Saturday, December 22, 2007

War-Gaming in Cyberspace

Chess in Japan

In a post last week I wrote about game theory, the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and evolutionarily stable strategies as they apply to the struggle against Islamic expansionism. Readers’ remarks in the comment thread that followed were varied and informative.

In two general areas, however, the commenters veered away from my original intentions:

1. Focusing on content, rather than process. The exact nature of the “clashing civilizations” is an issue, but this topic has been (and will be) covered adequately in other posts. My intention was to look at the nature of the interactions between cultures, to gain a meta-view of the conflict as an unfolding information war.
2. Forgetting who “we” are. When making policy prescriptions such as “we should stop immigration from Islamic countries” or “we should insist that immigrants assimilate”, it’s important to remember that “we” can’t do that. Only our governments can do that, and it has become quite obvious in recent years that our governments have no intention of doing any such thing, no matter which political party happens to be in power.

We can lament this situation, but if this discussion is to be anything more than a bitch session, it would be more productive to focus on what “we” really can do.

So, once again, I’d like to look at the information war as a process, and on what we — that is, ordinary people whose will is being thwarted by our elected leaders — can actually do.

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There are many analogies we can use to help us understand the nature of the information war we’re in. Game theory, network analysis, set topologies, systems analysis — a variety of theoretical disciplines could be used to further our understanding.

And every single one of them would lead us inexorably to the same conclusion: we’re losing the information war, and losing it badly.

It’s been twenty-eight years since the Iranian hostage crisis, fourteen years since the first WTC bombing, and six years since 9-11, and we’re only just beginning to get a handle on the nature of the information war. And when I say “we”, I mean “you and I”, not our elected officials or their appointed bureaucrats — I have no idea whether they have a clue about this war or not.

I keep coming back to this topic for two reasons.

The first reason is that the information war is the only part of the Counterjihad in which I can play any role. Military affairs, modern weaponry, intelligence operations, etc., are topics of great interest to me, but ones in which I have no expertise. My age and experience can afford me only the role of armchair warrior.

Fortunately, the pure information war — the creation and dissemination of news, propaganda, and disinformation — is something that anybody with a general education and a good internet connection can do.

The second reason is that our military supremacy avails us nothing during the current conflict. Iran is about to obtain nuclear weapons, and in all likelihood will use them to hasten the onset of the eschaton, and yet none of our hardware and weapons and soldiers and stealth aircraft can do anything about it.

We are losing this war because our elected leaders suffer from a failure of political will. The absence of political will can be attributed in part to a lack of charismatic leadership — there is no Winston Churchill on today’s horizon — but this is not the entire explanation.
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Political will trickles up to our leaders from the electorate, from the people themselves. Since popular opinion seems to favor strong action against the Islamization of our nations, one can only assume that there is a flaw in the process by which the will of the people informs our current and potential leaders.

Those who wield power in our name do not discover the will of the electorate through direct neural connections. The process must be mediated, and the nature of such mediation has changed over the last century. Before the era of instantaneous mass communication, popular sentiment had to find its way from the ordinary citizen through local councils, professional organizations, business leaders, and all the other components of civil society, before it reached the decision-makers. This is the way the backroom deals characterized as “sausage-making” by Bismarck came into being.

The reflection of the popular will in the old system was imperfect at best, but it could hardly have been worse than the monstrosity that operates nowadays. All of the venerable pathways from the commons to the elite have fallen out of use, and have been replaced by the mass media and opinion polls. The entire ecology of civil society is irrelevant to the media-driven political behemoth of the 21st century.

We can lament the passing of the old ways, but they are not coming back, and it’s time that we learned to play the game by the new rules.

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The Ranting ManTwenty years ago I would not have had the option to participate in the information war. I would have had to fulminate from the sidelines, driving up my blood pressure by making futile gestures like writing letters to the editor and standing across the street from the White House with a protest sign.

But the advent of the internet has changed all that, and now anyone who cares to be an information warrior can enlist in the fight. Each of us has only a microscopic part to play, but all those parts aggregate into something significant.

Our major disadvantage is that we keyboard warriors are only just beginning to look at what we can do, much less settle on a coherent strategy. In contrast, the enemy has been devoting considerable time and intelligence to gaming our mass communication systems for at least the last fifteen years. While we waste our time in arguments and factional infighting, Islamic zealots remain in remarkable concordance — even across the Sunni-Shiite divide — and play our media like a fiddle.

We’ll have to run hard to catch up, and we need to overcome our natural fractiousness and learn to work together to have any hope of beating Islam at the information game.

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Boys playing chessMilitary planners war-game different scenarios when they prepare for the various contingencies that a conventional conflict might entail. I propose to do the same for the information war.

Over the next few months I’ll be doing a series of posts on the topic, and invite readers to participate via comments or email. I anticipate that the discussion that results from each post will help precipitate the next one — that is, the outcome of each move in the war-game will dictate the layout of the board for the next one.

The strategic goal of our game will be to effect political change so that our culture will actually be defended by its leadership class — what a radical thought! — but that goal is a long way away. For the time being we cannot hope to have a significant political effect, because the existing system is massively entrenched and will defend itself viciously at our expense even as the Sultan’s sappers mine the walls and batter down the gates of Vienna.

All our action will begin locally. None of us will have an effect on the grand sweep of events.

We might begin by protesting the Islamization of the curriculum in our children’s schools, or by attending public meetings to object vigorously to the separation of the sexes in municipal swimming pools.

We can lobby in favor of local ordinances prohibiting the wearing of the burqa on public transportation.

We can join a citizen’s volunteer group that monitors our local section of the border against the incursion of illegal immigrants.

We can also consider counter-intelligence operations. The Islamists use our media with impressive effectiveness; is it possible that we could use theirs? The planting of disinformation on Al Jazeera would be no small feat, and is something that the dedicated long-term information warrior would do well to consider.

Collectively we have massive advantages, much more than the enemy does. Language skills, technical and historical knowledge, a broad education — these are resources we amateurs have barely begun to tap.

But I ask you once again to obey the single ground rule of this war-gaming:

All suggestions for information-war strategy must assume that our existing political systems will be of no help to us whatsoever.

This rules out foreign policy prescriptions, military strategy, immigration policy, etc. Those are not within our arsenal of weapons, and we can’t war-game with them.

All we have at our disposal are a few thousand people like you and me scattered throughout the West. Our only armaments are computers, internet connections, telephones, video cameras, and shoe leather. We have nothing else to fight with.

Let the games begin.

37 comments:

Ethelred said...

Baron,

Something happened, and my last ten minutes of typing was lost.

Post that Hugh Fitzgerald article.

Summing up what I said:

We must make it clear to Muslims that we do not buy Islam as a legitimate, protected religion here in the US.

Muslims must be made to feel unwelcome by our insistence on letting them know that we know the truth about Islam.

Ethelred said...

Continuing from above,

Every individual must get as many people as possible to begin to see the danger of Islam.

Do not frequent Muslim run stores.

Do not deal with Muslim employees.

Stare at and laugh at Black Moving Objects.

Ethelred said...

One more retroactive thing.

A game needs a goal. IMHO, the goal is to discredit Islam as a protected religion in the minds of the general population. Islam thrives on its label as an "Abrahamic Faith."

We know that this is not true, and need to let as many others as we can know it too.

White Elefant said...

There is one weapon I would like to add to the short list: the good old snail-mail. We have to communicate beyond the world of the Internet and I would like to propose something that was termed SITA by a French blog.
The idea is to inform a wider part of the general public on Islam by sending by post an info-sheet to people living close to the site of a future mosque or the local government. In addition to this we might use pre-paid answer envelopes to return not a subscription contract to a magazine, but the info-sheets: a secretary or other employee might actually read it.
The info sheets can also be just dropped in mail boxes.
A central repository with the list of actions could be useful to concentrate the mailings on selected targets.
Emails are easily deleted or end up in spam filters, a paper by mail has some chances to being read.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Well the single problem we face is that any efforts to circumvent the state's monopoly on "violence" - that is, the application of law - inevitably lead to accusations of vigilantism and can tend to bring along a lot of baggage. With the best intentions a group of citizens can band together to defend themselves and still find their movement swamped by all sorts of idiots, anarchists and wannabe revolutionaries.

And then the state turns around and claims full justification in applying its monopoly of violence to the situation.

There has to be some solution that hasn't been found yet. Technology only brings us so far toward the goal - it allows us to disseminate information outside control of the state - but it isn't a solution in and of itself and never can be.

The state's power no longer rests in the hands of the citizens in even the most liberal democratic republic, but in the hands of the civil service, the unelected bureaucracy. That is where at least some of our energy needs to be focused. The apparatus that supports the elected government needs to be a primary target of this information war, whether it's a target in the sense of bringing people to remove its power or a target in the sense of trying to change its mind. Neither task is particularly easy.

I wouldn't necessarily know how, but I believe that a large-scale project encouraging people to start ignoring the bureaucrats might have an effect.

Wat Tyler said...

Since politicians are media driven the logical area to target is the media (as has been mentioned before).
The objective is obviously to get the media reporting what is really going on and not the politically correct/censored versions of reported items or the complete black out of others.
To achieve this, pressure must be applied to the media; this in some ways is already being achieved by sites such as this that are slowly replacing the MSM for news reporting and commentary.
However, to really get at the MSM we must make them feel uncomfortable at their places of work, show them people are not happy with them face to face.
To do this we must protest about anything and everything that annoys us, we must go beyond the officially organised demo and introduce the ‘flash mob’ to the world of politics and media. This method would definitely be a war of attrition, it might not change the old guard set in their ways, but the fresh faces in the MSM will undoubtedly be effected – for better or worse – by such actions, and require them to analyse what they are learning within their respective institutions instead of taking things at face value.

http://www.flashmob.co.uk/index.php

Also I believe you tube should be flooded with videos denouncing their obvious double standards.

livfreerdie said...

That seems to be a big problem here in the States, the political leaning of the entrenched bureaucrats at State, CIA, FBI, pick one. Can a new administration on a wholesale level fire them all? No, most are protected by a union. I do think they should scrape off as many layers as possible and quit promoting them!

The trickle up does work sometimes, as in the Immigration Reform Bill. People made their views known to the powers that be and they responded accordingly. Several grassroots organizations, if you are on the list, provide on-line petitions and such. If I haven't called my Senators at least twice a week I am not doing my job as a citizen.

From what I "intuit" from blog sites and forums is the majority of Americans are getting fed up and taking more of a proactive approach to our blind officials in government. We shall see what steps follow if this proactivism fails.

Tom

A Jacksonian said...

Offensive warfare must have secure lines and preparation - start off unprepared and unsecured behind those lines, the first puncture causes total collapse... that is as true with information warfare as it is with actual warfare. COIN operations have no 'front' however and must be fought 'full spectrum' because the enemy is elusive and will attack anywhere and tests the fabric of society. On a global scale, then, there are military operations to end the threat of encroachment against Western culture (the current two conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq) and there are combined arms COIN work involving all aspects of each society to repel everything from minor insults to attacks by those practicing Private War.

There will be very few of the former in this war, although I expect that they will crop up beyond the Middle East: Kosovo, Bosnia, Chechnya, Tri-Border area of S. America, Somalia, Sudan, Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan,Kashmir, Western China, Trinidad, The Barbados... each of these is an area where Private War will go to a mass scale and yet still remain Private War.

The COIN aspect of subversion of societies is much, much larger and full-scale, with most of Europe 'in play', North Africa, Guyana, Argentina, Columbia, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Georgia... the sweep and breadth of these areas are ones that have either advanced along socialist pathways so far as to have degraded their affinity for local culture or are societies in which a minority can leverage their position via media and terrorism to become a commanding, though minoritarian, influence.

As a process theory these two areas invalidate the aspects of government seen, generally, as 'positive': removing cost burden for medicine and schooling, centralizing government power in economies, and removing democratic feedback via changing to a limited local input at the National scale. What is worse is that by centralizing planning and control systems via governmental regulations, minor shifts at the governmental level have deep impacts across society. As Tom Paine pointed out in Common Sense:

"Some writers have so confounded society with government,
as to leave little or no distinction between them;
whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.
Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness;
the former promotes our POSITIVELY by uniting our affections,
the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one
encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions.
The first a patron, the last a punisher."

Not only is the MSM a vast wasteland of carrying pain and 'feel goodism' of everything being exactly equal, but government that is centralized and unaccountable is then beholden to those that can leverage power via threat and coercion. That is why extremist minority organizations target governments *first* - it has the power of punisher and it is that power that they want.

Information warfare in this arena is difficult, but not impossible, as the 'net yields asymmetrical tools, if you think about the internet as a tool and not just a message transportation system. As a tool system the internet is discriminating: multiple cultures and languages interoperate but rarely overlap beyond cross-over points. Thus, in larger, common MSM you will see a wide message given on a one-to-many paradigm and to do that the message must be simple and repeated multiple times as the cost barrier for rich information interchange is not present. What the MSM cannot do, and something that it will have problems tracking, is the concept of a many-to-many information system. These are described as a 'Friend of a Friend' or FOAF, and they are highly used by organized crime and terrorist organizations because they are 'trust networks'. The positives of FOAF systems are: high degrees of internal trust, low degrees of penetration, and low degrees of outside intereference due to the first two.

Putting these into a COIN paradigm, the methodology of going after the problem is, like in Iraq, not addressed at the highest scale first but at the lowest scale. National governments are too far out of the decision loop (or OODA loop) to be able to respond to anything but long, long term massive threats or immediate military ventures. The last place you want to venture for positive reinforcement of messages is National government and the best that can be hoped for is holding it to keep message systems absolutely open to everyone... whenever government bias is seen or encountered or promulgated it must be given high visibility and denounced. But you cannot do that as single individuals what is needed are internal nets of trust networks.

Yes, steal a page out of the other guy's playbook and utilize the exact same outlook and methodology as it is effective. Then you do the one thing the enemy cannot do: apply it locally in the language discriminating parts of the internet that do not cross-operate well. These are havens that are language dependant and should be a source of localize support and networking. The primary use of such networks cannot and should not be political - that is a secondary function given the Tom Paine paradigm of society. What it is good for are those things that support society, tradition, and keeping faith within trust networks between individuals and the local society as a whole.

The #1 weak point of modern societies is that of cutting off the modern from the past. By seeing the past as barbaric, backwards and quite nasty, the negative emplacement of those ideas by individuals supported by government is a continuous problem. From schools to the MSM to localized political groups espousing 'progressive' views, past culture is being removed from the modern culture and with that goes the direct support of the modern culture. By making it without attachment, culture can be molded into different forms, the worst of which is unable to stand for anything. If the modern West and other societies depending upon Western cultures cannot identify what they *are* then the entirety of those societies is up for grabs for those that can coerce government to do its bidding.

From these things the following derives:

1) Sustainment of culture and history are paramount to counter cultural diffusion and the atomization effect of personal liberty that is no longer part of society. This must involve families, local communities, and regional FOAF networks. By definition these are not 'political' systems, but ones that bring forth the ancestry and history of cultures and ties it to the modern times. By not trying to whitewash who our ancestors were and what they did, a level of discussion that eliminates the wholly negative view can be performed: once positive light is shed on our heritage and past, there becomes less stigma attached to supporting it and more that can be held as *good* that can be embraced. These do not need to be large scale events, but things that do have visibility without being threatening - talking about what grand parents or great grand parents or even further back changes our timescale of sight and giving articles on that thwart the MSM by not being a direct stance against their meme promulgation. Never excuse the bad, but never forget the good and the context of both.

2) Integrate these historical differences across localized regions. In the US, where much of that was not present to start with, we invented something new: the highschool football game. In most of small town and rural America you can find the largest social events are *not* parades, vigils, etc. but the local match-ups between highschool teams and sporting events. Friendly 'rivalries' are good for culture as they put challenges into it and get local attention. Another thing that has been done in the US are the Civil War re-enactment groups, which garner less attention, but the coverage of their work is wider across a given region where re-enactments take place. These things require a strict adherance to historical arms, uniforms, equipment and knowledge. Re-enactment individuals do go to schools and such to promote understanding of the past and the people who were in such conflicts, often with descendants taking up the part of family member who was in that past battle. What is brought out by this is *not* bringing up past problems, but memorializing those that did the fighting and honoring them in the re-enactment. When these are done between separate regions, this demonstrates a greater respect and affinity between them. There are myriads of forms between these types of events, but each serves as a localized integration force that cannot be countered easily or at all by MSM or government.

These things vary by region and locale, which makes them very effective: the MSM can't easily deal with them outside of 'local quirkiness' pieces and those attacking cultures can't get a handle on them easily, either. From games to dinners to re-enactments, these all vary so heavily that outsiders cannot cope with their variety.

3) Securing local and regional affinities. In theory we have government, but in practice that is too bureaucratic a tool to be much more than a system to halt erosion. To stymie PC views and trying to diminish local culture, any grievance about one religion should then force open a doorway to *all* of them to get equal treatment. Part of what the PC groups and Islamic groups are doing is undermining Westphalia, and to counter that the absurdity of trying to have government cater to or support religion needs to be pointed out... not by denouncing when privelege is given or funds diverted, but by demanding that each and every religion in a region (large and small) gets 'equal treatment'. I am sure that in most Western Nations where there is freedom of religion there are a number of small ones that can be most vocal when they see something not to their liking... if not perhaps the US could export a few of those, we seem to generate up a new one every few days. It doesn't take more than a group or two to do that, and the worse are not the ones that stand up and shout and such, but those that act in a civil manner and continually ask for equal treatment - it is in that asking that the deviation of rhetoric on the governmental side is demonstrated and that it is seeking to appease one group in particular.

I characterize these as Counter-Insurgency efforts because the insurgency seeking to break-up culture is attacking those very local traditions by painting with a broad brush. No one pays much attention to the millions dead due to Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot, but bring up some intolerance from 300 years ago and you can get a lather of indignation from those seeking the decay of Western culture. The main problem being faced is the one of Rome as it decayed: in giving more breads and circuses, the decay of society was not stopped but only re-inforced. The culture of leisure, spectacle and easy acquiesence authority came as a package deal and that is what is happening with governments trying to do so much 'good'. In trying to do 'good' the ability to restrict wickedness is diminished until it falters all together... if we have given government so much 'good' to do and we no longer sustain our own societies, then when those that get control of government refuse the 'good' and then punish those trying to do other than government says, we will be in for a very tough fight as both government and society fall around us.

That was called decadence when applied to Rome.

And that is the exact, same thing today. That pathway is one that leads to no good end as we have seen. If we can't support our interior lines of society, then nothing done on the outside will help as our support systems collapse around us.

ole said...

When in a hard spot ,look in a creative way to identify possible aleies ,and be sure to contact these in away that does no real or imaginede damage.
Islaam has many ennemies ,but most of these are powerless or cowards.
The powerless might be suplied with new tools.
The cowards might be bought with money or other means.
But first we all have to agree to one little detail :
There's no way to play this game efectively without taking a personal risk.

Charles Martel said...

I do no business with Muslims.

I hire no Muslims.

I give no quarter whatsoever to Muslims asking all I meet if Islam is a religion of peace.

I stare at all Muslims entombed in their various ridiculous life effacing outfits.

I flip off every Muslim I see on the street in front of the local mosque.

I engage in no violence whatsoever towards these adherents to a 7th century hate cult.

I educate my children and make sure they are aware of the dangers we face.

I attempt to find common cause with those of like mind and carefully attempt to influence the attitude of others.

I NEVER and I mean NEVER succumb to the sirens' song of race baiting and avoid those who do like the plague.

Except for the race baiters I will find common cause with nearly anyone who shares my perception that Islam is a death cult.

Layer Seven said...

Democrats will acquiesce to orders from Islam. We have strong candidates on the Republican side who will not. Here is what Tancredo says about Romney:

“Number three, how are you on the issue of the war with radical Islam which I believe we are in; I truly believe it’s a clash of civilizations.” Tancredo wants to know if the candidate is committed to perusing that. “And then you add the last one: can you go the distance?”

“Now if you put those things together in that template and lay it across those candidates, there’s one that I think pops out at you and it’s Romney.”

I do not favor particularly Romney over the field; but we have several good choices, in light of the issues we see. If you value our present way of life, I encourage you to support Republican candidates, like there is no tomorrow.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

Unless our govt does it, then anything we can do will be illegal.

What we can do:

Cause gov't agencies to investigate whatever they can be forced into investigating.

Get books like "Spy Electronics for the Evil Genius" and build the stuff in there. Spy on the mosques, the local ACLU offices and the offices of any of the other traitors. Disseminate damaging recordings via the web. Learn Arabic, or get one of your survival-consious buddies to do so.

If you get enough of that stuff, or of someone seriously high-ranking, then you hijack some MSM outlet and show it, or you operate pirate tv or radio to expose it.

But they are ready for the last part. The "LOSTreaty" allows foreign flag boarding in case of pirate radio or tv. Convenient for the UN to look out for the rights of police states to control information.

Anonymous said...

Why not support think tanks that are understanding of the post 9/11 political realities. If enough
backing is available, perhaps even create a university with *real* scholarly and analytical departments in all disciplines. This would be helpful in exposing
the mush-for-brains currently aiding enemies of Western Civilization to hide in a hazy intellectual fog.

If the 17th century Invisible College could morph into the Royal Society, there is still hope.

Magooey

NJArtist said...

I suggest reviewing the methodology of the left New and Old: didn't they start with a network of activists, develop funding sources, develop lawyer networks, create web of NGOs and "non-partisan" (/s) organizations, etc, and begin a deliberate long march through the institutions. Forty years later they rule - literally.

By web of organizations I mean not only groups related by cause but also by membership. Let's say there are three groups with A, B, & C as core members: A is president of one , V-Pres of another, and secretary of the third. The other two do the same. Hell you can do as the Left and have them share the same office: just create unique letterheads. Sneaky? Yes. But it works for our enemies.

We need to conduct a counter-litigation crusade. That means lawyers ready to file lawsuits. There will need to be funding earmarked for them.

We could start infiltrating NGOs and take them over or redirect their energies: take over the English Only group and begin directing its energies to combating say the Islamification of our convenience stores - whatever.

In any regard, we will need people with imaginations who can see novel ways of fighting.

NJArtist said...

For instance counter-jihad college students could infiltrate the YAF and turn it to the counter-jihad. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute could bu turned. The YAF used to be the counter to the SDS, as was ISI.

The Average Joe said...

This war will be fought on many fronts and the worst of our enemies will be domestic enablers.

They will cry out against "intolerance", they will sing the praises of "diversity", they will...Oh hell, we all know the drill.

One line of battle I would suggest is exposing CAIR in any forum available. They have become increasingly vulnerable but that vulnerability has not been exploited and it needs to be.

I would also suggest that ye olde Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper is still an effective tool. It may find you new friends and will certainly expose local foes. (The main problem with this venue is that most papers do not allow pseudonyms or anonymous comments so, if you can't avoid insult or invective, either stick to the internet or keep your powder dry.)

We must also use every statement by every Islamic extremest as a weapon against them. Every day some Muslim nutcase issues a fatwa, a death threat or other ridiculous statement that goes largely ignored by the MSM and our elected officials. These rats in wainscoting need to be exposed, spotlit and put under a microscope.

Thank you, Baron, for this post. It is time, and long past time, that we stopped just venting our spleens and came up with an actual game plan.

NJArtist said...

Again. If you're an elder in a church, pres s for the education of the members in the nature and threat of Islam. If you're a member of a college Christian group, begin an education program - even an activist program: if dhimmi college administrators are going to set up rooms for Muslims as "mediation" rooms "open" to all, then aggressively use them. And when you are stopped,protest, and expose the "separation of church and state" lie.

livfreerdie said...

How far over the line would something like this be?

http://tinyurl.com/23lfg4

Tom

Legion said...

The main point to focus on is the Master Principle of War - the selection and maintenance of the aim. The aim is victory for those who wish to remain free. The means are those that are needed to do just that. Currently the means adopted are not sufficient as this is still in the "phoney war" stage. Don't despair, the same happened before Salamis, Lepanto and Dunkirk. Unfortunately, a lot of blood will be unnecessarily shed but that is the way of things. Read Thucydides and understand Plato's "chosen elites" - and especially remember the English revolutionaries who operated with Cromwell. Off with the head and understand how the US Constitution followed on from that success. Gird your loins as the expansion of freedom will call for more sacrifice - including de-legitimising the elites in the Commission at the EU and removing their power to decide 70+ percent of all laws across the continent without taking into account the wishes of the unwashed masses. The man in the government office knows best - ask any of them...

leadpb said...

We should always remember to appreciate the punctuated equilibrium theory, to relieve exasperation if nothing else. This idea holds that events or periods of substantial change only happen periodically or cyclically, after long interludes of relative quiet. Big wars are an obvious example.

Whatever the climax of our conflict with Islam it is almost certain to be something on this order. Therefore we should not expect any notable incremental progress now, even though there will be minor successes, but rather we should continue our learning, networking and other activities in anticipation that someday events will cause a substantial portion of the general population to "wake up". They will then be able to access the information we have pulled together, discussed and made available.

In other words our current work is mostly quiet preparation-- certain to be dull for those who are more excitable-- and this period may be a very long one, decades perhaps. These thoughts keep me indulged for the time being.

The only virtue of the enemy I can think of is the fanatical patience that accompanies their general fanaticism. Patience has advantages for us as well.

Francis W. Porretto said...

Baron, though I agree with its overall thrust, I must dissent from your thesis in a number of ways. I'll limit myself to the most important ones, in the interests of brevity.

First, political will does not rise from the masses to the leader. It is demonstrably the case throughout history that great leaders have dragged their nations behind them -- have won the love of their peoples by doing so -- rather than rising to express the already coalesced sentiments of the majority.

Second, we're not losing the infowar because of lack of will, but because we count as allies forces that are actually on the other side -- our governments. Bear always in mind that governments, and the people who flow into them, are primarily interested in power over others. The growth of such power is most effectively fertilized by the nurturance of threats, and no other threat to freedom compares to militant Islam.

Third, one of the aspects of the freedom we seek to defend is a millstone around our necks: our extraordinary success. The average American wants only three things from the world: security, prosperity, and the right to be left alone to enjoy these things. We've largely achieved all three, which has demotivated us. It's left us indisposed to expose ourselves to risk. But warfare of any sort is a risky business. Which explains a lot about American ambivalence toward the War on Terror, doesn't it?

There are no guaranteed sure-hit strategies for prevailing in the struggle with militant Islam. But we must avoid the traps that have hobbled us up to now:

1. We must cease to wait for a Man on Horseback, for our political classes are enfeebled and have become essentially useless. There are no Washingtons, Jeffersons, or Jacksons among them, and it would be foolish to expect one to pop up out of nowhere.
2. We must classify our governments properly -- as restraints upon our actions in our own defense, and therefore as de facto enemies -- and cease to expect positive action from them.
3. We must relearn the manly virtues, which includes the willingness and resolve required to defend what is right and just even at great personal risk.

Winning this war will require men...and sadly, we're not producing a lot of them these days. Yes, we're better off than Europe in that regard, but really, how much of a consolation is that?

Baron Bodissey said...

Francis --

I don't agree.

A charismatic leader can make a big difference, drawing his people together and helping them find a resolve they would not otherwise have. I cited Churchill as an example of such a leader.

A charismatic leader can make the difference between victory and defeat in a war.

But the charismatic leader is only effectual insofar as he represents the will of his people and expresses it. That was, after all, the secret of Hitler's success, at least in the early years -- he spoke to what was at the core of most Germans.

The will of the people will eventually find expression. Without a charismatic leader the process may take decades instead of years, but it will happen.

But that doesn't negate the rest of what you said. I'm all for the re-establishment of the manly virtues. If we could resurrect them somehow in our popular culture, they would serve us well.

rohan said...

I don't remember where I found this website.

http://www.islamicfinder.org/index.php?home=2007-12-8

(I hope the link works.)

It is apparently a site to help Muslims practice their faith and deal with other muslims. There is a search to find local muslim businesses, etc. I now know which local businesses NOT to do business with. My "little bit" of rebellion.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Mentioning Hitler got my hackles up for a second. Funny how a name can do that. I suspect Hitler must be laughing at how far down his legacy has reached and at how his very name has people jumping at the sight of their own shadows.

He was a masterful orator, but that isn't enough in itself. He spoke to German resentment at the way they'd been treated following the war, the way they as a people had been treated for the actions of their leaders, and he spoke to their national pride. By the time they realised what he was doing they were in too deep, and he had too much power.

Nationalism itself has since been recast as nazism to the point, now, that Churchill is actually treated as being no better than Hitler in some historical narratives - worse, even, because he "pretended" to be the good guy and held un-PC views - his opinion of muslims - "Mohammedans" - was not particularly high (contrasted with Hitler, who viewed Islam as a vital and powerful movement). Both men used the same rhetoric to instill unity into their respective nations. One was good, the other evil, but because that rhetoric is associated with an evil man it is verbotten for the good man, so anyone using that rhetoric must be evil.

This concept has become internalised across the entire political spectrum. Any talk of national pride and national unity is met with derision, yet it's national pride and national unity that are absolutely essential to winning this war. A way needs to be found to instill that pride again. We need to work outside the boundaries set for us by political correctness in a way that doesn't trigger the instinctive reaction I had at the start of this post.

Charlemagne said...

I have a couple of suggestions:

1. If you're a church goer get your pastor/priest involved. I loaned our pastor my copy of Robert Spencer's book, "Religion of Peace..."and will have discussions with him when he finishes. Church leaders have a very powerful bully pulpit if they can be made to understand the threat and become engaged.

2. I threw this out on the CVF, do we have enough assembled talent to create an online version of "Islam for Dummies"? If done well, with truth, humor, and facts this could be very effective in spreading the word. Things people find humorous get a life of their own online.

Charlemagne said...

I also have a "Defeat Jihad" bumper sticker from Jihad Watch. I found myself in front of a local Muslim woman last weekend who obviously read it because she slowed down so as not to get to close to me and avoided getting near me when we stopped at red lights.

Charles Martel said...

Rohan,

The link works and I vow to NEVER knowingly do business with a Muslim again. EVEN if that means paying more or being inconvenienced.

I had a partner in my medical practice who was a Muslim. We used to be friends until he told me after 9-11 that the terrorists were not all wrong. I no longer associate with him in any capacity.

Smooth said...

Excellent ideas here.

Working covertly and inserting one's self into a chat room while fraudulently embracing their ideologies could work. You can never be too careful but one doesn't need to get in too deeply. One would need knowledge of the language, both formally and colloquially, use of an IP filter which obfuscates your own IP address, social engineering skills, software that protects you against malware embedded in images, a cut and paste tool like SnagIt and Notepad, and your local FBI's address and phone number. They'll do the rest.

Other times, when I get a chance I loudly scoff at Muslim stamps in the post office so others can hear, I refuse to purchase calendars that publish Muslim holidays and I write to those companies to tell them so, I turn books face down and upside down in bookstores that allege that Islam is tolerant, and of course, I have a blog to do the rest.

I would drive with an "Impeach Islam" bumper sticker, but my car was already keyed with vulgarity when I drove around with a Vote for Bush sticker a few years ago.

And some years ago, when palestinians were protesting at the UN, I drove down the West Side Highway in NYC only to pull up beside an SUV waving a huge palestinian flag. When it was safe, I yelled out God Bless Israel and floored the pedal a block to proceed to the next red light. Don't think that four madmen didn't jump out of that SUV and charge me. The light turned green and I floored the pedal again and had great satisfaction that I pissed them off big time.

Paul said...

I am overwhelmed and encouraged by some of the intelligent and constructive ideas put forth above. Sometimes I feel like a 2nd grader at a college lecture on this blog... but it is worthwhile, informative and deeply educational.

Here's what I see from my view: I've worked with a muslim electrical engineer. Nice guy and deeply devoted muslim. His screen saver is an interesting and artistically balanced and detailed, darkened blue-grey image of the moon rotating on it's axis. To the side are lines of arabic (islamic) script. When I stared at it he asked if I would like to have it.
He is young, 20s, and very moral. He's been looking for a wife, first as an arranged marriage with a local Morrocan girl. When that didn't work out, with a girl from his home country. He has since gone back home to get the girl.

Also there is the muslim woman engineer (from a prominent muslim country) in a leadership position. To marry the girl, her husband from the mid-west, a typical mid-westerner by American standards, recited the mantra 'there is no god but Ack!hac,hac,la, and mojammit is his profit.' He told me this from his perspective. His wife also told me this story from her perspective. These are decent people. Alright, the white boy from the midwest becomes a muslim to marry the muslim girl. Nevermind that in her country she would never be able to enjoy the career she has here. Interesting that they have attended Christian marriage conferences (life coaches) and now have a mixed bag of Muslim, Zoroastrianism, and influence from Christian marriage counseling... Wow.

This is my front in the war we are discussing. And there are other similar stories. Mine is a more personal level in this battle....

I'm not a lawyer, though I can tell trained legal minds are here. And I'm not a diplomat, though, obviously, there are highly talented and capable diplomat level folks here as well.

All's I can say is please keep it coming. We need some hope and some help from the capable and the intelligent.

Dennis Mahon said...

Well, if we're looking for strategies to exploit, we could do worse than to take advantage of Abu Yahya's advice:

Abu Yahya’s Six Easy Steps for Defeating al-Qaeda

One such tactic that comes to mind is harping on the failure of jihadist--when the mufsidun screw up, make it known, far and wide. If the MSM will not talk about their failures, we must.

Charlemagne said...

I have a pretty cool application from Computer Associates that tells me all about a website's host server including the name and address of the owner.
The server that hosts: http://www.islamicfinder.org/ is in the US but the owner, Tafiq Alrabiah is in Saudi Arabia, P.O. Box 932 Riyadh 11372

Patrick_A_NonnyMouse said...

Regarding the game "The Prisoner's Dilemma", please see Bill Whittle's post from May of 2007:

http://www.ejectejecteject.com/archives/2007_05.html

He discusses how "Tit-for-Tat" is the most successful strategy for individuals and for nations. In addition, he warns, non-retaliation toward those who take advantage of the system will necessarily tip it into anarchy, where "Screw the other guy" becomes the norm. "A society unwilling to enforce the laws that civilize it, that is unable or unwilling to see the advantages of civilization, a society led by the pampered, the narcissistic and the corrupt, is not long for this Earth" he says.

Charlemagne said...

Dennis - that would be great fodder for the "Islam's Failures - Keystone Cops of the M.E." chapter of Islam for Dummies.

Charlemagne said...

Thanks to Rohan and islamicfinder.org I now know we have our own little Madrassa, i.e. an Islamic school. Next step is to use Average Joe's suggestion and write a Letter to the Editor using the Khalil Gabran Academy and Islamic Saudi Academy (currently under investigation school in VA) flaps as a segue to question the local school. If nothing else a few people locally might learn, as did I, that we have an Islamic school here. The Islamic school might then find itself under a little more scrutiny. Don't let them hide!

Dark Horse said...

(long)

A few observations.

Very easy to say, “it’s an information war, and we’re losing”. True statement, but limiting at the same time.
Let’s look at the definition of “information” as we are considering it. I’ll bet that most people in this discussion are thinking in terms of reasoning and analysis. Essential tools for clarifying thought and pursuing debate, but not very effective as advertising methods. And that’s what we’re discussing.
How, then do we spread awareness of the situation that we, as a civilization, face? Making huge hairy nuisances of ourselves at meetings is a tempting thought, but it gets pigeonholed as “extremism”. As opposed to those nice, polite muslims who only want their culture respected. Refusing to support or employ muslims will be defined as racism and reviled as such. These and similar methods are local, atomistic, and dependent on media interpretation that is not our friend. Here and in Europe, the established media is serving as a very effective firewall for the message we are trying to get across.
How, then? And as importantly, to whom?
The first part is simple. Not easy, but simple. When you think if Tiananmen square, what do you think of? The student manifestos? The dissidents rotting in Chinese prisons? No. You think of the guy facing down the tank. What does the name “Janet Jackson” bring to mind? A long musical career? Widely popular hits and gold records? Her alien sibling? No. You think of the “wardrobe malfunction” and the picture with Timberlake. Examples abound, and what is persistent is the image, and more, the symbol. And this is the domain of advertising, not reasoning. I don’t like it, in fact I hate it utterly, but it is fact nonetheless.
The first and foremost task is to awaken those who are not, and they are legion. We can pamphlet and harangue until we’re out of breath and blue, and most of the people we need to reach will reach for the remote. Speech and debate are not good hooks for conversion. They ought to open the mind for questions, but do not. Symbols and images are and do. In terms of portability and associational density, nothing beats an image. Propagandists know this, advertisers know this, and Jihadis know this as well.
For example, the media does notice the appalling misogyny of the Islamic world, but it hasn’t really caught with the public. Words don’t really have decent throw-weight with the public consciousness. An image of a woman on a leash, or a woman being stoned, does. Many people seeing that will wonder where it came from, at the least. And that is the beginning. Get their attention, get them to ask, get them engaged. The Al-Dura monstrosity comes to mind as a masterful demonstration of how it is done.
The Templar Society T-shirts are a good idea, but their throw-weight is limited to those understand them. The Crusader Tour is the only one that has any potential to go viral, but it's an excellent example. Think of all those mutually reinforcing BDS bumper-stickers. That’s the sort of symbol-warfare I’m talking about. Those are simplistic, and usually wrong, but they are persistent in the public mind and every American has seen them.

There are many, many people out there who can be reached. Many if not most of them aren’t particularly well educated. Many don’t read for content, or inhabit the Internet. These are the people who may not seek out detailed information unless they see a need. Reasoned arguments won’t necessarily get their attention, but images and symbols will. Identifying and spreading such images ought to be a component of the Counterjihad campaign as it develops. Engaging the larger population of the Western nations is an essential component of political change, and symbolism is a useful tool to that end.

Baron Bodissey said...

Dark Horse --

At last! Someone with whom I see eye-to-eye.

I see myself primarily as a propagandist, in the old-fashioned sense of the word -- not as someone who tells lies for ideological reasons, but a person who fashions images and catch-phrases for the purpose of catching the attention of people who are generally sympathetic, but who might otherwise not be engaged.

The "Islamophobic and Proud of It" button is a prime example of what I try to do. It serves several functions simultaneously:

1. It yanks the word "Islamophobe" back from the Islamist/Leftist/Multiculturals and puts into the hands of ordinary people.

2. It removes the stigma from fear and dislike of Islam by expressing solidarity with those who feel it.

3. It gives people an image with which they can identify and be proud of. Many people in Poland and Austria already recognize Jan III Sobieski, but the rest of us can be educated to appreciate the Hero of the West.

All this with 5 words and a 3-hour photoshop job. It's what effective propaganda is all about.

My skills are limited, and I can serve only 2 primary functions in this movement: (a) creating propaganda, and (b) establishing and maintaining networks of like-minded people (I'm good at that).

I have nothing else to offer, but I do try to connect people of various skills together.

What skills can you offer?

Chas said...

I have an ebook in my reading pile called "Fighting the War of Ideas Like a Real War," by J. Michael Waller. It's 140 or so pages long, so I would appreciate hearing if anyone has read and and if they think it worth delving into. If not, I would be happy to review it myself.