KABUL, Afghanistan – Onlookers were stunned today when Capt. Chad McCarthy, an officer with 4th Psychological Operations Group, provided a realistic capability brief to the task force command and staff to which he was attached.
“I’ve heard a lot of PSYOPS briefings in my time, but this one was different,” Chief Warrant Officer 3 Pat Mulvaney said. “He didn’t promise to blast goat porn to Jihadis on SnapChat, bomb illiterate villagers with wordy leaflets, or even use that neurotoxin that makes these goat herders compliant all the time. It’s like he wasn’t even trying.”
Psychological operations, or PSYOPS, has a long and storied history in the U.S. military. In 1776, then Gen. George Washington took a group of men who had washed out of the colonial Special Forces training to play songs such as “Yankee Doodle” near British occupied areas to taunt the Red Coats. Though the efforts were of limited value to the cause, Washington saw it as a way to employ the Army’s artists, poets, and “buggers.” Sadly, most of these men were captured and forced to dance in Tory gentlemen’s clubs.
Sources close to McCarthy say he was distraught when he discovered the primary PSYOPS mission was to convince others in the special operations community of its relevance. Once he deployed to Afghanistan, McCarthy became completely disillusioned.
“It started with little things, like telling the task force commander that blasting Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ around Taliban strongholds would only confuse them or make them start growing mullets,” said Sgt. Brent Goodman, one of McCarthy’s soldiers. “Then he went off the reservation and listed all the actual capabilities we could do without Combatant Commander, SecDef, or Presidential approval. I can’t give specific numbers but it’s basically nothing.”
“I had to report him.”