Democrats & Liberals Archives

Strategic Communication

The Pentagon just made public a Defense Science Board report it commissioned (here’s the full document) that examines the question many of the dim bulbs in our government still seem to be asking: “Why do they hate us?” The study torpedoes the “they hate our freedoms” school of thought led by President Bush, and instead concludes that they hate our government’s policies.

The report states the US has totally failed to explain or justify our foreign policy goals to the Muslim world, and notes that even if we do get the message out, actions speak louder than words,

"The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states."

"The dramatic narrative since 9/11 has essentially borne out the entire radical Islamist bill of particulars" against the United States, the report said. "American actions and the flow of events have elevated the authority of the Jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims."

"In other words, Americans have become the enemy," it said. "It is noteworthy that opinion is (strongest) against America in precisely those places ruled by what Muslims call 'apostates' and tyrants — the tyrants we support. This should give us pause."

Indeed. We must either change our policies, or admit we will never win "the war on terror" and live with the consequences.

The choice we make will dictate our strategy: do we continue with our current policies and batten down the hatches here at home, or do we change our policies and work for peace?

The report is an interesting read and will hopefully spark some long-absent national debate in the government and among the public about what it takes to win hearts and minds in the Muslim world,

To succeed, we must understand the United States is engaged in a generational and global struggle about ideas, not a war between the West and Islam. It is more than a war against the tactic of terrorism. We must think in terms of global networks, both government and non-government. If we continue to concentrate primarily on states ("getting it right" in Iraq, managing the next state conflict better), we will fail.
Posted by American Pundit at November 29, 2004 5:26 AM