November 15, 2009
By Jeff Gates

In unconventional warfare, manipulated beliefs are used to displace inconvenient facts. When waging war by way of deception, false beliefs are an oft-deployed weapon. Recall Iraqi weapons of mass destruction? Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda? Iraqi mobile biological weapons laboratories?

Iraqi meetings in Prague with Al Qaeda? Iraqi purchases of yellowcake uranium from Niger? All these claims were reported as true. All were later proven false or, worse, fabricated. Yet all were widely believed. Only the yellowcake uranium was conceded as bogus before the invasion of Iraq. As the U.S. crafted its response to the provocation of a mass murder on U.S. soil, those widely shared beliefs shaped a consensus to wage war on a nation that had no hand in it.

A similar deception-traceable to the same source-is now working to expand this war to Iran. Based on fast-emerging events, the next conflict could include Pakistan.

The modern battlefield has shifted. Ground warfare is now secondary. Likewise air strikes, combat troops, naval support and even covert operations. Those physical operations are all downstream of information operations. Manipulated beliefs come first. Psyops precede bombs and bullets. Hardware ranks a distant third.

First and foremost are the consensus shapers and thought manipulators who target perceptions and opinions until a critical mass of agreement is reached. Then comes war. Those skilled at such duplicity induced coalition troops to war in Iraq. Knowledge was their target. Manipulate thought and all else was downstream.

Unconventional warfare is waged “upstream” with the assistance of those with the means, motive and opportunity to massage consensus opinion. Where are modern-day battles fought? Not on the ground nor in the air nor on the seas.

The mindset is the primary theater of operations. The first battlefield is the public’s shared field of consciousness. The death and destruction come later.

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