Fighting the War of Ideas like a Real War
eBook (PDF), 148 Pages
An innovative re-examination of how the US and its allies should fight the battle of ideas. Written as a companion to Counterinsurgency Field Manual FM 3-24, this book focuses on message strategies that the US should pursue for the immediate term to win the war against Islamist extremism. The author is a professor at The Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC, who directs a graduate program on public diplomacy and political warfare. His students include officials from the Defense Department, State Department, CIA, FBI, DIA, and other agencies.
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Oct 15, 2009"insightful" This book gives a good insight into the struggle going on within the American establishment about what the nation has become committed to in Iraq. If public diplomacy is designed to gain trust over the long term, then it is clearly failing in that battered country. Ask the people of Iraq whether life was better under Saddam Hussein than it is now, and the majority will say that it was: a brutal dictator he indeed was, but as long as people followed the widely understood rules they could generally stay out of trouble, as with most such dictatorships. Now death by bombing lurks on every street corner and there is no certain way to avoid it. In these circumstances talk of a winnable war - whether in a military or a diplomatic sense - seems fanciful at best. As a student of a distinguished British diplomat and diplomatic theorist from an earlier era (Sir Ernest Satow, 1843-1929 - see my lulu storefront) I feel bound to say that I question the wisdom of using the... More > rhetoric of "war" and "battles" in the realm of public diplomacy, but I do understand that such metaphors are widely accepted in the United States, especially in official circles. Diplomacy in essence is a sophisticated and persuasive art based on the mutual trust of negotiating parties, and not on aggression of any kind. "Blessed are the peacemakers" is the slogan written on Satow's headstone!< Less
May 15, 2007"Armed Forces Journal recommends it!" The editor of Armed Forces Journal reviewed this book in the magazine's May 26, 2007 issue: "The playground chant of 'sticks and stones' is turned on its head in J. Michael Waller's intriguing book 'Fighting the War of Ideas Like a Real War,' in which he argues that words, images and messages can, in fact, hurt a lot. And in the terrorism war, these are sorely underused strategic weapons that could be every bit as powerful as the conventional sticks and stones of war we prefer to hurl. "The book is packed with action points that could be implemented rapidly and at little cost. We could, for instance, stop feeding the terrorist's self-esteem and confirming his status as a martyr by using the term he selected for himself: jihad. The term "hirabah" has been defined as "killing by stealth and targeting a defenseless victim in a way intended to cause terror in society." This is an Islamic definition of terrorism... More > the West could exploit. "Another strategic weapon could be public ridicule, which is more feared than death; it's destruction without martyrdom. Waller's justification for why ridicule works feels right. 'It sticks. The target can't refute it. It gets better with each re-telling.' This stuff is so blindingly obvious and seemingly both clever and simple that it begs the question, 'Why aren't we already doing this?' "Is it too late to make any difference? Perhaps. But if this guide offers ways that could discredit, divide and ultimately squelch the enemy into a blob of irrelevance, then the debate shouldn't be whether it's too late; the question is how soon can we start?"< Less
May 10, 2007"An absolute necessity for those wanting to win in Iraq" Professor Waller thinks creatively in his approach to battling hostile forces in Iraq and around the world. Instead of letting the enemy dictate the terms of debate, Waller suggests that the United States adopt a pro-active stance and fight as aggressively in the political and ideological battlespace as the military. Whether a practioner of statecraft in the current Global War on Terror, or an informed citizen, we all must be aware of his basic but overlooked principles if the United States is to emerge victorious against our current enemies. Mark Beall is a commentator and expert on counterterrorism and counterinsurgency policy and a graduate student and researcher at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC.
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- by J. Michael Waller (Standard Copyright License)
- J. Michael Waller
- September 30, 2011
- File Format
- File Size
- 595.19 KB
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- defense ,
- military ,
- propaganda ,
- political warfare ,
- public diplomacy ,
- hearts and minds ,
- war of ideas ,
- war ,
- conflict ,
- Iraq ,
- Islam ,
- Islamism ,
- al Qaeda ,
- insurgency ,
- counterinsurgency ,
- counter-insurgency ,
- counter-terrorism ,
- counterterrorism ,
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