Psychological warfare is warfare against the thinking of individuals or groups of individuals. The purpose is to change or alter their thinking or behavior until it causes them to undertake a course of action which is beneficial to the person or organization which conducts the warfare.
We all engage in psychological warfare each day whether we realize it or not. When we resist or succumb to the will of people who attempt to manipulate us or lead us to perform certain actions. They use whatever mental gimmicks or means of persuasion to get us to do what they want us to do. Sometimes its just straight up coercion, sometimes persuasion, and sometimes we do things out of love or respect for the other person.
Psychological warfare aims to influence the mindset of a targeted people when it is used by a government or organization. The people who are targeted may be government officials, troops, or the indigenous civilian population of that country. Psychological operations or warfare may be used to sway world opinion either for or against a nation or group of people.
A prime example of this is the human shield policies which the Taliban used in the war on terror. They would force innocent civilian men, women, and children to stay on military areas which they knew would be bombed. Once the facilities were bombed they would blame the Unites States for the casualties. This tactic was designed to incite world opinion against the United States and in most cases it worked. World opinion mounted and caused the native citizens and even other nations to oppose the war. Now I am not voicing a stand either for or against the war on terror here, I am merely relating how psychological warfare was successful in this instance.
Psychological warfare seeks to change beliefs towards a nation or government, or a racial or ethnic group, or even the people in power in a government.
In order for this type of warfare to be successful it must change the value system of the target population. It must cause the target audience to believe that something is ethically wrong with those whom it seeks to depose. If you ever watched the movie Mission Impossible you got to witness a prime example of psychological warfare. The purpose of each episode of the show was to cause the target to change his or her behavior based on an altered perception of reality. Sometimes, however you can attempt to change the perception of people who have been thinking incorrectly into correct thinking.
If you can effectively use this warfare to stir up the emotions of a people you might possibly cause them to revolt, or perform tasks consistent with the overthrow of the status quo. I dont know for sure but I suspect that the widespread unrest which took place in many Arab countries in 2011 was the result of a sustained campaign of psychological warfare by someone. Those who protested or revolted did so because of a sense of wrong doings committed against them. Here again Im not taking sides because I dont know if the perceptions of the people were correct or not.
This type of warfare also seeks to change or reinforce attitudes and behaviors which serve to help the originator to accomplish his objectives. Military Ring Express