Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


Propaganda and military victories

Over at the Counterterrorism Blog they discuss the percieved increase in Al Qaeda communications. Andrew Cochran holds that "Great Propaganda No Substitute for Real Victories" and states that

"The same people who assert that we didn't have enough boots on the ground to control Iraq from the outset (and I count myself in that crowd) have to apply the same standard of strategic success or failure to Al Qaeda in Iraq and Sunni insurgents. Where are their victories? What do they really control for any length of time? What cities fly their flag? Killing people and blowing up infrastructure are not "victories."

But that's not right. Actually it is a common perception with more military-minded people. An insurgency group can actually survive quite a long time with no victories to show. Mao did describe it thoroughly that an insurgency had to move through three phases: The strategic defensive, the stalemate and the strategic offensive. Al Qaeda have time on their side, the Americans don't. Thus they would be foolish to try to "fly flags" from any city - any conventional attack would be squashed by superior American force. Rather they will continue with pin-prick operations that will undermine the US presence. The communication effort is vital to this strategy and the increased ability to get timely comments out are quite a strategic asset that should be reconed with.


Post a Comment

<< Home