November 29, 2006

Newt Gingrich GETS the Cyber Jihad: It's time to take it seriously

Newt Gingrich gets it, those naysaying him don't. Or, at least, they don't get what Gingrich is saying. He is saying exactly what we've been calling for for awhile now: taking the cyber jihad seriously. As a military matter.

If you don't get that the internet is the way in which jihadis recruit, train, and coordinate then you just don't get it. I'd suggest that you start reading The Jawa Report on a daily basis. Where we bring you stories such as Terrorists Launch Google Guide. Or reading Internet Haganah. Daily.

Now, let me say something here. I respect Ed, but he has this one wrong. Or, he doesn't get what Gingrich is saying. Especially given what I believe is a misleading headline for the story. And I've met Flap and his lovely wife, and he has it wrong too. And I'm sure that Ragnar linked to this earlier just so he could get a rise out of me. Kudos my Padawan biyotch.

Gingrich is not talking about establishing the thought police, a censorship board, and a speech Gestapo. Nor is he even proposing enacting draconian hate speech laws, the kind of speech prohibitions that liberals often support. In the same article, Gingrich also talks about doing away with McCain-Feingold---that is, to increase the capacity for political debate.

Gingrich is only proposing to curtail the speech of our enemies. Not imagined enemies. Real people who, literally, encourage young Muslims to go to Iraq to fight your neighbors. Real people who want you dead.

You live in a bizarro world if you think it is okay to kill our enemies, but not take away their tools of propaganda. It seems like an odd moral system to suggest that speech is a higher priority than life. Especially when the life and speech in question is the life and speech of the enemy.

To paraphrase Lincoln, the First Amendment is not a suicide pact.

It should also be noted that the First Amendment does not apply to the battlefield. The cyber jihadis themselves consider the internet a weapon of war and themselves combatants in this fight. This is why they formed the "Global Islamic Media Front", "The Jihad Media Brigade", "The Alfajr Media Center", and "as Sahab". To recruit. To train. To coordinate. To fight us. To kill us.

So they claim they are combatants. They claim the media, especially the internet, is a weapon. Yet you wish to protect this propaganda because you have some odd attachment to the First Amendment which trumps all other concerns?

WWGD? (What would Goebbels do?)

I believe the WWGD is a legitimate question, but one that most have avoided in this war. In past wars, we have had no problem censoring people. Especially our enemies. And the domestic forces that support them. I doubt any of us would have a problem targetting Joseph Goebells Ministry of Propaganda for a bombing raid during the height of WWII. Had Goebells not committed suicide, I doubt any would raise objections for trying him as a war criminal. Even though he did nothing more than speak.

Nor did any of us have a problem when the leaders of the German Bund were rounded up and their papers and presses shut down.

Sure, censorship has been abused in the past. But the potential to abuse a power is not a sufficient reason to withhold it. Otherwise, governments would have no power.

Here is what Newt says, in context: MORE BELOW

"This is a serious, long-term war," the former speaker said, according an audio excerpt of his remarks made available yesterday by his office. "Either before we lose a city or, if we are truly stupid, after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us to stop them from recruiting people."
Amen. Amen. Amen.

Gingrich gets how this war is being fought. I'm sorry, but the rest of you just don't. The fight is in the cyber realm. It is a real battle. People die because of it.

Now, here is the key:

"We should propose a Geneva Convention for fighting terrorism, which makes very clear that those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are, in fact, subject to a totally different set of rules that allow us to protect civilization by defeating barbarism before it gains so much strength that it is truly horrendous," he said.
And I'm not sure what it is that Ed doesn't get about Newt's proposals. Presto Agito believes that the reporter at The Sun just was too vague. I don't see much vagueness about it, other than the same vagueness that occurs when any policy proposition is first mentioned and before much thought can be given to implementation. Which is exactly where Joe Gandelman gets it right:
In reality, it has long been noted in many publications that terrorists are using the Internet. The problem is going to be great distrust over how this idea — if it ever comes to fruition (and it probably won't) would be implemented.
Yes, the devil is in the details, as they say. And there are legitimate concerns that should always be raised. But these concerns are not insurmountable. Simply raising concerns is not enough to quash discussion.

It's seems rather simple to me: deny your opponents the tools of terrorism. One of those tools in the internet. Go after the cyber jihadis.

And I don't mean issuing an indictment against them, I mean, literally, denying them access to the internet. Through various methods that some might think of as distatsteful. But certainly less distasteful than bombs.

I'm not sure that the NSA is up to the job, but it's a good place to start.

My own proposition is that of Cyber Privateering. The reasoning behind this has more to do with the way in which information flows in distributive networks than anything else. That is, it would be easier for our own cyber Army of Davids--given the proper incentive structure--to fight and beat the Army of Davids of the cyber jihadis.

America has the greatest hackers in the world. Let's use their talents for the public good. Just give us a few bucks for taking down our enemies' propaganda machinery, give us immunity from prosecution, and to paraphrase another great thinker, Winston Churchill: give us the tools and we will finish the job.

The Constitution itself gives Congress the power to grant letters of marquee--which, as you may know, is a means of employing private individuals (privateers--like pirates, but the legal kind) in furthering the goals of the state. It also grants Congress the authority to punish piracy and other crimes which are not even committed on US soil, but which are considered crimes against all civilized nations.

And, personally, I don't see much difference between pirates and jihadis. Except the jihadis are worse. The pirates just wanted to rape and pillage, the jihadis wish to rape, pillage, and rule. Kill them wherever you find them, punish all that are found aiding and abeding them.

Gingrich's idea of a 'Geneva Convention' outlawing jihad makes a whole lot of sense. He's never had much of a chance to win the Presidency, but I'd love to see him over the NSA.

: As if on cue: Atlas Shrugs (hat tip: Larwynn):

Technical Mujahid” [Al-Mujahid al-Teqany], published by al-Fajr Information Center, was electronically distributed to password-protected jihadist forums Tuesday, November 28, 2006....

an introductory message, emphasizes the great purpose of jihad in the information sector. This front is determined by the author to be “a main pillar in the battle of Islam against the Crusaders and the polytheist belief”.

Now do you get it?

Newt Gingrich, Jawa reader.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:18 PM | Comments |