The Best Explanation I’ve Seen

 . . . for why we are losing our ass in the infowar.

The Missing Component of U.S. Strategic Communications

by Colonel William M. Darley, USA, Director of
Strategic Communications for the Combined Arms
Center at Fort Leavenworth and Editor-in-Chief of
Military Review.

Read the whole thing, then go over to Swedish Meatballs and read the comments. 

Some of the best:

Not only does lack of consensus agreement directly impact our ability to develop a national strategic communications process to support agencies attempting to fight the current wars, but, more ominously, such agreement also is directly relevant to whether we as a nation will be able to survive the “Long War” now taking shape in the face of withering ideological challenges we can expect to those basic national values that have heretofore defined the United States as a nation and its citizens as uniquely American.

. . . we cannot agree among ourselves as to what we view as those cultural values of our own we are willing to openly assert are superior and preferable to those championed by our enemies as a reason for engaging in war, which by definition must be promoted and internalized by targeted  audiences in order for a war of ideas to be successful.  Yet the assertion of superiority of values as compared to those of an adversary must be, in fact, the essence of strategic communications messages aimed at achieving wartime political objectives.

The social pressure of a seemingly intractable war is polarizing in increasingly dangerous ways an already ideologically divided society, moving it toward another virtual domestic civil war among advocates of conflicting ideologies.

 . . . actual war between irreconcilable camps of ideological enemies who are increasingly gravitating to, if not openly rallying around, two inimical and antithetical sets of values as distinct as those that divide the Shia and Sunni factions in the Islamic world.

. . . the agendas of the domestic political parties have evolved to a point where they view the outcome of the war in Iraq less as an issue of homeland security than as a key factor in the success of their own parochial struggles to wrest domestic political power as a means to shape national values.  To this end, domestic political opponents increasingly appear to view the war as more about controlling future nominations to the Supreme Court than about defending American citizens or improving Middle Eastern stability.

 

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16 Comments

Filed under Idea War, Info Warriors

16 responses to “The Best Explanation I’ve Seen

  1. suek

    I don’t know exactly where Bush stands on this. Does he really believe that islam is _not_ the enemy? I understand that whether he believes this or not, he could not approach it as a problem of religious belief initially. It would have raised a tremendous hue and cry in this country, much less throughout the world.
    The problem is that _islam_ is the problem – that is because islam is both religious and political. Because they are inseparable, we have to attack both the religious – which is unacceptable to most of us – and the political. The problem the government has is the unwillingness to do this. The problem will continue until we recognize that islam itself is the problem.
    We’ve made calls for “moderate” muslims to stand up against terrorism, but they can’t because to do so means that they are declared as heretics, and then may be killed as readily as infidels.
    Here’s a good article…it’s primarily on why muslims can’t be good citizens, but it also clarifies the bind they find themselves in if they _want_ to become citizens in a non-muslim country:
    http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=AF613BFA-8E34-4A07-8DB4-20D89DE3D84B

  2. suek

    Sorry…hit submit too soon.

    Anyway – we won’t achieve unity of message until we can acknoledge that we are at war with islam itself, and that may mean resistance at home against the political and legal jihad they’ve declared as well.
    We may shut down the charities as a means of funding terrorism, but unless we also stop the legal suits as a source of funding, we’re still in the same situation. We have to deny use of the courts as a means of raising funds.

  3. 1.2 billion Muslims.
    If they are all our enemies, what to do?

    Islam is not monolithic.

    Violent fanatics who kill while screaming “Allahu Akbar!” are our enemies. We need to kill our enemies whenever and wherever we can, when killing them helps us more than it hurts us.

    Do we kill all of their apologists, sympathizers, enablers, contributers and auxiliaries? Some of them, sure. All of them? Can’t. Too many, too protected, too painful for our side. Some of them are Americans.

    We are not at war with Islam itself. We are at war with that part of the Ummah that makes war on us. Some parts of the Ummah are working for us.

    Tough for us to make war on a religion. We have to break down our target into sects. America can’t declare war on Christianity, but it can sure mess up the Branch Davidians. We don’t want to fight all of Islam, but we can sure mess up the Salafists.

  4. Like Nazism, Islam is an ideology one chooses to adhere to. Were there “good” or “moderate” Nazis? If not, then no one can claim that there are good or moderate Muslims as they are voluntarily subscribing to an ideology that advocates murder, torture and jihad and does not permit its follower to cherry-pick which parts they believe in.

    Actually, there WERE Nazis who did not personally commit atrocities, or do much of significance in supporting the Party. They joined the Nazi Party under pressure, or for advantage, and were not particularly enthusiastic followers of Der Fuerher. Does that make them “good” or “moderate”?

    Muslims do indeed cherry pick. Look at Dubai.

  5. suek

    The problem is that islam is _both_ ideology and religion. The Nazi party was political and relatively short lived, and didn’t have time to indoctrinate the German population to the level of a “national” religion. Hitler started with the Jugend groups, but didn’t have time to make them the matured adults who would be a majority of the population. Muslims, on the other hand, have indoctrinated their people for 1300 or so years – it’s absolutely inculcated in them from birth. For them to leave their basic premise of morality – which includes sharia – in exchange for this world this life politics is simply unlikely in the first – or maybe even the second – generation.

    These quotes from that article seem most pertinent to me:

    “The first principle of Islam, that Muslims reaffirm (auto-brainwashing) 5 times daily in their ‘prayers’, is that the Koran is the literal Word of Allah (and Mohammed is his messenger). Since Allah provided the laws and form of government in the sharia (Islamic law), and in the Koran there is no reference to democracies, republic, kingdoms or empires…these are all considered blasphemous. Muslims living in non-Muslim countries are to respect the laws of the country until such times as it can be converted to or conquered by Islam.” …

    “Islam, unlike either Christianity or Judaism is not reformable. Christians are in general agreement that the Bible was written by humans, inspired by God; the primary and central tenet of Islam is that the Koran is the literal word of Allah. How does one ‘reform’, interpret or change, the Word of God (or Allah)? The answer is one can’t and it would be blasphemous to try to do so and apostasy, in Islam, like so much else, is punishable by death.” …

    “In truth, bin Laden, the Iranian Ayatollahs and the Saudi Wahabbis are the ‘reformers’ who are bringing Islam back to its original “pure” state. I suspect that anyone wishing to democratize and modernize Islam will have to re-write the Koran, leaving out 26 (of the 114) Chapters, or suras, dealing with holy war, fighting Islam’s enemies, chopping their heads off, and etc. Of course then it would no longer be Islam — perhaps a “Reformed Islam”, such as Reform Judaism, or a Muslim Lutheranism.”

  6. QuickIO

    The probelm with waging open warfare against Islam is that only 1% of the religion of Islam are considered extremists. If we wage war on the other 99% of the polical-religious group then we will truly be in a clash of civilizations and may not come out on top. We as a culture believe that our way of life is better than everyone else and that everyone should have what we have. The problem is when you start to force directly or indirectly on someone elses norms, values and beliefs you get some serious pushback. We have the right groups targeted we just don’t have the common message top to bottom, left to right. If you can get the military and goverment to talk the same talk then you have truly powerful weapon.

  7. suek

    >>We have the right groups targeted we just don’t have the common message top to bottom, left to right.>>

    I understand what you’re saying…but the problem posed is why don’t we have a single message. The reason is that the problem is islam itself, and we’re not willing to state that. I agree with you that most people are willing to slough off and practice their religion in a less than extreme fashion – muslims included – and that these aren’t the people we should be targeting even if they happen to agree with the people we _are_ targeting – the extremists. Maybe islamofascists is as close a term as we’re going to get agreement on. Maybe we need to use the term islamic extremists, but in the end, it seems that when we use those terms, those individuals we’re identifying continue to pump out the message that if muslims don’t side with them and support them, they are apostates and subject to death. That’s not a major problem in the US where the police have not been corrupted – in other parts of the world, it _is_ a problem.

  8. If we admit to ourselves and to all the Muslims of the world that they are the problem, what have we achieved?

    America cannot even maintain support for the wars we have going now.

    Declaring war on people we have neither the will or the means to fight just advertises our weakness.

  9. suek

    >>If we admit to ourselves and to all the Muslims of the world that they are the problem, what have we achieved?>>

    And if we can_not_, what _can_ we achieve?

    “Yet the assertion of superiority of values as compared to those of an adversary must be, in fact, the essence of strategic communications messages aimed at achieving wartime political objectives.”

    And therein lies the problem.

  10. Everything we have achieved so far, and more.

    The Bad Guys want nothing more than to provoke us into treating ALL Muslims as enemies. That empowers them.

    We have a problem with significant percentages of our population rejecting “our” values. Strategic communications directed at our own domestic target audience to turn some of that around is not being done effectively, at least not by Regular .gov elements.

  11. suek

    So you’re saying the problem is that not only can we not define the enemy – that it’s unwise strategically to do so – but we’re unable to define ourselves – we’ve become too divided by multiculturalism?

    I thought this was worth saving:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/10/core_conservative_beliefs.html

    It’s a start. Also maybe this:

    http://herouxville-quebec.blogspot.com/2007/03/about-beautiful-herouxville-quebec.html

    I hope that’s the right link – I’ll recheck it after it posts and correct if necessary.

  12. To my mind, “enemies” are to be neutralized or destroyed, thus those we have no capability to deal with in that manner are better defined differently. Much of the reason we ought not define all Muslims as enemies is that there are too many of them, only a very small percentage of them are actively hostile and justifiably killed, we need the assistance and good will of Muslims to get to the hostiles, and we don’t want to swell their ranks.

    And yes, Americans are seriously divided, so badly that our leaders have very little freedom of action.

  13. In this case, attacking is more productive than defense. Due to the fact that the US is fragmented and divided, the only feasible method of attack is to ensure that the enemy is fragmented and divided as well. Instead of trying to defend all of America from enemy attacks, you simply go out and stir up trouble in enemy lands.

  14. The thing is though, a good argument can be made that ACLU/CAIR is part of enemy territories here in the US.

  15. While I approve of such tactics against the ACLU, my main purpose is to address what suek said here.

    Does he really believe that islam is _not_ the enemy?

    So you’re saying the problem is that not only can we not define the enemy – that it’s unwise strategically to do so – but we’re unable to define ourselves – we’ve become too divided by multiculturalism?

    The Bad Guys want nothing more than to provoke us into treating ALL Muslims as enemies. That empowers them.-C

    My take is that you can launch offensive operations using divide and conquer, not just defensive ones. I disagree with treating all Muslims as enemies only to the extent that many Muslims are useful allies or potential allies against our mutual enemies. The same is true for when the Islamic JIhad allies with their mutual allies, the ACLU, against their mutual enemies, us.

    If we are to defeat them, we must be better at their kind of warfare than they are.

    And if we can_not_, what _can_ we achieve?

    Thus in the end, my approach may or may not be more palatable to suek.