The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


There are two types of warfare that are relevant in our attempts to defeat Islamofascism.

The first, Kinetic Warfare, is the on-going physical battle against specific Jihadist groups and infrastructure. In essence, we try to kill or capture them before they kill or kidnap us. Our efforts in this arena are well-documented and marginally effective, although dramatically constrained by a uniquely western overlay of concern for collateral damage, proportionality, the “rights” of Jihadists when captured, and other “morally” based issues. Islamofascists use these self-imposed constraints against us quite effectively. The result, I fear, is that we cannot win in kinetic warfare as long as we constraint the actions of our military. And worse, it’s likely that the constraints I mention will grow more restrictive in the coming years as Left-leaning leadership prevails throughout Europe and the United States.

The second type of warfare, Information Warfare, has been discussed in a lengthy report by Daniel Kimmage and Kathleen Ridolfo of Radio Free Europe. Their findings are summarized by Wretchard of The Belmont Club:
Sunni insurgents in Iraq and their supporters worldwide are exploiting the Internet to pursue a massive and far-reaching media campaign. Insurgent media are forming perceptions of the war in Iraq among the best-educated and most influential segment of the Arab population.

1. The Iraqi insurgent media network is a boon to global jihadist media, which can use materials produced by the insurgency to reinforce their message.
2. Mainstream Arab media amplify the insurgents’ efforts, transmitting their message to an audience of millions.
3. The insurgent propaganda network does not have a headquarters, bureaucracy, or brick-and-mortar infrastructure. It is decentralized, fast-moving, and technologically adaptive.
4. The rising tide of Sunni-Shi'ite hate speech in Iraqi insurgent media points to the danger of even greater sectarian bloodshed. A wealth of evidence shows that hate speech paved the way for genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
5. The popularity of online Iraqi Sunni insurgent media reflects a genuine demand for their message in the Arab world. An alternative, no matter how lavishly funded and cleverly produced, will not eliminate this demand.
6. There is little to counter this torrent of daily press releases, weekly and monthly magazines, books, video clips, full-length films, and even television channels.
7. We should not concede the battle without a fight. The insurgent media network has key vulnerabilities that can be targeted. These include: A lack of central coordination and a resulting lack of message control; A widening rift between homegrown nationalist groups and Al-Qaeda affiliated global jihadists

These findings coincide with those of a counterterrorism expert I recently heard speak who concluded that the messages emanating from Iraq were radicalizing Muslims in Western countries to a dangerous degree. It was this radicalizing message, with its theme of Muslim victimization and the duty to Jihad repeated time and again, which motivated cells to act in general concert with other cells of which they often had no explicit knowledge.

We are losing the InfoWar badly, and worse, our politicians do not understand it or the way to fight it. Our MSM, instead of assisting in the fight, acts as a tool of the Jihadists and in many ways enhances their InfoWar fighting capabilities.

The conventional thinking – completely wrong in my opinion – is that we need to “get our message across” to Islam using outreach to Imams in mosques, placing pro-Western news stories in Arab and Islamic media, being certain never to antagonize Islam, and of course, “addressing the grievances” that have so roiled Islam. At some level, a majority of Congress and a substantial percentage of the American people believe that an exit from Iraq will blunt the Jihadists InfoWar advantage.

Wretchard comments:
An American retreat from Iraq would change the details, but not the general tenor of the terrorist narrative. Other pretexts will be found -- the Balkans, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Mindanao -- to justify further attacks. The only way to counter a narrative is to produce a counter-narrative -- a plausible version of events and a roadmap to the future which will compete with that of the Jihad's …

But these religious precepts [contained in Jihadist’s narrative] are cleverly packaged. Like the standardized formats of the Western infotainment; the soap opera, sitcom and cop-show, the Jihadis offer an equivalent menu of time-tested genres based on Islamic culture. There are scriptural texts, inspirational stories, martyr biographies and even -- for the literary minded -- poetry. The media varies. There are books, audiovisuals, videotaped attacks, etc. And unlike the Western media which sees it as a duty to criticize their societies and their governments, Jihadi media is frankly partisan. Only Western civilization has no advocate in the raging debate; bereft of even so much as a public defender.

But what is this counter-narrative? In my view, it must be designed to exploit divisions in Islam (e.g., Sunni vs. Shia) using the narrative of each group to inculcate fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the Jihadist path throughout the Moslem world. And it must do so using Jihadist words and images, reworked to show inconsistency, retooled to exploit internal hatreds, redefined to show that the path Islamofascism advocates is not the path defined by the Koran.

It must be relentless and unpitying, using video produced by Jihadists in a way that confronts all of Islam with the Barbarism Jihadists advocate. It must be unapologetic in its images and tone, suggesting that, for example, Al Qaeda’s slaughter of an entire village in Iraq (something that was not, unsurprisingly, reported by our MSM) could come to your village in Jordan, or Gaza, or Afghanistan, or Morocco. It must play on tribalism, mistrust, and century-old feuds. It must seek to divide. It must, seek to destroy the Jihadist message by using the Jihadist message.

It must be hardcore. It must be InfoWar. And we haven’t even begun to understand it, let alone fight it.