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Old 12-24-2005, 04:31 PM
New001 New001 is offline
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Default Defense Science Board findings

Here are excerpts from a Defense Science Board report a little more than a year ago. Link.

[ QUOTE ]
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.

[/ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Nothing shapes U.S. policies and global perceptions of U.S. foreign and national security
objectives more powerfully than the President’s statements and actions, and those of
senior officials. Interests, not public opinion, should drive policies. But opinions must
be taken into account when policy options are considered and implemented.

[/ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Frames simplify and help to communicate complex events. But like the Cold War frame,
the terrorism frame marginalizes other significant issues and problems: failing states,
non-proliferation, HIV/AIDS pandemic, economic globalization, transnational threats
other than terrorism, and global warming. Often the terrorism frame directs attention to
tactics not strategy. The focus is more on capturing and killing terrorists than attitudinal,
political, and economic forces that are the underlying source of threats and opportunities
in national security.

[/ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
In terms of strategic communication especially, the Cold War
emphasized:
• Dissemination of information to “huddled masses yearning to be free.” Today we
reflexively compare Muslim “masses” to those oppressed under Soviet rule. This is a
strategic mistake. There is no yearning-to-be-liberated-by-the-U.S. groundswell
among Muslim societies — except to be liberated perhaps from what they see as
apostate tyrannies that the U.S. so determinedly promotes and defends.


[/ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature
of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to
single-digits in some Arab societies.
• Muslims do not “hate our freedom,” but rather, they hate our policies. The
overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in
favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing
support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi
Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.
• Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic
societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that
“freedom is the future of the Middle East” is seen as patronizing, suggesting that
Arabs are like the enslaved peoples of the old Communist World — but Muslims do
not feel this way: they feel oppressed, but not enslaved.
• Furthermore, in the eyes of Muslims, American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq
has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. U.S. actions
appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in
order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim selfdetermination.
• Therefore, the dramatic narrative since 9/11 has essentially borne out the entire
radical Islamist bill of particulars. American actions and the flow of events have
elevated the authority of the Jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy
among Muslims. Fighting groups portray themselves as the true defenders of an
Ummah (the entire Muslim community) invaded and under attack — to broad public
support.
• What was a marginal network is now an Ummah-wide movement of fighting groups.
Not only has there been a proliferation of “terrorist” groups: the unifying context of a
shared cause creates a sense of affiliation across the many cultural and sectarian
boundaries that divide Islam.
• Finally, Muslims see Americans as strangely narcissistic — namely, that the war is all
about us. As the Muslims see it, everything about the war is — for Americans —
really no more than an extension of American domestic politics and its great game.
This perception is of course necessarily heightened by election-year atmospherics, but
nonetheless sustains their impression that when Americans talk to Muslims they are
really just talking to themselves.

[/ QUOTE ]
Also, the take on demographics starting page 49 is extremely interesting, but a little long to quote.

Thoughts on this report? Keep in mind, it's from September, 2004.
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Old 12-24-2005, 05:15 PM
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Default Re: Defense Science Board findings

[ QUOTE ]
Nothing shapes U.S. policies and global perceptions of U.S. foreign and national security
objectives more powerfully than the President’s statements and actions, and those of
senior officials.

[/ QUOTE ]

So then undermining the President by levying bitter, personal attacks for pure political gain does affect our national security?

Well! I am simply shocked.
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  #3  
Old 12-24-2005, 06:27 PM
New001 New001 is offline
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Default Re: Defense Science Board findings

[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
Nothing shapes U.S. policies and global perceptions of U.S. foreign and national security
objectives more powerfully than the President’s statements and actions, and those of
senior officials.

[/ QUOTE ]
So then undermining the President by levying bitter, personal attacks for pure political gain does affect our national security?

Well! I am simply shocked.

[/ QUOTE ]

It applies to all of them. The Cheneys and Rumsfelds and Pelosis and all of the government all seem to be failing pretty badly, just like the President is.

Please don't make this another useless partisan bickering thread?
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  #4  
Old 12-25-2005, 04:36 AM
bobman0330 bobman0330 is offline
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Default Re: Defense Science Board findings

Sheesh, no wonder the government can't get anything done right. I skimmed that entire monstrosity of a report, and I think it's pretty stupid. Leaving aside the stylistic and grammatical crimes committed therein, I didn't see too much utility to the recommendations. One of the points you quoted, and one that I think is of utmost importance, is that people are opposed to the US because they're opposed to things we do. They're opposed to supporting Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or Israel. They're opposed to the invasion of Afghanistan. And not just a little opposed, violently, strap-myself-in-a-car-filled-with-explosives opposed. As the report wisely notes, packaging and "strategic communication" are not going to convince these people that it's alright. But how do you defeat al Qaeda without invading Afghanistan, or working closely with objectionable types in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan? There's the dilemma I think the report overlooks. You can win the moderate Islamists over by playing nice, but what about the diehards? Eliminating them (or at least their capacity to attack us) requires military action and credibility-destroying collaboration with despots and there go the moderates.

Solution? Not sure there is one. Bush's vision (fair to say now that it's more or less dead) of a democratic transformation of the Islamic world was a nice stab at the problem. Another alternative, which M likes (if I recall correctly), is to drop the charade and admit that we are indeed at war with most of Islam and kick some major ass. I'm not sure I've really seen much of an effort from the left to put forth a solution to this problem. If there's one that I've missed, I'd love to hear it.
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  #5  
Old 12-25-2005, 06:38 AM
MMMMMM MMMMMM is offline
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Posts: 4,103
Default Re: Defense Science Board findings

[ QUOTE ]
Solution? Not sure there is one. Bush's vision (fair to say now that it's more or less dead) of a democratic transformation of the Islamic world was a nice stab at the problem. Another alternative, which M likes (if I recall correctly), is to drop the charade and admit that we are indeed at war with most of Islam and kick some major ass.

[/ QUOTE ]

Regarding democratization of Middle Eastern countries: that is indeed the best solution IF there are also Constitutional safeguards in place (similar to our own) which protect the rights of minorities, the rights of individuals, and the rights of non-Muslims and women. This because, as Sam H., has pointed out, a "democratic" Middle East without Constitutional safeguards could well turn out to be a nightmare of "democratic" oppression. Also, as Daniel Pipes has pointed out, a "democracy" that is allowed (by lack of Constitutional safeguards) to vote for a theocracy may well turn out to be a "one-man, one-vote, one-time" scenario, and thus ever after be theocracy not democracy.

Regarding my view: I think we need to face the facts that the regime of Iran is our de facto enemy, and that Saudi Arabia is our ideological enemy; and we need to be more pro-active in combatting their negative impacts. If Iran gets too close to The Bomb, we must take out their sites, or aid Israel in so doing. Regime change in Iran should be our policy as well, though if the nuclear threat is removed, the urgency becomes less. If we have a larger window of time, we should put more effort into supporting those Iranians who wish for regime change (there are a great many) and the demonstrators.

Islam "the ideology" is at permanent ideological war with all other creeds and political systems; this is due to its inherent philosophical foundation, and to the instructions in the Koran and the Hadiths. That, however, does NOT mean that all Muslims are at war with the rest of the world: many Muslims are moderate (and in fact many do not even know what much of the Koran really says, just as many "lite" Christians do not really know what much of the New Testament says). Also, there are many Muslims who are content to just go on "living their lives" without worrying about fighting or overcoming infidels. Unfortunately however there are a very significant number (if a low percentage) with the "jihadist" mentality as well. And there are many who favor the ideological goals of jihad, but who themselves prefer to remain in the background, lending their moral (or even financial) support.

I do think we need to take a harder line towards the terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, and a harder line against Saudi Arabia's systematized spreading of "hate" religion worldwide, and a harder line against Iran and Syria. Hopefully military intervention in Iran and/or Syria won't be necessary, but as it might be, then hopefully too Iraq will stabilize a lot in the coming months, which could free up resources should we need to deploy them against Iran.
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