The U.S. Central Command thinks they’re on to the next viral video sensation — targeted ISIS stations blowing up real good. On Friday, the official @CENTCOM Twitter posted this enticing bit of click-bait: “Have you seen the latest airstrike videos from operations against #ISIL in #Iraq?” The tweet then links to the official CentCom YouTube channel, which has begun posting birds-eye-view videos of hellfire raining from the sky.
Of the many criticisms the U.S. government has received since the beginning of the War On Terrorism, their lack of transparency has been one of the biggest. Previous wars featured news broadcasts of coffins coming home, and a general belief that it was important to work closely with the media. In fact, Desert Storm was often referred to as a “media war.” When I was a kid, I actually had a set of Desert Storm Trading Cards. Think about that, the first Iraq war was so popular that kids were collecting trading cards featuring “The Commander In Chief” and “General ‘Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf.” With the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration began the trend of shutting out the public and the media, a trend that has led to numerous scandals and the creation of WikiLeaks.
Now that CentCom has a target that is almost universally hated, they apparently think it’s time to switch from lovey dovey propaganda videos to cool demonstrations of massive military power. Whether that decision is a wise move will probably depend on all of those targets actually containing enemies rather than civilians, aid workers, or journalists.
ISIS needs be stopped, but considering that just last week John Kerry stated the War On ISIS “might take years”, fuck-ups are bound to happen, in which case expect U.S. Central Command’s social media stream to get a lot less interesting.