We’re out of Ammo and the Battle’s Just Getting Warm

The New York Times today reports that Al Qaeda’s latest HIPO is a brash leader named, Abu Yahya al-Libi.  A focus of the article was on a video released by Abu Yahya on  September 10, 2007.  In the video, Abu Yahya offers six strategies the U.S. and others might take in their fight for the hearts and minds of the Muslim world.

Quoted in the article is Jarret Brachman, who has explained Abu Yahya’s strategy behind the video.  Dr. Brachman calls the ploy brilliant.  I agree.  He believes the action helps inoculate Jihadists from propaganda produced by countries seeking to discredit Al Qaeda.  I agree again.  Noticably absent from the discussion, however, is the issue of credibility.

In an information war, credibility is the ammunition that wins battles.  As Dan Rather knows, an error of information, a loss of credibility, and the battle is lost.  In this era, an error of information is not long hidden.

Credibility is gained a yard at a time.  It can be lost in an instant.  An error need not be intentional.  Dan Rather did not intend to lie.  He simply screwed up.  The result, in the language of labor relations, was his industrial death.

I think Abu Yahya’s stategy is more than brilliant.  He taunts the U.S. and his other enemies.  Like a school yard bully, he goads us to come fight him on his turf.  The turf at issue?  It is the hearts and minds of the moderate Muslim community.  That is, the battlefield of ideas and information.  On this battleground, bullets and bombs will do us as much harm as good.  Our best ammunition is credibility: being believed by those we are trying to convince.

The current administration, with its focus on bullets and bombs, has tossed away its most valuable weapon as worthless.  It has squandered our credibility as if it were nothing more than a fistful of sand.

I have no doubt that Abu Yahya understands that we are out of ammo and it’s time to fight.  He is aware that we are as far behind in this arms race as we were at the onset of WWII.   Unfortunately, we cannot this time rebuild our arsenal simply by cranking up our factory production or asking the public to invest in war bonds.  Credibility is not manufactured.   It is earned.  And slowly at that.

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2 Responses to “We’re out of Ammo and the Battle’s Just Getting Warm”

  1. I stumbled upon your blog from … I don’t know. I’m glad I did. Your writing is insightful, intelligent and hilarious (all in the right places).

    And we’re not just out of ammo, the munitions dump is now a Wal-Mart and we’re buying gas we import from our “enemies” with money borrowed from China.

  2. cheappaper Says:

    I’m not concerned. If all else fails, I’m guessing I can get a job waiting tables in Dubai. CP.

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