Fighting the War of Ideas Like a Real War

No one is doing this in any serious way, so far as I can tell, almost six years after 9/11. Future historians will be scathing.

A book length publication that looks very interesting, after a skim. The authors say the main, under-utilized weapon in the US arsenal against terrorism is ridicule.

See also: Iraqi Insurgent Media: The War of Images and Ideas.

The report shows that media outlets and products created by Sunni insurgents, who are responsible for the majority of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq, and their supporters are undermining the authority of the Iraqi government, demonizing coalition forces, fomenting sectarian strife, glorifying terrorism, and perpetrating falsehoods that obscure the accounts of responsible journalists. Insurgent media seek to create an alternate reality to win hearts and minds, and they are having a considerable degree of success. … [However] insurgent media have not yet faced a serious challenge to their message on the Internet.

The insurgent media book was cited in Winning the Narrative by Bing West at the Small Wars Journal blog.

In in this article we learn many valuable Arab words. Our military, and government, and media should adopt these more accurate terms for terrorism. Perhaps in the blogosphere we can lead the way:

irhab (eer-HAB) — Arabic for terrorism, thus enabling us to call the al Qaeda-style killers irhabis, irhabists and irhabiyoun rather than the so-called “jihadis” and “jihadists” and “mujahideen” and “shahids” (martyrs) they badly want to be called. (Author’s lament: Here we are, almost six years into a life-and-death War on Terrorism, and most of us do not even know this basic Arabic for terrorism.)

I wish our soldiers well in their struggle against the irhabis in Anbar province.

3 thoughts on “Fighting the War of Ideas Like a Real War”

  1. here’s a scary thought: what if the future historians are not scathing?

    what if future historians of the United States of Allah only debate obscure Quranic history and meta-fatwa-ology?

    or if the USSA only debates whether Marx, Lenin or FDR was the greatest Communist?

    this is a war we can lose.

  2. It is true that Irhabiyoun means terrorist in Arabic. But so does Mujahideen, it’s just that a Jihadist is a “good terrorist against non-Muslims” and an Irhabist is a “bad terrorist against Muslims”. It is not only important to use the right words, it is important to emphasize what a wicked perversion of the religious impulse Jihad is. The aggressive, ever-expanding Jihad for Allah preached by Muhammed is a feature of Islam that cannot remain if Islam is to fit into the integrated world. Jihad is incompatible with all other religions and political systems. Muslims must come to fear the evil that will come their way as a result of their Jihad. Simply lying about its meaning will not be tolerated. Hopefully this will give enough Muslims a reason to interpret the religion in a way that pulls the fangs from Jihad and ends in the true moderates coopting their religion from Wahhabists, Deobandists, Khomeinists, Qutbists, and the rest of the 7th century vanguard of Islam.

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