From the slides accompanying a briefing titled Iraq, Afghanistan, and Self-Inflicted Wounds by Anthony H. Cordesman (30-page pdf):
Only Local Allies Can Win Hearts and Minds, Achieve Information Dominance
- The US can do much to justify its own position and actions, but cannot win at a broader level.
- The host country and regional actors will dominate the information battle and war of perceptions:
- The US and UK will never be Muslim states or be able to deal with underlying religious issues.
- The nations in the Long War have their own cultural, social, and political values and they are not American.
- Western forces and spokesman will always be seen as outsiders, if not imperialists and occupiers.
- The credibility of what local governments and security forces say, not Americans, is critical to popular support.
- Local conciliation and compromise are the key to sectarian, ethnic, and other factional issues.
Enemies become superfluous after enough self-inflicted wounds
Self-Inflicted Wounds in Seeking “Information Dominance”
- Impossible demands and expectations.
- Unkept promises. Exaggerated reports of progress.
- Lack of local government follow-up.
- Tactical operations that alienate the population; Bull in the China Shop
- Disregard/lack of language and culture experience.
- “Christian”and “secular”force.
- Collateral damage.
- Civilian casualties.
- Worst case incidents dominate; strategic corporal.
- Conspiracy theories. Desire to export the blame.
- Primacy of local and regional media.
- Ties to Israel.
- Life is not fair, but it is real.