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audience, it is impossible to prevent some misunderstandings from arising. The two most effective defenses against this could be found in:
First, sustained coordination with the Voice of America for the dissemination of acceptable translations of new American terms, slogans, and particular symbols; Second, clearance through Pentagon level of the approved Army translations into foreign languages, for major audiences at least, of new military terms which may touch unintended audiences in the wrong way. This problem, while annoying, is less than catastrophic.
The larger problem of “unintended audience” is more serious. Partial understanding of the United States, taken directly from American channels, can lead to an extreme hostility toward the United States for reasons which are misconceived or merely verbal. The audience which does not even think that it understands Americans may be animated by a human curiosity or even by an elementary friendliness toward something novel and entertaining. This is the group which believes that it understands Americans, but does so on incorrect conceptions which have been derived from American sources. The fact that the source is itself American makes the misunderstanding so much the harder to cure.
An extreme case of this can be taken from India and Pakistan, both beneficiaries of the United States. The fact that English is the common elite language in each of them makes Indians and Pakistani feel that they already understand Americans. They cannot get much unintended Russian-to-Russian material, because very few of them know enough of the language to intercept intra-Soviet mass communications, whether newspapers, magazines, or radio. America, they are sure they understand—and they are more wrong than right. The word “socialism,” has come to India and Pakistan from British English; in their context it means social welfare plus a modicum of public ownership, not much more. By their own definition, the United States ought to be recognized as the most “socialist” nation on earth, since our welfare expenditures certainly surpass those of the USSR. But the Americans themselves deny that they are “socialist.” This simple twisting of an apparently familiar word puts the Americans in the position, year after year, of seeming to insist that we want our poor suffering, our old suffering, our old starving, our sick neglected or in debt, and our children unprotected. We mean no such thing. The misunderstanding persists and in the case of many Indians and Pakistani, even a visit to the United States does not cure the trouble.
Here the trouble does not lie in translation but in the English itself. There is needed a dictionary of ideas, supplementary to the various country handbooks for which the Army has already contracted, to indicate major sectors of misunderstanding which come from the unexpected eavesdropping of foreign audiences on American-to-American communications. A civic action program will have to de-gauss, as it were, the magnetic fields of rigid misunderstanding which Americans carry with them. The problem, one might hasten to add, is particularly an American
one, because of all the empire-builders and peace-keepers the world has ever known—it is we, more than Macedonians, Romans, Franks, French, or British, who feel the need to be understood and to be liked. The British felt it was enough to be respected and feared. We, in our time carry the neighborliness of our inward traditions with us and insist on making friends with our allies and even with our enemies, once we have conquered them. Much of the resistance to us comes from people who -meeting American friendliness and activity for the first time—mistake it for blood-brotherhood, for an immediate crusade, or for some other element in their own culture. The partially “Americanized" personality is a more formidable, more misleading antagonist than the person who has nothing but Soviet lies on which to base his misconceptions of the United States.
Part of the remedy for this situation would consist of a more careful checking of the foreign press in areas where U.S. forces are stationed, or expected, to make sure military professionalism is included in almost every story concerning our trained units. Their home state, their commander's personality, their marvelous new equipment, their previous assignmentall these are secondary to the critical issue: "Will they fight well, if they must?" Unless this question is answered, and answered very well, the rest of our overseas public relations might as well go by the board.
THE DECISION TO DEFECT*
BY LAWRENCE E. GRINTER
PSYOP planners, particularly in tactical operations, must take into detailed account the physical as well as the psychological environment of the audience so that messages do not
require physically impractical responses. When a member of the Viet Cong decides to break with his old way of life and ask the GVN for amnesty, he must consider the safest way to leave the insurgent organization. In this regard many problems immediately arise. The act of surrender can be very dangerous. If communist cadres realize that a man is wavering toward surrender, they usually take immediate action, such as "reeducation," imprisonment or worse. Many hoi chanh (ralliers) were interviewed who had waited months before slipping away because of the lack of opportunity or the fear of discovery. Even when they did leave the Viet Cong, it could be difficult getting safely into Government areas. The following story seemed typical of the kind of problems that often arose.
One defector explained:
*Excerpts from “Amnesty in South Viet Nam: An Analysis of the Chieu Hoi (Open Arms) Program in the Republic of Viet Nam,” M. A. thesis, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1967. Reprinted with the permission of the author, copyright holder.
It is never easy to rally. I walked up to a Popular Force soldier and I told him, “I am a Viet Cong and I want to surrender.” He was quite frightened. I did not know how to say hoi chanh, so he pulled out a pistol and pointed it at me. I told him to search me, that I wanted to surrender. He wasn't entirely ready to believe me. He went and got a platoon of Popular Force soldiers and they found my buried documents and gun and then they believed me.'
Another rallier who worked as a communication agent in Phu Yen province was typically pessimistic about the ease of escaping.
There's no generally safe way. Since many Viet Cong have rallied, the VC maintain a much tighter control. Even if you want to go fifty meters away from your unit, you have to inform the squad leader. A Viet Cong can only escape when he goes on a mission to some village.? One officer, who became a commander of an Armed Propaganda Team in Hué, found that the necessity of producing a Safe Conduct Pass (SCP) to GVN authorities as a guarantee of intentions added to the difficulties of defecting. While it is doubtful that the pass hindered defection more than it aided it, the officer's experience was duplicated time and again during the defection process. For example, a number of hoi chanh indicated that they had to hide SCP's in their shirt cuffs or collars, especially when V.C. cadres had just witnessed leaflet drops.
Some hoi chanh never were able to defect. For example, in the summer of 1966 in Binh Duong province, forty-one Viet Cong Phu Loi Batallion soldiers were killed in action with safe conduct passes hidden on their bodies.
The decision to defect from the Viet Cong often became a time of agonizing delay. The insurgent was not sure; often he was barraged with feelings of uncertainty and doubt.
I waited for five months before rallying because I was very suspicious. I told no one—not even my children. I was afraid they would talk about it. Finally, I told my wife I could not stay with the Viet Cong any longer. She came with me.3 Another rallier responded this way: Q. Was it hard for you to rally once you decided to do so? A. It was two months between the time I decided [to rally) and the time I actually did. The difficulties were the battle in my own mind; for example, I had doubts as to whether the Government would treat me well or not, and I also had trouble because I was so well indoctrinated and had been in the Party so long. I had been in Communist ranks for twenty years and eight months. When hoi chanh did defect, they usually came out alone or sometimes with token help from a relative or friend. This rallier, a Viet Cong village chief, had a plan:
I sent a letter to the Chief of Police in Long An by way of an ex-policeman whom I knew very well, and we specified a place. I went to that place and the Chief sent a policeman to greet me there.5 Thus the problem of making the process of defection simpler does not seem to be remediable by the Government. The GVN has broadcast numerous methods whereby ralliers can defect more safely, but in the final instance it all depends upon the rallier and his ingenuity in evading the Communist control system and convincing local GVN authorities he is sincere.
NOTES 1. C. H. 7, p. 32. Notes refer to unpublished interview schedules administered during interview sessions with hoi chanh. The interviews were conducted by the SIMULMATICS CORPORATION in South Vietnam June 1966-January 1967. Title of the project was: “Improving the Effectiveness of the Chieu Hoi Program” OSD/ARPA-AGILE ARO #877, August 1967. 2. C.H. 44, p. 25. 3. C.H. 17, p. 7. 4. C.H. 66, p. 49. 5. C.H. 64, p. 25.
The articles below emphasize different aspects of message preparation, development, and production. Simple and obvious themes should be used, appealing to human emotions in a manner congenial to the particular cultures involved in PSYOP campaigns. The effects of appeals showing a favorable attitude toward the audience are illustrated in, "The Soviet 'Peace and Progress' Broadcasts."
The proper idiom, language, and accent are called for in “Brief Observation on the Importance of Up to Date Language in 'Black' or 'Grey' Propaganda.” “Films From the Viet Cong” illustrates the point that overemphasis of themes, along with poor production qualities, may fail to arouse the desired emotions among members of the target groups. In "The Viet Cong Slogan Slip" and "Leaflets at a Glance," the view is advanced that short and punchy messages, easily received, visible, and readable, may be more effective with some target groups than more elaborate and expensively produced messages. The importance of offering alternatives to the audience, the mediating qualities of prior communications, and the timing of the communication with certain auspicious events are underscored in "Golden Bridges,” “Incitement to Revolt," and "Sihanouk's Appeal to the Monks of Cambodia.”
In spite of the precautions taken in the preparation of persuasive political communications material, the effects of psychological operations are apt to be fortuitous and unpredictable. For this reason, message content should be pretested in order to estimate the effects of a PSYWAR campaign in advance.
SELECTION OF THEMES*
By Carl BERGER
Leaflet messages, particularly in tactical leaflets, should avoid ridicule of the target and use of sophisticated political propaganda themes, and should concentrate on the use of simple
messages directed to the target's basic and immediate needs and wants.
*Excerpts from An Introduction to Wartime Leaflets, Documentary Study No. 1, The American University, Special Operations Research Office, Washington, D.C., 1959, AD 220 821, pp. 27-33.
In writing or preparing a propaganda leaflet, it is clear that there are no hard-and-fast principles one can follow. The final report of the Psychological Warfare Division, SHAEF, states flatly, "There can be little descriptive material on the subject of how to write a leaflet," and suggests the propagandist simply must stay alert to the changing military picture, must study the intelligence reports on the various target groups, and must be aware of the limitations under which he is operating (that is, his government's policies).1
However, the leaflet writer should be aware of some general approaches which have proved profitable in the past. For example, there is a recommended approach for appealing to enemy troops in the field. According to Richard Crossman, under these circumstances the whole art of the leaflet “is to appear as a simple, honourable offer by one honourable soldier to another, saying, “You have fought very gallantly; now is the time when you have a perfectly good reason for giving in a little earlier.” 2
a Crossman's view is endorsed by the experiences gained by other Allied propagandists of World War II. The Fifth Army Combat Propaganda Team reported on its experiences against the Germans:
We have learned, partly from the effect of German leaflets on our own troops, partly from other evidence, that hostile, condescending or sarcastic leaflets—no matter how much fun to write-defeat their own purpose. In a war among soldiers, recognition of the enemy's soldierly qualities, credit for bravery, soldier-to-soldier talk (where these matters are pertinent and justifiable) are like butter on bread -they make it swallow easier. 3 Similarly, in the Leyte campaign during the liberation of the Philippines, a Seventh Division leaflet writer strongly objected to the sarcastic approach to the Japanese soldiers. “Why,” he asked, “should we address them as 'Rats in a Trap' or caricature them as 'Sad Sacks?' These things only infuriate them and provide their officers with something to create unity in trying circumstances and to further their resistance.” - Language specialists with the Seventh Division, who interrogated Japanese prisoners, agreed that American leaflets should include such things as praise for the Japanese soldier for his heroic conduct and a brief statement of the tactical situation, without exaggeration. “Any ridicule of the individual Japanese soldiers,” they reported, “belittlement of his equipment, or insulting his leaders was found to create an adverse effect." 5
Rule Number One, then appears to be: In a tactical leaflet, ridicule should be avoided and the writer should stick to the military facts. The enemy should be treated as honorable soldiers who are not to blame for the unfavorable circumstances they find themselves in. (Italics added.]
Another general leaflet rule is: The simpler and more direct a leaflet is in language, the more chance it has of being understood by the target audience. Long political harangues would seem to have little place in leaflets. [Italics added.] This is true of both tactical and strategic propaganda. For example, the early British leaflets dropped on Germany in September and October 1939 were made up of long political arguments. One such leaflet stated (excerpts):