During the U.S. government's decade-long support of the Contra rebels who waged an armed campaign against Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista regime in the 1980s, the CIA funneled all manner of assistance to the anti-socialist “freedom fighters,” from training and financial assistance to covert operations. The original “advise and assist” mission was a disaster in retrospect, spurring all manner of human rights violations as well as the modern crack cocaine scourge. But the CIA aid program’s most fascinating product might be the batshit crazy psychological warfare manual cooked up for the Nicaraguan counter-revolutionaries.
When people think about U.S. Army equipment, what probably comes to mind are tanks, gunship helicopters, self-propelled artillery, and other larger advanced weapons — all great for blowing things up. However, American troops often rely on a very different gear to both confuse and demoralize enemy troops and “win the hearts and minds” of civilians on and around the battlefield.