Information operations

Images: A matter of Perspective

The same image, here presented three different ways, can present three entirely different stories.

The original in the middle seems to portray a US soldier or Marine giving water to a soldier from another country while being ‘covered’ (for security) by another soldier.  It is unclear to me where the photo is from but it appears to be over ten years old.  What appears to be ‘US soldiers‘ are wearing BDUs or Battle Dress Uniforms, which were phased out about ten years ago.  One of the ‘soldiers’ is wearing a gortex jacket, a desert camo helmet cover and an NVG mount on his helmet.  The soldier holding the rifle has either a laser designator or a ‘scope’ of some type, but it is not mounted on a piccatiny rail system or on the carrying handle on the M-16, and not even an M-4 carbine.


Now, let’s look at the other two pictures.

The one on the left could be judged anti-US, the soldier has his M-16 pointed at the ‘prisoner’s head.  The canteen with the water cannot be seen.  Here we clearly can say pointing the rifle at the other soldier’s head is an aggressive action.

The one on the right shows a ‘US soldier’ giving aid (water) to a soldier in a foreign uniform.  The rifle pointing at the soldier’s head cannot be seen.

This is a good example of how the same photo can be clipped to show a different message.  There is nothing illegal or immoral about this, but it does show manipulation of the truth.

So what?

In many cases pictures speak more powerfully than words, but, like the words we use, they can be manipulated and only selective elements of the truth might be presented.  Question everything, don’t allow yourself to be blindly manipulated, seek the truth, the whole story behind the picture.  When presenting the truth, to build long term trust, present the whole and complete story.  Attempt to show the whole truth.