Al Qaeda's Weapon of Mass Influence

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 26, 2007 | Go to article overview

Al Qaeda's Weapon of Mass Influence


Byline: Jim Saxton, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Yes, it is true: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many other Western decisionmakers and political leaders have been influenced about Iraq. This has been done intentionally through a brand of conflict called "fourth generation" warfare.

The al-Qaeda led coalition recognized from the start they had no hope of defeating us on the conventional battlefield. All they had to do was to look at the results of the first Iraq war in 1991 or the short conventional war in Iraq in 2003.

The al Qaeda-led coalition had to ask itself this: how can we, a relatively weak conventional military force, outgunned and outmanned by a technologically superior giant, hope to win a military and political victory in Iraq? Their answer: by making it so costly in terms of bad news, too many dollars, and loss of life that their superior enemy, the United States, would decide the toll was too high and would leave.

Retired Marine Col. Tom Hammes best describes this in his book "The Sling and the Stone": "Fourth generation warfare uses all available networks political, economic, social and military to convince the enemies' political decisionmakers that their strategic goals are either unachievable or too costly for the perceived benefit."

In the case of Iraq, the al Qaeda-led coalition has used all these networks and added one more: the Western media. Each morning when the American people awake, including Mrs. Pelosi, the news comes in from Iraq. Al Qaeda has taken care that each event in Iraq be it political, economic, social and/or military is deliberately created for the purpose of generating "bad news." Let me explain how.

In the world of Iraqi politics, the new government can only hope to function with all its members wanting it to succeed. Unfortunately, the minority Sunni members have been influenced by al Qaeda and led to believe the political deck is stacked against them. So they have decided the best course is to be uncooperative. Ultimately, this high-profile disunity ends up as bad Iraqi political news for Western viewers.

Economically, the Iraqi people are understandably anxious for a time when electric power will be fully up and running, ample oil will be available for export as well as domestic use, and commerce in downtown Baghdad will be safe and profitable.

But this is not the case, and why? The mostly inferior enemy coalition we fight in Iraq has enough strength to blow up oil pipelines and drilling rigs, take down power grid elements, and terrorize downtown Baghdad marketplaces with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), car bombs and truck bombs, all intensely and repeatedly covered by the media. …

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