4GW Jihad as it is currently practiced is characterized most often by recording photogenic megaviolence, then propagating the recordings to media channels that primarily serve the Muslim populace, for recruiting, radicalization and morale-building purposes, and secondarily the non-Muslim populace to propagandize against its own government and military. This is not ideal for the Jihadists, as they would prefer killing infidels to fooling them or demoralizing them, but it will do until they can advance to more sophisticated and impersonal methods of killing than beheading a kuffir with a dull knife. But it is good enough for their long-term plans.
F. G. Hoffman described it well in his talk at the Boyd 2007 Conference.
Today’s 24/7 news cycles and graphic imagery produce even faster and higher response cycles from audiences around the globe and offer powerful new “weapons” to those who can master them.
Today, many small groups have mastered “armed theater” and promoted “propaganda of the deed” to arouse support and foment discord on a global scale. There is a plethora of outlets now in the Middle East and an exponentially growing number of websites and bloggers promoting a radical vision. These outlets constantly bombarded audiences with pictures, videos, DVDs, and sermons. Ironically, in Iraq and in the Long War we are facing a fundamentalist movement that is exploiting very modern and Western technologies to reestablish an anti-Western social and political system. The 4GW school, in its initial offering, identified the potential for this phenomena and the associated religious and cultural factors that might inspire it.
The Arabic news channels, jihad bloggers, and other jihad-sympathizing media outlets are capable enough of spreading the jihadist message to the base of radicalized Muslims. However, the world media, Al Jazeera, CNN, BBC, NBC, CBS, and ABC, also serve their part. They are happy to run with jihadist-supplied footage as long as the chain of custody can’t be traced back from the journalist to the jihadist. The world media, by reproducing and distributing the jihadist message all over the world, serves to magnify the jihadist narrative and lengthen the narrative’s lifespan. By doing this they help the jihadists recruit, radicalize, build morale, and raise funds.
Every process in the shown feedback loop helps the Jihadists. Their violence has a direct morale effect on themselves, the US military, and the populace. Their goal is to tyrannize the populace, and violence helps attain that goal. By making media products they combine their most persuasive sermons with photogenic megaviolence, and preserve the greatest hits so they can be heard forever. The media amplifies their message and carries it many places they couldn’t have reached otherwise. The electorate, demoralized by the 4GW Jihad’s narrative might lose faith in the military and want to draw down forces early, or it might panic and pull them back immediately. Either is a victory for the Jihadists, and almost as good for them as sudden death among the counterjihad military.
The result of the process isn’t always as spectacular as two planes destroying the tallest buildings in the US. But as its perfectly achievable goal is to increase the percentage of Muslims who are radicalized and mobilized worldwide, it is even more dangerous. With around 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, every 1% of additional radicalized and mobilized Muslims add up to another 12 million who are ready to kill and be killed for Jihad. Certainly the US cannot so easily recruit 12 million soldiers. Osama Bin Laden has a higher approval rate in Pakistan than Pervez Musharraf, at about 55%. If it is possible for Pakistan, founded 60 years ago as a secular Muslim state, to support the figurehead of Jihadist Totalitarianism and the Global Caliphate movement, then can you be sure that other “moderate” Muslim states cannot be transformed likewise in the next 60 years?
F. G. Hoffman again:
What some of the critics of 4GW have overlooked is the critical importance of the cognitive and virtual dimension of today’s conflicts. I expect several speakers to discuss this today. Now as we all know, T. E. Lawrence and the French expert Galula underscored this same issue in their seminal works. But the speed, frequency, and graphic imagery that is possible today with modern media is simply beyond their comprehension. It may still be beyond most of us. Recent scholarship by Dr. Audrey Cronin has persuasively compared the ongoing cyber-mobilization of Muslims around the world to the French Revolution and the levée en masse. This has profound implications for human conflict in this century as Dr. Cronin has perceptively warns “Western nations will persist in ignoring the fundamental changes in popular mobilization at their peril.”
As long as the “if it bleeds it leads” World Media continues to serve an unquestioning role in spreading Jihadist propaganda worldwide and refusing under the tyranny of multiculturalism to spread or even permit discussion of opposing or alternative views, the Media will assist the Jihadists in the radicalization and mobilization of Muslims, and the creation of a world-wide Muslim majority of Jihadists. Happy day for Osama bin Laden, perhaps. Not so much for the rest of us.
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Technorati Tags: 4GW, Al Qaeda, Jihad, Media Bias