March 04, 2011

Why False Enemy Propaganda Matters: German Jihadi Motivated by Fake US Soldier Rape Video (bumped)

The narrative in the Muslim world is that the US are the bad guys in the war on terror. Hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world believe this.

Some of them fight us because they believe with all their hearts that it is the right thing to do. They believe this because of the shoddy reporting, anti-American propaganda in the mainstream local media, and out and out lies crafted by our enemies.

The most prevalent of those lies is that American soldiers routinely and systematically abuse and rape Muslim women. The number one example of this lie believed by (what seems to be) a majority in Pakistan is that Aafia Siddique -- the niece by marriage of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shiekh Mohammad and who was convicted of attempted murder -- was held for years in a secret prison at Bagram and there routinely raped.

There is no evidence of this, yet it is widely believed. And the story is routinely circulated not only by newspapers in the Muslim world but also by leftist conspiracy theorists and anti-war activists in the West.

It seems that Arid Uka, who shot two soldiers in Germany, was partially motivated by such propaganda:

On Arid U.’s account, the video shows American soldiers in Afghanistan plundering a house and raping a girl. After seeing the video, he “could not sleep the whole night,” he said. Arid U. claims, moreover, to have heard American soldiers at Frankfurt Airport speaking disparagingly about the Afghan population. The video and the behavior of the American soldiers are supposed to have “motivated him in particular to kill American soldiers heading to Afghanistan.
I have seen a similar video in which an American "soldier" "confesses" to raping and murdering civilians. The only problem? The "soldier" wasn't a soldier at all and had never served in the military.

I'm guessing the alleged "rape" video that seems to have motivated Uka is the same kind of low quality fake that other similar videos turned out to be. So fake, in fact, that one would have to want to believe it to be true so bad that one suspends enough disbelief as to overlook all of the glaring problems that scream fake.

But that's the point. Many in the Muslim world are so convinced that America is evil that even the slightest rumor of slight impropriety on the part of an American soldier is believed and inflated until it becomes a "war crime" in the minds of many and the US "the real terrorists".

And our media doesn't help fight this narrative. Often Muslims with this conspiratorial anti-American mindset will point to mainstream US reporting and say, "See, even your own media shows that you are the real bad guys."

The good news is that the media is so patently partisan for Obama that since his election the they have become much less critical of the troops or their actions. Not completely uncritical -- remember how they quickly bought hook, line and sinker Julian Assange's lies about an "US war crime? -- just less critical.

The point of this being that we cannot let such enemy propaganda go unchecked. It affects people. It kills people.

Propagandists with pens are sometimes just as dangerous as those with guns. Especially when the false ideas they sell reinforce a narrative where Americans are the lascivious bad guys and the Taliban and other Islamist groups are simply defending the virtue of Muslim women from them.

Think about it. If you thought your local police department was systematically raping and killing your neighbors wouldn't you feel morally compelled to do something about it?

People are complicated, but I believe at our core we have a conscience that compels most of us to come up with moral justifications for our actions. Hence, a bank robber claims that he is just feeding his kids while a terrorist in Germany believes that he is just defending Muslim women.

You see, if the choice is between my kids starving and me robbing a bank? I rob the bank.

And if the choice is between sitting back and doing nothing or killing some Americans so they won't go to Afghanistan and rape and murder? I kill the Americans.

We have got to do better at fighting the propaganda produced by the enemy. Which is why I support YouTube smackdown. But we need to do more. We need to organize. And not simply at the individual private level. Fighting enemy propaganda needs to be higher on the priority list of both the CIA and the DOD.

I know what lawyers and civil libertarians always say: but what about free speech!?!?! Fascist! You want to stop free speech!!

No, I don't want to stop free speech. But what I do want is to stop our enemies from speaking.

If I can legitimately kill a member of al Qaeda -- taking away his right to life, the most basic and important human right of all -- then only an idiot would suggest that I can do this but not have the legitimate right to shut him up.

I can drop a bomb on Osama bin Laden, I just can't take away his microphone?

Such foolishness is so removed from the moral universe that it can only be found amongst elite lawyers and academics.

And if the government won't do this we need to change the government. In the meantime it's up to you and me to fight the good fight. So, if you see stupid enemy propaganda fight it tooth and nail. It not only makes us look bad, but it also kills.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:44 PM | Comments |