They are throwing the slow pitch… (UPDATED w/ AQ and kidnapping children)

…but we have little to nothing in the way of strategic batters.  From Abu Muqawama:

Abu Muqawama was reading the Economist’s review of Marc Sageman’s new book [Leaderless Jihad] yesterday when he came across this passage (which also refers to Daniel Byman’s new book):

Both authors believe that in the war of ideas Americans should focus on jihadist brutality rather than trying to burnish their own image.

Abu Muqawama then glanced down at the front page of Saturday’s Times of London:

Baghdad’s fragile peace was shattered yesterday when explosives strapped to two women with Down’s syndrome were detonated by remote control in crowded pet markets, killing at least 91 people in the worst attacks that the capital had experienced for almost a year.

Iraqi and American officials blamed al-Qaeda, and accused the terrorist organisation of plumbing new depths of depravity. Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, said that al-Qaeda’s use of mentally-handicapped women as bombers showed that it had “no political programme here that is acceptable to a civilised society and that this is the most brutal and the most bankrupt of movements”.

Ryan Crocker, the US Ambassador, said: “There is nothing they won’t do if they think it will work in creating carnage and the political fallout that comes from that.”

It’s too bad the U.S. and its allies have only a primitive IO campaign, because stories like this should be a goldmine.


UPDATE: AM’s timely message is followed by news and video of al-Qaeda’s use of kidnapped children.  Of the many reasons children are used in war and crimes, popular support for the cause isn’t one of them.  Releasing this information through Public Affairs channels isn’t adequate.  DoD Information Operations isn’t adequate either.  

Missing, of course, is a mechanism for us to intelligently and effectively and aggressively (as required here) counter enemy ideology and propaganda.  If only we had the capacity to do so.  A global full court press to highlight the badness of AQ and its cause is required for a new containment and new rollback.  History doesn’t repeat in its entirety, but it does repeat enough that lessons can be learned from the past.

MNF-I video of AQ training of kids "for kidnapping, assassination, and terrorism against Iraqis."

MNF-I video of Iraq and U.S. forces rescuing kidnapped children in Dec 2007:

H/T OpFor and DoD

4 thoughts on “They are throwing the slow pitch… (UPDATED w/ AQ and kidnapping children)

  1. Sageman’s 4 Stage process was confirmed in a thoroughly documented NYPD study “Radicalization in the West” that came out last year.My concern with a ramped-up IO campaign against Islamic extremists is that it may fuel the David Horowitz/Robert Spencer/Daniel Pipes Islamophobia complex. The concept of Jihad in Islam is easily mis-understood, and our government doesn’t seem capable of expressing it in a way that will build allies among moderate Muslims instead of alienating them. The fact that Stephen Coughlin was hired as an Islamic “expert” paints a dismal picture of what we can and cannot do with the people currently responsible for making these decisions.

  2. My concern with a ramped-up IO campaign against Islamic extremists is that it may fuel the David Horowitz/Robert Spencer/Daniel Pipes Islamophobia complex.

    Jeff, you’re assuming the response would be rooted in religion. Why? Their extremism is wrapped in religion, it isn’t rooted in it so a response does not need to get into head to head arguments on who understands Jihad better. But your point is valid that we sometimes think we should be teaching Islam.
    General Stone in Iraq is having significant success with teaching Islam to his detainees, but this is because he is a) teaching his detainees Arabic so they can read the Koran (often when somebody is basing their aggression on the Koran they haven’t read it is his finding) and b) bringing in Imam’s from the community to help the student understand the Koran.
    You’re absolutely right we have a strategic inability to build allies.

  3. I agree with you regarding “wrapped” rather than “rooted”, however Horowitz and others of his ilk, including Coughlin and, I’m sure, many others in the DOD, are in the “rooted” camp. They promote the idea that violence against unbelievers is inherent in the religion.This has an impact on our success in COIN operations because there’s a tug-of-war going on for the moderate Muslims. They are the pool that AQ and related terrorist groups are recruiting and radicalizing from. When we make senseless, Islamphobic comments about their religion (apart from the many other mistakes that we’ve made), it tends to alienate the moderates and push them into the hands of AQ recruiters.

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