"I don’t know how to beat this. I don’t know what to do, besides try and push for some kind of coherent information warfare policy. And I don’t think we have as good a chance of winning until we figure it out."His post, This Is What We Need To Beat To Win is a good read, before working through my comments below. I responded in his comments section, but it's a post I have had rattling about in the brain cage, just hadn't gotten out of the starting blocks with it (Chap: Thank you for the motivation to spend some time at the keyboard):
I find myself thinking the same thing. I believe it is because we have such a different world view from that of "the enemy," that we can no longer connect the dots. We are blessed with a literate society, and while I may strongly feel the NEA has done a fine job of taking important things out of the educational process, and replaced them with fluff and trash, we still have smart kids coming up in this world. Look at the "kids" (and I mean that with the highest respect) who are at the pointy end of the spear.. Iraq has one of the most educated populations in the ME, yet our "enemy" seems to be coming from many other countries, most of which where education is not a common thing, and therefore, the tenants of Islam are the only education put forth. Our non-Constitutionally based belief in a 'separation of church and state' limits us further in having a hope of understand those who are bred into a "poligion" (I claim this term, too, as I have never seen it anywhere else, and it came to me about a year ago, along with the concept of "religitics."). They cannot separate the two. Under these conditions, our "filters" thus effectively become "blinders." Regardless of how far I think the ACLU and others of that mindset are going off the deep end, it is in the very example of the Islamic State model presented to our front line soldiers, airmen and Marines daily that helps me appreciate the wisdom of our Founding Fathers more so. While in War College, I stumbled across "Our Own Worst Enemy" by William Lederer (co-author of "The Ugly American"). It was amazing to see the copyright date of 1968, and how he had postulated then that we had not studied the culture of the people in who we were now locked in a war. Our cluture had existed less than 200 years. The Vietnamese once fought 1000 years (no typo there) against the Chinese...and won. It may have been in antiquity from our view, but it was part of their culture, and very much an image of what we faced in SE Asia. Lederer's main thesis was we didn't have the understanding of the history, language, or the cultural issues, and therefore we were in over our heads. His speculation of the depth of the VC penetration may have seemed like hyperbole in 1968, but later, when "A Vietcong Memoir" by Troung Nhu Tang was published, the former Minister of Justice for the National Liberation Front clearly discussed this issue, in this case, as a mere matter of fact in his story. The VC had pretty well gotten all the way to the top of the ARVN. This book certainly vindicates any criticism of Lederer's. Somewhat with Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and now with OIF/OEF, I began to believe we as a nation have developed a better model of how warfare is a multi-faceted thing. The North Vietnamese handed us our butt in the media war, yet our military smashed them on the battlefield. We have gone to embeds and greater access for the media, yet the facet of culture is not one we seem to be able to address. Evidence: We see the ACLU getting not just the Bible itself out of the public arena, but even references to it, contrasted with something out of I can't figure where, that tells us we must handle the Koran "like a delicate piece of art." Another set of "filters/blinders" (maybe we can just call these "F/Bs" from here forward) is we hold concepts dear. The American Flag is the easiest example. We don't like seeing it burned, yet we have a developed sense of the abstract, and therefore we know the colored threads merely represent our ideals of freedom. I read a few days back that to a Muslim, the Koran was the equivalent of not the Bible, but of Jesus. For a nation with a strong heritage of Christianity, once more we go "tilt! tilt!" when we see something like this in print. More F/Bs: We look down in disgust at the proclaimed "Christian" (known by the bumper sticker) that cuts you off in traffic by driving like a maniac, so they can get to work before you. Rightfully so. The HBM (see my blog for recent post) loves to point out a rich Christian buying a large home, and belittles them for not giving it to the poor. Contrast: Muslims use the Koran to try and stop up the sewer system (yes, a far better set of living conditions that in the mountains of Afghanistan) and, once more, there is no similar references to the demonstrated hypocrisy. As I read the 2003 DoD rules for handling the Koran, I just shook my head and thought: "we're losing this one big time." What "they" and even some of the intelligent people I see daily, don't seem to get, is we have chosen to not exercise our rights under the Geneva Convention to summarily execute the non-uniformed combatants, and that being the height of our compassion, only to not realize that no concession, short of our demise is acceptable to the Islamic thought process. A few months back, you commented on a piece by a Muslim writer, saying they revered all the books of the Bible, and the "prophets." I'd invite you to read further, as if this was the case, why do they say "there is no God but Allah." The Old Testament certainly doesn't say that. If they consider Moses a prophet worthy of their respect, they'd have something like the Ten Commandments, and not an offshoot that declares murder is only murder when it's another Muslim that is killed. The list goes on. I'm stating this for the record, for the religion began by the forced conversion of the many people from the caravans of the desert, and, as we see today, continues to have a foundation of "join us or die." The best book I have seen to concisely show the differences in the clash of religions is "Unveiling Islam" by the Caner brothers, who are son's of a Turkish Muslim father. His father was a devout, practicing man, who passed his religion to his sons. They have become Christians, as has just about every one else in their families. I have seen Ergun in person and I will tell you he is a compassionate man, and knows his Koran and his Bible well. My point: We may be in it over our heads again, because I see the momentum shifting towards mercy for the killers. I often find it interesting how we also do the "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" thing when we discuss, in lowered voices, of the violence within our own prison system, saying "well, they deserve it," yet think a barking dog at close range is the moral equivalent of the Holocaust. I think we all can agree many of our inmates would think an entirely different set of thoughts if someone came to their cell to put panties on their heads... We have indeed come to a strange place. Maybe it's worth circulating William Lederer's book to a whole lot of people, who can grasp the parallels.It's far beyond an "information policy" to work through this one.