system with the governments,
wound up as so many obsequious yuppies looking for hand-outs and
calling the reading of those hand-outs news. It wasnt news; wasnt
even bad journalism. It was PR.
Testing this view, Phil Taylor recorded the global television output
during Desert Storm.
This was not a war which was a bloody, brutal war according to the
television images. This was a smart, clean war. It was precisely that
image of the war that the American military wanted to project, which
was why it allowed crews to film Patriot missiles intercepting the
indiscriminate Scuds. I think that the media image helped to sustain
public support for the war. We were treated to a war as infotainment.
I think most military people are sophisticated enough to understand
that you cant really tell the American people what to think about an
operation, and our experience, once it got started, was that the
biggest concern of Americans was that nothing would be done to
jeopardise American lives.
The real war was not really the Scud/Patriot duel, or the smart
missiles. They were military side-shows, but they were central to the
media war. The real war was being fought between soldiers, in a brutal
way, far away from the prying gaze of television.
But just as the armed forces are becoming more sophisticated in their
management of the news, so are the media in how they gather it. Since
leaving CNN, Chuck de Caro has been developing the latest in
CHUCK DE CARO
This is Aerobureau 1. Aerobureau integrates all the things necessary
to do journalism everything into an aircraft that can land on
3,000 feet of gravel. That means the Aerobureau crew can travel 4,250
miles unrefuelled, land in a dirt strip, open up the door, push out a
helicopter, remotely piloted vehicles, and all kinds of other things
necessary to operate for one week, and then begin doing news as any
full-scale news bureau would in any city in the world, except we can
do it in the middle of a jungle or a desert or on a glacier in Canada
if we need to. The advance of these technologies means that the
ability of a government or governments to control access is being
rapidly eroded. As a result, the media becomes a prime player in
We go into Somalia, we see a dead soldier dragged through the streets
on the screens of America.
And the world.
The next day, practically, Congress says: out of Somalia. And
meanwhile in Haiti, CÚdras is watching all of that, and he comes to
the conclusion that the Americans have no resolve, that they can be
easily . . .
CÚdras has his goons on the dock, and says, Youre going to have to
kill us in order to . . . So thats what stopped the invasion.
And indeed Clinton, in what I regard as one of the stupidest moves,
sends a warship off the coast of Haiti and withdraws it because these
hundred guys were on the dock all tracing back to the use of
(John Holliman, CNN, Baghdad:) Wow, holy cow! . . . (President Bush:)
This will not be another Vietnam . . . (President Clinton:) Tonight I
can tell you that they will go . . . (Martin Fletcher, BBC, Tel Aviv,
wearing gas mask:) We dont know if theres a chemical warhead there
or not . . .
The interesting thing is the media are, in fact, becoming almost as
powerful as governments in some issues, in some respects, and yet
nobody ever elected the media. Who elected you and your camera?
CHUCK DE CARO
The power of global television has already changed the nature of war.
In the last century, and to this day, in our military schools were
taught the Clausewitzian definition of war, that is the extension of
politics that uses violence to constrain the enemy to accomplish our
will. But now, with global television, reaching all those various
bodies politic around the world, it is possible to fight a different
kind of war. Its called soft war. Soft war is the hostile use of
global television to shape another nations will by changing its view
At least one part of the US Army is taking this alternative definition
of war to heart. At Fort Bragg in North Carolina the Fourth Division
of Psychological Operations have always recognised the power of
information. Colonel Geoffrey B. Jones is the commanding officer.
COLONEL JEFFREY B. JONES
Psychological Operations [Psyop] is basically the use of information
to effect attitudinal and behavioural change in a foreign audience.
One of the products we developed and disseminated before we got to
Haiti was this leaflet. On the back it says: The road to prosperity
begins with democracy, and on the front we have a sign with little
stick figures walking up towards the sun and along the road it
begins with democracy, the next word is education, then
opportunity, propriety, and it ends with happiness.
In the Gulf Psyop was loudspeaker teams with all of the coalition
The speakers are located on top of the HUMV. Theres a microphone, for
live broadcast, and a Walkman for pre-recorded messages. The range on
this is about two and a half kilometres. They were used in Saudi
Arabia during operation Desert Storm to broadcast surrender appeals.
We also dropped, floated leaflets up in plastic water-bottles on the
SERGEANT RON WELSH
During Desert Shield, Desert Storm, I was a Psyop liaison to the
theatre army headquarters. One of the ideas I came up with was putting
Psyop leaflets in little water-bottles like this and they were dropped
off the coast of Kuwait. The Iraqis did get them. The intent of the
leaflets was to mislead the Iraqi forces to believe that invasion was
coming from the coast, and it worked rather effectively.
With the arrival of the information age, Colonel Joness good
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