Friday, February 17, 2006

Hearts and bytes

Donald Rumsfeld says Islamic extremists are winning the propaganda war.

"Our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but for the most part we — our country, our government — has not adapted," he said.

He quoted Ayman al-Zawahri, the chief lieutenant of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, as saying that their terrorist network is in a media battle for the hearts and minds of Muslims. Rumsfeld agreed, saying that the battle for public opinion is at least as important as the battles on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The extremist groups are able to act quickly on the information front, with relatively few people, while the U.S. government bureaucracy has yet to keep up in an age of e-mail, blogs and instant messaging, he said.

"We in the government have barely even begun to compete in reaching their audiences," Rumsfeld said.

Rumsfeld has often described the U.S. government as being disadvantaged by its ponderous approach to dealing with the media, and he has pushed for the U.S. military in particular to try innovative approaches to getting out its message to the Islamic world.

He has also complained that the U.S. media tends to focus too much on the negative aspects of U.S. involvement in Iraq.


When blogger Bill Roggio went to Iraq, funded largely by contributions from his readers, the Washington Post denounced it as an attempt by the US military to buy favorable opinion. When the US military placed stories in Arab newspapers, the stories, even though they were factually correct, were likewise denounced by a press jealous of its independence. How can Donald Rumsfeld's claim that Jihadis are shaping public opinion unopposed be understood in this light? Readers are invited to comment.


Blogger Helvetix said...

As this is posed, it's an ideology versus a government. The way I see it, a government is a codified instantiation of an ideology. But the government is NOT the ideology. What is needed to answer the ideology of islamic fundamentalism is an ideology of princples that people hold as fervently as the islamists. Where are those people? Because once we have them, they will be able to keep pace with the email, blogs, instant messaging and so forth.

It seems to me that the ideology the US was founded upon, has generally been outsourced to the politicians.

2/17/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Handsome Hu said...

I sometimes wonder how causal phenomena such as "public relations" campaigns are.

Is the multi-headed superorganism of Al-jazeera and al-arabiya etc really the dragon people make it out to be?

Surely its content is quite beastly. However, Wretchard's previous post reminds one that human beings - more specifically the behavior of humans - is not a product of what sticks to your blank slate. Humans have the capacity to evaluate and attempt rational strategies in whatever game they find themselves in - whether you are at an exchange trading derivatives or in an Islamic society seeking...well...what do they seek? If they could be satisfied by watching thier muslim children be well-educated and successful and productive etc, then the al-jazeera superorganism seems to matter less. Perhaps its the brutish economics (including the trading of religious acclaim) of the Islamist games that plays a part in persuading humans to take the battle into Satan's pizza parlor. Al-jazeera is certainly an announcer in such a game.

But if Al-jazeera wants to make as much money as top-down media operations over here do, perhaps they only reflect the underlying memetics of Islamic societies. They cater to some "liberal" ideas such as whether torture is preferred. But then theyll have RoP programming (in the LGF sense) on right afterwards.

The thing I try to keep in mind when looking at the violently dastardly deeds done by our media and that of the "islamic superorganism" is that many (perhaps even most) human beings are not zombies, borgs etc.

Humans, if they are sharp and worth their brain tissue, will be able to see through bullshit, independent of any thought-engineering etc. I thought this was one of the biggest boons of OIF: spin the lead up and the post-war "chaos" however you want, the country is transformed and it was done by Iraqis, Americans, Brits, Australians and Poles. It changes the media context and you have to wonder how well Islamist lines will propagate in the new context. They can adapt, but its gotta require some serious creativity to convince someone whose not already convinced that Islamist interpretatiosn of events remain explanatory. Important question is how many fence-sitters are over there? How much can the Islamic superorganism be expected to trump the brain's inherent criticality? [Granted, the brain can delude itself, but perhaps there are much different survival rates for those who delude themselves very much (suicide bombers, sunni cannon fodder etc) and those who delude themselves less.]

This phenomena no doubt has the cards stacked against it in a society that plans its information. But the Internet has made planned information into competitive information, competitive easily accessed information.

If there are regimes that stifle such access, what is the value of a strategy of parking a few satellites over the given territory and giving away free internet access?

2/17/2006 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Plant false rumors in the Arab world to goad AQ into crazier and crazier messages.

Fund or plant cartoons making fun of AQ and terrorists or cartoons which depict them as foolish and bloodthirsty.

Expose leading imams and spokesmen or their friends and supporters as child molesters, thieves, rapists, and killers and plotters(if they are indeed these kinds of men). Use national technical means to collect this information and "leak" in via "viral" means to the world at large. Video, voice, and written exchanges should ne leaked.

2/17/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger BigLeeH said...

There is an interesting photo (see it here)
that shows a demonstrator in a burqa holding a sign that read "FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IS WESTERN TERRORISM." That photo fascinates me because, in a lot of ways, the statement is very apt.

We have recently seen Hamas elected to lead the Palestinian Authority. We can expect to see Hamas bow to pressure to renounce their official support of terrorist activities... but it will continue because other individuals and organizations will continue with it but Hamas will need to seek deniability.

The Islamicists are currently exerting all their efforts to control their internal press and to intimidate the international press and so to limit the access that the Islamic man-on-the-street has to problematical ideas. Pressure from the international community and the increasingly unsympathetic US press will require that the US government have a degree of deniability on that front, too.

What intersts me about the sign is that it identifies the greatest fear of the two sides. Our side fears casualties, especially civilian casualties. We don't much like bad press but we fear bombers and other acts of physical terrorism. The other side fears ideas. They don't much like to have their stuff blown up but it is alien ideas that really has them sweating.

So far in this conflict both sides are employing the weapons against the other side that they themselves fear most. We have had an advantage in open warfare because their military systems are vastly inferior. They have had something of an advantage in the war of ideas because our media is on their side much of the time.

That said I am optomistic about the long term (if we can stick it out long enough to have a long term.) I think the goal of an Iraq that has a tolerable degree of security and a good economy is doable. And that will be a desaster of the first order for the other side. They may be able to control and/or intimidate the mainstream press but, international borders are very permiable to the alternative media (blogs, email, etc.), and a prosperous, modern, peaceful, mostly-pro-Western Islamic country right next door will be impossible to conceal from the man on the street.

2/17/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


The principal task of any terrorist organization is to maintain control over its mass base. Defeating the 'enemy' army is unimportant as long as the population it claims can be terrorized.

Historically, all successful terrorist campaigns have spent more time keeping their population in line than killing the enemy. In the Algerian War for example, terrorists killed two or three times more Arabs than Frenchmen of all types. The same is probably true for Palestine. They key to defeating Israel is not beating the IDF; as long as the terror masters can keep control of the Palestinian population the IDF will eventually be defeated politically.

So you're correct. Propaganda is primarily a battle for internal control. Anyone who reads 1984 will immediately realize that the Ministry of Truth was designed not to convince the foe but to convince the proles.

2/17/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger sammy small said...

It's one thing to try to shape public opinion through the press and MSM, but quite another to achieve a useful result. I would hope that there are many internet news sites in Arabic that specialists can post to as an alternative to the MSM. But you know that good news is boring when it comes to attracting readers and watchers.

To get the maximum result, we need to replace Imams in the mosques throughout the mideast who preach jihad. When we bring our own version of jihad to the Imams, then we will be shaping opinion in a method most over there will understand.

2/17/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Wretchard: "Propaganda is primarily a battle for internal control. Anyone who reads 1984 will immediately realize that the Ministry of Truth was designed not to convince the foe but to convince the proles."

Apply this reasoning to the US. The media's otherwise hard to explain stance is all about preserving their monopoly control over what the public at home thinks it understands. It has next to nothing to do with events overseas, which concern them but little.

2/17/2006 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

As I have said before, modern mass communication is all about "feeellliinnggs".

The Jihadists don't need facts. Like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, they strive to transmit a general feeling about events, an ambiance rather than a coherent picture.

Facts are not necessary to achieve a general feeling. True facts usually are a downright hindrance. Lies, misconceptions, and highly selective out-of-context statements work much better.

Most people "know" via their "feelings" that the invasion of Iraq has been a disaster and our losses horrific. That its had been virtually a military miracle with losses historically trivial is something most people do not have the education and experience to comprehend - so "feeelliinnggs" work so much better, and take almost no thought at all.

How can the U.S. Government compete? Well, it has in the past.
And as then, we just can't use logic.

And you can't get illogical ideas through the OSD Comptroller and Congress.

2/17/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...


"We're taught to question information, as well as the bearer of that information regaring any bias or vested interest they may have in delivering their message, to the point where it's reflexive."

While that is valid to some degree, I don't see that as being the issue here.

The problem is that most of the media and most of the left are pre-disposed to be anti-American in general, and anti-this administration specifically. Thus they generally give the terrorists the benefit of the doubt, while doubting anything that comes from the U.S. military and the government.

2/17/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The jihadists have much more than al Jazeera, they have the Pulpit, they word of mouth.

Mr Rumsfeld also said this about Ms Rice's request for $75 Million USD, a pittance if you think about it:
" ... Secretary of State Rice’s proposal to support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people through expanded broadcasting, the Internet and student exchanges is a good start, and deserves support. But because it is new, and different, it is receiving opposition in the Congress. ... "

So there you go,
No to War
and quite possibly,
No to propaganda.
No to the battle for their minds. What member of Congress thinks our ideas and principles should not be transmitted to the outside world?

I'd put Jefferson up against Mohammed, in a "Long War",
but remember those folks over there, they cannot read.

2/17/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

The problem is the visceral nature of visual and audio information, taken in by a person whose sole interface with, and understanding of, reality is visceral.

Teach them to read, teach them to deliberate, teach them to write, teach them to discern, teach them to think.

We can't expect them to act humanely if they never become fully human.

2/17/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

It's been said many times on this blog that the Islamic leadership has overreached. They will continue down that path until they are stopped - either by force from outside - violently and completely, or from within, gradually.

Al Jezeera has become an effective tool in their (the bad guys) arsenel and currently enjoy the same cred level that our MSM had say 25 years ago.

To think that a counter to Al Jezeera led by the US would have an overriding effect on the masses in his time of intense news sharing is nonsense. That change needs to come from moderate Islam (perhaps with some discreet indirect funding from US) before it becomes too late to avoid a hot war; with "Islam" as the named enemy as opposed to "terrorism".

I'm going to say that we have a phenomenon in the West where the left has also overreached. Where the platform of the politicos has become a cult of death on the same level, but perhaps even more insidious due to their dishonesty, that fascist Islam itself. We are seeing the left self destruct. Better to surrender to the enemy of my enemy than to side with my enemy.

Intersting that the American conservative right has become the middle in this milleiu while being villified by both extremes.

At some point you will see the right decide to stop fighting for the idealism of the left and begin to fight solely for their own. When we finally see that will - to disregard entirely the irrelevent left, Katie bar the door.

2/17/2006 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

If you can't affect the transmitter, focus on the receiver.

2/17/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Wretchard points out the fact that it is not just the jihadists who are undermining us, it is much more effectively our own press and TV. 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. That is, if this critical, global war the Islmaofascists have launched against us is lost here at home.

The stakes are much higher than they were during the bloody Cold War in Vietnam. Soviet Communism only lasted 60 years, Islamic jihad has already lived more than twenty times as long, and shows no signs of dying.

The real question is Why ... Why do Westerners not only pretend there's not a world war going on, pretending that everything would be fine and dandy if we just surrender ... but what draws them to tear down our own defenses even while our enemies grow more threatening and inflamed?

I can't believe they are that deluded, that they can't see the Islamofascist enemy - he's everywhere, in the papers, in the news, in recent history, in the giant hole in Manhattan. So it can only be that they think they can surrender for just this one lifetime, and maybe their kids and grandchildren can live in such a happy, dreamy state of ... what?

What drives Salon to reprise the Abu Ghraib frenzy ... the week after they see that even cartoons (! cartoons for God's sake!) drive our enemies into frenzies of hatred?

Apparently, they'd rather be Dead than Bush.

2/17/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Greetings y'all.

So long as the Koran is sacred while the Bible cannot be mentioned we lose, because "In the beginning is the word.".

It is pretty obvious that the Main Stream Media and Acadamia and Hollywood and the leadership of the Democratic Party abhore the American military and the Bush Administration.They work tirelessly in the word foundries of the land casting endless lies and omissions to undermine our American way of life while simultaneously taking credit for everything good and honorable in our society.

Is Jesus Christ the Truth or a fraud? All of the current Western Civilization stands or falls on the answer to this question.

Our military largely has faith but they have been officially silenced. The white hat politicians have been mostly cowed. The "churches" for the most part are busy trying to show "love" to our enemies when they should be encouraging our guys to shoot straight.

That just leaves the internet. Spread the word. Bloggers rule.

Speak the truth to lies. They hate it. It's what makes life interesting. And it's lots of fun to see them squirm and try to backfill. I think with God's help we can do some exploits. We already have actually. Just remember that newsman, what was his name? He used to be on TV all the time around 6 oclock. Ohh well I'll think of it later. We caught that liar.

Evolution is a lie. The Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation. Open it up and read it and find out what's going to happen tomorrow.

Great post Wretchard, (as usual).


2/17/2006 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Look, the analysis of the problem is correct. But our options are constrained by our own principles.

What more can we do to the media than appeal to their sense of patriotism and shame, or to their professional ethics? Sure, we could open another New York Times or AP, but doing so would immediately undermine our goal. Any media organ so created would never be trusted by the audience we hope to reach.

We will never be able to control or effectively counter propaganda if an audience is already predisposed to its biases. The only thing we can do is publically attack the credibility of the propagandists, while at the same time educating the public to be able to think and discern on their own.

If I were the State Department, I would develop a brutal sense of humor. I would focus that sense of humor, not on religious icons, but on leaders. I would lampoon those leaders in a way that nobody in the society is allowed to do. I would empower the people by being their voice by proxy. I would eliminate fear by laughing at it.

Underneath it all would be the message of freedom, because we do what they are unable to do for themselves. When the propagandists are wrong, make fun of them for it. When they are right, make fun of them for it. When they are silent, make fun of them for it.

I don't know, sounds good to me. Nothing else seems to be working.

2/17/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I agree that this war needs to be won here.
If that were to occur, the rest would take care of itself, since the enemy currently relies on that more than anything.
It will not be "won" but we must do what we can.
...and hope something changes radically before '08.

2/17/2006 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Evolution is a lie.

Glad you cleared that one up.

2/17/2006 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

I still think, however, that feedback will save us in the end. Ayn Rand once said, "You can try to avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

When reality comes calling again, many of the worst memes will be defeated, if only for a little while. Hopefully it will be long enough to win.

2/17/2006 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

So who is diminished by a lie? Not the victim (those whom about the untruth is told). The listener participates in and is diminished by the lie by not demanding verifiable truth, as the truth will eventually come out, and the liar will be doubly diminished.

I suspect most Americans feel betrayed by the media wrt Vietnam and in the clear-light-of-day feel responsible for the terrible losses that followed both in Vietnam and surrounding countries. And Mr. Rumsfeld regrets that the public (both here, abroad, and in the Muslim world) are not getting better information and would like to do something more about it, but recognizes it's not his place (other than to make sure a truthful record of DoD statements are placed unfiltered on the web.

One reason for faith in an afterlife is the satisfaction of knowing there will be an ultimate truth and accounting for our lies of both commission and omission. Where there's a promise of just punishment for those that condemned so many millions to slavery and a shortened life, devoid of liberty and individual responsibility (the opportunity to make the best of oneself demanding a minimum from others - aka "free will" - those things I do because I choose to, not because of others' utopian visions)

2/17/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This is almost getting funny, if it weren't so damn sad.

Couldn't start a "new" outlet...
Fund Mr Murduch a Billion USD and you'd have "Sky News Arabia" in half a New York minute.
And they'd kick some ass.

The Arabic News Industry is new.
As well as State Sponsored in many instances.

We do not deploy oour best assets, because they are not in Government and wouldn't pass the piss test.

But then who needs a bunch of artists and cartoonists and the like. They'd just be offensive.

2/17/2006 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Hire Mr Toles of WaPo cartooning fame to draw some cartoons that would offend, educate and illuminate the Mohammedan world view.

What would his day rate be?

Send Larry Flynt of "Hustler" fame into the International battle for free speach, pay the guy, he'll get Press.

Hire Mr Tarentino to do a Mohammedan Terrorist movie, he knows how to make a point with a mass market.

But instead Mr Rumsfeld idea of progress:
" ... In some cases, military public affairs officials have had little communications training and little, if any, grounding in the importance of timing, rapid response, and the realities of digital and broadcast media. We have become somewhat more adept in these areas, but progress is slow. And, importantly, public affairs posts have not proven career enhancing for the military. ... "

2/17/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

How many of your daily readers do actually still read newspapers? That would be an interesting poll in my opinion.

I never read a newspaper anymore, and I'm far more up-to-date than everyone I personally know. Blogs, Rush and rapid response radio (Hugh Hewitt), sketch a far more accurate picture and I don't waste my time getting upset about an article that most of the time is full of holes nor do I waste my time reading editorials instead of facts.

2/17/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

It just occured to me that a massive, direct mail campaign of blasphemy could start World War III.

If someone printed millions of cartoons depicting Mohammed getting raped by a pig, with Uncle Sam videotaping, and then sent this cartoon to one out of every three households in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and every Muslim who lived in Europe, I think it would start a war. Especially if it was signed 'George W. Bush.'

Is anyone else mildly terrified that circumstances are so fragile? One man, with enough money, could do this.

2/17/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Send money to 'Rat, fast, he already has the presses at hand.

2/17/2006 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hillary right, Republicans WRONG on Port Security?
That plus the border is enough to put a Dem in office if they don't get their stuff together.
...ignoring common sense and the will of the people.

2/17/2006 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Aristides: You comment about feedback caused me to recall something that relates to propaganda.

A friend of mine was an officer in the Polish Army at the start of WWII, and as result he spent virtually the entire war in a German POW camp. Near the end of the war he managed to escape, made it to U.S. forces, and served as an interpreter for them.

They encountered Soviet troops, one of whom was driving an American-made Jeep.
“How do you like this American Jeep?” he asked the Russian.
The Russian replied “This is Soviet made. Not American.”
My friend replied that all of the markings on the vehicle were in English, including the instruments; it obviously was American made.
“No,” said the Russian “it is marked that way because we export these vehicles to the United States. Americans are not very bright and need these markings. We Russians are smart and don’t need them.”

The degree of delusion in this attitude is breathtaking, but may very well be exceeded by the opinions of the “Arab street.” It is an indication of people wanting to believe obvious lies, for whatever reason.

My friend told me this story around 1976. Over 10 years or later I recalled it when I read a letter in an American plastic modeling magazine from a teenager in the Ukraine. The kid wanted to obtain U.S. model kits of American-made vehicles and aircraft operated by the Soviets, and said ”The American equipment is recalled fondly here as being of excellent performance and quality.”

The grandchild – or more probably, great grandchild – of the generation of Soviets who believed the lies they were told - knew the truth bout the equipment they received from the U.S. The truth won out over time, and the USSR crumbled around that same period, but it cost hundreds of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars that could have been better spent.

It’s kinder and cheaper to kill the lie when it starts.

2/17/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Too many stupid people!

"It’s kinder and cheaper to kill the lie when it starts."
True, but at this point the Muslim community only hears what they want, or whatever fits their worldview.

Same with the left.

2/17/2006 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Re Soviet propaganda: in the late '70's I visited West Germany for a month as part of an exchange program with the German Navy. One weekend was spent in West Berlin. WHile in the hotel, we watched an East German broadcast of a SOviet documentary on World War Two in the Pacific. (German subtitles.) Up to that point, I hadn't realized that the Soviets had defeated teh Japanese virtually by themselves!

2/17/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Does the UAE still not recognize Israel?
Support Schumer and Hillary!

2/17/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

I read specific articles/columns from a number of papers from their web sites, but don't bother reading "individual papers" anymore. Not an efficient use of time.

2/17/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

My sentiments exactly.
As with so many conflicts we're fighting the last war.

With the advent of the internet, etc. this war is morphing quickly and we are not catching up.

It takes time to train translators, etc. Need to 'hire' sympathetic indigs to carry our flag.

2/17/2006 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Congressman Hoekstra had an interesting idea on how to translate all 50,000 boxes of official documents found in Iraq: put them on the internet, and let them be translated by whoever is willing.

2/17/2006 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Dan, Team: I elect this for one of the Top Ten Sentences Ever Spoken in the Belmont Club:

The man tried straight talk, and the media only tolerated it while the glow of 9/11 still forced everyone to stand in frank reality. But they've closed that wormhole now.

2/17/2006 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger vbwyrde said...

Ask Alec Baldwin.

Seriously, though, the problem as I see it is that the Government is Responsible to provide accurate information, which takes time. The Terrorists on the other hand can lie through their teeth all day long and be quick about it. So they get ahead of the curve. If the Government were to do likewise to "compete" with the Terrorists they would rightly be accused of irresponsibility.

The key is for the Government to continue doing what it is doing. Stay steady, provide accurate information. The lies will eventually come out in the wash and those who told the truth will be justified. Those who chose to believe them will eventually be ashamed, if not on earth then in the next world where their deeds will be tallied up and recompensed as deserved.

Keep steady and keep on doing what is right, regardless of what the Terrorist do. That is the way Government should always behave. It sets the right example and shows strength of character.

2/17/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Fact is the "hearts and minds" of the islamic world was NEVER our's to win..

the islamic world has already made it's mind up DECADES ago...

We need to torture the collective minds of the islamic world with cartoon contests & disrespect as this HURTS them more than mass death and destruction..

To what end? It's like popping a pimple...

Time to pop the pimple in order for the festering to heal....

Since logic is not understood, use illogic...

coat those bullets in pig fat....

drop cargo planes of shoes at them

insult their pride......

print mohammed as terrorist posters in as GWB pov, in a thousand points of lights....

time to use ridicule to drive them insane...

2/17/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But if evolution is a lie,
and we kill the lie at the start,
how did we get here to argue about it?

The "Presses", doug, are worthless in this fight.

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.

We need a new "Pigman" hero figure. Kinda like the old Police Porkers, but a bit more lean and mean. Large tusks required.

Possibly retire the Devil Dog image for one of Private Porker.
Nah, the Marines wouldn't go for that.

2/17/2006 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger vbwyrde said...

"...denouncing even the president for saying Islam is a religion of peace."

But Islam is not a religion of peace. It just isn't. Read up on the history of Islam and I think you will see a distinctive pattern. It is and always was a religion of violence, both in its precepts and its actions. I'm sorry if that is inconvenient, but it's true. From this what a lot of people are saying here follows. You assume it is a religion of peace and we disagree. All logical conclusions follow from that premis. Can you show us how Islam is a religion of peace, historically speaking? I don't think you can because even at it's most "peaceful" Islam is a totalitarian civilization. It is inimical to our own Civilization and consequently we are at war with it. We did not start the war. But we must be prepared to fight it. Part of that preparation is psychological. We can not sit around and think, "golly, we must be sick to think that the peaceful Imams would be our friends if only we weren't such right wing war mongers". That kind of thinking under the present circumstances would get us killed. There is a time for peace and a time for war. Now we must be prepared to fight.

2/17/2006 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger vbwyrde said...

Wishful thinking does not make something true.

There is a great deal of evidence to show that Islam is not a religion of peace.

Saying "Here we go .... " is not a refutation. But no matter. I find nothing in the history books to show that Islam is a religion of peace. I'd be happy to review any references you might care to give that show otherwise. I'm sure we all would. Instead what you will find is that from the very beginning Islam was born of violence. Do some research. It's not that hard to do.

2/17/2006 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Dear david bennett,

My handle is in RESPONSE to the HUNDRED of times i have read in the arab/islamic press that I am the Grandson of pigs and apes...

My handle is in RESPONSE to the thousands of physical attacks by MOSLEMS to the very fact that I do not recognize Mohammed as supreme Prophet.

David, (btw excellent name, ask a Moslem WHO the F*ck was HE?) and WHY the F*uck can MOSLEMS DESTROY 1st & 2nd Temple artifacts without a care?

David, my dear david, Remember those peace loving moslems that decapitated Nick Berg, Daniel Pearl, or those MOSLEM lovers that BLEW up that Sabarro's Pizza Parlor MURDERING 20 young women?

David,. please remember that Mohammed MURDERED the Jewish people of ARABIA and ethnically cleansed them from their lands

David... I dont give a pig's ass about moslem sensiblities, if my handle makes them riot in the street, excellent, how many will be trambled by the crowd?

David, the Islamic world can offer death sentences on people for drawing cartoons or writing a book...

David, screw em if they cant take a joke...

2/17/2006 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I'd say we're fighting two different propaganda wars, with two different targets.

Al Qaeda is winning the propaganda war in the Middle East.

The transnationals are winning the propaganda war at home.

I don't think they are the same thing, though their interests currently overlap.

2/17/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

The transnationals are winning the propaganda war at home and throughout the region we describe as "The West."

2/17/2006 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Free West said...

The Danish cartoon saga is a good leading indicator of what is happening in the current Sitzkrieg, as the Western World happily sticks its head in the sand behind the Maginot line.

What is really happening is a large-scale propaganda campaign being waged by the odious conspiracy of the global caliphate.

It should be clear that the techniques being used are straight out of Goebbels book on propaganda.

The odious islamists' procedure is to repeat the Big Lie and to do so loud and clear.

In addition, it helps to add a solid dose of threats, intimidation and actual physical violence. The most important ingredient of this propaganda is one thing: Fear. Disseminating Fear.

Truth in reporting, in the Liberal Western tradition, is helpless in this situation, because the audience that is targeted by the propaganda already believes or wants to believe a large part of it.

The audience that is intimidated and threatened with violence, on the other hand, may submit to it in many cases. It's not a given that they (re: Danes, Euros, even Americans) will show defiance. This would take enormous courage, unlike what drives entities in the MSM such as CNN.

It is unlikely that anything other than a massive counter-propaganda campaign analogous to the one waged by the allies in World War II is likely to even make a dent in the minds of the islamic cesspool.

Unfortunately, some of the enemy's propaganda has already had a corrosive effect on the West, by cleverly mingling the issue of religious respect and creating doubt and especially Fear, in the minds of the media.

Where is Churchill when we need him ?

2/17/2006 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Free West said...

Opotho - I read all of your comments.

I think your point about knowing the enemy is well taken. In this case that includes knowing the ins and outs of their religion...perhaps.

But then, using historical analogies, do you honestly believe that an effective counter-propaganda could make use of subtle theological arguments?

Was Goebbels a subtle dialectician ?

Did he use the Socratic method ? Did he use Aquinas ?
- or did he simply use a two-by-four to get his point across ?

2/17/2006 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Opotho, there's plenty of divergent opinions here. Realists, neo-cons, ex-fellow travelers like Fred (do I remember correctly?), even some guys like Bennett and Ash to keep people honest, (and IOTM to throw feces when we let him out of his cage) - no need to lump us all in together.

I'm relatively neutral so far as religion goes, no need to pick on Muslims. Think neo-Conservatism deserves a chance, and in that vein also think that unnecessary bigotry and slander is generally harmful so long as our chances are interwined with their attitudes. At the same time, I don't know if I know enough to call any religion intrinsically peaceful - and I don't think it generally matters, religions so far as we are concerned seem to be what their adherents make them, setting aside the pedantic question of historical knowledge.

Of course, I don't mean to say that using ancient Islamic history to attempt to seperate the wolves from the flock is unreasonable...but I'm not yet convinced that there is any difference between the two, indeed the last few years seem to show more and more signs that they might not be seperable for the near future, a possibility that scares me. I'm working on Lewis atm - but his chapters on the Assassins seem most relevant.

My overriding point is that I'd be glad to listen to your views on historical Islam, but don't assume that mine or Fred's pov's [correct me if I'm wrong Fred] are necessarily the result of not listening, but your appeals being shouted out by the burning embassies, conspiracy theories, hatred, and other history. Keep at it, I'd love optimism, but try not to get so excited over it, though I admit they're dreadfully important issues.

Sorry if that seems at all condescending.

2/17/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Thanks for the heads up on Rumsfeld, Opotho.

As an aside, I think your information is sound, your characterizations and opinions arguable, and your sincerity obvious. However, you cast much too wide a net in your criticisms of the posters here, and your sensitivity to slight is much too finely tuned.

I have a suspicion that your plan to persuade Muslims of their proper intellectual heritage would fail if it were dependent on your patience and delivery. Something to think about, at least.

2/17/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"Where I sin, and here this ex-Jesuit admits a fact of his condition (and a very Ignatian admission anyway!)is pertaining to the hatred I feel for those transnational elites. They are worthy of this hatred because of the contempt they have for the ordinary citizens of the West who enjoy and respect their liberties."

Unfortunately, I must concur. Except for the Jesuit part.

2/17/2006 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Free West said...


So we are in a religious war, whether we like it or not ...
No one wants to call a spade a spade ...
Least of all the secular, pluralist,
liberal democracies founded in the Enlightenment ...

To add to the discussion on Theopolitics:

This is a must-read by the mysterious Spengler of Asian Times - if you haven't already:

Here is an excerpt:

"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. "

2/17/2006 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Ardsgaine said...

The first step in winning the propaganda war is to fight like we mean it. Rumsfield is asking the media to do his work for him. If he wants to convince the Muslims of the superiority of Western liberalism, then he needs to first convince them that we are going to win this war. A good bit of propaganda that he could accomplish tomorrow without any help from the media would be to flatten Teheran.

We'll reach the hearts and minds of moderate Muslims the same way we reached the hearts and minds of moderate Germans and Japanese after WWII: by being nice enough to dig them out of the rubble after we're done killing the radicals.

(A side benefit would be that once all the major Muslim cities of the middle east were flattened, the radical Muslims in Europe would mysteriously disappear also.)

2/17/2006 09:42:00 PM  
Blogger Ardsgaine said...

For Freedom wrote:
So we are in a religious war, whether we like it or not ...
No one wants to call a spade a spade ...
Least of all the secular, pluralist,
liberal democracies founded in the Enlightenment

I am a secular liberal. See my previous post.

It's not a holy war. It is a war for secular liberalism vs. religious fantacism. If Christians need permission from the pope to fight, though, I hope they get it soon.

2/17/2006 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

Citizen Duck has an interesting point. The American intelligentsia has taken as its motto, "Question Authority." Cynicism is all the rage. Therefore they question every authority. Or actually, they question all authorities that speak in ENGLISH.

However, since Americans don't understand what the Muslim authorities say in the original language, their propaganda sneaks in like rumors and never meets the filters of cynicism. Therefore the only authorities they question are their own allies, the authorities that are trying to protect them from a fate too awful to allow.

Our authorities need to play the game as it's being played. Propagandize, propagandize, propagandize in the languages spoken in the Muslim World. Hire all the skillful writers they can in every language. There is no shame in doing this. It is a war for the future of liberty against idealogues of evil.

Strategic and ecret programs must be protected. Fire non-political-appointee CIA employees who get involved in partisan politics and yank their government pensions, or crush their will with micromanagement and excessive paperwork (just as Sarbanes-Oxley is doing to the corporate world). And if American citizens commit espionage against their country and leak top secret war programs, then they should be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

2/17/2006 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Free West said...

Ardsgaine -

It doesn't matter whether a secular person believes this is a religious war or not.
It doesn't matter whether a Christian believes this is a religious war or not.
It doesn't matter whether a Buddhist or Hindu believes this is a religious war or not.

I say call a spade a spade because it doesn't matter what we think.

It should be clear that there's a lot of enemy who do believe it is.
And then the question is how to tailor an effective propaganda to Theological arguments.
Christians in the early Roman Empire were willing to be eaten by lions for their faith.
Ordinary propaganda with its secular message is like water off a duck's back for the faithful. Something more powerful is needed, in the realm of the spirit. And don't come back with military options, etc..., etc... because that's another topic and I probably already agree with you on it.

2/17/2006 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I say screw ALL of this self-serving hatred. Go straight to hell."
Sometimes I get confused about who (other than our cut throat adversaries) it is that's carrying around all this free-floating anger.

People attack our cities and threaten the excercise of our liberties with death threats as they try to impose their 13th century ways on others.

But I guess we've got the anger and bigotry problem.


2/17/2006 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Helvetix: In essence, you are talking about a modern equivalent of the "New Model Army".

2/17/2006 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"And now it is, as a practical matter, too late to change course."
Why is that, Trish?

2/17/2006 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Cutler: Actually, al-Qaeda is a multi-national corporation with Osama bin Laden as the CEO.

2/17/2006 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Yeah, Alexis, I know Scheuer in particular made that comparison.

What were you responding to though, if I may ask?

2/17/2006 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"The international community and the regional community and the domestic community have all now metabolized a given set of rules, adopted by this administration."

Thanks for putting in words what I'd been trying to formulate for months...From my perspective, it's been the international equivalent of 'give a mouse a cookie...'

I wonder if we'd dropped a nuclear weapon on Kabaul and Kandahar in the months after 9-11, we'd today be debating the Europeans over whether we should drop one on both Tehran and Tabris, or just Tehran. Similarly, if we had executed Al Qaeda members on capture, they might be demanding today that we hold them until after the war's over.

I don't know if it'll take extreme circumstances, however. There's definitely some evidence that people want the war fought more ruthlessly, even if they can't identify [and haven't been told clearly] who the enemy is - but our current policy is the opposite. Given a change in policy, I could see the ground shift potentially... Americans are only human too, anger and retribution seem the natural human response, not "go out and make the world better." Very few peoples would even be receptive to the latter, perhaps it requires the aforementioned innocence, American style.

2/17/2006 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Cutler: I was responding to your comment about the transnationals winning the propaganda war in the West. I was pointing out that al-Qaeda acts more like a corporation than most Middle Eastern outfits do. Most businesses from Arabia (whether called corporations or not) are essentially family-owned businesses that go down from father to son. If the Rothschild dynasty were Muslim, it would just be a normal Arab merchant family that happened to be rich.

Al-Qaeda itself appears to be modeled after the charitable foundation, which is the closest institution within Islamic tradition to a modern corporation.

The fact is, the Saudi Kingdom widely advertises how it has invested in multinational corporations. It may be the structure of the business corporation itself that our enemies are targeting. If you think our media is bad now, just wait until Fox, Time-Warner, and the New York Times are all controlled by Saudi princes! Through a good-prince bad-prince routine, sponsors of terrorism think they can leverage control over us.

Thank God for the internet!

2/17/2006 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Interesting points Alexis.

If you're right, it'd be interesting to see if they wielded the West's own intellectual arguments against itself. Obviously, the raw fundamentalist Islam that might win over the Middle East, packaged in Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, or whoevever, wouldn't win over here. So what? Hire Robert Fisk? Pilger? Chomsky?

In a way, that'd be a complete reversal of the current situation, where the latter use the Islamic fundies to advance their own agenda...

Politics and strange bedfellows...

2/17/2006 11:34:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

And to answer Wretchard the Cat…

Dog in a manger. If the dog can't have it, nobody can.

When any new communications technology comes into being, it is nearly always political dissidents and fanatics who are able to take advantage of the new means of communication most effectively. Martin Luther was more effective at using the printing press than the Pope. Benjamin Franklin was more effective at using the newspaper than King George III. The Nazis had some real wizards in radio and cinema. Ayatollah Khomeini used the cassette tape.

Once a new media technology arrives, it takes a while for a new media hierarchy to sort itself out. Until that time, radicalism generally flourishes. And please note that proto-al-Qaeda had a strong presence on the internet by 1992! Ah, the age of newsgroups…

Our present media is incompetent at fighting against al-Qaeda. Moreover, our media does not regard it as its job to fight al-Qaeda! The problem is that if "propagandists" don't fight al-Qaeda, who will? (Nobody, of course.) But just because our media is incompetent at fighting against al-Qaeda doesn't mean it isn't jealous of its privileges.

I use the word "privilege" for a reason. Most media organizations do not compete in a "free" marketplace. Most newspapers are part of a media conglomerate with staff not particularly tied to the local community, and most local newspapers operate in reality (if not in theory) within a monopolistic environment. Newspapers can get away with business practices that would horrify any sane manager and still turn a profit. (Okay, you can tell I worked for a newspaper for a while…) Sure the "mainstream" Arab media is far more moribund (largely because it is subsidized by governments and princes), but there is still a high degree of lethargy in the American media. For example, how much investigative reporting is there in the local newspaper? You're probably more likely to get good investigative reporting from a blog! After all, while good investigative reporting sells newspapers in the long run, it is an annoying expense in the short run.

As someone with some history of political activism, I understand only too well what it is like to deal with the "dead wood" who can run political campaigns into the ground. And it is difficult to describe to an outsider the lethargic "office culture" that can pervade government. It's not that the people aren't nice or helpful, it's just that they are so caught up with office politics and bureaucratic rivalry that they have no clue what people in the real world are going through. They just don't get it. And in many ways, the editorial boards and established political parties are extensions of that governmental "office culture" into the private sector. Just try to get one of your cartoons printed in a local paper. It won't happen. The editor will tell you the public "wouldn't understand". Sure he's an idiot, but it won't matter because he is a nice guy with a nice smile and no enemies. That's the way it is.

I've got news for you. 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.

Although the Danish cartoons were taken out of context and willfully distorted by the enemy, they were a propaganda coup of sorts against Islamism. Why? One is that it was a test, a feeble test at that, to assert the freedom of speech after the murder to Theo Van Gogh. The other is that the ideological content of those cartoons have seeped into Muslim consciousness, far more than was planned in fact.

It matters less what we say now than the fact we are expressing ourselves at all. So long as we refuse to be silenced, we will not have lost. So long as we refuse to be silenced, Islamists know they are far from victory. So long as we refuse to be silenced, what we say will filter back into the minds of our enemies. If our will is not broken, our enemies will not win.

And why are they so shrill? Perhaps the true reason behind their fanaticism is their deeply held desire to rid themselves of Islam, so they express their hatred of their own religion in the only way they can allow themselves -- by seeking out enemies to persecute. Think of Saint Paul before his conversion.

Right now, our most pressing problem is that what Islamists see of us is only the most decadent part of our culture. (Decadent in the sense of cultural suicide, in the sense of believing that one's society is not worth defending from totalitarianism.) It's partly their fault because they (like the Nazis before them) only want to see those of us who are decadent. But it's also the fault of America because the image Muslim students see here is from Hollywood, the Mainstream Media, and our college campuses -- the very institutions within our society whose wills have already been broken by the hard Left over thirty years ago. If they are weak, it is assumed that we must all be weak.

We are also hampered by a demographic imbalance causing a political predominance of an older generation whose worldview is frozen onto the year 1968 (or 1973) without realizing that life has changed since then. (Shades of the Fall of the Third Republic…) In that sense, the 2004 election was an ideological disaster because it was fought by both sides as a battle over an ancient culture war that not only saps our strength, but is largely irrelevant in the context of our present struggle. It is as if our political leaders on both sides are trying to repeat the social devastation visited upon the Byzantine Empire by the Iconoclasm. Or the corrupt factionalism that weakened Poland and Sweden during the 1760's and 1770's. American politics (and Western politics in general) ought to be focused on constructively debating how to defeat our enemies, but it seems to be more focused on pinning the blame for our defeat on the other party. Bad move. We sink or swim together whether we like it or not.

2/17/2006 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Wow, Alexis. Thanks for that.

2/17/2006 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I will say that Rumsfeld is right. At this pin-point moment in time the dark side has the propaganda advantage.

But, make no mistake many Americans realize the propaganda and adjust to it. Those who distribute it will not go unnoticed (voters will not soon forget who fed the enemy).

One of the main reasons that said enemy propaganda reaches the Average Joe is the "K Street consulting firms" who accept payments from the dark side.

I would not be surprised to find Wretchard's insight to the infamous "Haifa Street Murders" recorded by AP "Stringers" is the tip of the iceberg (reguarding MSM stringers and manipulaton).


"While most killers seek to hide their faces and plan their attacks so no one can see them, these killers scorned masks and chose a busy street in Baghdad to carry out their work because they wanted to send a message. According to Abdul Hussein Al- Obedi of the Associated Press..."

See: Haifa Street

Quite frankly, it appears that the enemy has used hard currency (and intimidation) to manipulate various Western MSN News Agencies. This is very bad.

Because we are in a war for our very survival, it may be necessary to counter said enemy incited propaganda in our media or expose those entities who are aiding the enemy.

In a worst case scenario, it may be necessary to freeze all assets of the enemy propaganda machine, questions those players who have aided said propaganda machine and block further manipulation of our media.

Are these drastic steps?

Maybe - and maybe not.

President Lincoln basically did the same during the Civil War. There probably are equivalent cases during this last century (in both the US and EU).

Next, it's a true economic war. It's clear that the enemy is recycling some American dollars back into weapons that kill Americans and propaganda that disparages Americans. This is very disturbing.

It's time to take a look at the monetary flow from Americans to Western Banks and into the enemy's coffers. Clearly there can be steps to reverse this flow.

On the monetary front, I would suggest utilizing any and all banking measures that halt the flow of cash to the enemy.

If necessary steps should be taken to freeze all parties who feed cash to the enemy.

This would include all US Governmental sponsored cash transfers, all civilian transferors and all tangential transfers by "allies" of the US.

Is it a big project - yes.

Is it larger than the Manhattan Project - No.

RWE: How can the U.S. Government compete? Well, it has in the past. And as then, we just can't use logic. And you can't get illogical ideas through the OSD Comptroller and Congress.


"How do you like this American Jeep?" he asked the Russian.
The Russian replied "This is Soviet made. Not American."
My friend replied that all of the markings on the vehicle were in English, including the instruments; it obviously was American made.

"No," said the Russian "it is marked that way because we export these vehicles to the United States. Americans are not very bright and need these markings. We Russians are smart and don't need them." The degree of delusion in this attitude is breathtaking...It's kinder and cheaper to kill the lie when it starts

[Yes, it's better to nip the lie in the bud]


The problem is that most of the media and most of the left are pre-disposed to be anti-American in general, and anti-this administration specifically. Thus they generally give the terrorists the benefit of the doubt, while doubting anything that comes from the U.S. military and the government.


While in the hotel, we watched an East German broadcast of a Soviet documentary on World War Two in the Pacific. (German subtitles.) Up to that point, I hadn't realized that the Soviets had defeated teh Japanese virtually by themselves!

[The big lie can be accepted by the masses if it is repeated enough times - repetition of a lie is a proven method of indoctrination]

Fred: In war, I do not care a damn about what the enemy thinks of me. I want him to fear and respect me.

[Exactly, respect is earned by deeds - not talk]

Sardonic: ...what you will find is that from the very beginning Islam was born of violence...

[Very true but remember the US sould always use the age old stragey of divide and conquer.]

One final point. If the enemy uses deception then it best for us to destroy the deception or reciprocate with equal or higher methods psychological warfare. Give the enemy it's own medicine!

2/18/2006 01:00:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

From Rumsfeld's speech, transcripted off of C-span's video:

This is the first war in history, unconventional and irregular as it may be, in an error of emails, blogs, cellphones, blackberries, instant messaging, etc. There has never been a war fought in this environment before.

For instance, our enemy knows that a single news story handled skillfully can be as damaging to our cause, and as helpful to theirs, as any other method of military attack. This allows them to be highly successful at manipulating the opinion elites of the world.

A growing number of foreign media outlets have immature standards and practices, that serve to inflame and distort, rather than enlighten and inform [...]

Today’s correspondents are under ‘hyper-pressure', to meet a constant news scrawl and produce exclusives, and daily deadlines have turned into hourly. The fact is the government, at the speed in which it operates, doesn’t always make their job easier: the standard government foreign affairs operation was built to respond to individual requests for information; it is reactive not proactive; and still operates at a 8 hour five or six day a week basis while world events and our enemies are operating 24/7 across ‘every time zone.’

That’s an unacceptable dangerous deficiency [...]

The longer it takes to put together a strategic communication framework into place, the more we can be certain that the vacuum will be filled by the enemy, and news informers who most assuredly not paint an accurate picture of what is actually taking place [...]

I don’t know what an Information Agency should look like in the 21st Century. There’s no guidebook for this, no roadmap, that says here’s what you got to do if you get up in the morning and you are the government of the United States. These are tough questions and its tough to find the answers for them, and to do it right.

But we have advantages as well. And that is quite simply that the Truth is on our side. And ultimately, in my view, Truth wins out. I believe with every bone in my body that free people exposed to sufficient information will over time find their way to right decisions.

So there you have it: our plan is to institutionalize the rapid dissemination of corrective facts, enabling truth to compete in the framing of perception and debate.

Interestingly, he mentioned blogs twice, and newspapers only once (and that was just to observe their increasing obsolescence). Also note that Rumsfeld said "sufficient information", not perfect or complete or total information.

2/18/2006 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Peace through superior BS Power.
(Inspired by Opotho)

2/18/2006 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bush Sees Need to Expand Role of NATO in Sudan
President Bush also said he favored doubling the number of peacekeepers operating in Darfur under U.N. control.

2/18/2006 03:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Evangelical Christians have been particularly outspoken in their calls for a more active American role, and Mr. Bush's remarks, in a question-and-answer session in Tampa, appeared to focus increased attention on the issue."
It's them hateful, violent, Christian Bigots again.

Meanwhile the RoP thinks up new ways to impose Sharia in the West.

2/18/2006 03:43:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Joe Iraqi going to work at a real job every day is all the propaganda we'll ever need. In the alternative we can write fancy articles about medieval Islamic jurisprudence. God knows that nothing blunted a SS Panzer advance like a good article about Nietzsche.

2/18/2006 04:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I always wondered what Patton's Secret was.

2/18/2006 04:42:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well just look at the facts.

Iran, while noisey and capable of inciting Civil unrest in Europe and around the Med, is impotent militarily. They have NO NUKES.

They may have them someday, but not on the "close horizon".

The Home of aQ, however already has 48 Nukes. Under the rule of the General President the Pakistanis have attacked India, in Kashmere, and are providing Sancturary to Osama and Dr Z.

Given enough cash, the General President, publicly, changed course, becoming our "Best Ally".

US troops are still not permitted to enter Pakistan in hot pursuit of Terrorists. We we had microscopic air strike, killing a dozen or so, the protests were not those of a "Best Ally".

What is the largest Mohammedan country, by population, on the EuroAsian land mass ?
Where are the Mohammedan Nukes, today?
Where are 300,000 armed militia men ready to fight for Jihad?
Where is Osama?
Who has the largest ground army in the Mohammedan Arc?

Funny all these are answered by a single word, Pakistan.

Yet we are led down the Wahhabist trail, into believing Iran poses the greatest threat to US and Civilization.

What BS.

Fools and Knaves, suckered by Saudi & Israeli propaganda.
Learn from the Masters, but first, as in any War,
the Enemy must be identified and named.

Wonder why the US refuses that simple first step.

2/18/2006 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Condi Rice asks Congress for $75 Million USD.

That is hardly enough to produce a major movie, let alone change the course of information flows in Iran.

It is hardly a drop in the bucket, when compared to the $10 Billion per month we expend on military operations in Iraq.

Let US be real and admit it, these Mohammedans ain't to be taken all that serious.
Just look beyond the Rhetoric to US ACTIONS for the proof.
Five years since 9-11, three years since invading and defeating Iraq.

Not much since.

Isn't it time to change course and get serious, yet?

2/18/2006 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...


"The comments I read here about the 'MSM' reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of the business that the 'MSM' are in. ... It's about the product that they sell, and to whom they sell it. (hint: their product is not "news" or "information" or anything like that)"

GMAT, do enlighten us!


2/18/2006 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Ever wonder why US Security interests are always against the KSA's & Israel's worst Enemies and never against the Real threats to US Security, like the Border Bandit in Chief, or his Doctor. Together those two have managed to kill more US citizens than all the Iranian attacks on US and Israel combined. And they are closer to obtaining a deliverable Nuclear Capacity then the Iranian President is.
But yet, US assets remain in Iraq, policing their Internal Political development. Saving the Sunni insurgents, there, from the results of their actions.

US Assets are limited, fight the fight that will change the course of history, not one that embeds US enemies deeper into their Sanctuary.

Talk about your Propaganda Machines.

2/18/2006 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


If you were not so pretentious perhaps your big idea about Western politicians lecturing Muslims about Islam would not seem as ridiculous - oh, wait a minute. Yes it would.

2/18/2006 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

fred, pertectly great assessment, I would think the word "manage" instead of "modify" how the enemy moves would be a tad more accurate.

But having lived in both worlds during the course of my life, your idea of the Elites having different perspective is quite accurate. It matters little what their personal politics happen to be, the World is seen through a different prisim.

2/18/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Remember, as well, just what Party both of the last two candidates for President were members of:

The Skull & Bones.

Don't take much more than a hat to change an image, that qualifies for Propaganda, as well.

2/18/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It would certainly seem to me that there are many Muslims, in Iraq for example, that support "Western" means & mores.

Other wise where did our Allies there come from? Certainly not Europe.

No the 200,000 troops that have come to the aid of a streeeeched US Military, Muslims almost to a man.

Will the US find other Muslims willing to fight the Mohammedans, willing to stand for Freedom, Liberty and Choice.
Only if we look.

Only if we see beyond the Political Rhetoric to see the Actions that create Reality.

2/18/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Now that the Russians are about to deem Hamas as legitimate and is in the midst of an Arms Deal with them.
Best bet is the Iranians, before US Elections, will agree to have Russia supply it with Nuclear fuel, which I personally heard Mr Bush say was an acceptable solution to the "Crisis".

What if as part of that agreement with the Russians for the fuel, there was a Bilateral Defense-Security Agreement as part of the Deal, also.
That old grey bear, she ain't what she used to be.
But she ain't dead yet.

Then who is the target in the next Phase of this War?

2/18/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"That the majority of Christians don't accord the same literalism to the Bible as the majority of Muslims seem to accord to the Koran doesn't say anything about Muslims in the minority."
did you accidentally hit post before you finished?

2/18/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Rat 9:26 AM,
What War?

2/18/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The one on Terror, of couse, doug.

The one we need the Patriot Act for.
The one that requires tapping Foreign Phone calls.
The one that requires the random searching of backbacks in NYC.
The one creates Security slow downs that keeps me off commercial airplanes.

The two Wars that are, according to Mr Biden, authorized by Congress, the first to destroy aQ and the second, depose Saddam and support the emergence of a democratic government, there in Iraq.
The latter War is complete, the former Enemy has found Sanctuary.
We should finish the first War, before starting a third.

2/18/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Asher Abrams said...

OT - My deepest sympathies to the families of those lost in the recent tragedy in the Philippines.

2/18/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

I thought i saw a post about the mudslide and then it disappeared

2/18/2006 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Cultures collide: Muslim immigrants will be expelled from Europe unless they reverse the growing perception of them as a social threat

Young Muslims protest French government policy. French tolerance is waning.

Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, Canada
Published: Friday, February 17, 2006

The Muslims refused to assimilate. They were expelled. This was the story in Europe 400 years ago. We are watching the sequel today.

Europeans are rarely welcoming to outsiders, even when the outsiders are blond and blue-eyed and come from the country next door. When the outsiders are un-European, swarthy and Muslim, they are tolerated at best. When some Muslims also insist that Europeans stop acting like Europeans, on pain of death, European tolerance comes to an end.

In the clash of cultures between secular Europeans and extremist Muslims, there can ultimately be no compatibility or compromise, only loss by one side or the other of the absolute values it holds dear. European capitulation on European soil, where they remain the dominant majority, is unlikely: Europeans revel in their liberty to mock religion, to poke fun at sacred cows, to be outrageous, even to offend.

European leaders have reacted to the Muslim upset over the cartoons two ways. Publically and to buy time, they seek to calm the protesters by deploring the abuse of freedom of speech. More significantly, they seek to preserve their societies by legislating Western norms, by tightening or ending immigration from Muslim countries, by enabling the expulsion of radical imans and other Muslim activists, and by raising the spectre of mass deportations.

For the rest of the article click here

Remember these muslims have to be returned to their countries of origin. If they are allowed to come to the USA they will MURDER this country.

2/18/2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristedes ,
""One is not interested in teaching metaphysics when the student has a gun to one's head."

"No offense aristides, but I see this repeated assumption here that we can only do one thing at a time
If one is convinced the brakes are inadequate to avoid a collision with a rock wall, and one further believes that a preventive deployment of the airbags might be the only way to avoid death, one might reasonably decide to spend all available time deploying the airbags with a tin foil bridge rather than recalculate the physics of the braking conundrum just in case a mistake might have been made.

Similar to concluding that if there is no possible way humans can significantly affect the future course of global warming, humans time might be better spent on other endeavors.

But then you were on the wrong side of THAT argument, also.

2/18/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

There is a school of thought that says our enemy--our only enemy--is Radical Islam, not Islam in general. This school of thought hopes to defeat Radical Islam ideologically where it can, militarily where it has to, but also hopes to inoculate ordinary Muslims against what is now a marginal movement.

Of course, there is nothing substantial separating Radical Islam from Islam proper, just artificial conceptual designations. Radical Islam is just a subset in open-set Islam.

To understand the nature of Radical Islam it is not very helpful to analyze it on its own: its most significant property is the way it is connected to the rest of Islam.

The reason why is easy to understand. Insofar as there are certain universal properties in the various iterations of Radical Islam, they have been stretched, not borrowed, from the source of Islam entire. The stretched not borrowed distinction is important, because this implies a connection, dependence, and responsiveness in Radical Islam. Information that affects Islam Entire also affects the shape and properties of Radical Islam. While the concepts exist separately, in reality they are intricately meshed, continuously interacting with each other while simultaneously interacting with the outside world, which then, in proper feedback loop fashion, also has input on the interior dynamics of Islam Entire.

And so, while one is correct to call Radical Islam the enemy, in order to truly defeat it, one must register one's will on two separate interfaces (at least). The first interface is obvious, and that is Radical Islam's causal connection with us. This is basic offense and defense, minimizing their impact on our lives or maximizing our impact on theirs.

The other interface we must affect is the relationship between Radical Islam (RI) and Islam Entire (IE). The problem, as we've seen, is that not only do RI and IE exist in a feedback loop, and the West and RI exist in a feedback loop, and the West and IE exist in a feedback loop, but our Strategy I (West/RI interface) and Strategy 2 (West/IE interface) exist in a feedback loop. Success in the former can spell drastic setbacks for the latter, and vice versa--and that's not even thinking about short term, medium term, and long term, or the various other interactive systems that exist in our phase space.

As you might have noticed, the complexity of these interactions might be their most consequential feature. But that's the game. That's what we have to win.

We really have no idea how to manage such a game. Anything we do could have horrible consequences and opportunity costs, immediately or further down the road. On the other hand, we do know that the game is semi-bounded. There are certain outcomes that are so improbable as to be statistically negligible, and certain outcomes that are eliminative, i.e. end the game. The greatest improbability, I would think, is the defeat and subjugation of America under a global Caliphate. The latter's potentialities concern the elimination of the feedback loops themselves. Now, since it will not be America that disappears from the causal loop, the other options are Radical Islam, or Islam Entire.

Eliminating Radical Islam is our goal, as I've stated. However, if you really think about everything I've said, you will see that getting rid of Radical Islam should be, for Islam Entire, a very serious imperative. So long as Radical Islam interacts with the West, the danger will grow for Muslims in general. This is precisely because RI and IE are interconnected.

Depending on the West to distinguish between RI and IE is not a good evolutionary strategy for IE. Our patience is not infinite, and neither is the dynamic of the game. If the feedback loops shift, precluding us from interfacing with IE constructively, that is when you will hear talk of a final solution.

2/18/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pork 10:17 AM,
That's the nature of mudslides, Cmon!
Kind of like the nature of the RoP, but don't get me started! ;-)

2/18/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey, Aristides 10:43 AM,
for a short synopsis of your post, see
Doug 10:39 AM !

2/18/2006 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...


Take it easy; each post is read for itself so don't worry too much about the other posters; you state you position well so just write and don't worry about other commentators frittering your points away - we onlookers can figure out what's what.

2/18/2006 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

he does, and I conclude he's wrong.

He accuses others of hatred and bigotry,
I simply assert that I think he is wrong.

2/18/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Yes, aristide, quite the Gordian knot you'll weave with your Game theory and projections and promabilities of future outcomes.

But in the end Alexander had the solution. Cut through the BS to the Heart of the Matter.

The US is involved in two authorized Wars, according to Mr Biden, neither mentions Islam, Radical or otherwise.

One mentions Saddam the other aQ.

Not Mr al-Sadr, not Iran, not even Syria. No, the US is at War with none of those.

We fight those that oppose the emergence of a democratic Government in Iraq and aQ.

The fight for the emergence of a democratic Iraq is over, that egg's been laid, the Government has hatched and emerged.

That leaves US with aQ, not Islam or Muslims, Radical, Moderate or Well Done, as the Enemy of US, as per Act of Congress.
They do represent, do they not.

2/18/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But perhaps, like secure US Borders, this Administration only engages in easy Parade Ground Leadership.

Never engaging in the difficult responsibilities and actions required to enforce the Law.

Or to win the War, as authorized by Congress.

2/18/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Now, one of the largest problems we face is that Radical Islam is faster, and more skillful, in manipulating these interfaces with propaganda. A good example is the Koran abuse story. Rumsfeld talked about how the global dissemination of this story was near-instantaneous--emails and text messages and then audio-tapes and sermons brought this news to impressionable ears before the government could even start responding:

The US had to be sure they had the facts before they responded. Because of this, we could not compete with the few days it took to be spread. Appropriately, and of necessity, we took the time we needed to try and ensure we had the facts before responding.

But in the meantime some lives had been lost and damage had been done to our country.

What complicates the ability to respond quickly is that, unlike our enemies who lie with impunity, with no penalty whatsoever [this suggests a solution of sorts: find a way to penalize propaganda], our government does not have the luxury of relying on other sources of information, anonymous or otherwise. Our government has to be the source. And we have to tell the Truth.

Now think about what he says next. He says:

This is the first war in history--unconventional and irregular as it may be--in an era of emails, blogs, cellphones, blackberries, instant messaging, etc. There has never been a war fought in this environment before.

What complicates our position even further is the kind of war we are in. Our battles are taking place in phase space, at nodes of interaction between the West and Islam Entire, the West and Radical Islam, IE and RI, and even within the West itself. All these nodes are manipulated with information, whether we are talking about the deed or media communication.

As Rumsfeld says, "A single news story handled skillfully can be as damaging to our cause, and as helpful to theirs, as any other method of military attack..

The primary short term problem is that we have "barely begun to compete for reaching their audiences." And our elites aren't helping:

"The US government has sought non-traditional means to provide accurate information to Iraqi people, yet this has been portrayed as inappropriate [...]

The resulting explosion of critical press stories caused all activity and initiative to stop. It has a chilling effect, for those who are asked to serve in the military p affairs field. The conclusion is that there is no toleration for innovation, much less for human error that could be seized upon by a press that demands perfection from the government but does not from the enemy nor, sometimes, themselves.

This timidity and lack of innovation is a huge problem in a quick reaction and adaption game:

We’ve become somewhat more adept, but progress is slow and ‘importantly public affairs posts have proven not to be enhancing for careers.

Anyone that looks at those careers and recognizes the near instantaneous public penalty imposed on someone who is in the military who is involved in anything the media judges instantaneously to be imperfect, or improper, and that then requires a long time to figure out what actually took place. Military people are intelligent, they’ll move away from those careers.

It stands to reason that, in the Age of Information, the US government will have to adapt to and master Information Warfare, just like we had to adapt to and master trench, horse, mechanized, aerial, and precision warfare. We must do to fourth generation warfare what we did with all the others: make it incredibly disadvantageous for an enemy to choose to engage us.

The conundrum has been how it can do so and still uphold American ideals of truth. The problem flows from the speed at which the US government must respond, compared to the speed at which the truth can be ascertained.

The other problem has already been solved, which is distinguishing Information Warfare from sheer blatant propaganda. The answer is obvious: we must battle with Truth. America's government must become the honest, and final, arbiter of facts. Not the people, for they have agendas. The government must do this, in its capacity as a (supposedly) impartial protector of the people.

Sorry for all the long posts, but the significance of all this is as far-reaching as you can get. Our last stand will take place on the hollowed ground of the Enlightenment, and our sword will be Truth.

2/18/2006 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I've found a lot of the Preppy Generation to be like that, doug.
Wanting to be off to the next, new & exciting project, well before the current task is even near completion.

So what else should I have expected, from a frat boy and his friends, like that Mr Brown, now he's become the Katrina "Scapegoat".

That my friends, is Propaganda for ya

2/18/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

""My angle" is to prevent this totalizing spirit from becoming any easier for ourselves, even for my own lazy tendencies, while there are still alternatives to investigate."
I feel better:
Instead of being a bigoted hater, I carry a totalizing spirit.
Meanwhile Opotho great dismisses Karridine's Faith as perhaps being
Does everyone who disagrees with you automagically become a proponent of Nuclear Genocide?
If so, why?

2/18/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

The idea that our enemy is only radical Islam seems to be akin to saying that in WWII our only enemy in Europe were the members of the Nazi party. But when the rest of the Germans (which was the majority) supported the Nazi government, and fought in the Nazi army, and didn't speak up against the Nazis, it didn't really matter that they weren't members of the Nazi Party. So I disagree. Our enemy is the entirety of Islam, until such time as the non-radicals stop supporting the radicals.

2/18/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Will Rayford said...

The mainstream American press, along with their comrades in Europe and the Middle East, have formed the second front of the war - clearly against U.S. interests. The U.S. center-right blogosphere is, in essence, the counter-insurgency in this media war. As soldier in this counter-insurgency, I feel we need to stike more skillfully with our information bombs. We need to be even more proactive than we have been. We've done some good, but we need to do better.

2/18/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The answer is obvious: we must battle with Truth.
America's government must become the honest, and final, arbiter of facts.
Not the people, for they have agendas.

Now that is a strange assertion, especially given that I find more truth on the street than in government.

I like 'Rat's outsourcing argument, but since the Govt would screw that up also, my faith rests with the people coming up with ways to profitably market truth.

2/18/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I wish it were so, ex helo, but those are not the Policies of this President, nor the Congress. Not even close.

When there is a Resolution to that effect introduced in Congress, regardless of final vote, then the Enemy may well be seen for what it is, but as of today, it is still a word unspoken.

The War, such as it is, is against Osama and his fellow bandits, as unromantic, mundane or dangerous as that may turn out to be.

Anything more, a Bridge to Far.
At least for the near horizon.

2/18/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

will rayford,

2/18/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"But when the rest of the Germans (which was the majority) supported the Nazi government, and fought in the Nazi army, and didn't speak up against the Nazis, it didn't really matter that they weren't members of the Nazi Party."

ex helo,
When moderate muslims do not resist imposition of Sharia in the West, they lend passive support to something antithetical to our founding principles.

It was found in France that when they REQUIRED the moderates to act differently in their dress, it made it easier for the moderates to resist the pressure of those that want to impose their customs on us.

2/18/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

The idea that our enemy is only radical Islam seems to be akin to saying that in WWII our only enemy in Europe were the members of the Nazi party.

Now this is an important point, one that will be brought up time and time again, and must be addressed.

Try to imagine what would have happened had the Nazi's come to power in an age where only fourth generation warfare was available to them, an age where America had mastered all other types of warfare, an age where engaging America as a nation-state was suicidal. One thing you will notice as that the top of society is no longer where you find maximum freedom of movement. The Nazis, if they took power in Germany today, would have their ability to inflict damage seriously constrained. They would not get many shots before America brought down her terrible swift sword.

The smart move for the Nazis would be to try to defeat America in irregular ways, over the long term. To do this they would have to become decentralized networks, with tacit and overt support from fellow-traveler states. They would no interact with America as germans qua germans; they would interact as Nazis, and we would be able to address them accordingly.

The problem is that such a group can disappear in a sea of genus likenessess, which is the same problem we see with Radical Islam. Sure, we can simply evaporate the sea, and kill all the fishes, good and bad. But the choice of warfare they are forced to make out of weakness allows us to approach the problem differently as well.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on...

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,
Our God is marching on.

2/18/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

If anybody ever had an Agenda, doug, it's the people that work for the Government.

Those are some of the most dishonest, untrustworthy folks I have ever dealt with, Government employees. Gotta watch 'em like a hawk.

From small town featherbedding to the Federals thinking the National Forest is their private park.

Won't even go into the Military, Dept of State, or IRS oversteps. Let alone ATF and it's shootouts and mass killings.

The people Government employees are not smart enough to run a successful Propaganda Campaign. If they could, they wouldn't be in Government, they'd have a real jobs, running successful Propaganda Campaigns.

2/18/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

America's government must become the honest, and final, arbiter of facts. Not the people, for they have agendas.

Sorry Doug, I ment that to be ironic. I was just thinking how our Founders would be spinning in their graves if told the Government has become more trustworthy, and therefore more indispensable, than the people.

I agree that it will be the people, unconstrained by the government, who will be the standard-bearers.

2/18/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Osama and his fellow bandits, and a Golden Chain, which the Government claims to be addressing, w/o being persuasive.

2/18/2006 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristedes 11:49 AM,
Thought you'd lost your marbles under the influence of the Evil Rummy, who himself is but a pawn of Mastermind Rove.

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

Don't care to address my point, Opotho?
Better to cast a new label?

2/18/2006 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

re: profitably market truth

Exactly. What's interesting is that the government has decided to subsidize this market. According to Rummy, in the next twenty years the US government is going to pour massive amounts of money into this cause, which will in turn open up quite a few new and innovative employment opportunities.

Rummy has specifically talked about "outsourcing" this task to the private sector, mirroring the recent push in the service sector towards specialization and independent contractors. This is a huge opportunity for people who like to read and write a lot. Area and subject matter experts will be needed, new forms of human resource, information, and content management and will be needed, new competitive structures will be needed, etc.

Each one of these needs will need a specialist, and each type of specialist will need a school. An entire industry is about to take off.

2/18/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


UAE? United Artists Ex-employees? No diplomatic ties that I'm aware of. But Israeli agents do operate a "corporate office" there. Something to do with a plot to replace camel jockeys with robots.

2/18/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Maybe if we get them to handle the Ports, the crafty Joos will be the real power behind our Transportation Security War?
Kind of ironic to have hatred and bigotry brought up tangentially when discussing modern Muhammedism, ain't it? ;-)

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

" My impression was that he had gone deeper into the Islamic faith and considered my wife and I a contamination of sorts.
It was a shock to go from friend and roomate to filthy infidel not worth anyone's time.
Maybe he just intstantly recognized your wife as a hateful bigot.
Maybe you are just a slow learner, or perhaps suffered permanent brain damage from those "very mild" debaucheries?

2/18/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Did you check to make sure the quiet wallflower was not one of the 19?

2/18/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Doug, I've already confessed:


Hope Opotho doesn't hold it against me, 'cause most of the time I don't even know what I'm talking about.

2/18/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I was going to add,
a BIGOT AND a ...
but why add to the bigotry and hatred that engulfs this site?

2/18/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sorry Fred, I thought it was a threesome!

2/18/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(Already coming up with ideas for Humpback, the Sequel.)

2/18/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

If I felt in my mind and heart that there could be any reason for them to abrogate the laws about the Dhimma and accept us as social and political equals, I would latch on to it and nurture that hope with all my might.

Now here is where the rubber meets the road. If, on the one hand, Muslims remained a very small minority (like the Quakers), it wouldn't matter if they internalized social and political equality, so long as they did not act out violently.

However, if they become a large minority, or, God forbid, a majority, then it is a matter of life and death whether they internalize this imperative. Because then violence is not necessary to accomplish their goals. The tools of the state are at their disposal.

This is the problem facing Europe.

2/18/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Haram! Were we discussing Danish ham again?

2/18/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

We declared a (unilateral) end to History, which not only allowed a glib rewriting of it, but also encouraged casting a blind eye to the ongoing threats like Rushidie, Stethem, Cole, Death to America, and etc.

2/18/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Hindus and Buddhists seem to have a sharper memory of how they were treated for centuries. What ever happened on our end?

We got successful, then we got guilty.

An interesting factoid: there were more white Europeans taken as slaves by the North African moslems than blacks taken as slaves by Europeans to the New World.

Kind of puts the slavery debate in perspective, doesn't it.

2/18/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mika 12:35 PM,
What else?

2/18/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/18/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristedes 12:39 PM,
My History
(Courtesy of the Hon Elijah M)
indicates that the Sharks still troll the waters where Millions of Slaves were once thrown overboard on their way to Amerika.

2/18/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Well, your source is half right. Throwing slaves overboard was practiced most often by the Muslim slave runners, who were, of course, fleeing from the British, who were, of course, trying to end slavery.

2/18/2006 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Interesting quote from the Thomas Sowell interview with Brian Lamb:

A history professor had a student come up to him and ask, "Well when did slavery begin?" And he said, "You’re asking the wrong question. The question should be when did freedom begin? Because slavery existed as far back as we have any records."

2/18/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Details, Details!

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

For anybody interested, the Intelligence Summit powerpoint presentation on the Saddam Tapes is available here.

2/18/2006 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ah, Mr. Bennet picks up the bigot charge brigade as he denigrates "your pathetic faith based reality."
Do you ever read a Mr. D 'Rat?
Have you ever seen the many others agreeing with him?
Did you not read Trish's short, pithy summation of where she thinks we are?
Perhaps you accidentally posted on the wrong Blog?
...I'll let Wretchard try to defend his Paleolithic Bigotry for himself.
But perhaps you were reading the Kos, instead?

2/18/2006 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

The West appears to be taking the fools bargain. Not until there is a serious life and death threat to the West will we as a society (I am not talking individuals here, we get it and see the cheap sellout now coming at a terrible price later on) get serious.

No method of propaganda will change that.

The Jihadis see their struggle as life and death and they are fighting to live. Most people in the West view 9/11 as a mosquito bite no need to get all worked up over it.

History will repeat itself. The West led by noble but naive appeasers until something much bigger than 9/11 happens. It will be a nuke in some Western city. Hope it isn't mine or yours.

W is an exception and will go down in the history as a pre-scient visionary.

The West will then face up to the facts, a Churchillian figure (complete with those who cling to the fantasies that appeasment will still work) will arise and a war will erupt with casualties in the billions.

2/18/2006 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Marcus spoils the day by giving vent to our deepest fears.

2/18/2006 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"An interesting factoid: there were more white Europeans taken as slaves by the North African moslems than blacks taken as slaves by Europeans to the New World."

Could you give me a source for this Aristedes?

It isn't that I'm disputing it, it's just something I've never heard before.

Trust but verify, you know.

2/18/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Until you have lived amongst them you have learned nothing. Perhaps your self schooling will get you into a taxi on the way from the airport, but you would not make it out from that taxi. You are worse than naive. You are arrogant and cavalier.

2/18/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/18/2006 03:10:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Cutler, my source is Thomas Sowell's "Black Rednecks and White Liberals", in which that factoid is sourced from somewhere else. I don't have my book handy but I'll see if I can find it on Google.

Sowell also makes this point in his interview with Brian Lamb, which is available at Booknotes on

2/18/2006 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

In your quest to further "prove" my intractable trollish nature, you have now Twice ignored posts that explain my position, namely
10:39 AM, and 10:50 AM.
You may disagree, but my point in bringing up Global Warming was that my argument is the same in both instances, but you disagree in both instances.

Feel free, but I fear you may be suffering from some of the same anger management problems you so freely accuse others of, as witnessed here by all your angry descriptions, characterizations, and accusations.

2/18/2006 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mika 3:10 PM,
Get to your point!

2/18/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

And don't pull any of those linky-joo tricks!

2/18/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...


Here you go, with a qualifier or two.

From 1500 to 1650, when trans-Atlantic slaving was still in its infancy, more white Christian slaves were probably taken to Barbary than black African slaves to the Americas.

It seems that Mr. Sowell's statement is qualified to America qua colony, not Americas qua hemisphere. Americas qua hemisphere saw almost 10x as many African slaves shipped across the Atlantic as Europeans enslaved in the same time period.

The other qualifier is that the further back you go, your number of whites in slavery will grow and the number of Blacks shipped across the Atlantic will shrink. Prof. Davis started at 1530 and ended at 1780. If you take a total number from both camps, I think you will find the levels very similar.

2/18/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I was serious, you ignored my point for the third time, which is the same one as Aristides makes on the next post, stated differently.

Are you reading my post with the goal of understanding what I am getting at?

2/18/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I understand your vigilance in looking out for cheap debating tricks, that's why I warned Mika at 3:17 PM.
We can only hope.

2/18/2006 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's Opotho's whole argument in a nutshell, guys:
"... [etc]"

Thanks for the effort.

2/18/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

3:28 PM
I learned it from a Jooish friend of mine on this thread.

2/18/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

OK, if you insist:
Seems kind of redundant and unnecessarily self-referential, but here goes:

Aristedes ,
""One is not interested in teaching metaphysics when the student has a gun to one's head."

"No offense aristides, but I see this repeated assumption here that we can only do one thing at a time"
If one is convinced the brakes are inadequate to avoid a collision with a rock wall, and one further believes that a preventive deployment of the airbags might be the only way to avoid death, one might reasonably decide to spend all available time deploying the airbags with a tin foil bridge rather than recalculate the physics of the braking conundrum just in case a mistake might have been made.

Similar to concluding that if there is no possible way humans can significantly affect the future course of global warming, humans time might be better spent on other endeavors.

But then you were on the wrong side of THAT argument, also.

10:39 AM
(In the interests of civility, I restate that last assertion here:
"It is my belief you may be mistaken in both instances.")

2/18/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

If you want a short example of why our job is so difficult, consider how human beings learn and adapt.

Human learning is a system of non-abelian, or non-commutative, corrective feedback. This means that AB does not always equal BA, because embedded in any such input is an element of time, which is, of course, the variable of change. Only if B hit simultaneously with A would AB and BA be commutative.

Since that is impossible, at least for our purposes, not only must we worry about what we say, but we must worry about how and when and to whom and in what order we say it.

2/18/2006 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I've restated how many times?: "teaching metaphysics" as propaganda, then taking aim and shooting if that's what's called for. What's your freaking problem understanding that?"

3:42 PM
Sorry, I never saw it stated quite that way before, I must have missed it.
Got a link?
Of course one might still disagree and consider that a distraction from whatever is their primary focus.
I'm sure you'd grant them that, right?
dis·trac·tion n.
A condition or state of mind in which the attention is diverted from an original focus or interest.

2/18/2006 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristides 3:46 PM,
Maybe W should have titled it:
"Farts and Bites"

2/18/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I can focus like a laser beam on a nutshell.
Any claims beyond that...

2/18/2006 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dennis Prager often talks about things that only a College Graduate would not consider an absurd distraction, or simply an absurdity outright.

A simplistic example would be Chuck Yeager thinking about the family and friends of the pilots he is manuvering to get into his sights.

A Quick Glance at any newspaper reveals that it only takes a bit of extrapolation to get from that example to how many people fill their entire lives these days, communing with others in their Beltway Bubble of Suspended Disbelief.

2/18/2006 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

At the risk of pissing into a gale force wind, I think I see what's going on.

Opotho, Doug's analogy to global warming focuses on the property of systems qua complex systems. To quote Wretchard quoting Crichton:

We live in a world of complex systems. The environment is a complex system. The government is a complex system. Financial markets are complex systems. The human mind is a complex system---most minds, at least. By a complex system I mean one in which the elements of the system interact among themselves, such that any modification we make to the system will produce results that we cannot predict in advance.

Furthermore, a complex system demonstrates sensitivity to initial conditions. You can get one result on one day, but the identical interaction the next day may yield a different result. We cannot know with certainty how the system will respond. Third, when we interact with a complex system, we may provoke downstream consequences that emerge weeks or even years later. We must always be watchful for delayed and untoward consequences.

Both global warming and Islam are examples of complex systems that cannot be dictated to. They must be managed, humbly at that. That means there are no easy answers. I think that was Doug's point.

Doug, I think Opotho's point is that we have no excuses, in an Age of Information, with all of the sources and resources at our disposal, not to have our officials briefed by an Islamic expert so that we don't lag behind in the propaganda war. Insofar as our media's, and government's, communicative posture makes a difference with Muslims--whose final allegiance in this war still exists as a potential rather than as a collapsed function--we should spend great effort making sure our message is calibrated toward inoculating them against the pressures of radicalism. We have access to Islamic history that they don't. We should use it.

Were this effective, it would stack the deck against the radicals, and avert a human catastrophe--a catastrophe, by the way, some are all too ready for, because it's simple.

Neither position is excluded by the other. One can easily assert the complex system of our interaction, and, at the same time, assert the imperative to use our vast available knowledge to affect it constructively. And one can assert both without contradiction.

2/18/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"How is it that Bill Clinton is totally justified in his speech to the Pakistanis (?) "
If he was paid, I'm sure he feels totally justified.
My perspective on that is this:
The most effective propaganda line would be getting the truth out about how the masses are being manipulated by their "leaders."

In the case of the cartoons, what percent of the public do you think now understand that?
And for the public in Pakistan and etc, the number would approach zero.

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

My mother was a "poorly educated" (by today's Univ standards) Farm Girl.
Had I only been wise enough to seek my Elder's council after I got filled with "wisdom" and hubris at Berkeley and UCSB, much grief could have been avoided.

2/18/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristides 4:17 PM,
But compromises are always being made due to constraints of time, access, interest and education of the audience, and etc.

Seems one of the main complaints on this thread is that too many unnecessary compromises have already been made in the
Vain Hope of avoiding Causing Offense. the expense of the truth.

2/18/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

And just to register a completely sentimental and irrelevant opinion, what makes this blog so great (in its derivative character--Wretchard makes it great in general) is that it is a symposium of knowledge and wisdom. Some here are incredibly well educated, but lack experience, while others may not hold austere degrees but have an infinite store of wisdom to bring to the table.

I have the luxury of having been incredibly well educated at an elite university. However, that leads me to appreciate the wisdom here even more, because it might be the only thing I didn't get (besides STDs--didn't get those either) for a $160,000 worth of education.


You're right, which is why we're in the fourth quarter.

2/18/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

What matters Pakistan, doug, they're the bestest Ally we have, in the War on Terror.

Exhelo, if you're still around, how does the Medicine, mostly blood thinners I'd assume, that Cardio patients take, especially those with an Ambulance on site, react with beer or spirits.

Does the thinned blood keep the effect of the beer to a minimum, or does it tend to maximize the lack of judgement, poor decision making and slowed reactions of the cardio patient who has been drinking.

I know beer and firearms do not mix, how about beer and perscriptuion drugs, no ill effects there either, aye?

What would, do you think, a Naval Board of Inquiry word say about Mr Cheney's behaviour, or rather, his Judgement in mixing beer & perscriptions drugs & firearms?

2/18/2006 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

W opened up new thread. I'm spent for today. Catch up with you guys tomorrow.

2/18/2006 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Desert Rat,
I have no idea how those medications act with alcohol, so I can't speak to that. If there are specific warnings about mixing the two and driving, etc. that might be a problem. Again, as I said earlier, my guess is that the alcohol was processed and a non-factor by the time the shooting occurred. BTW, I wish that government officials were held to the same standards as members of the military. We would have a hell of a better government.

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

The thinners only cause you to bleed like a stuffed pig.
(No Offense: PBUH)
Get into the Beta Blockers, Calcium Channel Blockers plus a little booze, etc, now you're talkin.
Or you think somebody has when you open your mouth. may have noticed!
Heck, just little too much W/O alcohol at night can set one up for a bedfull of thrills and spills in one's sleep.
We won't go into the thrills, this being a family oriented forum.
...and as Bill knows, the spills are but evidence to be discarded.

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

Please forgive the slightly off-topic request for information. I am working on an update to my Port Authority post about congressional resistance to Dubai Ports World's pending control of commercial operations of 6 US ports. What I'd like to find out is whether longshore and other unions have donated to campaigns of the lawmakers in question. There must be a website where this information is contained, yes?

thanks in advance for the information.


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

For Freedom,

I don't know if you're still following this thread or not. I'm just coming back, and thought I would respond to this:

You wrote:
It should be clear that there's a lot of enemy who do believe it is [a religious war].
And then the question is how to tailor an effective propaganda to Theological arguments.

I don't think it's our job to figure out how to reconcile their beliefs with liberalism. It's up to them to either modify or abandon their beliefs. All we can do is motivate the change by showing them that their current beliefs will lead to extinction.

We are too focused on talk. There is a time for talk, and there is a time for war. Once the shooting starts, you don't stop to talk until one side is ready to surrender. Are we ready to negotiate the terms of our surrender? No? Then back to shooting. When they are ready to talk, then there might be something to talk about.

Here is a point I have been pushing, it's not a military option, but the moral basis for the military option we probably agree on: the West is liberal, but it is also Christian. Even those who claim to be secular cannot imagine an ethical system that is not consistent with the Sermon on the Mount. For that reason, they shrink in fear from what has to be done in order to win this war. We do not lack the means to win, but we lack the will. We are a six-and-a-half foot tall linebacker being beaten on by a five foot tall, dried up little shrimp. We can stop the beating anytime we want to, but we're afraid to use our full strength. Blessed are the weak, because they never have to question their moral right to pummel those stronger than them.

If we were locked into a deadly struggle with an adversary nearly our equal, if our casualty reports were roughly equal to the casualties we inflicted, then Americans would be desperate to fight this war with every weapon available to them. But given that we could wipe out hundreds of thousands of our enemies in a 24-hr period without losing a single man, Americans shrink in horror from the thought of it. How can they endorse such a merciless slaughter? "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."

Well, we won't find mercy, not from our enemies. They know our weakness, and they are determined to exploit it. They have been exploiting it for the past 37 years. The only thing able to trigger a strong reaction from us was the merciless slaughter of 3000 civilians. That was enough for some of us to say goodbye to mercy, but we're a small minority as yet. Let the jihadists take out an American city, and then our Christian conscience will take a nap while we return the slaughter.

When we cease to be Christian, the jihadists will cease to be. They will either be dead, or they will have discovered a previously overlooked passage in the Koran that suggests they should live in peace with all people, especially those with large bombs.

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

"Let me quote a few words attributed to Jesus of Nazareth:
"by their fuits you shall know them."
You know more about the subject than anyone I know, far as I can tell.
I'm sure Bill Bennet would give a nod to your superior knowledge.
He did have a nice down home way of characterizing the above, however:
"Religion is as Religion Does."

2/18/2006 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(To Fred, obviously)

2/18/2006 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"And then the question is how to tailor an effective propaganda to Theological arguments. Christians in the early Roman Empire were willing to be eaten by lions for their faith."

From May 23, 1844 to present, Ardsgaine, a new group of ordinary people has been standing in the field of martyrdom to bear witness to their Faith, a love of God so profound and moving and civilizing that they would rather die at the hands of Muslims (and others) than recant their faith in the Glory of God, and in Jesus Who promised Him and sent Him.

"Ordinary propaganda with its secular message is like water off a duck's back for the faithful. Something more powerful is needed, in the realm of the spirit."

Since May 23, 1844 that more powerful 'something' has been brought by the Glory of God, Baha'u'llah. Although we can find His title carved in 2-meter-tall Chinese characters throughout Asia (Amit-Abbut, Buddha Amit-Abha) His name in Arabic is enough, in and of itsself, to terrify Muslim clerics and galvanize Muslims despite the obfuscating, hate-filled rhetoric of their imams and mullahs!

2/19/2006 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Fred, Ardsgaine and others:

With respect to Jesus' promises, I refer you to any KJV of the Holy Bible and His promise that 'one like unto the son of man' would come:

1)at the time the Gospels were first taken to every nation; (Matt 24:14)

2)at the time the 'times of the gentiles' were fulfilled; (Luke 21:24), and

3)at the time that the 'Abomination of Desolation' prophecy, begun with the Second Edict of Artaxerxes in 457BC and running for 2,300 years, was ended. (Matt 24:15)

The Gospel CAN BE SEEN to have been taken to every nation, for the first time, in the spring of 1844. (I don't HAVE TO BELIEVE, but its there as historical fact IF I CHOOSE to accept it, "...if you will have it," as Jesus puts it.

The signing of the Edict of Toleration, March 21st, 1844 CAN BE SEEN to have ended the Diaspora, and therefore the 'times of the gentiles' also ended then.

2,300 years ticking away from 457 BC leads Christian AND atheist mathematicians to the year 1844.

Which was the year that the Bab declared His mission (May 23, 1844) as Forerunner to the Lord of Hosts, Who was with us in the Person of Baha'u'llah, the Glory of God, from 1853 to 1892 (Micah 7:15).

I make NO appeal to authority here. You may investigate the truth of these assertions of historical reality for yourself, or you may take offense at God having the audacity to fulfill His promise and actually SEND 'one like unto the Son of Man', come in the 'Glory of the Father!'

Jesus 3, clergy ZERO

2/19/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"I even have an ancient Islamic parable which seems fitting"
Let me guess:
"Bad Cartoons Make Allah Very Angry"
(Send Money For More Mosques,
Yes, Four More, Thanks)

2/20/2006 03:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Opotho will be away catching up on all the stuff Fred knows that he doesn't!
(To prove Fred was wrong from the get go, and a narrow-minded phoney to boot.)

2/20/2006 03:08:00 AM  

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