From The American Interest: ‘Ending Al-Qaeda’

Full piece here.

Is it really possible?:

‘If the U.S. government can organize itself to devise and propagate the right message, from the right voices, to the Islamic and Arab worlds, while at the same time diminishing al-Qaeda’s voice in cyberspace, then there is a good chance we can end al-Qaeda’s recruiting success. As things stand today, voices for moderation and non-violence are still being drowned out by the overwhelmingly larger number of militant voices in cyberspace and elsewhere’

Our authors claim that public support in the Muslim world is low at the moment, as Al-Qaeda tended to kill a lot of Muslims in Iraq.  Sure, there’s sentiment for Al-Qaeda’s cause in the Muslim world, but it’s a fanatical fighting force that can turn on anyone.

Our authors argue we should use this bad PR against them in a change of strategy, especially in the hothouse chat rooms of Islamist solidarity and righteous vengeance.

I wonder if this Isn’t a re-hash of the ‘moderate’ Muslim argument?

Even if so, does it line up with what’s going on on the ground and can it work?

How do we best meet our objective of preventing attacks on our soil, and further, on our interests and allies?

Addition:  A friend says we’re writing checks we can’t cash in the Middle-East.  Islamism thrives when there’s so much discord in the region.

And:  Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads…I often assume the worst but am always open to new ideas Al Qaeda On The Run? No, Still There For The Most Part Fareed Zakaria At Newsweek: ‘Terrorism’s Supermarket’

From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’

Michael Moynihan At The Daily Beast: ‘The Repentant Radical’..

Michael Moynihan At Newsweek: ‘http://www.jihad.com’

.Kenan Malik In The Spiked Review Of Books: ‘Twenty Years On: Internalizing The Fatwa’-Salman Rushdie

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’

How do we deal with the rise of Islamism: Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

From The Atlantic: Samuel Huntington’s Death And Life’s WorkFrom The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel HuntingtonFrom Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’

Steve Coll At The New Yorker On Whistleblowers: ‘A Test Of Confidence’

Full post here.

How much protection should journalists have when pressured to reveal their sources?

‘In 2003, Risen learned of a tangled C.I.A. program, called Operation merlin, that was designed to feed faulty nuclear-weapons blueprints to Iran, in order to mislead that country’s scientists. According to court filings, George Tenet, the director of the C.I.A., and Condoleezza Rice, the national-security adviser, asked the Times not to publish Risen’s scoop, because it might endanger the life of a C.I.A. contact and harm national security’

Risen may be looking at prison time for not giving up who gave up this information to him.  The current administration is following through on his prosecution.

A little while back, there was also the case of James Rosen, Fox’s North Korean correspondent, in which the current Justice Department got a search warrant to tap Rosen’s phone and head off any potential leaks at the pass.

How much protection does a journalist get when it comes to issues of national security?  Who do you trust to determine just who the press is, and is thus afforded 1st amendment protection?:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Can anyone commit an act of journalism these days?  This also will be an important question echoing down the road.

Coll’s plea:

‘If nothing else, Holder would demonstrate to the world that the Obama Administration perceives the difference between a professional reporter’s dissenting acceptance of the rule of law and the rejection, by Assange and Snowden, of American law’s essential reliability’

Will they make that distinction?

As readers know, I think many of the ideals that guide the current administration do not necessarily maintain a liberal society, but rather lead to a less dynamic, more closed society with a majoritarian, populist politics, at best.

That chosen class of our ‘betters’, no matter how wise, technologically or scientifically able, nor full of promises of equality, are at best fallible human beings working with incomplete knowledge, the stuff of human nature, and their own ideology.  That ideology hasn’t worked out important issues between the collective and the individual.   As always, follow the money, political coalitions, and patronage to see how this works out in practice.

As for Assange, he seems to me an anarcho-Left Australian with high aptitude, a bit of a revolutionary techno-utopian hacker fighting the global hegemon, suspecting the U.S. Government of being one of the biggest threats to the kind of world he imagined ought to be.  He didn’t end up so open himself.  Surprise.

Snowden seems less anarchic and more of an idealistic, likely Left-Of-Center type, perhaps imagining a different type of dark, dystopian future with too much power in the hands of any one man or group.  When viewed most favorably, he saw a potential conflict of interest between the American public, Moore’s Law, and what the NSA is still doing as we speak.  We likely wouldn’t be talking and thinking about this issue so openly without him.

Neither man has been willing to answer to the laws and systems they sought to change.

Addition:  A reader points out that there’s a lot of case law to establish a precedent that journalists can expect potential legal action and prison time if they don’t reveal their sources.

Related On This Site: Jack Shafer At Reuters: ‘Edward Snowden And The Selective Targeting Of Leaks’Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘Drone Wars’

Repost: Trevor Butterworth At Forbes Via The A & L Daily: ‘Beware The Internet As Liberation Theology’

From CATO@Liberty: Julian Sanchez On ‘Wikileads And Economies Of Repression’

Jack Shafer At Reuters: ‘Edward Snowden And The Selective Targeting Of Leaks’

Full piece here.

Shafer offers background on leaks, how they’re used for political advantage, how they’re used by the opposition party.  He finishes with:

‘We owe Snowden a debt of gratitude for restarting—or should I say starting?—the public debate over the government’s secret but “legal” intrusions into our privacy. His leaks, filtered through the Guardian and the Washington Post, give us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to place limits on our power-mad government.’

I’m not sure about the ‘power-mad government,’ but I’ve noticed that there is an individual liberty coalescence around the issue, which naturally appeals to libertarians, civil libertarians, the anarcho-left, the ACLU, some liberals, and some libertarian conservatives.  There is stronger resistance from the Obama Left (their guy is in power, possibly allowing ideological/political abuse of the DOJ and IRS) and traditional Right (placing more trust in the hierarchy and authority necessary to serve the national interest and common defense).

I’m interested in knowing just what kind of incentives we’ve been creating since the Patriot Act (for the executive branch especially), and where Big Data and Big Government are meeting.  I don’t entirely trust Snowden’s motives (likely more responsible than the anarcho-Left, recklessly ideal Wikileaks Assange and rogue Bradley Manning, but perhaps not as much as some previous leakers).

I’ll keep an ear out. 

Addition:  Why did Snowden go outside the channels available, anyways?  Eli Lake has more here.

More on Snowden.

Follow Jack Shafer on Twitter.  @jackshafer

Follow Julian Sanchez on Twitter @normative

Photo Series From The Atlantic-Afghanistan: May 2013

Photos here.

We’re still in Afghanistan.

Related On This Site: Form Foreign Affairs: ‘Stephen Biddle and Max Boot Discuss U.S. Afghanistan Policy’

Obama’s vision?  His Security Report here.

From CSIS: ‘Victory Over Al Qaeda’

Full post here.

Victory?  That seems a little much.   I suspect there is always a genuine possibility (apart from the liberal claptrap) to extend a hand to help ease the burdens found in the daily lives of Muslims, which often involve economic hardship, un-representative government, and lack of resources.

Naive, but perhaps better than to write Islam off altogether, and only push down hard when a radical and violent splinter theology pops up.

As a reader points out: We give a lot in foreign aid to Muslim countries, and what do we get?

Recently On This Site:  From Bloggingheads: Eli Lake And Matt Welch Discuss Al-QaedaFrom Michael Yon: ‘Whispers’

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