View Full Version : Colonal Dooley looks ahead..

05-10-2012, 03:45 PM
Wired.com has a news item with a rather misleading headline (and a somewhat tendentious write-up) that is going to show up in the propaganda war sooner than you think. My quick comments (and really, an appeal for comments): http://www.brownpundits.com/us-army-colonel-thinks-about-the-future/

05-10-2012, 05:30 PM
I had a quick look the pdf of the PowerPoint as linked off (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/www.wired.com/images_blogs/dangerroom/2012/05/dooley_counter_jihad_op_design_v11.pdf)the Danger Room piece. While LTC Dooley's understanding of human society does not appear to be very nuanced his model does hold up nicely so long as you assume a can opener (http://economics.about.com/od/termsbeginningwith1/g/assume_a_can_opener.htm). I don't know that the presentation has all that much propaganda potential -- like almost all PowerPoints it uses a lot of text and busy visuals to belabour a point -- but if it ends up being used that way and I were involved in a related counter-(counter-?)propaganda operation I would point to the text on the seventh slide: <The purpose of this model is to generate dynamic discussion and thought.> In the United States an individual is always free to do just that with the model of his or her own choosing. It is one of the truly admirable things about the U.S. and it never hurts the country's image to point it out.

05-10-2012, 06:42 PM
You may be assuming a can opener here :)

My (badly written) thinking was something like this:

1. There is a propaganda war within the Western world between liberals, leftists, rightists and so on that is clustered around the center and whose participants actually live within the existing arrangements of Western capitalism and democracy. In THIS war, the usefulness of this particular item will be on the lines of the Wired.com article (use by left-of-center liberals opposed to XYZ right wing actions and rhetoric). This use has actually maxed out in the wired piece. The same tendentious reporting is likely to be repeated for a few days, then increasingly countered by complaints that the wired piece goes too far and conflates one colonel's views (or "model") with existing policy and mainstream American military thinking (as it clearly does). This particular episode will then fade.
2. There is a propaganda war conducted mostly in academia and on the left-wing fringe by postmodernists, postcolonialists and left-wing hacks like Tariq Ali that is very loud within its own echo-chamber but has limited or no "real-world" relevance. In that echo-chamber, soundbites from this wired piece ("destroy Islam", "Hiroshima", "no more Geneva convention Bullcrap") will echo forever but will be noticed little by the rest of the world.
3. There is a propaganda war conducted by Islamists (militants of the AQ type, as well as "moderates" of the Muslim brotherhood type) against what they regard as Western domination of the Islamic world. In THAT war, these same soundbites will take a few days to get fully noticed (they are not always the sharpest knives in the drawer) but once it gets circulated (and I predict an article in http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com/ within 48 hours, unless they read this post ;)) it will be amplified with every passing day. Thousands of emails and blog posts will follow. All those labelled as apostates and lackeys of Western imperialism will be on the backfoot for months, if not years. In that world, the propaganda value will be huge.
We shall soon see if my prognostication skills are worth bat####.

05-10-2012, 09:24 PM
I assume nothing! I do hold some stereotypes of economists, but that is neither here nor there. :D My own thoughts are that:

Danger Room has been calling out the FBI for this sort of thing for a while now. I know that some people think Shachtman and Ackerman are pinko commie crypto-jihadis, but as far as I can tell their relationship with and opinion of the U.S. Military is not that bad.
Tariq Ali can be interesting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_Fighting_Man#Inspiration). He can also be a real blowhard.
Those guys have their minds made up already.

05-11-2012, 01:19 AM
For #3, the hardcore are already convinced. The target is the "soft center", ordinary Muslims who believe that Islamic law, Islamic theology, and the history of which these were a part, were all good and represent a fine ideal which we would do well to emulate, but who have practically no idea what all these things actually were (in this respect ordinary Muslims are not THAT different from ordinary Americans who love American ideals and history with only a vague notion of what the details might be; the ideals are different, the lack of information is not). These "ordinary Muslims" are practically increasingly likely to be a part of the modern world, but they are also targeted by Islamists who wish to fill in the blanks of their Islam with a particularly fascist and violent Islamism and who are able to deploy their better knowledge of Islamic theology and history to show the "ordinary Muslims" that modern political Islamism is what they always wanted, though they didnt know what it was. In this battleground, such propaganda plays an important role. By painting the modern West as crusaders, Christian zealots and Islam-hating fanatics the Islamists can delegitimize those who are trying to create a more liberal/economically integrated and less confrontational path for Muslim countries.
Outside of that battlefield, all this means relatively little.
The Tariq-Ali left is opposed to BOTH strands (practical/liberal modernizers and violent Islamists) but will soon be doing their shtick only in exile from the main battleground states, so they dont count for that much.

05-11-2012, 01:38 AM
Btw, just to be clear, I think Wired.com did a good thing by highlighting this and I dont think Ackerman and company are army-hating commies, I think they mean well and generally do a good job. I also think they unfairly conflated the colonel and the US army in this story.

05-11-2012, 08:11 AM
Well I have just heard this item - second - on the AM BBC Radio Four News and for once some of the top rated comments are sensible:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18030105

I expect similar biased and prejudicial courses "The enemy..." are offered at Iranian and Pakistani staff colleges. Following other reporting on the awareness training given to LE, personally I am not surprised this course existed.

05-11-2012, 01:36 PM
About what they teach in staff college in Quetta, the less said the better. But of course, we automatically adjust expectations. No one is surprised to see the bullcrap that a chief of naval staff in pakistan can put out: http://paktribune.com/articles/Is-Pakistan-a-Failed-State+-231678.html
Or see General Javed Hassan, the general in charge in Kargil, who wrote "India; a study in profile" (http://books.google.com/books/about/India.html?id=4RIeAAAACAAJ)
Or this: http://wolfpangloss.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/malik-quranic-concept-of-war.pdf
But as I said, we instinctively judge command and staff college Quetta by different standards.
Maybe we should not? (in either direction...I mean why expect American colonels to be so different?..thats a thought).

05-11-2012, 02:19 PM
But as I said, we instinctively judge command and staff college Quetta by different standards.
Maybe we should not? (in either direction...I mean why expect American colonels to be so different?..thats a thought).

If everyone everywhere could manage to have a version of that thought the world might immediately become a slightly safer and better place. Because the problem of holding the other guys to a higher standard than you hold your own to is hardly peculiar to Pakistan.

05-11-2012, 05:08 PM
Amen to that..