Saturday, February 18, 2006

Belmont commenters on Rumsfeld

The previous open thread on the subject of information warfare between radical Islamism and the West (for want of better terms) drew hundreds of well-reasoned responses from Belmont Club commenters. The point of departure was Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's assertion that the United States was losing the information war to radical Islam because it was unsuited to fighting that type of conflict. It contained a thinly disguised lament that the Mainstream Media was not bearing its weight and that more had to be done to redress the imbalance. The Belmont Club commenters reacted very vigorously.

Some argued that the key target of information warfare was not the Islamic world at all but the internal audience in the West. Tony said: "When the cards are turned over in this war, the opinions of Americans and Europeans are going to either win or lose the battle, much more so than the opinions of the indefatigably hateful Islamic extremists in Muslim lands. They are already doing their best to hurt us, and have been doing so forever. The only way we can really lose, is if we lose our will."  Fred argued one could not premise victory on the assumption that the opponent can be made your friend. Victory, he suggested, occurs foremost when you are determined to be your own friend. "In war, I do not care a damn about what the enemy thinks of me. I want him to fear and respect me. And I want to break his will and break his ability to fight. Truthfully, I do not care about what ordinary Arabs and other Muslims think of me, the unclean infidel. I will always be an infidel to him. ... The only propaganda war that matters to me is the internal one at home. These are the people who will decide my country's fate, and perhaps even the fate of all civilization worth saving. ... And if your domestic media are working on behalf of the enemies of civilization and of your country, you have one major problem that cannot be glossed."

Others believed that it was important to carry the argument to the intellectual opponent in words and terms that they could understand. Optho said: "our propagandists should be armed with an extensive knowledge of Islam, and Islam's history of irony, disdain for sanctimony, and extra-Koranic dialectic and debate. ... if we'd been ready with that kind of knowledge, we could have used the whole cartoon kerfuffle for its enormous pedantic potential. We're nowhere near doing this even now, which to my thinking is an inexcusable lapse." Desert Rat mentions "Visuals, docudramas, documentarys, dramas, all with US Production values in Arabic and Farsi. Using both historical and current themes to show the false teachings of the current crop of Imams. Cartoons of Mohammedans fighting Mighty Mouse or better yet, Elmer Fudd, and losing should become commonplace."

Many commenters felt any US government effort to engage in information warfare was doomed by the bureaucratic nature of government itself. It could never succeed alone. Desert Rat ridicules the idea of a government-led information campaign, the idea providing more communications training to military personnel or giving public affairs posts a higher career status would make any difference. What was essential, many commenters argued, was to find some way to harness the private sector and individual effort to the task. Canoneer No. 4 gives some flavor of the argument:

Ever since Algore invented the internet, America has been the superpower in cyberspace. Housewives in the Midwest are infiltrating Jihadi web sites. We have a lot more computer-literate people than they do. We need to get them organized and on the same sheet of music. We need monitors who find the poison and writers who can refute, rebut, and counteract the poison. It doesn't take a soldier to do this.

Some commenters believed that information warfare should be used to goad the Muslim street into a final, apocalyptic confrontation. Pork Rind for Allah seriously argues for the use of ridicule "to drive them insane", reflecting the view that the mental struggle between Islam and the West was between two irreconcilable camps, in which perhaps the jeer is the only remaining statement to make. While many commenters did not believe the world was locked in a final war of civilizations, the question of whether any resolution between the two intellectual camps other than an indefinite truce remained hanging in the air. For Freedom quoted an Asian Times article authored by Spengler which examined the question as legitimately intellectual exercise: When Even the Pope has to Whisper.

Now Pope Benedict XVI has let it be known that he does not believe Islam can reform. This we learn from the transcript of a January 5 US radio interview with one of Benedict's students and friends, Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, the provost of Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida, posted on the Asia Times Online forum by a sharp-eyed reader. For the pope to refute the fundamental premise of US policy is news of inestimable strategic importance, yet a Google News scan reveals that not a single media outlet has taken notice of what Fessio told interviewer Hugh Hewitt last week. No matter: still and small as Benedict's voice might be, it carries further than earthquake and whirlwind.

Alexis, a self-confessed former political activist, tried to knit some of the idea threads in commentary together and his remarks survey of many of the notions in the open thread.

There is one place where al-Qaeda has met its match in terms of propaganda -- and that's us. Right here in the blogosphere. If we don't respond to their onslaught, nobody else will. Forget for a second about the Arab audience. Al-Qaeda can reach the American audience any time it pleases, for the most part unfiltered. In contrast, what we say IS filtered by the mainstream media.

If we want to reach out to the Arab audience, there is a very easy way to do it -- don't. That is, we are more likely to get our messages to them heard by them when we publish them domestically than if we aim them at them directly. Just as I don't even bother to listen Arab propaganda about a "peaceful" Islam but listen instead to translations of mosque sermons in Arabic, Middle Easterners tend to tune out anything that appears to be aimed specifically at them. They assume our propaganda will be as two-faced as theirs.


The classic children's story of Who Will Bell the Cat? illustrates the problem of good ideas in search of an implementation. Many of the concepts discussed in the open thread do not fit into the existing bureaucratic or business models in American society. As such they are not actionable. Concepts, however valid in principle, need to be packaged into forms that can be funded, marketed and managed otherwise they will remain interesting concepts without a practical future. One standard way of getting a conceptual show on the road is to organize a conference simply to serve as a kernel around which nebulous ideas can coalesce and transform themselves into an practical program. There are probably other ways. The Belmont Club has never run two open threads back to back. I promise this will be the only one.


Blogger opotho said...

Thanks for reading so closely Wretchard, and synopsizing so well.

My sympathies for the latest sorrows in The Philippines.

2/18/2006 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/18/2006 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

maybe start by sending someone with local contacts, say a Bremer type (thought he seemed a bit of a turn coat the last I heard) to go over and throw back a few cocktails with the local mods/elites and find out what's really on their minds...then write about it a la Friedman; although, with a more libertarian slant...then drop a million bazooka gums w/cartoons of a line suicide bombers walking the plank or other modestly innocent depictions, etc.
Next, hook up with Musharif and get those freezing people into some semi permanent/decent shelter as soon as you can get up there...

2/18/2006 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Al-Jeezera TV sells commercial time, does it not?
30 & 60 second spots, one would assume.

Buy 1,000 of them, 50 a day for the next 20 days.
Then double the buy.
In number and duration, 4,000 spots, 100 a day for 40 days.

Then back to the baseline of 50 per day.

Five ads in the Campaign, nothing that would be considered offensive to Islam, but would annoy the Mohammedans. Use some Cultural experts for advise in content. But current in time period and Happy in content.

Five themes similar in nature, done with flair and imagination.

Shown across Europe as well.

Good way to spend $75 Million USD.
In 60 days you'd see an impact.
For better or worse.

2/18/2006 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Alexis wrote:

"Just as I don't even bother to listen Arab propaganda about a 'peaceful' Islam but listen instead to translations of mosque sermons in Arabic, Middle Easterners tend to tune out anything that appears to be aimed specifically at them. They assume our propaganda will be as two-faced as theirs."

That's an excellent observation.

2/18/2006 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Here is a workable idea, from Bakhtin's Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics:

Dostoevsky creates the polyphonic novel by repositioning the idea of the novel, its truth, within multiple and various consciousnesses rather than a single consciousness and by repositioning the author of the novel alongside the characters as one of these consciousnesses, creator of the characters but also their equal. Bakhtin claims that this new kind of novel is no longer a direct expression of the author’s truth but an active creation of the truth in the consciousnesses of the author, the characters, and the reader, in which all participate as equals. This truth is a unified truth that nonetheless requires a plurality of consciousnesses: "It is quite possible to imagine and postulate a unified truth that requires a plurality of consciousnesses, one that cannot in principle be fitted into the bounds of a single consciousness, one that is, so to speak, by its very nature full of event potential and is born at a point of contact among various consciousnesses". Such a unified truth, the unified truth of the polyphonic novel, combines several autonomous consciousnesses into "a higher unity, a unity, so to speak, of the second order," which Bakhtin explains only by analogy with "the complex unity of an Einsteinian universe".

While this has implications for blogs, I think its most urgent implication is for Islam to develop literary fiction. It is well past time for the Arabic world to see a popular novel.

2/18/2006 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Of course, to do that, they have to be able to read.

Which brings us full circle with my suggestion from last post.

Of course, making movies and historical documentaries are substitutes, but they are not adequate substitutes.

2/18/2006 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger PresbyPoet said...

Clearly the MSM, with its craven failure in the free speech issue of the pictures, are cowards willing to flee at the first sign of danger.

We are the front line. Truth is the best answer to the lies of islam. Islam is based on lies. Telling the truth about islam requires speaking the truth, despite danger. Like someone who lives in a dangerous neighborhood, we must step forward to confront the bullies of this death cult. We are at war.

Posting the specific lies of islam is important to keep reminding us of their origin. The most important lie of islam is that the koran is the word of God. It is the most rotten of the islamic pillars. The koran deserves no honor. It is a book of death.

That is only the worst of islam's evil lies.

2/18/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

The French Islamicist Henry Corbin once said that the reason that Muslims pose such a great threat to the West and to themselves is due to the generally understood proscription on images,

"They have no vessels to hold and house their passionate temperaments".

2/18/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger rich said...

4 reasons for MSM anti american coverage:

1. Money and favors. I think that foreign money influences our media coverage to be anti american. Don't have any proof but there has to be a reason why the MSM are doing so many things to stop selling papers and turn off viewers. Journalists/editors/owners getting favors or more could be the reason.

2. The need to show access to events in totalitarian states influences our media to be anti american. When a state controls access it controls coverage. As shown with Eason Jordan and CNN in Saddam's Iraq, as shown with walter Duranty in Stalin's Soviet Union, access influens coverage. The media is simply intimidated by implied or direct Islamic threats to cut off access. .

3. Egotism. The MSM just doesn't get the same gratification from supporting our country. Patriotism just doesn't ring their egotistical chimes. It is a common emotion and they are nuanced and sophisticated. (Or so they think!)

4. Take down the Bush administration. The MSM is at war with the Bush administration and in times of war the enemy of my enemy is my friend. So the MSM and Islamic terrorists are allied in their effort to take down the Bush administration. Of course in an impartial and neutral manner!

2/18/2006 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Spengler makes the observation (in another article) that literacy is inversely correlated to fundamentalism irrespective of culture. If that's true straight literacy programs are a powerful weapon against fundamentalism.

I'm not sure this is entirely true, as the Al Qaeda brass are highly literate. Neverthless the Taliban often make schools, especially schools for girls, their first targets. So there may be something to this argument.

2/18/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Then, aristides, you'd have to take over each country and change their Social structure, which will not happen.

Use what our side does best, manipulate images to effect thinkings and FEELINGS, amongst the target audience. Massed audiences, not individuals. We can ignite a spark with Images, not dissertations, they are an illiterate bunch.

We'd just have to hire Hollywood Professionals and get it done.
There are still a few Chuck Heston types in Hollywood, and even more that will do most any thing for cash money.

That is where, you'll recall, Mr Reagan got his start.

Our Government and Universities are not where the skill sets for this job reside.
If it's really important.

2/18/2006 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The State Department used to have a program called the FPIS, which were monitors of open source foreign broadcasts who translated from the original. I think it has since been renamed. But the way it used to work was that qualified freelancers would get transcripts in a foreign language, translate and then mail them back to some State Department bureaucracy where they were presumably read. The translators were paid on a word count.

I am not aware of any program that lets free lancers interpretatively monitor foreign news broadcasts and not simply mechanically translate them. MEMRI does something like this and it is an invaluable resource. It may be a good idea to encourage native-born Americans to study a foreign language and one way to gain proficiency is to pay them to read Arabic websites for practice in the process of following them.

2/18/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

A novel is a very personal type of information consumption. It is an intimate relationship; when you read a novel, it's only you and the page.

I would posit this question: is there any way you can "broadcast" the truth of "The Brothers Karamazov," or the truth of "War and Peace," or the truth of "Animal Farm," or the truth of "Moby Dick," while still retaining the meaning? I don't think you can.

These truths must be read and digested. They must be novelized.

Desert Rat, you are half right. It will be hard to penetrate the societies we are talking about.

However, I worry about a society bred on visuals, because visuals can be so easily manipulated. Teach them to read, and they are better inoculated against propaganda.

2/18/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

"Unfortunately", Father Fessio retracted his comments about the Holy Father "dissing" Islam saying something along the lines that he miscontrued what The Holy Father said. Sorry, can't remember the link but it's "out there somewhere".

2/18/2006 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

These truths must be read and digested.

That's straight McCluhan! Right too.

I'm loving the Bakhtin, thanks.

2/18/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


Father Fessio is a Jesuit from which the word Jesuitical is derived. He may have indeed retracted it, but the suggestion is out there. To me the question of Islams inability to coexist with other religions remains an assertion whose truth or falsity will be shown by events. Surely if some men in the 8th century put it one way, other men in the 21st can put it another.

2/18/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

"... whose truth or falsity will be shown by events".

And not before then? Okay good, you're definitely not saying that.

2/18/2006 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

That is an apt quote, Opotho, and gives us a direction of sorts.

The way I think of it is this: I am human, they are human. I have 'x' mental arsenal, they have 'y' mental arsenal. Their 'y' is deficient compared to my 'x', insofar that my 'x' is the product of centuries of evolutionary fitness. Furthermore, their deficiencies seem to be determinative.

Imperative: figure out how to make their 'y' as close to my 'x' as is humanly possible.

2/18/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Chip said...

Nothing in the modern world relates to the conflict we're fighting, excluding means.
"Progressives" support the imposition of blasphemy laws by those who would kill most of their special interest groups.

How am I supposed to make sense of this world?

2/18/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger ed said...


The problem is that the domestic American media, the MSM, does not feel it's primary loyalty is to America but rather to the Democratic Party. As such there is no possible way to "win" the media war unless and until there is a Democrat in charge running the GWOT.

Frankly this means a few specific things.

A. We will never win the media war because it's pretty unlikely there will be a Democrat in charge considering how self-destructive they've been.

B. The media are the enemy and must be treated as such.

2/18/2006 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


But it's not possible to suspend judgment forever. The question of Islam's willingness to coexist with other religions is a specific question for a definite time. It's actually the defining question Islamic radicals put before their ummah. "If you are true Muslims then you will join the Jihad."

The question, having been posed, is already in the air. The adherents of al-Qaeda have responded in one way. What remains to be seen is whether the majority of Muslims will respond in another. There is really nothing we can do to answer it for them. All we can do is prepare a response to whatever reply we receive. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

2/18/2006 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

But it's not possible to suspend judgment forever.

What's that Nietzsche line about staring at monsters too long?

Some will suspend judgement longer than others, some for good reasons some for bad.

Others will make judgements sooner, or even soon, some for good reasons some for bad.

I'd be concerned about pacifism in the first group and vigilantism in the latter group.

2/18/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

There is really nothing we can do to answer it for them.

W, I disagree with this.

Any human response to incoming information--in this case a question of loyalties--is, in addition to being dependent on the question, dependent on the state of that human's mind when the information comes in.

Therefore, if you take as fact that the collective answer to your loyalty question still exists in probability space, there also exists in probability space something we can do to affect that answer, precisely because we still have the ability to affect their minds. In other words, before the wave function collapses, we can still shape the battlefield to respond in a way that is beneficial.

Do you not agree?

2/18/2006 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

Thank you Wretchard for saving me the time of slogging through that entire thread. Ridicule is our greates weapon at this point. As C.S. Lewis stated so presciently, "Above all else the devil cannot stand to be mocked." Ridicule will work wonders on the West's self esteem and confidence and do precisely the opposite for the Islamic savages.

I personally am unable to appreciate any way in which the coming conflagration can be avoided. And I would rather fight the Islamic barbarians now rather than later. We owe it to our children and children's children to provide them the same blessings of liberty that our ancestors bestowed upon us.

2/18/2006 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

my wife suggests having our tech geniuses arrange for holographics of mohammed to appear all over the caliphate directing good muslims to renounce the faith and become christian.

2/18/2006 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

you right, as far as each individual goes. But the pace of change will not permit the luxury or pleasure of the written word.

As I recall the number of books translated in Spain, last year, is greater than those translated into Arabic in the last thousand years.

There is no time for a literacy rvival, hell there is nothing there to revive.
Authors self Publish, in 3,000 to 5,000 units per printing. Usually the first edition does not sell out.

This is a War of Ideas. The Ideas have to be Broadcast to be effective. The operative word being, broad.
Across the vast populations, not just those very few that read books.

They still have book burnings in most of these places, like Iran, or so I've been led to believe.

There is not a lot of time to invent new idea delivery systems. best to use those already accepted by the target audiences.

2/18/2006 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

aristides - my thoughts exactly. Of course you're reiterating some of the basic principles of hermeneutics, which you also touched on in your previous post: "Imperative: figure out how to make their 'y' as close to my 'x' as is humanly possible."

2/18/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


I picked up your radar about Pope Benedict in the earlier thread. There are two other interesting things to add to the mix. Very early in his Papacy he met with Oriana Fallaci. Oriana is a firebrand with an unambiguous opinion (which I share) about Islam and European timidity. Meeting with her, as against any of the other 5.5 billion occupants of the planet, while she is battling the Italian thought police about her writings on Islam may mean something. Maybe not.

I read Benedict's first Encyclical which was about love and about as fundamental as Catholicism gets nowadays. I won't read anything into the choice of subject matter but would like your comments. What did get my attention was a reference to Dante. I put this in the same conspiratorial category as the Fallaci meeting. Why Dante? Senor Alighieri did not construct a kind eternity for Mohammed or his son in law.

I don't even know when a Pope was last in a position to actually impact world events. This could get interesting.

2/18/2006 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


We can affect their answer by making it clear what our reply will be. Still, it is their answer to make. I think if matters were clear we would receive a reasonable response. What I fear is a tragic misunderstanding stemming from the supine impression conveyed by the MSM. Some historians have argued that Hitler was misled by a Times of London editorial into thinking he had the green light to take the Sudentenland. Only Kings, MSM editors and people with tapeworms can validly use the words "we" in an opinion piece, but it happens.

2/18/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/18/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger anazaptist said...

The historic heart of Islam is revealed by two things, the heart of its founder and its actual history. Both of these would tend to indicate violence, or at least its threat, has always been a central tenet of Islam. My concern is that what is perceived as "moderate Islam" is roughly equivalent to the atrophying "moderate" Christian denominations which have lost their missionary zeal. While they still serve some purpose and provide many with the sense of being religious, the energy and growth of Christianity in general seems to reside in those groups that adhere to the original texts and the evangelism associated with the early church. In Islam, the energy lies also in its "fundamentalists", those who adhere to the early message, personality, and methods of early Islam. Anything, then, that draws Islam closer to its roots, seems likely to move Islam closer to its original 'conversion by the sword' mentality. Here's hoping I'm wrong.

2/18/2006 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Given the definition of propaganda, which is...

The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those people advocating such a doctrine or cause.

...I take it that Rumsfeld has concluded that the message of jihad, or of aggressive, defiant Islamism, is winning out over our own message. Thing is, Rumsfeld does not, as far as I know, say just what our message is. Too bad, I'd like to know.

Surely one enormous and persistent difficulty we face in the arena of propaganda is that currently religion is THE motive power of opposition to the corrupt, repressive, and autocratic status quo in the ME, as well as THE motive power of opposition to the US and its allies.

If US foreign policy aims (albeit selectively) at shaking down the status quo in the ME, so do the very people we're fighting. In the battle to remake and refashion the ME, is a secular, liberal foreign power or alliance of such powers EVEN REMOTELY LIKELY to win out, message-wise, over homegrown, religiously-inspired opposition movements?

2/18/2006 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

I believe that it was books published in Spain in 2002, was greater than those published in 700 years in the Arab-speaking world.

A UN study from, I believe, autumn .03. All of the scholars involved in the study were themselves Muslim.

2/18/2006 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

"Surely if some men in the 8th century put it one way, other men in the 21st can put it another."

This facile assertion is unfortunately unlikely to be true. The Islamic hate manual the Koran (and the even more putrid Hadiths) allow for no self examination, no renewal, no questioning. We've been over this territory ad nauseum, but it bears repeating that any attempts at renewal will be met with fanatical charges of apostasy - punishable by death. There is no opportunity for renewal since the revealed "truths" are entirely gnostic in nature and impervious to the blandishments of reason.

Islam is so utterly toxic that it cannot co-exist with Western civilizations. Islam must be destroyed in its entirety and the will and resolve to do so are slowly coalescing in the West.

Confronting the horror of what we must do is is becoming increasingly more palatable. Discussion such as these would have been entirely impossible five years ago ANTWHERE including the blogosphere. We will come MUCH MUCH further in the ensuing five years.

2/18/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

In the battle to remake and refashion the ME, is a secular, liberal foreign power or alliance of such powers EVEN REMOTELY LIKELY to win out, message-wise, over homegrown, religiously-inspired opposition movements...

within our lifetime?

2/18/2006 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

We can affect their answer by making it clear what our reply will be. Still, it is their answer to make.

You may be right, but I still think we have an opportunity to do more than clearly communicate our position. I also think we can affect their position, thought the how is not altogether clear.

2/18/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger nonomous said...


"One standard way of getting a conceptual show on the road is to organize a conference"

In geopolitical terms, we are witnessing broadcast video evolve into its natural form: reality terror shows. Terror sells and reality keeps the show fresh. Muslim terrorists are the perfect actors, they stage frightening terror shows, pull huge audiences, and take their pay from the audience directly (via blackmail, and drug traffic).

Another trend is global terrorist swarms. Using the broadband internet and cell phone swarming techniques, power grids and petroleum pipelines can be blackmailed at a lower and lower cost. This insures the terror networks a steady income stream.

Maybe both trends can be subverted by installing thousands of video cames on oil pipelines and letting thousands of internet folks watch the pipelines and electric towns. Folks stop being passive TV watchers and Pipeline security goes way up.

Maybe the conference could be on 'Internet monitors for remote security'. That is basically the original proposal.

2/18/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

"Hitler was [possibly] misled by a Times of London editorial into thinking he had the green light to take the Sudentenland."

That's new to me, and quite the sobering analogy.

aristides - I stand by your last refinement that we can and should find a way to enter the mix.

ocbill - my hope is that what is perceived as "moderate Islam" is not too far off from present day Catholic and Orthodox congregations, which you might be referring to as forms of "atrophying" Christian denominations (having "lost their missionary zeal").

I think of them as older, more seasoned, and easier going practioners of the faith. I think of them as people with a capacity for irony, but in the case of Muslims, also a long experience of humiliation and a fierce pride. These latter are the geatest challenges to their common sense, but they do have common sense. They'd practice it too if we were ever to make it clear "what our reply will be."

2/18/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat thinks we could just airdrop Heart Medications and Shotguns, and the Muzzies will start pointing the muzzles at one another while pulling the trigger.

Instead of Allah Akbar, they will be chanting some kind of Neo Con Nonsense.

2/18/2006 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

'Course, I'm partial to this simple propaganda message, from The Princess Bride:

Inigo Montoya: Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father: prepare to die. Now, offer me money.
[slices Count Rugen's cheek]

Count Rugen: Yes.

Inigo Montoya: Power too. Promise me that.
[slices Count Rugen's other cheek]

Count Rugen: All that I have and more. Please...

Inigo Montoya: Offer me everything I ask for.

Count Rugen: Any thing you want.

Inigo Montoya: I want my father back, you son of bitch.
[stabs and kills Count Rugan]

2/18/2006 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Now here's a challenge:

Eyal Zusman (30, back from anonymity) and Amitai Sandy (29), graphic artist and publisher of Dimona Comix Publishing, from Tel-Aviv, Israel, have followed the unfolding of the “Muhammad cartoon-gate” events in amazement, until finally they came up with the right answer to all this insanity - and so they announced today the launch of a new anti-Semitic cartoons contest - this time drawn by Jews themselves!

“We’ll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published!” said Sandy “No Iranian will beat us on our home turf!”

2/18/2006 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Charles Martel,

The destroying part is easy. The US has had the power to destroy most of the population from the planet for the most of the Cold War. And if Osama and his minions attack with nukes the motivation will be supplied.

The real challenge is to find a civilized way out of this mess. And while opinion may be divided as to whether it can be done, I think it is abundantly clear that it should be attempted. One of the best ways to do this is information warfare. What does Secretary Rumsfeld mean when he says we are losing the information war except that all the wrong signals are being broadcast? Between the defeatism of the MSM and the thrusting insolence of the extremists we are growing all the wrong weeds in the garden. Before we nuke the garden, let's the try the Roundup.

2/18/2006 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

For anyone in the US who's interested, Rose's hour-long interview with Rumsfeld last night will be replayed by most PBS stations mid-day Monday. Check listings.

2/18/2006 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Sardonic said...

I tend to think that the people of the Western world are socialist leaning for the simple reason that they percieve that socialism is better intentioned that capitalism. It seems to them that it at least purports to help the little guy and protect him from the ravages of oligarchs. In this I applaud their sentiment, while repudiating their reasoning. Socialism, as history reveals, does not provide the little guy any protection, but simply disrupts via state control the efficient workings of the economy by attempting to "fairly" redistribute the wealth. This is to ignore economics in favor of sentiment. Those who get to do the redistributing, of course, are in the seat of power, and know it well. These specially personages advocate socialism as a means to power. The other, lesser, socialists are well intentioned, but misguided. Capitalism is not an end in itself, it is the means by which Freedom (purchasing power, the right to buy and sell as one sees fit) is obtained. Both financial and political liberty are obtained via capitalism. Its other ancillary benefit is that by allowing for the accumulation of capital it advances enterprises allowing them to invest (hopefully wisely) in themselves in a way that increases efficiency. Socialism on the other hand does none of these things. Nevertheless, not being economists, and believing in the simplistic ideals of socialism, the Liberals tend to despise Capitalism as the root of all evil. This is why the MSM and Hollywood, and half the government are Left leaning. They are, in fact, good intentioned, and generally speaking good people, with the exception of those who knew very well what is going on, and are in the Socialist camp out of a cynical lust for total state power over the individual. So, I am not against the Liberals en mass, though I wish they would study Mises, Friedman, Hayek and others in order to obtain an understanding of the benefits that Capitalism has accrued to us. Is it perfect? No, of course not. Is it better than the alternative. Why, yes, indeed it is. Thus, in answer to the question, why does the MSM appear to support the Jihadists over their own nations, it is to be understood that they feel, quite strongly, that the real enemy are the Capitalists, whom they associate with the Republicans, or rather Conservatives, George Bush being the Chief Capitalist in their eyes. Since he, in their view, is the greater threat, they imagine that giving the benefit of the doubt to the "underdog" Muslim world is a position of higher integrity than supporting that which they despise most. This, of course, is their position because they do not believe that Capitalism is anything other than the mechanism by which greedy oligarchs control the world. If we wish to win the propaganda war in the West (as we should do first and foremost) then we would want to approach the problem by refuting Socialism. We need to do this with facts presented in a way that allows the public to see both sides of the argument and determine logically for themselves (without browbeating) what the more logical system is. That would be my take on matters.

2/18/2006 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The kid appreciates your taste in Movies.
Although I haven't seen it, I always watched Columbo whenever possible!

2/18/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Or perhaps Islam was constructed as an ideological Gordian Knot, making Alexander's solution the only solution possible.

2/18/2006 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger snowonpine said...

I do not think that we can be successful in turning large numbers of Islamic fundamentalists or many of the supposed silent "Moderates" in Islam when the penalty for deviation is death or a life made miserable indeed by the local imam. I think we need to soldify support for this clash of civilizations at home by clearly and forcefully laying out the history of Islamic conquests, the fate of conquered populations over the last thousand years (see the recent book, "The Legacy of Jihad" by Dr. Andrew G. Boston) and the methods that were and are being used against those in the "House of War." We have to abandon the wishful thinking embodied in the idea of a "peaceful Islam" hijacked by a few radicals. Until we can clearly see our enemy we cannot effectively fight him.

2/18/2006 07:10:00 PM  
Blogger snowonpine said...

I do not think that we can be successful in turning large numbers of Islamic fundamentalists or many of the supposed silent "Moderates" in Islam when the penalty for deviation is death or a life made miserable indeed by the local imam. I think we need to soldify support for this clash of civilizations at home by clearly and forcefully laying out the history of Islamic conquests, the fate of conquered populations over the last thousand years (see the recent book, "The Legacy of Jihad" by Dr. Andrew G. Boston) and the methods that were and are being used against those in the "House of War." We have to abandon the wishful thinking embodied in the idea of a "peaceful Islam" hijacked by a few radicals. Until we can clearly see our enemy we cannot effectively fight him.

2/18/2006 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

The AP is reporting that a group claiming to represent Iranian suicide bombers has warned the U.S. that it has hundreds committed to suicide operations in the event that Iranian nuclear facilities are attacked.

Obviously, this is propaganda, but it may also be true.

A seminar on suicide bombing tactics was presented today at a university in Tehran after which another 50 students committed to martyrdom.

"This is a unique opportunity for me to die for God, next to my brothers in Palestine. That was why I signed up," said Reza Haghshenas, a 22-year-old electrical engineering student.

A 23-year-old woman student, Maryam Amereh, said: "We are trying to defend Islam. It's a way to draw the attention of others to our activities."

Suicide bombers are often well educated so to say that they are illiterates is a non-starter. To attack their religion would be very counter productive. Opotho's suggestion of presenting an alternate, more enlightened history of Islam has merit but may be 30 years too late.

It's my understanding that there are a number of Iranian satellite broadcasters located in Southern California. That may be a foundation to build on and work with.

It will be extremly difficult to overcome the extensive and virulent anti-Zionist propaganda that permeates the Arab world and I suspect has been disseminated by our dear friends, the Sauds.

2/18/2006 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger MD said...

"Concepts, however valid in principle, need to be packaged into forms that can be funded, marketed and managed otherwise they will remain interesting concepts without a practical future."

This is the standard mindset of the administrative, bureaucratic state. Citizens can't do anything. It has to be "funded" and "managed," presumably by "experts," who will be selected and "funded" by whom exactly? Al Quaeda has already demonstrated the falsity of this concept that purports to prescribe the "management" of "concepts," and limits the "actionable" to bureaucratic decision and supervision.

If we wait for "concepts" to be "managed" and "funded," we'll have a long wait, and when it's over we'll have the pea soup typically produced by experts sitting by committee.

Action produces concepts after the fact; even Lenin understood this. That's what al Quaeda has done to the concept freaks in the West. The West has plenty of concepts to try to capture the praxis of al Quaeda; but it, knowing its goals, just acts, and let our "concepts" hang.

2/18/2006 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

I grew up watching Columbo, Doug.

Get thee to a video rental outlet and watch The Princess Bride. Don't tell me that you don't have a video or DVD player.

2/18/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger snowonpine said...

I do not think that we can be successful in turning large numbers of Islamic fundamentalists or many of the supposed silent "Moderates" in Islam when the penalty for deviation is death or a life made miserable indeed by the local imam. I think we need to soldify support for this clash of civilizations at home by clearly and forcefully laying out the history of Islamic conquests, the fate of conquered populations over the last thousand years (see the recent book, "The Legacy of Jihad" by Dr. Andrew G. Boston) and the methods that were and are being used against those in the "House of War." We have to abandon the wishful thinking embodied in the idea of a "peaceful Islam" hijacked by a few radicals. Until we can clearly see our enemy we cannot effectively fight him.

2/18/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

maybe we tell yoohoo, goo goo and the rest of them to agree to let any country that wants put any filter they want, just let us in, looking like they're the greedy western pigs that they are; with only one rule: we don't tell you what individuals searched for.
let them lower their guard and allow a sanitized version into their midst, then let things play out; knowing that the right buccaneers can wreak havoc with any system...
...the goal being to let their intuitive need to be competitive in this world bring them along to a point that they are not mindless drones...

2/18/2006 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Did it come out on 8 mm Film? ;-)

2/18/2006 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

You Luddite!

2/18/2006 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Don't knock someone's beliefs.
...unless you are in that special class.
In which case more drastic measures are acceptable.

2/18/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

We could send them a bunch of Nitrocellulose and tell them it's the latest technology in video.

After they've stocked up on Snuff and Porn Home Movies, a few well placed magnesium flares would do the trick.

2/18/2006 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Minh-Duc said...

(1) It is not a clash between the Islam and the West. It is a clash between the Modern and the Reactionary. In that context, the media war is critically important. There are Muslims that are in the Modern camp, and there are Westerners that belong to the Reactionary camp.

(2) Also in that context, the war we are seeing is the internal war within the fold of Islam - toward either the direction of Modern or Reactionary. It is evident that most of the victims by Islamists are Muslims themselves. The victims of September 11, Madrid, and London in total is much smaller in number in relation to the Muslims died in Algeria at the hand of the GIA (Armed Islamic Group). Add to the number of Muslims who were killed by other Muslims in Iraq, Pakistan, and Darfur and the Modern v. Reactionary paradigm made more sense than the West v. Islam paradigm.

2/18/2006 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Why not enlist the Iraqis in an effort. Broadcast their friendly testimonials all over the Arab world. Use Shias and Sunnis. Show children welcoming and embracing US troops. Let Iraqis explain how they have benefited.

Forget about the MSM. This has to be a DOD effort in conjunction with other media.

2/18/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

Minh-Duc - I like what you said.

The problem with your first point is that, despite its truth, it's almost too subtle to convey to my next door neighbor (incredibly).

To your second point I say that we should be ready to publicize, exploit and engage the subtler reasons for the internal war within the fold of Islam.

Too many subtleties? I don't think so.

We can start with whit's more positive suggestion above. I thought that the Kurdish "thank you America" TV commercial was very moving and effective.

2/18/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

I like the idea of an overseas information gathering system along the lines of MEMRI; however, language becomes a barrier...what does ADE's handle translate to? it may be that only those in the west have the leisure time to dedicate time to transcribing (except for the numerous un-employed moslem youth!)
However, this idea, along with much interpolation on little fact that most arm chair analysis such as this exemplify point to the 2 x 4 in our eye:

we need more reliable contacts (eyes & ears) overseas!!! after letting the intelligence apparatus slip into middle age and rely on it's supposed technological edge after the cold war, we've come to the point where the technology is paramount; however, we need to synthesize a little more of the old into the new and create a new, eclectic concoction that can run circles around the old school propaganda that the other side's using...there's only so far you can go sans up close experience.

Also, yah think Rummie just might every once in a while mess with people's heads?? remember going into Iraq when their air force and radar were out; play to our strengths...the mullahs could equivalently be flying blind when it comes to the blogosphere, and if they let their brain-washed wiz kids loose to try to keep up, they may just get a few dissidents in their ranks

2/18/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

One of Starling's students thinks we should just build them a couple of Mosques every time one of us tells a joke that offends:
(Not sure how that would go over w/Belmont's Bigots, however)
Mohammed A notes that Danish businesses and the Danish economy more generally are being hurt by the boycott of goods in several Muslim countries. His advice:
In order for the Danish manufacturer to stay in business they should support their customer.
They should send an official apology to the Muslims and donate some money to promote their religion.
For example, building couples of Mosques in Denmark and Muslim’s countries
This reaction will cost less than one million dollars which is better than keep losing thousands of millions.
The Muslims will see the good faith of the manufacturers and obviously will stop the boycott.

2/18/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger opotho said...

"Belmont's Bigots"

You wanna go again? I'll re-post those definitions and etymologies and we can let other posters decide where prejudice begins to dismiss the further assistance of reason.

For Wretchard, "the question of Islams inability to coexist with other religions remains an assertion whose truth or falsity will be shown by events."

The problem with bigotry is that people who assume they know when the line has been crossed assume that they know for everyone else. By depending on opinions that are beyond argument, they invite our worse instincts even when the line has been properly crossed by anyone's account.

2/18/2006 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


What al-Qaeda did was to take existing institutions, such as Islamic charities, madrassas and the like and twist them to their own ends. New and old methods, from the radio stations to pulpits; from intimdation to the modern Western street demonstration -- all hammering out the same drumbeat.

There are many good ideas on this thread, but I seriously doubt that many of them will get further than this page unless it puts on an organizational suit of clothes. The Left creates foundations, speaker's bureaus, "movements", magazines, associations, etc. to flesh out their ideas. They get it institutionalized in curricula, in media memes, endorsed in the Oscars, awarded Nobel Prizes, etc. By these means the Left is able to sell the most arrant nonsense. Many of the ideas on this thread need to get marketed in a professional way.

2/18/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...


Last weekend my wife, a cousin of hers, and I were in our living room discussing world events. Her cousin, Eric, brought up the subject of the newest papal encyclical, which I was only vaguely aware of, but firmly resolved to lay hold of and digest. Work has been very time-consuming and it has only been this weekend that I've been catching up. I am intrigued by your comments and they are a reminder to me to get moving about obtaining a print copy of Joseph Ratizinger's first really official, in-depth communication with the Roman Catholic community.

2/18/2006 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Sonspot said...

I've often wondered if the popularity with horror movies like "Saw" and some others isn't due to an internal debate going on enmass in the west.

The premise of these movies comes down to answering the question: "What are you willing to do to survive?"

We in the west do so want to believe that we can change the natural course of things just by wishing it so or talking it to death. The grim reality must be faced and answered by us all though, "What are you willing to do to survive?"

When the west answers this question, the war will be over.

2/18/2006 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

keep it simple; tally the good ideas like you did at the original post, contact alexis and whoever else to get their permission, or just have a blanket that everyone knows about, then send it to the poindexter in the basement, or whoever's taken his place and...ask them to sponsor you.
you can figure out the rest...a little money goes a long ways towards packaging & exposure...we'll have the other side whooped before they can translate aristede's dostoevsky reference!

2/18/2006 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...


W is playing W the politician. Fred already solved that mystery for you in the previous thread. See his last post @7:52 PM.

2/18/2006 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

Many of the ideas on this thread need to get marketed in a professional way.

The bureaucratic mechanisms are already in place. if you follow the internal forensics within the Left/Democrats, a healthy chunk of the argument focuses on the 'success' of the conservative think tanks in reformulating many of the traditional Left/Dem messages. Environmental issues are one example where the ground is slipping away. Professional research institutions like CATO are taking the heat for the course change.

These institutions have exerted a significant impact on Congress but they have penetrated the public consciousness to a much lesser degree - and the international dialogue not at all.

As I said, the mechanism is in place, but, as others have suggested, the requisite 'talent' may reside well outside of academia. A most unholy alliance to be sure.

2/18/2006 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"I simply don't care."

Isn't this typical of so many? {I have not investigated something which claims to be the fulfillment of all the religions of the previous 7,000 years, not because I'm pre-judging it to be useless, trivial and impertinent, but because "I simply don't care."

The establishment, in EVERY nation of this Earth, of communities based on justice, the independent investigation of reality, the oneness of all humankind, the equality of men and women, and the necessity for both science and religion...

...are dismissed as being 'bigoted' and 'ignorant'.

The establishment, in Israel, of the Universal House of Justice is dismissed as an event, not a process, and certainly nothing 'truthful' to be 'read and digested'...

That an Authority, One promised in 7,000 years of recorded history, and the ONLY One to have declared Himself to have such Authority to speak, has come (to a Muslim matrix-nation) and been tortured, exiled and imprisoned... is deemed only fit subject for discussion IF ONE IS UNFORTUNATELY STUCK in transit, unable to avoid such a discussion!

If it were not germane to this Islamic-events thread, I would NOT POST.

If it IS germane, central and enlightening to the whole Islamic-jihad-culture-threats thread, it behoves us to learn for ourselves what Baha'u'llah brought and released into our world!

2/18/2006 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

Two points I wish to address this evening. First, opotho, please correct me if I am misunderstanding you (this is not a sarcastic remark, we can agree to the implementation of more than the false civility you have accused me of). You seem very uncomfortable with the idea that we may be facing a renewal of the clash of civilizations, begun by Islam in the mid 7th century. Assuming that you would grant me the benefit of the doubt that I am not desirous of a calamitous clash, please note that I agree with Wretchard completely that we first try to resolve this by other means. Failing that, who is to blame and what is to be done?

My second point is my fundamental disagreement with Secretary Rumsfeld about the need to get our message across in the greater Muslim world. He's lamenting the fact that the revival of traditional Islam seems on a collision course with our foreign policy objectives in the Middle East. I think this is not mainly a divergence of perception, but mainly a divergence of values. It seems he is voicing his frustrations that his job is a lot harder because the people of that region do not like us AND that we have a sizeable, significant minority of Americans who have never supported the mission or have withdrawn their support for it.

To Mr. Rumsfeld I would say that we cannot focus intensely and expansively on both camps. We have to be efficient with our energies, our time, and our money. If you had to choose between the two audiences, who would be the audience more amenable towards changing their minds about what is at stake and what we are representing?

I know who I would choose to focus more of my "propaganda" efforts upon. I am not even comfortable with using that word anyway, since it is too burdenned with negative meanings to be useful. Clearly, we are not going to get the desired effect through our media and journalism communities. Academia has pretty much burned its bridges and is probably irredeemably anti-American. Right now, the blogosphere is the only place where discussion that requires an in-depth involvement is going to take place.

I am not very optimistic about this problem being solved in the short term. Clearly there needs to be more than just a babble of "nuke 'em" mentality coalescing among the people of the West. I really don't want to go down that road, but I clearly eschew the appeasement mentality that, on balance, seems to hold sway at the moment. It also seems to me that in the Islamic world there is very little urgency to make radical, enduring, and thoroughgoing changes required to forestall this conflict that I do think, in the end, is inevitable. Yet, I want to proceed in a manner that exhausts our patience without surrrendering anything to them, so that the fatal choice really comes down to their willingness to embrace liberty and pluralism or face dire consequences.

2/18/2006 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

I worry about a society bred on visuals, because visuals can be so easily manipulated. Teach them to read, and they are better inoculated against propaganda.

Visuals, as propaganda vehicles, would not be an optimal long-term strategy, but I am intrigued at the short-term potential of a marketing blitz. Removing the immediate threat by defusing the radicalism of the collective emotional substrate fueling the hostilities would open up the wiggle room of time. Some problems require a generational phase out rather than the abruptness of an immediate military solution - or at least as a supplement to military engagement.

2/18/2006 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

I think opotho's about got it beaten into my head...we need to know our enemy. I can think of two trends that might help us in Iran, which I believe will be important as they've been under sharia law a long time. First we need to appeal to their persian pride; I believe that they have their elites that were successful before the revolution and consider themselves, and maybe the Lebanese, as the only non barbarians in the ME - we need to appeal to these people and select the portion of history to emphasize when the moslems were more enlightened. Secondly, we need to play that fracture that most run of the mill non-rural Iranians must surely recognize: that mixing religion and politics is a hypocritical thing, and in actuality is totally political. They by now know that a secular state would allow religion to maintain the moral high ground and make the mullahs secret police un-necessary. One would also hope that Sistani in Iraq has long ago realized this.

2/18/2006 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Fred, I agree with much of what you're saying.

And IF a problem is not soluble at the level wherein it presents itsself, then the Baha'i Faith provides an excellent, pertinent and proven-practical way to raise the discussion ABOVE the level of 'kill now or kill some or kill all?'

The medium IS the message.

That's why I frequently call to our attention the medium by which this message came to humankind: an ordinary human, of noble lineage of the family of Daniel and Muhammad; unschooled because He answered EVERY question asked of Him by professors, correctly, succinctly and courteously; imprisoned and freighted with a collarbone-scarring 90-pound iron collar; exiled to Baghdad, to Constantinople, to Adrianople and then imprisoned in Akka, Prison by the Sea, in Israel.

False prophet? Name even ONE OTHER who came at that time, claiming to be the Promised One of All Ages!

Not Joseph Smith. He NEVER claimed to be the Promised One. Not Ellen White, of 7th Day fame...

I'm willing to be ridiculed, see my motives maligned, my aims derided, my means belittled and my faith disdained, but THIS is one valid forum in which to make these assertions, for HERE are reasoning minds, inquiring humans, capable of recognizing 'the Righteousness that is Christ' come anew in His New Name.

It's pertinent. It is on-thread.

2/18/2006 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

First things first. Start a one-person ground roots effort to raise the visibility of Iran's Nuke Threat. Write letters to the Editor, etc. Blog like Crazy. Bush needs the cover of a ground-swell of support if he is to destroy Iran's Nuclear Program.

Perhaps you will inspire others. Organize a "Protest" Rally. A "Stop Iranian Nukes, Now" Rally. Anything that makes a "Noise" will get covered by TV, and, Antique, or not, that's where the "Millions" of eyeballs are. Even if the MSM disagrees with you, they will cover you if you're in the street.

You will NEVER be able to pry the ME potential bomber away from the local Imam. He's got you beat 10 ways to "Friday." He's "There," you're "Not." You've just got to make sure he doesn't get the "Big" Bomb.

We'll have to deal with Pakistan, later.

2/18/2006 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Someone - wish I could remeber who - said that the US faced an almost unique challenge in that it is at war within countries that it is not at war against.

That, in a nutsehell, is our position vis a vis Islam.

2/18/2006 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Minh-Duc said...


If we apply military concept to information warfare, we can think of it in term of battle space. There are roughly two battle spaces - their and our. It is important to win the war in their battle space, but often we neglect our own battle space. We seek to influence the population in the Islamic world. The terrorists are also seeking to influence our population through our own media.

My assessment is that they are more successful in our own battle space than we are in their battle space. Already our media is capitulating in the cartoon war by refusing to reprint the cartoons out of fear. The enemies goals regarding our population are as follow. (1) Convince that the war is unwinable. (2) That if we only leave them alone, the war would end. (3) That we innitiated the war, not them.

It is therefore important that we win the war in our own battle space first. It means a better explanation of the war to our own population - the cause, the nature of the enemies, and the consequence of defeat.

2/18/2006 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

I have a suggestion that I think is actionable, efficient, and sends the right message. We need to defend, support, protect, and praise any Muslim who is brave enough to critique his or her religion and its history. It will send a message of the right kind. Even if we have to have some sort of "witness protection program" for Muslims who would be under threat for their criticism of Islam, I think it would be worth the effort. We won't compromise our principles and we won't get bogged down in polemics which can only devolve into pointless debates. It will send a message that only substantial reform is acceptable to us. The kind of reform that would denude Islam of its most violent and misogynistic injunctions. And the kind of Islam that would forswear jihad. It may be an impossible demand, but it will send a message they will take note of. Right now, the West sends mixed messages to Islam and the sort of people for whom dhimmitude is nothing to fear seem to hog the show.

2/18/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sometimes when 'Rat is knocking the General, I wonder how much lattitude he has to work with before his joining the beheaded ones would become a certainty.
And them hills out west are nothin to be toying with unless we fully expect to be VERY agressive.
...back to your post about what this has metabolized into.

2/18/2006 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Fred 9:31 PM,
Right, a thousand like that Canadian Lady would be a formidable force indeed.

2/18/2006 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Opotho 7:54 PM,
Not everyone is here to argue ad infinitum about every imagined slight.
Actually, I had my friend and self-confessed BIGOT, Mikah in mind.

2/18/2006 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

""Progressives" support the imposition of blasphemy laws by those who would kill most of their special interest groups. "
Very Elegantly Stated, Chip!

2/18/2006 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

I wouldn't worry about Rat.


2/18/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Jeez, nor do I:
I meant the General!
Plenty to worry about for him.

2/18/2006 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Except for one of his beliefs.

2/18/2006 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think I'm missing that one, please specify.

2/18/2006 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Oh, that General...

The consensus is, we're getting the best we can hope for.

2/18/2006 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


2/18/2006 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

So 'Rat harbors a Questionable Belief?

2/18/2006 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

I think it would help a lot, also, if POTUS would put more effort into communicating with the American public, bringing them around to the seriousness of the threats posed to us, and taking head on the misinformation and disinformation disseminated by the msm and the Left.

It should be obvious by now that the DhimmiCrapic Party is not really interested in being on the side of solutions. The Muslims like them because the DhimmiCraps say all the right things and would stand for more appeasement, not less. How is this for a nightmare scenario: Hillary in the White House and Bill as the new U.N. Secretary General? It certainly would bring the crisis closer to a head.

2/18/2006 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

To do or die, unquestionably.

2/18/2006 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Outsource, our govt can’t manage a PR effort but it can outsource to those that can. Yes, I know the media will howl, outsource dealing with that to the same PR firms, before long the average joe watching them bloviate will mockingly jest about “conspiracy theories” and continue absorbing the message.

Our media has a relativist view of the world where facts and truth can get in the way of their objectives and are thus seen as unhelpful, it goes well beyond bias.

Right now our media are gunning for the president and conservatives in general. It does not matter what any particular issue is about it even gives the outward appearance of pure patronage because the differences are so basic.

It’s similar to the Christians and Jupiterians going head to head as the western empire crumbles around them.

George Orwell wrote in Looking Back on the Spanish War

"what is peculiar to our own age is the abandonment of the idea that history COULD be truthfully written… …theory indeed specifically denies that such a thing as 'the truth' exists… …The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but THE PAST."

Sixty years on our media deny the truth exists for their own selfish reasons.

2/18/2006 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/18/2006 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Kid was visiting and said one of the guys that works where our son used to work spent two weeks over there in the immediate aftermath of the Tsunami, and when he returned, he developed some problem and had to have quite a few lymph nodes removed!
...ever heard of that, or what it might be?

2/18/2006 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

How about a cartoon?

2/18/2006 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pretty nice pdf I had not seen. That's his friend that encountered the problem on the top of the first page.

2/18/2006 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

red river,
Not unless you're willing to pay up for a few Mosques for the offended.

2/18/2006 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(see 7:47 PM)

2/18/2006 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Goings on in Nigeria & Venezuela over the weekend are going to shoot spot crude up 2 bucks tomorrow, and Bernankes hawkish remarks on rates last week are going to run rates up, too. The Dollar will strengthen on the rate rise, Gold will be up 5 or 10, and the financial battle will be between flight-to-quality demand for US long paper (rates down) vs the oft-feared settling of oil inflation into direct pass-thru on consumer prices (rates up). Shell has pulled out of a Nigerian production platform that was producing 400,000 BPD. The ambush and kidnappings--simultaneous to a hostile Hugo Chavez promise to cut USA off Venezuelan oil--were done by a terrorist unit of around 40 men, and just this act alone will tomorrow alone add $150,000,000 extra to oil vendors' accounts. And then comes Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the American media is mesmerized by the game of fantastical musings on the story behind the story behind the story of a hunting accident--an a not particular serious one at that--in a south Texas pasture.

2/18/2006 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

The 2005 run-up in crude prices is a strong enough incentive for the powers that be within the jihad, to keep the thing hot regardless of whatever we may do to dampen the religio/ideological fervor. The oft-observed two-front war (against the jihad and the international left) is really a four-front war, since the jihad is partly a plain old extortion/protection racket variation--on a global scale, and in terms of you and me at the gas pump, a global-village scale (hello again to McLuhan). The enemy is mounting a powerful attack on our long-held and identity-making expectations of the future. We will be much harder when it is over. Don't invest in Hollywood.

2/18/2006 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Russia is an oil exporter, China/India will never be anywhere near self-sufficient, and whatever western-friendly forces that are at work within the Kremlin and OPEC capitals that there may be, they have to contend with a hard-currency appetite that "terrorism" has made so easy to feed that it could appear foolish not to milk this time in history for all it's worth, and just see how long the string will play out, and where it might go--since after all the traditional western penalty is always the judeaochristian forgive & forget ("go now, and sin no more").

2/18/2006 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I like the idea of a Witness Protection Program. There were a bunch of Arab editors who showed way more intestinal fortitude by publishing the cartoons than many major US media outlets. And now they are twisting in the wind.

2/18/2006 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Right to the hard facts and Realities Buddy.
Quite a far cry from the mindless chatter of our ostensible news-gatherers and the phoney "religious" prattle of our adversaries.

Sure wish we had the wherewithall to face up to all the constraints and limitations our extreme dependence on imported oil causes, so we might start to address the problem in a rational manner.

2/18/2006 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

It's almost like the 90s were some sort of cosmic test--the Almighty if you will--to see what we deserved by way of a new millennium. So what did we do but elect Bill Clinton and launch ourselves on a national obesity epidemic. Now we have a huge mess to clean up, and it starts with you and me. It starts with you and me deciding whether or not the reward is worth the effort. And that, right there, is the nut of the American left's ultimate danger. As a self-abnegating demoralization force, it both creates and embodies a reward not worth the effort. The louder it gets, the more we must not hear it. Unless we're ready to be an extinct species, that is.

2/19/2006 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

It's been 7 years or so since an acquaintance that has a house here was kicked out of SE Asia somewhere while working for Chevron.
Went somewhere in Africa, I wonder how long until he's kicked out of there?
Good to know our friends the Mohammedans only have peace, goodwill, and our best interests in mind.

2/19/2006 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Well put,
The only thing we have to fear,
is the left
left unto itself.

2/19/2006 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

talk about 'well-put'.

2/19/2006 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

I read the PDF, very technically oriented around tsunamis and their monitoring and their destructive power...

I was active in a)finding my wife's uncle (he was unharmed, but lost his off-beach house); and b)helping the Thais tag, record, photograph, computerize lists of and identify, as quickly as possible, the thousands of foreign and Thai corpses bloating in the sun!

This is the first I've heard of any lymphatic-based ill effects of exposure to tsunami victims, so I suspect something else... we got some EGREGIOUS fungi and phyto-organisms here, opportunistic infectors and pathogens...

Not necessarily corpse-related.

Doug, God bless your son (and the Americans like him) who volunteered to help in the aftermath! Email me, I'll get you my contact phone in Bangkok.

And, you might enjoy my most recent post at

2/19/2006 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Doug, did you know that Hawaii is sailing north at about an inch a year? Doesn't that seem fast for an entire archipelago?

2/19/2006 12:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Or well Kaput.

2/19/2006 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Orwell, however, lives on.

2/19/2006 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

WRT my speeding abode,
why do you think I'm accused so often of being woozy?

2/19/2006 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sometimes I just put on some Christopher Cross, and go with the flow.
Doesn't work so well with lava, however.

2/19/2006 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

kaput is so easy to feel when banging head against the obvious. It's like, jeez, if we can't even figure out whether we're in danger or not, why the hell bother, we ain't worth saving to begin with.

but then you look at all the real people, and the real achievements, and real lifting of the living conditions of humanity that a natural-logic system such as ours has created and can continue to create, and ya think, "Long story is, right is beating wrong, so why the long face, why not just learn to love the fight? Peace is the aberration, anyway, historically."

2/19/2006 12:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Thanks, he was back here on our moving volcanic mass doing related things:
That's one of his friends in the picture that he worked with though.
Fungi are magical things.
I studied them and yeast a bit in college.
I'll be sure to return to your hilariously named blog to see your latest update.

2/19/2006 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

If we could just shut up our pampered idiot faction, and pull a real war face, and announce to the world that far from being war-weary, election-apprehensive, and looking for a way out, we are just lovin' all this shit and we hope it goes on forever, and matter of fact we may be just now starting to get a little pissed-off, well, that would be the way to melt the heart out of the jihad. The only way, probably. Arm to parley, as Churchill said.

2/19/2006 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, I remember one night when you tired of arguing w/C-4 about guess what?
And said something to the effect of:
Yeah, well whatever, but I'll stand with Israel just because!
That appreciation for all that has gone on and been done for us before is what is so sadly lacking with the Enemy Within.

2/19/2006 12:39:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

well, old Barbary War hero Admiral Stephen Decatur was certainly channeling some sort of biological imperative--tho Biology probably hadn't been invented yet--when he said "My country, in her intercourse with other nations may she be always be in the right, but, my country, right or wrong!"

2/19/2006 12:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Desert Rat is very knowlegeable and military smart, but he tends to discount your point when I repeatedly try to make it.
I guess part of his impatience with it is that it is a hypothetical, and he expects our leaders to just deal with it.
...I figure it should at least be brought up to give credit for what they are having to deal with, and point out that whatever headway we can make in converting/shutting up/drowning out their defeatist drivel is lives saved and gas in our tanks. (so to speak)

2/19/2006 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

yeh, old C4--been quiet lately. maybe the JDL grabbed him and has him off somewhere in a safe house making him apologize six million times.

2/19/2006 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

12:46 AM replying to 12:38 AM of course.

2/19/2006 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


2/19/2006 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"real lifting of the living conditions of humanity"
The left, and Hollywood in particular seem to have no appreciation.
As if modern life could live on scripts alone.
Well played out, of course.

2/19/2006 12:55:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Well, people have a huge and legitimate concern that a leader such as Grant or Patton, sending great numbers of their troops home as casualties, may or may not be right with their idea of getting it over with sooner rather than later. Those two were only right in retrospect, and Robert E. Lee would be excoriated today for Pickett's Charge. but, you know how it is in the bluff, for a bluff to work, it must be potentially not a bluff at all. And if it does work, you're home free. if it doesn't, well, are you worse off or not--it depends on the other players. I just know that Bush had the bad guys back on their heels not so long ago, with the "arab spring" and all, but now these dictators are linking up here and there, Putin, Chavez, Ahchmanijade, oil is vaulting, and the anti-Bush crescendo just keeps going higher and higher, with the volume knobs in the hands of a pretty ratty bunch of strange bedfellows, strung out from Tehran to the US Senate chamber, all somehow allied against this administration, above any and all other considerations. It's flabbergasting.

2/19/2006 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I mean, the terrormasters sit and watch CNN, and note well that no one was taken out and hung with a rope after the NSA leaks--the National Security Agency for cryinoutloud getting tossed up like a tennis ball at the country club--and cannot but be stroking their beards, grinning and nodding to each other that, yes, their wear-'em-down strategy is working just perfectly, thank you.

2/19/2006 01:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

While at the same time in the CNN Quality time mode, they and the rest of the rabble rousers are picking up on the latest hot media manipulation techniques of the month.

Really only a matter of taking notes, since the media do so want to be manipulated that a mere viewing is like reading an instructional handbook.

Limbaugh calls them their willing accomplices in the media.

2/19/2006 02:43:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Rope?! Larsen, to cut a Shmekel you use a knife!

2/19/2006 02:47:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


2/19/2006 03:14:00 AM  
Blogger gokart-mozart said...

On September 2, 1945 (1363 days after Pearl Harbor), the Secretaries of War and the Navy no longer had to worry about Japanese propaganda, because the Fleet was anchored in Tokyo Bay and the conquering armies were streaming ashore.

The office of War Information and the office of Censorship could be closed down.

That happened because of proper preparation for victory, which started even before 12/7/41.

SECDEF's job is winning. His effort is inadequate. The forces which he has deployed and requested are inadequate. His plans for victory over Iran, Pakistan,and Arabia are inadequate.

Al-Jazeera is the least of his problems.

2/19/2006 03:24:00 AM  
Blogger gokart-mozart said...

desert rat 6:15 PM:

"this is a war of ideas"

No it is not. It is a war of conquest. The only "idea" the enemy has is that they want victory, and that they want to strangle the last philosophe with the entrails of the last rabbi.

What's our idea? That a bunch of illiterate savages who follow a false religion are going to turn into Jeffersonians?

2/19/2006 03:32:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

This war is more complex than what meets the eye.

It's a multifaceted war involving real military battles, proxy fighter battles, economic battles, information battles and many other facets. As such, it should be fought in a multi - faceted fashion.

Further, complicating this war is the "time" factor. At a certain point in time we must act or be defeated.

As Wretchard notes, information warfare can be a very power weapon - both for us and the enemy.

I would note it's necessary to clearly know the enemy (but, this does not necessarily mean alerting the enemy of that fact).

Totalitarian dictators are nothing new - even if they are dressed in "Cleric's Clothing." Then end result is control by fear and Police State goon squads.

In the past, these totalitarian dictators have proven effective control over their subjects and have manipulated the Press (or the MSM). I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Another point is the press, or MSM, in the West is grossly influenced State sponsored actions - is said "Press" truly free?

Lastly, economic warfare tends to play a major role in all wars. It's interesting to note that as oil prices go up and more economic resources flow to our enemies - our enemies become more brazen and belligerent.

I would suggest that we go on the offensive on all fronts:

Military fronts (including proxy fighters), information fronts including complete psychological warfare and, an Economic fronts designed to cripple the enemy and prevent him from acquiring more weapons.

desert rat: "Al-Jeezera TV sells commercial time, does it not? ...

Five ads in the Campaign, nothing that would be considered offensive to Islam, but would annoy the Mohammedans

[This is a good start - unless it just feeds cash to the monster. If it's found that it just strengthens the monster - cut all funding and use any and measures to neutralize Al-Jazzera]

rich: 4 reasons for MSM anti American coverage:

1. Money and favors. I think that foreign money influences our media coverage to be anti American...

2. The need to show access to events in totalitarian states influences our media to be anti American... Eason Jordan and CNN in Saddam's Iraq, as shown with walter Duranty in Stalin's Soviet Union, access influens coverage. The media is simply intimidated by implied or direct Islamic threats...

3. Egotism.

4. ...the MSM and Islamic terrorists are allied in their effort to take down the Bush administration.

[This is true. The cure would be focusing those areas and the actual cogs in the system that facilitate said anti-American "news" and neutralize them by any means].

Wretchard: ...It may be a good idea to encourage native-born Americans to study a foreign language and one way to gain proficiency is to pay them to read Arabic websites for practice in the process of following them.

[Very true and the quicker it's done the better]


...Some historians have argued that Hitler was misled by a Times of London editorial into thinking he had the green light to take the Sudentenland.

[That is possible true. We should not repeat that mistake. The Administration should immediately counter any false impressions that the MSM gives to the enemy]

Wretchard: Using the broadband internet and cell phone swarming techniques, power grids and petroleum pipelines can be blackmailed at a lower and lower cost. This insures the terror networks a steady income stream.

Maybe both trends can be subverted by installing thousands of video cams on oil pipelines and letting thousands of internet folks watch the pipelines and electric towns. Folks stop being passive TV watchers and Pipeline security goes way up.

[Good idea, but someone must in stall and maintain the cameras and enforce the violations - but it could be done]

The US has had the power to destroy most of the population from the planet for the most of the Cold War...

[That may or may not be true. I have heard some in the defense business say that at it's peak the USA could only scorch 4.5% of the earth's land surface area. That leaves a lot of un-scorched area - not including the sea and the ships that float on it. Further, there is the problem of accuracy which would further decrease the actual ability to destroy the enemy. The point is that sometimes the USA's nuclear capability are over stated].


Before we nuke the garden, let's the try the Roundup.

Having a some experience with the broad defoliant Roundup, it's tends to kill all plant life - hence, the Roundup analogy could be construed to mean using chemical weapons - and I doubt Wretchard means that]

fred: I want to proceed in a manner that exhausts our patience without surrendering anything to them, so that the fatal choice really comes down to their willingness to embrace liberty and pluralism or face dire consequences.

[In a non-time constrained situation that is a good idea - but, time is not on our side. There is a real possibility that the only option is the military option. To that end, I would never exclude nuclear weapons. As the old saying goes "What silently but carry a big stick" - I would add be prepared to use said stick]

2/19/2006 03:34:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Ok, so back to the serious question. How do you make a bunch of goblins disappear in a poof?

2/19/2006 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger gokart-mozart said...

Mika: "How do you make a bunch of goblins disappear in a poof?"

It can't be done. It requires years of brutal warfare and hundreds of army divisions to occupy their lands, kill their leaders, and seize control of their societies for the purpose of reeducating their children and grandchildren.

After we do that, Al-Jazeera wil no longer be a problem.

2/19/2006 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Or you just press some red buttons, turn some keys, and voilla.

2/19/2006 04:05:00 AM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

To get their attention quick, we could impose a say $2/gallon tax and use the proceeds to subsidize public transportation (everyone rides free). The demaguoges hearts may just let them go along for once. People would naturally stick to the most basic necessary driving, or ride the bus; the working poor would have their option. The immediate drop in consumption would send the price of oil down.
With these knuckle-heads, the economy is eventually going to be sent for a loop anyways; why not make it on our terms - we've been nibbling around the edges, trying to have our cake and eat it too, a war without the pain or commitment. Let's take some of the fragility out of our economy by working on the consumption side; nonetheless, detroit's not going to sit around forever making V8's ever more powerful with $4.50/gallon fuel - not when there's diesels out there getting 50mpg...
Also, since this post started w/Rumsfield, I wonder how history will treat his lean & mean and QDR? Will it be a turning point, a idea so great that it is a self fulfilling prophecy; or, will the legs be pulled out from under it by the more pragmatic in tough times? also for our economic engagement policy?

2/19/2006 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Talking about Economic War, Iran has been moving all its petro-dollars and dollar-contracts to petro-EUros and intimated (or announced) that it will spring its weapon on America this coming March 20th, the last day of the old year (the solar year) and a significant symbol to Iranians and others who recognize March 20th as the last day of winter and March 21st as the First Day of Spring.

Ahmadi-nejhad intends to HURT America as much as he can, with or without nuclear weapons.

2/19/2006 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Here's a story from the newspaper. It's by Farshad Kholgh, a Danish/Iranian. DR is the Danish version of state television, kinda like BBC - just more leftist and apologetic.

* * *

The the thing to worry about is not that freedom has an enemy. The thing to worry about is whether we have the courage - or rather - the clarity of vision to defend freedom.

I was contacted by TV Avisen [DR main news channel]. The journalist from DR wanted to make a program on disinformation. And I immediately thought of the Danish Mullahs fatal "pilgrimage" to the Middle East with lies about Denmark. The journalist asked me, what it is that make people blindly believe the disinformation the are fed. "It's quite simple" I answered. "Islam insistence that it is infalible kills any for of self critique and any opportunity for dialogue. And the rulers interests in keeping the common people in ignorance within the Islamic world isn't helping the situation any or helping bring about an Enlightenment. The more ignorant people are, the easier it is to claim that the earth is flat, or some random person is a witch and must be burned" - I then waited for the next question.

"But we here in the West, are not told the truth all the time either" notes the DR-journalist. I then explained to the journalist, that here in the West, one at least have the freedom to change channel, if one is not satisfied with the level of information. Or one can use the Internet, read books, even travel to see the facts oneself. It is important, that one is allowed to think for oneself, to reach ones own conclusions.

"Yes, but" continues the journalist "It was said in Danish media that the Danish embassy was burned to the ground; but when one looked at the images the day after, it was only a bit burned. Is that not too to disinform?"

"I think I know what you want. You entered the typical "oh-but-we-are-so-bad"-line You have been taken by the western bad conscionouss - an absurd Stockholm syndrome", I said and stared on the importance on keep focus on the right subject, that is the fanatics whom torch the embassies and threaten our citizens on their lives - not on some minor error on whether the damages were $500 or $2000. The fact that fundamentalist in the Islamic countries - supported by their governments - demands that we censure ourselves, that is the essence of the matter. The reason we defeated Hitler, was precisely because we kept focus on fighting Hitler, and not attacking Churchill's drinking problems. The same for the apartheid of South Africa.

"I am so tired of the media and their desire to equal our actions with those of the fanatics. Now is not the time for a totally misunderstood, ridicoulous and extremely muddy cultural relativism - but time to stand together and stand by out values, which the fundamentalist hates with all their heart." I said, and though I perhaps might have exceeded the DR-journalist limit for tolerance. There was a few moments of silence, then she giggled nervously, and said matter-of-factly: "Oh, but then I can't use you in the program afterall."

* * *

A thing I noticed. The role of journalists in the common mind and mass culture, has changed the last decades. In the 70's Hollywood would portray the Journalist as the courageous man who dared challenge the powers - as Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford in All the Presidents Men and the Watergate - nowadays books and movies are more likely to portray journalists as some idiotic liberal backstabbing SOB who'll sell his mother and country for a good story.

2/19/2006 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Al-Jeezera is funded by the UAE, it is State Sponsored, so as long as the World is buying oil, there will be Arab News.

I know the difficulties involved, doug, I also can see the lack of success in our Policies.
While there were some success, it came years ago, now.

There is a famous line "what have you dine for me lately" that fits the challenge.

Mr Chavez and his Challenge, for US it has been on the near Horizon for a few years now.

People discuss attacking Iran as if it were going to be some isolated incident. It will not.
People seem to think that Sunnis and Shia will never work together, that Mohammedans and Marxists will not cooperate, that they won't coordinate. Balony

To defeat the Mohammedans with out wrecking the West's Economy, that is the real Challenge.

With information, aristides wants to send 100's of millions of Muslims to the library to read Moby Dick.

I'd like to see singing Iraqis on Pakistani & Iranian TV, singing the praises of free Elections.

As to the General President, have we learned nothing from our past. Supporting Dictators in the name of "Stability" is what brought US to this point in time. As we try on that piece of Propaganda and push forward with that Policy, we gain as our bestest ally, a Tyrant.

When Pakistan erupts, the General President and his core supporters will be dead, aQ will have a REAL Country and Iranian nuclear amvibions will pale in the face of Reality. All 48 warheads of a Nuclear Reality, not the rantings of a wanna be Cleric, trying to build a copy of a Pakistani Bomb.

To do or die, trish, I ain't dead yet.

At least in my day in the Military, we had Victory as a Goal and we Won. Folks still voting in Salvador, moderate social policies are in place, and 20 years later, exSoldiers and their kids are running street gangs in LA and across US. Now that is Progressive.

2/19/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And doug, folks that mix beer, drugs and guns should not be trusted around children.
Nor in positions of Power, their judgement and decision making process is impaired, people could get hurt, oh, I forgot, someone already was, shot. Another 1/4 second of arc, Mr Whittington would have really got it, peppered in the head.

Then the Partisans, here, defend drinking and shooting, saying with a straight face, "No effects" on judgement or reaction time could be attributed to combining beer & drugs.

Time for a little reevaluation of our Idols, guys, their feet, they're made of clay.

2/19/2006 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Someone (in another thread here, IIRC, but the threads have been so long lately it's getting hard to keep track) cited this article

from Canada's National Post, about how Europe is getting impatient with its Muslim immigrants.

It seems to me the changing Euopean attitude (if the report is correct) may be a real key to change, as it would take much wind out of the sails of our own left, and its idiotic multicultural notion that we are not really in a war with the Islamic fascists.

But perhaps I am too optimistic.

OT to Buddy: Those are some brilliant comments above.

Jamie Irons

2/19/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Hey, thanks for the cite, Wretchard!

Here's the kind of thing I was referring to, from today's NYT:

The NYT cracks me up. This opinion piece I just read really cracked me up: “The Pessimism Deficit”, it’s about some dreary chick author, who is doing a reading at a West Coast bookstore. She gets a question: “Then a man raised his hand and asked me to give him a reason to be “optimistic” about America. Huh. That was a new one.” So pathetic! And her ideas about what IS good are even more pathetic, like looking out the window of the plane over Mt. Hood while listening to her iPod, etc.

She finishes the piece in fine, NYT fashion, suicidally depressed:

“Alas, I see my initial worries about the current administration as the greatest betrayal in my whole life by my old pal pessimism. I attended the President’s inauguration in 2001. When he took the Presidential oath, I cried. What was I so afraid of? I was weeping because I was terrified that the new president would wreck the economy and muck up my drinking water. Isn’t that adorable? I lacked the pessimistic imagination to dread that tens of thousands of human beings would be spied on or maimed or tortured or killed or stranded or drowned, thanks to his incompetence.

I feel like a fool. All those years of Sunday school, and still the apocalypse catches me off guard.”

Then of course, this same section reprises all the stupidity in Homeland Security that caused all the trouble with Katrina and the flood. In that article of course they make no mention of the fact that it was the largest and fastest rescue in the history of the U.S., where 100,000 responders were on the scene within three days. Okay, the results weren’t acceptable to Kanye West, but fastest and largest rescue in history should count for something, shouldn’t it?

When did pessimism become cool?

2/19/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger james wilson said...

Wretchard: You see the need for the thinkers on this blog to get organized in a professional way. That would seem welcolme, but holding up the Left as an example is also a warning. They are organized and on message indeed, but what they have organized around is power and control, absent the character formed by creativity and freedom which is formed in the loose association of this blog. You have spawned ideas, accelerated understandings, improved and sharpened thinking and writing skills through the friendly challenge of this forum; and provided the opportunity and joy to be a part of what must, by default or evolution, become the engine and device for voice and change. Harnessing it is a different challenge. We may find a way. If not, great ideas and realizations, like a very good joke, take increasingly little time to make the rounds of the country. We have a chance now.

2/19/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

When did pessimism become cool?

It's an amygdala thing.

Or, to evoke Tom Petty:

Rebel without a Cause

Or maybe ...

Zero from Outer Space

On a more serious note, sensory overload does seem to be an issue. Alot of rocks and hidey holes have been overturned since 9/11 and the rhetoric is matched only by the IED smuggled behind the belt buckle. Civilized conflict resolution it ain't.

2/19/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger A Dilettante said...

Even though we won the Cold War in Eastern Europe, we lost that information war at home. There has never been a reckoning, near as I can tell, from all the communist sympathizers and useful idiots in the West from the last twilight war.

Never mind it is a fact that there were Communists in Hollywood, the State Department, and a host of other places actively working to undermine our efforts during the Cold War. We now know this thanks to the wealth of materials found in the Venona and Stasi files. And yet these people have never been called to account, even though they are now unmasked. We are subjected to scores of movies and documentaries about the noble souls laboring through the blacklist, yet how many movies about that have there been? We are supposed to believe (c.f. Good Night, Good Luck) that the red scare was only a scare, and the mere act of accusing someone of being a communist was an outrage (the existence of any real communists is a priori ruled out as either inconceivable or unimportant). And the Japanese internment camps equally an outrage because it was impossible that there should be pro-Japanese sympathizers amongst us. Wrong and unfair both of these actions may have been, but what I do not accept is the idea told us by our media that the very impulse to wonder about someone's loyalty is seen as out of bounds. Calling someone a communist is unfair even if they actually are one, apparently. (Exhibit A in our failure to win this last information war is how International ANSWER have gotten away with passing themselves off as a "peace" organization, when in fact it is a front for unreconstructed Stalinists who support the most odious dictatorships in the present world.)

Is it any wonder why so many anti-American, treasonous fellow travellers in the last war now comprise the fifth column in this one? They got off scot free last time. Unfortunately for them, communism ended up being a weak horse, though they paid no price when it flagged and is now at the glue factory. But in Islamism, they may have found one far stronger.

2/19/2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Chester said...

If I understand you Wretchard, your question is how to build upon the power of the blogosphere to a)enhance its ability to spread news and ideas and b)spread news or ideas to Muslims in general, whether instilling fear, tolerance, respect, fostering debate, or just reporting.

So how to create media influential to Muslims, or more influential at home? Here are some ideas:

1. The X-Prize: Take up a collection from the blogosphere for a $1 million prize for the best film that presents whatever goal we have in mind. Use a wiki-like system of some kind to figure out what the goal should be. Wisdom of Crowds at work.

2. An RFP (Request for Proposal) process might solicit lots of new media submissions for whatever goal as well.

3. If the blogosphere really wants to move from being a fringe element of society that occasionally breaks into the mainstream, into a main challenger to MSM dominance, then something akin to a Trade Association might be effective. How many remember these lines:

"Got milk?"
"Beef: It's what's for dinner."

A blogging trade association could raise money for ads touting the blogosphere in relatively mainstream places. I'm not so much thinking full-page NY Times placements, but some banners on AOL -- to get those who are already online, but not necessarily reading blogs -- might be effective. I still think blogging is really only understood by about 10% of the population. When I ask people, many say they know what one is but have never read one. Yeah right. That means they don't know what one is.

"Got blog?"

4. Rather than thriving parasitically on the existing main media, another way to promote the ideas of the blogosphere would be to start a tv channel, or a single online site that serves the same purpose (think ifilms, but for videoblogging).

5. "Penpals" with Muslims could have interesting results. I'd be willing to be an "email"pal with some regular guy in Iran or Egypt or Londonistan. I'm sure many others would too.

Well that's a bit of spitballing on your question, W, which I think was meant to ask, "How to use new media to get messages out?", without specifying what those messages are.

Finally, I think as little government involvement as possible is the best.

Sorry if any of my ideas are mentioned by other posters ahead of me. I purposefully didn't read the thread first.

While we're on the subject of cross-talk between the West and the Muslim world, I have to mention this: Iraq reportedly had quite a popular TV show on for awhile on one of their local stations, which was basically like COPS, but with Iraqi police chasing jihadists. Man, would I like to get the rights to that and get it translated and marketed in the US. I bet if it's even halfway decent, it would sell like hotcakes. I read about it a year or so ago in a NY Times piece.

And I'm out . . . back to watching "Sleeper Cell" on iTunes.

2/19/2006 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger For Freedom said...


"Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it"

For all of you auto-didactics out there, consider the following paragraph from Bertrand Russell's "A History of Western Philosophy" Chapter 10 :

"(Friedrich) Ueberweg, rather amusingly, undertakes to defend Averroes against the charge of unorthodoxy-a matter, one would say, for Muslims to decide. Ueberweg points out that, according to the mystics, every text of the Koran had 7 or 70 or 700 layers of interpretation, the literal meaning being only for the ignorant vulgar. It would seem to follow that a philosopher's teaching could not possibly conflict with the Koran; for among 700 interpretations there would surely be at least one that would fit what the philosopher had to say. In the Mohammedan world, however, the ignorant seem to have objected to all learning that went beyond a knowledge of the Holy Book; it was dangerous, even if no specific heresy could be demonstrated. The view of the mystics, that the populace should take the Koran literally but wise people need not do so, was hardly likely to win wide popular acceptance."

Consider also this excerpt from chapter 24 of "The Columbia History of the World":

"The Qadarite doctrine and Islam's initial acceptance of Greek logic led to the development of a more rationalistic theology by the Mutazilites based on the Unity and Justice of the God-head. For a brief period, during the reign of Mamun (813-833), when the rationalist and scientific spirit in Islam was prevalent, the Mutazilite doctrine was espoused by the state and made the official theology. The dominance of the Mutazilites, however, did not endure. Their extremism and intolerance triggered a violent reaction among traditionalists which led to the acceptance in Islam of Asharism. This was a deterministic and authoritarian system of theology, based on the rejection of all causality and the strict adherance to the literal meaning..."

2/19/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger anazaptist said...

To simplify my first comment, I believe the muslims who say the heart of Islam is jihad. I don't believe the muslims who say that jihad means an inner battle. The overwhelming majority of the evidence says jihad means now what it meant at the beginning: Convert or die.

2/19/2006 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Wretchard: I agree with you that ideas need to be institutionalized in order to get further than this forum.

Although the "blogosphere" is an effective place for "cyberelites" to exchange information, it is not particularly effective at disseminating ideas to a mass audience. Its "killer application" is as a "bullshit detector"; it is also a good place to find new and interesting ideas. It is critically important to effectively translate ideas into an appropriate medium to reach new audiences. Al-Jazeera represents a major Islamist success in shifting from internet-based activism to satellite television. In contrast, Air America is a flop because it is essentially a vanity press for Bush haters. (Vanity is also the reason why most "alternative" student newspapers flop).

As a rule, the best way to "break in" to mass media is to find a large potential market where one's ideas are easily translatable. I think the ideas on this blog are most easily translatable into books and magazines. Posters, T-shirts, and calendars are also good. I'm not sure the concepts here can be so easily translated into radio and television.

1. One concept is to start a printing house that would publish these ideas.

Books on how to win the war
Republish old rare (and controversial) books (Hailer Publishing does this for military books)
Picture books of political cartoons
Publish new children's books
Republish old children's books ("Pollyanna", "The Fall of Constantinople", "Aesop's Fables", et cetera)

This publishing house must not be overtly partisan and must encourage a range of opinions and interests. Pierre Laval's politics may have been execrable, but his business practices were sound. He raised the circulation of [his newspaper] by reducing its overtly political content. A good publishing house will be ideologically focused, but it will also understand that people have ordinary lives.

2. The same publishing house could also print a magazine

Ideally, this opinion magazine would be aimed at an international audience, with writers from throughout the world. It would reprint interesting articles from the media, while also publishing opinion pieces. It should have a range of opinion, including Christians, liberal Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, pro-war Leftists (or apostates from the Left), and liberal secularists.

3. T-Shirts

Although "Mohammed" T-Shirts may be fun, but they don't really send the right message. The most effective T-Shirt has (1) a positive message, (2) raises morale, and (3) annoys the enemy without giving him an adequate excuse to get enraged. Right now, the best T-Shirt is "I [love sign] [Danish flag]", with the runners up being "I love Denmark" with a Danish flag underneath and a T-shirt with just a Danish flag. It gets across the point, it annoys our enemies, but it also sets them up for ridicule. Either they must accept we can insult them at will or they look more and more ridiculous, hopefully to the point where Muslims stop taking Islamist ideas seriously. Moreover, the Left would be hard-put to call wearing an "I Love Denmark" T-shirt "hate speech". What is there to hate, when the message could as easily be "Peace and Love"?

Alternatively, one could wear a T-shirt advertising Havarti, Lego, or a Danish beer. This tactic would be all the more poignant if the T-shirts were imported from Denmark.

4. Posters

The best kind of poster is one that will fit onto a 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper and put up at the bulletin board. One can create an image file, allow it to be printed anywhere, and presto -- instant internet-based propaganda you can bring to the local grocery store.

Alternatively, one can create larger posters designed for dorm room walls, bedroom walls, and various public places. In Europe, larger political posters (especially including meeting times and places) are posted on poles that are used as bulletin boards.

5. Calendars

Once variant of the poster is the calendar. One needs to make sure the propaganda points are long-term and not too topical here. Still, a cheap calendar with political art can be effective.

6. Murals

Murals are expensive. But anybody with access to enough wall space, a good political cartoon/painting, and the time/money/effort/paint needed to use it can do this.

7. Billboards

Anybody with the money and an idea of what he wants to say graphically can hire space on billboards. If enough billboard space is hired for political commentary, more billboard space will be created. (Supply and demand.)

8. Calendars

I use the word "calendar" here in a different sense. We need to remember key events in this war. Partly to remind ourselves why we fight. Partly to remind our enemies we don’t forget.

For example, we should mark November 2 as the anniversary of the martyrdom of Theo Van Gogh. He was a martyr for freedom of speech, and commemorations of his murder should give a poignant reminder not only of his death but his life, and what he said about Islam. This would annoy defeatists but give them nothing on which to pin their fury.

9. Podcasting and Satellite Radio

Right now, this is a boutique market. However, if the content is sufficiently good enough, there is an off-chance one can make the jump to more established media (where reaching a mass audience is more likely).

Right now, far too much radio is pre-programmed by a computer. Most radio stations nowadays are automatons. In contrast, if the "old fashioned disc jockey experience" can be sold with a DJ putting on music on his whim, I think there's a market for that. Also, if obscure "World" music were played, such as Andean music, music from Brittany, Plains Indian music, and medieval music, this would reach the kind of educated affluent audience that tends to exercise political power (especially in Washington, DC).

Well, I hope some of these ideas are actionable.

2/19/2006 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

A second note: The book market (and most of the rest of the media) is hyper-saturated with "So-And-So Is An Idiot" books. Either we really are headed toward the nightmare world of the "Shattered Union" video game or there is a potential market for constructive commentary on how we can win this thing.

We should think of Pollyanna. The real Pollyanna of the original "Glad Books" series was not an innocent idiot. She was a wise, street-smart little girl (and young woman) who maintained her optimism and found something to be glad about in everything. In one sense, Pollyanna is the quintessential antithesis of al-Qaeda because she wanted to live. Really live her life and have fun.

We need to be careful about imitating the success of al-Jazeera lest we put ourselves into the same trap the Frankenleft got into with Air America. I think there ought to be a refreshing shift from the polarization of the present. The Right's embrace of flag worship vastly undermines our defense of free speech against Islamists and other totalitarians while the Left's embrace of grunge politics leaves it devoid of any hopeful message.

Before we go forward with institutionalizing our ideas to make them actionable, we need to have some idea of who "we" are. I think we are a coalition of people from various political philosophies who seek to defend our freedom and our cultural heritage from forces that seek to destroy them. This includes both conservatives who seek to preserve what was and liberals who saw the September 11 attacks as a setback for progress.

For example, constructive leftists who desire to shift the world economy away from joint stock corporations and toward worker-owned cooperatives may regard Islamist corporatism as far worse than Wall Street. In particular, a leftist could be appalled that the September 11 attacks created a set of martyrs to corporate capitalism that would only strengthen the long-term ideological power of the multinational corporations. Such a leftist would favor free trade so long as it was free trade between cooperatives and not between joint stock corporations. This very leftist perspective would be closer to the neo-conservatives on foreign policy yet abhor both the corporatism of Clinton and Bush (and especially Thomas Friedman) and the protectionist statism of Pat Buchanan.

On the other hand, constructive rightists may like the multi-national corporation, even to the extent of defending Wal-Mart. To them, the September 11 attacks were simply an attack on freedom. Such a person would be embarrassed by "Freedom Fries" and Rush Limbaugh's defense of torture, but would be no less opposed to al-Qaeda (or for that matter, Saddam Hussein!) than the constructive leftist.

In other words, we should seek less to add another color to the present political spectrum than to promote a new spectrum of thought. We need to make room for a wide coalition.

Also, while Western governments generally use propaganda as artillery for their armies, Islamists (and partisan militia and terrorists in general) use their armies (or murderers) as artillery for their propaganda. Although our governments are strong, we in the "blogosphere" have the advantage of being relatively weak. Now why is weakness an advantage here? That's because propaganda is the weapon par excellence of the weak.

In physical terms in Iraq, the US government is in a counterinsurgency mode while al-Qaeda is in an insurgency mode. However, the cartoon jihad has reversed this on a worldwide level. We (if not the US government) are in the insurgency mode while the Islamist rent-a-mobs are in the counterinsurgency mode. In essence, the enemy is trying to play "Whack-A-Mole" against Denmark. By supporting Denmark now, we make the enemy's attempts at "pacifying" the Western media that much more difficult.

If we seek to win the propaganda war against al-Qaeda, we must start thinking more like guerillas and less like police. In Algeria, battle-hardened soldiers from the French military who joined the OAS were often unable to function as insurgents. That's because it takes a different kind of courage to fight as a guerilla than it takes to fight on the side of a government. Government warriors need physical courage, while guerillas need steel nerves to circulate in public knowing full well that if anybody rats on him he is a dead man.

I'm sure it must feel strange to realize that, in propaganda terms, we are the guerillas and the Islamists are the "invading army".

2/19/2006 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Take up a collection from the blogosphere for a $1 million prize for the best film that presents whatever goal we have in mind. Use a wiki-like system of some kind to figure out what the goal should be. Wisdom of Crowds at work.

My thoughts exactly. I've been thinking about such a film (remember that “The Passion of the Christ” was terribly successful in the Middle East and all around the world). This is what I've come up with:

We should come together to create, and ultimately make, a time piece film, using state of the art graphics and real Arabic voices, that is set in the intellectually vibrant period of Islamic history. (Arabic DVD sales are going through the roof:

It must be an atmospheric film, completely immersive, focused on the feel of the times. It must show an ideal vision of that time, a time that should be inspiring and gripping.

But above all, the film must be calibrated towards the audience, to not just show but to communicate to them a healthy and vibrant time.

There are many candidates, but the ideal person to create the story around would be Averroes. His story is perfect for our purposes, in that he battles religious fundamentalists who want to silence his philosophy.

As for his story, it must also be carefully calibrated. No matter what we do, however, we should stay true to his philosophy (for one, if they ever get the ability to double-check, we don’t want to kill our message through factual dishonesty). We might even want to make his philosophy the hero, a hero which is ultimately vanquished by the forces of suppression. I think the important thing here is to use public square debate in an almost Socratic way to nudge the audience along through various consciousnesses and their interactions. But buried within this framework (or fleshing it out, however you want to think about it), will be human stories and human archetypes to draw the audience in.

We should write the story with this in mind: 1) we want them to smile, 2) we want to fill them with wonder, 3) we want to make them think, and 4) we want to make them feel.

For these reasons, we first need to understand the audience as they are, in addition to how they were. We would need cultural, historical, philosophical, and religious experts to put together a story that works for the audience. We need to know the soil if we are to cultivate a viable flower.


There is more to Islam.

There is more to life.

There is more to the world.

There is more to the universe.

There is a better way.

Once you get that down thematically, I have some suggestions to get us to the next step.

One of the things I think we need to nail is Averroes’s curiosity. His access to libraries and information, the long days of reading and writing, the debates in the public square, the careful study of heavenly bodies will all be central plot devices.

Another thing we need to nail is Averroes’s love of life: his love and affinity for justice and his devotion to his God, towards whom he feels unendingly grateful for the beauty of the world and his ability to be a part of it. Beauty will be a theme, its virtue and its rareness.

Women will obviously have to play an important role. I’m not talking about contemporary feminist traits. I’m talking about true and pure feminine Virtue. We should attempt to show the power women wield through their Virtue, in a time when man’s feelings of inadequacy did not lead them to cover it up. Women should be unleashed, if you will, in this film to be truly feminine. We will focus on the challenging nature of this freedom, but also we should show the justice of this. We should have Averroes ask: because men are weak our women should be enslaved? I think not. A true Muslim would not enslave his women because of his own weaknesses. He would, instead, master his weaknesses.

Barbarians (Europeans) should play a role. Averroes should have discussions about them, maybe even visit a slave yard, and talk about how sad it is that they are so backwards. The subtle jab here will be that, in these discussions, Averroes will aver why they are backwards. When he tags the concept to “familiar” traits, it will create what can only be a beneficial meme in the audience. They will think, “Hey, we taught those damn Europeans how to behave. Why did we devolve so?” Of course, their thoughts will be less articulate. But the effect on their behavior should be the same. The barbaric traits Averroes condemns should be the behaviors that so trouble Islam now.

We will have to show Averroes’s initiative, and his struggle with himself and with his contemporaries--‘individual initiative’ and ‘struggle’ being other central themes in this story. To pull this off we will need, at least, overbearing religious authorities as characters, scared of losing their turf and power, who in the end pervert or suppress Averroes’s writings so as to control the uneducated crowds. In the end they close down the schools, and start indoctrinating the youth to serve their own interests. “School” and “Education” being another theme.

The tension will flow from Averroes’s true faith, which is a celebration of life through personal discipline and structure, as he struggles against the cynical fundamentalism of the Ash'arite theologians (Mutakallimun), who only offer a perversion of life through a mechanism of control. The “structure” and ‘discipline’ here is the religious discipline of the self: a striving for enlightened happiness, through the exercise of mind, body, and soul. Our story will show how Islam gives one the strength of discipline and self-control through routine and focus. This allows the mind to be elevated, which in turn is used to better understand and appreciate the world Allah has blessed us with. [Insofar as it meshes with Islamic scripture and thought, we need to really focus on why Islam gives one strength, as a way of showing what things Islam should not be used for. In this way we will characterize Islam as way to control your baser urges, a way to gain true freedom by becoming a Man, who can be moral and happy, instead of a beast, in thrall to its passions. Once one becomes a Man, rising above the beast, one can appreciate the true beauty of the world.] Philosophy and Art will be therefore be the highest endeavors of Man.

The religious theme will focus on the raising up of individual virtuous man--preparing oneself against the trials of the world, strength against the wickedness of evil men--and the suppressing or minimizing of the intemperate and pitiful beast that lives inside him. It will show that external control is not true virtue, because it is always vulnerable to being manipulated by evil men. Only through self-control and personal morality can a society reach virtue. “Temperance” and “Serenity”.

The society will be peaceful in character, a close nit community where everybody is fair and polite and religious, but not fundamentalist. There are those who do not study and are content to listen. There are those who do study and debate. There is no voice that is silenced.

It should be a happy, virtuous city, progressive in nature and just in government. It will reside in a world that is unkind and different. There will, of course, be tension between the two.

Theme: the City’s success was not an accident. It was purchased through true virtue.

And so on. We still need an intriguing story arc, intriguing characters, and a lot of historical information. The important thing is to make it realistic but magical (magical because we want to inspire ‘wow’, a cool factor, to suck in the kids, who are, if you think about it, the future of Islam), factual yet idealistic, tense but still thoughtful, emotional but also deep—happy in parts, sad in others, but above all moving and satisfying.


Well, this website has technical information on how Tim Burton used Apple Cut Final Pro to put together “The Corpse Bride”, which is a fantastic looking film that uses stop motion imaging:

There are many emerging digital technologies that we could incorporate into our film to make a purely animated or stop motion picture look real.


We can do it one of many ways. We can produce a top quality screen play and market it to capitalists who might be predisposed to make the picture (Mel Gibson comes to mind). We might get the ear of somebody in the government who might want to start funding an “International Artistic Outreach Program”, which would focus on making intriguing art geared toward specific cultures. Under this program we could create and host forums of wiki-creation, where individuals with different skills and backgrounds could offer their knowledge and expertise in creating, designing, filming, and producing feature length art for specific cultures.

These can be educational as well as artistic. But remember, art is also educational; it is education for the soul. The important point is that the film be calibrated. This means we must connect with the audience. We must challenge them, but not to the point of waste. We must be respectful, but not overly solicitous. We need to entertain, but most importantly we need to win hearts and minds.

This would take some sustained effort, but the central idea here is sound. All we need is to wiki-create around it.

2/19/2006 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

we need to concentrate on those satellite dishes; the mods have them installed and they are already against mullah policy...we can reach the most likely candidates via these; even though they may not be receptive, when they catch wind the mullahs will automatically crack down on the dishes and this will piss off the mods over there watching our trash...

2/19/2006 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Yes, excellent point. We can broadcast this art through the satellites.

I once wrote that Al'Jazeera was our Trojan Horse, because its existence opened a channel directly to the minds of individual Arabs. Dictators, in their short-sightedness, allowed this channel to solidify, and now there's no going back.

2/19/2006 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

If we seek to win the propaganda war against al-Qaeda, we must start thinking more like guerillas and less like police.

Castro broadcast from the hills directly to the people. After a while, the people gave him Cuba.

2/19/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/19/2006 09:56:00 PM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

Wretchard said: "Many of the concepts discussed in the open thread do not fit into the existing bureaucratic or business models in American society. As such they are not actionable. Concepts, however valid in principle, need to be packaged into forms that can be funded, marketed and managed otherwise they will remain interesting concepts without a practical future."

As one who is teaching business and, by extension, the "business model of America" at an "American" university in the Middle East (, I have an intense interest in the development and dissemination of actionable concepts and practical solutions. Despite what you might have heard elsewhere, there is an enormous untapped well of goodwill here; there is here a genuine desire on the part of people of the region to know us better and to engage us profitably.

2/19/2006 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger JM Hanes said...

Design a talk show (with plenty of visuals) for al Jazeera, with topics which are modestly edgy but which ordinary folks can TALK about. Ask Oprah how to do it.

2/19/2006 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger JM Hanes said...

Better yet, ask Oprah to take it on as a project.

2/19/2006 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/20/2006 03:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Where do you start with a student like the one that thinks the Danes owe the Muslims three or four Mosques, in addition to an official appology from the government?

A young skull full of mush doesn't bother me as much as wondering what kind of society instills that kind of mush.

Here we have PC mush, but a lot of the country resents the hell out of it.

How many people there think an idea like that is offensive and ridiculous?

2/20/2006 03:18:00 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

I'd spend a lot of money teaching Americans Arabic, and then employ them to translate English works into Arabic. Madrassas teach the boys how to read, but the only book is the Qu'ran.

That won't help with the fanatics, but many Muslims literally have no idea that there are other ways to conceive the world.

2/20/2006 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Hokumsrazor said...

In World War II the Japanese were still planning for a war winning "decisive battle" even after they had already lost three of them.

The Soviet Union refused the information contained in "free market pricing" --because it would put the powerful planners out of business -- even as they doomed their economy to collapse.

In effect, some information has to be suppressed because it will put you out of business. Therefore, as their plan B, The Soviets sought to limit contact with the capitalist West to the trusted elites (plan A was to destroy it --eliminate the embarrassing examples!).

The religious, cultural, political and economic establishment in the Islamic world, though not monolithic, feels threatened by the West. Their Plan B is to convince Muslims that the West is malevolent and wishes to destroy Islam (plan A is to destroy the West as a competitor).

The establishment will try to control the interpretation of the information available Muslims.

When the West is accommodating then The establishment portrays the West as weak and decadent -- that in effect Allah has set them up for failure.

When the West defends itself it is portrayed as over reacting and full of hubris and Allah is setting them up for a fall.

Both of these arguments will rally Islam behind the "establishment."

But there is information that they fear. A number of times I've seen Muslims who lived in the US say that they found "Islam without Muslims" there. This says that 1) Islam is the desired end state 2) This end state is not present in the Islamic world 3) the "Islam end State" is possible in that world and 4) the current leadership of the Islamic world is not leading Muslims there.

In this case, Allah is using the West to guide the Islamic world to the desired end state -- where it can keep up the cultural struggle and win peacefully.

Of course, Muslims have to make this argument. And a competing establishment must be available to take over leadership.

2/20/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"Even though we won the Cold War in Eastern Europe, we lost that information war at home. There has never been a reckoning, near as I can tell, from all the communist sympathizers and useful idiots in the West from the last twilight war."

Even worse, the useful idiots, Kerry's even more radical soulmates, are now running half the Western countries, i.e. Joschka Fitcher/Gerhard Schroeder, Chirac (who was also a socialist in the 1970s), Helen Clark in New Zealand, etc, etc.

The US may have won the Cold War politically and militarily, but both the USSR and US lost the propaganda war, not just at home - throughout the world. How many Soviet disinformation still floats around the world, everything from war for oil, to the CIA having created AIDs. Normally a country can rely on its own cultural organs to promote its value, but we're stuck with internal originated propaganda that is almost as bad as that said by our enemies.

2/20/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger orlandoslug said...

thread seems pretty dead...but, wretchard if your still checking in; as a practical matter I would start compiling your commentary of like minded topics - kinda like the Whitewater Chronicles the Wall Street Journal did during the nineties compiling their editorials having to do with unscrupulous dealings of those people associated with the Clinton administration.
The bulk of the work was already done, (so you could carry on the tremendous service of your ongoing commentaries); they merely compiled them into a volume. To these you could add salient comments of your readers (very limited).
I believe you should market these direct as an on-line book that people pay $0.99 to down load. You could thus maintain your independence and not risk the editors pen should you wish to publish some of your more outspoken readers comments (trang banger, etc.) that are so important in keeping the whole dialogue grounded.
I know I'd order ten of your first book to email to my friends; especially my wayward brother - I'm sure he'd be looking to send me some realpolitik stuff back. You could create a groundswell, being among the first, and would help people to start thinking: When things get really bad, people start to use their brains...

2/22/2006 07:57:00 PM  

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