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PSU STS 200 F2006 Mil Mental

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What is Propaganda and How Does It Affect Society?Edit

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Propaganda is the spreading of ideas, information or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person; ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or damage an opposing cause.[1] Propaganda is used all the time for various things. We see it everyday as advertisements, in the news, everywhere. It was most notoriously used for the war cause in World War II. Signs and posters portraying Hitler as an evil power, along with the Japanese being portrayed as evil as well, were used to try to rally the people to support the war. It was used as somewhat of an illusion, showing that war was a necessity. For World War II it worked, unlike Vietnam and now the war in Iraq. There is not enough propaganda supporting the war in Iraq as there is against it. Therefore, the majority of Americans do not support the war and it is viewed as an unnecessary war by many. Propaganda is a huge part of mental warfare. If you do not have your people rallying behind the war and believing in the war, how can you really win? How do the soldiers fighting in the war feel, knowing that many of their own people do not support what they are doing?

Are We Becoming too Reliant on Technology?Edit

Today there is the thought that we are becoming too reliant on technology to help win us wars. Some believe that technology helps us and is the reason why we are such a powerful force in the world. However, others believe that we are too reliant on it. They feel that if an enemy were to detonate a large enough electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bomb, which would wipe out all electronic equipment in certain areas of the country, that we would be crippled and could not do anything. Also it is believed that a computer virus could enter our networks at the Pentagon and destroy these networks, again crippling the military. What is the right answer? Is there one? It is also thought that soldiers are becoming too reliant on the use of GPS to find their way around. Yet the soldiers themselves embrace the use of such technology. If the use of technology makes them feel safer, then they have a mental edge. Technological warfare has come about through the use of modern technology in military weapons. Guidance systems appear to be the most influential to the military as they are used in everything from tanks to missiles. Technology has brought improvements to frontline weapons, missiles, and air power. These advances make the militaries of today more effective and have opened up a new type of warfare.[2] Could we survive without technology?

Is War Becoming a “Video Game”?Edit

War today is very different than what it used to be. One thousand years ago it was swords, horses and bow and arrows. One hundred years ago it was rifles, machine guns and some small vehicles. In World War II it was tanks airplanes, machine guns, grenades and so on. Now it’s guided missiles, stealth bombers, unmanned aircrafts, and infrared scopes and so on. Is the outcome of war now just the push of a button? True, the use of unmanned aircrafts does save lives but does the use of these machines almost defy the concept of war itself? New technology can also destroy more human lives. For example, nuclear warhead detonation over a populated area results in catastrophic numbers of casualties. So again, is war just the push of a button? War has been a large part of history since the dawn of man. Are we just taking the next step in warfare or is the process of war itself going to be decided by a computer? We humans still control the computers and buttons, but for how much longer?

Is War Itself all just Perception?Edit

Is war perception? By this, is it safe to wonder if we create the illusion that war is a necessity, we can win, and what we are doing is right, even if these points are not true? If soldiers do not believe in their cause and do not believe they are safe, then they probably will not be as effective as they would be if they believed in their cause and that everything was going to be alright. War can also be just a perception to society. The media has a lot to do with this. The media can create the way a war appears to the public. A few years ago when the war in Iraq had just begun, there was much news coverage every day, and the perception of the war changed each day. “During the five-day period, TV coverage of air attacks on Baghdad and the coalition forces' rapid push gave way to reports of casualties, Iraqi resistance and Americans held captive. The bad news has registered to them, but it hasn't undermined their resolve," Pew Research Center director Andrew Kohut said of the poll results. “The number of people who said the war was going very well was 50 percent on Thursday; one day after the conflict began. That number rose to 71 percent Friday and 69 percent Saturday before dropping to 52 percent Sunday and 38 percent Monday.”[3] This article shows that war is indeed mostly perception, what is seen, and what is believed. It ties back to propaganda. So again is war, even the outcome sometimes, just perception?

Discussion PointsEdit

  • What is propaganda? How does it affect society?
  • If you do not have your people rallying behind a war and believing in the war, how can you really win?
  • How do the soldiers fighting in a war feel if they know that many of their own people do not support what they * doing?
  • Are we becoming too reliant on technology?
  • Could we survive without technology?
  • Is war becoming a “video game”?
  • Is war perception?

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.esrnational.org/whatispropaganda.htm (Accessed 26 November 2006)
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_warfare (Accessed 26 November 2006)
  3. Associated Press, 2003. "Confidence in war effort dropping, daily polls show." Sun-Sentinal. http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/iraq/bal-te.hoot26mar26,0,3242677.story (Accessed 26 November 2006)

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