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

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A War We Are Losing

We’re losing a war. It’s just not the one you think. The war we are losing, unequivocally and undeniably, is the Information War (IW) that Islamofascists have been waging since 9/11.

Janet Albrechtsen quotes David Kilcullen, an Australia political anthropologist who is a consultant to the US Sate Department:
"Al-Qa'ida's main effort is being made in an area that we are only beginning to recognise as part of the struggle. It's armed propaganda.

"The things that they do are all designed to support an information message. They are using information as a weapon."

The aim of jihadists may be a medieval caliphate. But theirs is a very modern marketing strategy, as they try to integrate motley groups with local grievances into global jihad. Like a Christmas shopping brochure, there is something for every potential jihadist. Beheadings of infidels in Iraq are videotaped, edited for effect and broadcast across media platforms. We see them on YouTube, but on terrorist websites viewers can click on the "Donate" icon to send money to finance infidel deaths. There are fortnightly al-Qa'ida propaganda bulletins (Sawt al-Jihad), magazines for the girl jihadist (al-Khansa), fortnightly online training manuals (al-Battar). Online blogs and password-protected chat rooms are also linking up disparate groups to fight the global insurgency.

The Global Islamic Media Front, a jihadist mouthpiece, has released computer games (Night of Bush Capturing) and, for those who prefer comedy, there's Jihad Candid Camera. But this is no joke. According to the SITE Institute in the US, the Global Islamic Media Front calls on the sons and daughters of Islam to join the information jihad to attack America's "weak point".

So what are our options? We’re losing the IW badly—our message is muddled at best, non-existent at worse. If we try to manage news content into the Muslim world, our own left-leaning MSM screams bloody murder, accusing the Bush administration of “propaganda.” This from MSM news outlets that enthusiastically broadcast Islamofascist propaganda on our own networks, refuse to critically assess its veracity, and often produce faux newstories when Islamist propaganda is unavailable.

At home, we’re losing the information war because the vast majority of the MSM cares far more about making the Bush administration look bad (something that is an easy job lately!) than in providing accurate reports, context, and yes, even the occasional success that does come out of Iraq and the broader GWoT.

But Americans are tough and exhibit an inherent sense of the truth. They may become disheartened by the incessant MSM anti-Bush drumbeat, but over the long haul, the MSM is trusted by fewer and fewer people and may ultimately get exactly what it deserves – irrelevance.

On the international scene, the IW is going very poorly. Some of the billions that are being spent in Iraq should be reallocated to a new, savvy IW – one that recognizes the unique Islamic market and sells them a different product that somehow seems more appealing than Jihad. Is it possible? I have to believe that it is.

The US is good at many things, but we’re best at media. That’s why it’s so surprising that we’re getting our butts kicked in the IW. Maybe a few of New York and Hollywood types who are so expert in media could do something for their country and assist in the IW. It’s bloodless, doesn’t involve the military, and the results might even help.