Article: Asymmetric Peace - Text Copy
To win the war on terror and propagate world peace, we need to better understand the use of fear as a weapon and the dynamics of asymmetric warfare. The adaptation of fear as a weapon is much more sophisticated than just making us fearful for our lives. It is mostly designed to make us fearful of one another.
We must not forget that the ultimate goal of every terror mastermind is to have its target adopt its "point of view" and accept the terrorist's cause as "legitimate". To achieve this, terrorists aim to simultaneously spread fear and undermine people's confidence in their government's ability to resolve these fears.
To create this level of mistrust, terrorists follow the doctrine used by Nazi Germany and refined by the Soviets propaganda machine to carry out a global anti-American campaign. It is a calculated attempt at manipulating the public opinion in order to portray American and its allies as the aggressors and that their war on terrorism has imperialistic ambitions. In addition to direct actions, such as suicide bombings and kidnappings, terrorists use rumors, misconceptions, stereotypes and misguided popular beliefs to spread a message of fear of “foreigners” and of the US “government”, furthering the resistance to the process of democratization overseas and the the war effort at home.
The following deceptive “messages” have been systematically decimated by terrorist through politically motivated Arab, European, Asian and liberal American journalists and have become widely accepted by peoples in the Middle East, Far East, Europe and even by some Americans:
Americans are in it just for the oil
America is controlled by the Jews and Israel
American imperialism is trying to take over the world
America’s support of Israel is the reason for terrorism
America will be left alone if it pulls out of all the “Arab Lands”
American soldiers hate Arabs and want to disgrace all Arab men
Americans are mostly white Christians Crusaders attacking Islam
America’s leaders are corrupt and have personal vendettas to settle
This process of fear dramatization (exaggeration) feeds the common human fascination with death and destruction (or the misery of others) and provides simplistic “explanations” that people can use to “cope” with their terrorism related low-level anxiety. In reality, aside from making for increased sales of commercial airtime on TV and radio, the proliferation of these misconceptions aids no one but the terrorists themselves. Consequently, the proliferation of “The Fear of America” may have as much of an impact on the outcome of the war on terror as the fear of terrorism itself.
Furthermore, to maintain their recruiting base, terrorists must also propagate the hatred of not just Americans but of all non-Muslims in general. The most effective use of this religious based hatred is found in the tight social cliques of the mosques where the growing sense of social identity among younger Muslim are more readily transformed into a rationale for fanaticism and a drive to embrace Jihad against the West. To grow their armies of “hate warriors” and to continue receiving both financial support and asylum, terrorist leaders must adhere to the following guidelines:
Do Not Make Empty Threats – Young martyrs only follow credible leaders. Terrorists’ leaders must keep good on their threats. when a terrorist leader, who claims to lead his followers in the name of their GOD, threatens to attack and nothing happens, the entire organization is at risk of loosing faith and support.
Maintain Initiative – To be effective, terrorists must keep their designated victims guessing and force them to spread their resources thin by trying to harden all possible while they attack the least protected targets. They rarely attack the same location twice since it will be much harder the second time around (double-bombing attacks are considered a part of the same attack).
Manipulate the Media – Modern terrorism measures its success according to the level of fear generated on the intended target following a given act of terror. Since the terrorist’s aim is the spread of fear as fast as possible, a terror attach without media coverage would be ineffective. Terrorists use the media to obtain “brand recognition” through the use of graphic violence. Al-Qaeda has become a household name and has attained an unprecedented global “influence” among terrorist organizations since September 11, 2001.
Never De-Escalate – Terrorism is much like making movies – “You are only as good as your last show”. Perpetrators of fear are the working parts of the terror machine. This “work force” is “compensated” with a very unique form of currency – the promise of eternal afterlife. Maintaining the unwavering belief that GOD is on “their side” is essential to the growth and future operational capability of religious fundamentalist terror organizations as well as independent cells. Loss of face would be perceived by followers as a loss of support from GOD and will severely undermine the terrorists recruiting base. De-escalating would send a message of weakness, something that a “faith driven” terror organization must avoid at all cost.
Timing is Everything – (i.e., Madrid train bombing and the Spanish Elections) Jihad has been around since the 9th Century. Today’s fundamental terrorists see themselves as part of a continuing historic “struggle” against the “infidels” to bring about the resurrection of Islam and the kingdom of the Prophet Mohamed. Their master plan is as much dispersed over time (historic timeline) as it is spread across space (global ambitions). Terrorists follow a pattern of escalating to determine the timing of their next attack as the above illustration shows.
As long as we have megalomaniac sociopaths and self-righteous ideologues who can only be deterred from aggressions by superior military strength, we will have to fight a relentless, uncompromising war against terror. However, to be effective at truly eradicating organized terror, we must prevent the proliferation of fear by supporting the free-flow of hype-free factual information and confront terrorism at its core – its fanatic message of segregation and hatred. We must not forget that lasting peace is only possible among Democratic nations and in order to win the GWOT we must maintain our commitment to help others fight oppression while educating the next generations to LOVE LIFE. This is as essential to world peace as the movement of troops and tanks.