US leadership consistently underestimated the role that information operations played in the Taliban’s power. Although we identified this misstep over a decade ago, it appears we may have erred one last time.
It doesn’t matter if the lie is easily rebutted. Indeed in one sense rebuttals are part of the plan because they result in the subject of the lie being amplified and kept on, or near, the top of the news agenda. The ultimate goal of strategic lying is to have an impact on the salience of issues.
The US and UK militaries struggled with influence operations in the Middle East, so they hired SCL, a company renowned for its psychological operations (psyops). When that business ran dry, SCL looked for business elsewhere: politicians.