Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Information Warfare From Pre-History to Ukraine


Guest Post by Joe Lauria

The Ukraine war is rife with information warfare from both sides, rising to a ubiquity and sophistication perhaps never seen before.

The first thing to keep in mind is that information warfare is war. War by other means, but war nonetheless. The object is to win. To defeat your opponent. Information Warfare, as it is now called but known as propaganda earlier, has been around in rudimentary form from the beginning of humanity, evolving over millennia largely by the advancement of technology, political systems and the education of populations.

In pre-history, we can see a kind of information warfare in the culture of war, sending a message both to the domestic group and to the enemy. This took the form of beating drums, for instance, which remains with us today in the expression of “beating the drums of war.” But also in dance, and chant, and decoration of the warrior. All this prepared the people for war and was intended to instill fear in the enemy.

With settlement in cities, and the development of writing – the start of so-called civilization – new technologies were used in what we call today information warfare. Architecture played an important role to inspire awe in both the ruler’s subjects and in his enemies. The lions on the gates of Babylon, the pyramids at Zoser and Giza and the triumphal arches of Rome sent messages of grandeur and power to friend and foe alike.