Winning the psychological war

August 09, 2012, Thursday/ 17:02:00

Viet Cong militants, who had been known to use hit-and-run tactics, suddenly attacked US troops in Vietnam and the Vietnamese army on Jan. 30, 1968 with a force of about 80,000.

No one was expecting such an attack, because on the part of the guerillas, who had insufficient strength to be considered an army, this attack on the strong US Army was akin to an act of suicide. And the expected indeed happened. This sudden attack was bloodily suppressed by the US and South Vietnamese forces. The clashes ended with the obvious victory of the US and tens of thousands of Viet Cong killed. However, surprisingly, the Viet Cong psychologically won the war, creating the image of an army rather than a guerilla group and shifting the US Army’s image from “an army that no other force dares fight with in frontline battle” to “an army even some freebooters dare to fight against.” Today, psychological wars are far more violent than wars with firearms, because today’s wars do not take place on frontlines but on TVs. Look at Syria, Iraq or Hakkari’s Şemdinli district in Turkey. Everyone pursues victories on the screens; they don’t care about losing power in frontline battles. And winning the psychological war is the duty of politicians and intelligence bodies.