Politics & Media
Aug 13, 2008, 09:27AM

Information Warfare

If you've found the coverage from the Russian-Georgian war a little confusing, there's a very good reason why: both sides are engaging in a very sophisticated battle over information and media coverage. According to one analyst, the info war is one that Georgia's winning, even as they're falling back on the ground.

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Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili conducting a press conference with an EU flag in the background. Georgia is not a member of the EU.

“Information is no longer a staff function but an operational one. It is deadly as well as useful.”
—Executive Summary, Air Force 2025 report.

The Georgians didn’t just take this message to heart, they took whole sections out of DoD’s handbook on Information Operations and followed them to the letter. Even the most cursory look at this conflict shows that Georgia’s attack was an almost perfect textbook example of how modern warfare should be fought on the information front. The Georgians showed an amazing grasp of Info Ops concepts, pulling off counterpropaganda, launching disinformation campaigns and manipulating media perceptions as if they did this type of thing every day.

Oh, the Russians tried to do their part, too. But it still isn’t clear if they didn’t give a shit about what the world thought or just failed miserably. Either way, it was bad news for the Kremlin. Despite a military victory, they are going to have a heard time getting the world to go along with their plans for post-war Georgia. All because they failed to win over the hearts and minds of the world community. The Georgians knew the importance of a well-defined information war strategy. That’s because Georgia has had ample training by the masters of this art: America and Israel. Both have provided military strategy assistance, not to mention weapons training. The Americans were just in Georgia giving them a month-long military refresher course called “Immediate Response 2008” (tab picked up by U.S. taxpayers). Israeli advisers were spotted in Georgia during the first few days of the war and had been training the country for years. In fact, Georgia’s Defense Minister, Davit Kezerashvili, is a former Israeli himself.


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