SELF INFLICTED WOUNDS
By Geoff Metcalf
April 14, 2004
When it comes to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory there is no more successful collaborator than the media.
As desperate terrorist insurgents in Iraq pour gasoline on embers to attract journalists like moths to a flame it should be noted that the bad guys are ‘using’ the media as a tactical resource.
They know there is no way/no how they can defeat the American coalition forces militarily. However they also know that IF they can manipulate the media to bludgeon the American homeland with images and stories of outrageous atrocities, there is a distinct possibility the American people will compel the administration to leave.
James Dunnigan wrote a great piece about “asymmetric warfare” last year. Dunnigan noted that in Somalia, the bad guys took 30 casualties for every American killed or wounded.
“The battle in Mogadishu is only considered an American defeat because the American government considered 18 dead G.I.’s a defeat, even if over 500 Somali fighters died as well. At the time, the Somalis considered themselves defeated, and feared the return of the Army Rangers the next day to finish off the Somali militia that was terrorizing Mogadishu.” Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, the North Vietnamese general who finally drove the U.S. out of South Vietnam in 1975 credited John Kerry’s Vietnam Veterans Against the War with helping him achieve victory. He could/should have added the American media.
In his 1985 memoir about the war, Gen. Giap wrote that if it weren't for organizations like Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Hanoi would have surrendered to the U.S. Despite all that may have been wrong about Vietnam, the U.S. was winning until the media and the Fonda/Kerry cabal conspired against national interest.
Somalia is considered an American defeat (it wasn’t) because that’s the way it was reported. “Asymmetric warfare includes having the media in your corner, for that can easily turn a military defeat into a media victory.”
It was almost deja vue time last year in Iraq. Most of the mainstream was opposed to war…any war…even after 9/11.
The use of asymmetric warfare is fairly routine. Sometimes it works…sometimes it doesn’t. The collorary of the tactic was the use of imbedded reporters to mitigate and preemptively manage potential exploitation of media…but doing it first.
Dunnigan observed that “asymmetric warfare is all about taking advantage of the status quo, and hoping the other guys doesn't wise up before you beat him to death.” Hopefully we CAN wise up in time…this time.
There is a frantic struggling minority of bad guys in Iraq who are anxious to delay reality long enough for them to position themselves as ‘players’ to win a seat in the game after June 30th. Without the ubiquitous 24/7 media, these minor players would be no more significant than rat droppings in Fallujah. America is less the bad guy to al Sadr et al than a tool to undermine any form of representative government that dares threaten/promise equality.
Tom Marzullo has written about Islamists using snuff films for propaganda, fund raising and recruiting.
Toshitsugu Takamatsu is a legend in martial arts world. In ‘Ninjutsu Hiketsubun’, he writes, “The essence of the martial arts and the ways of strategy lies in protecting oneself… If you perform the martial arts with an incorrect spirit, instead of protecting yourself, you will end up killing yourself.”
“The newest tactical plan in the Islamist propaganda campaign is to create and distribute videos to the media showing the actual rape/torture/murder of westerners specifically kidnapped for these productions.” Marzullo said.
Now we have Koreans, Japanese and other foreigners being kidnapped in Iraq. The presumed hope is for the insurgent terrorists to extort the nations of origin to abandon Iraq (and principles) to save the threatened lives. THAT dog ain’t gonna hunt. The South Koreans are not the French or the Spanish.
The terrorists know no coalition country will comply with such a request…but it doesn’t matter because their real objective is to have a warped excuse to create their snuff films…and get the media to disseminate the atrocities.
Confucius said, "To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage, or of principle." Apparently the media cannot see what is right because they lack both courage and principle.
© 2004 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's Web Site: www.geoffmetcalf.com. While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book! E-mail: email@example.com
"The terrorists know no coalition country will comply with such a request…but it doesn’t matter because their real objective is to have a warped excuse to create their snuff films…and get the media to disseminate the atrocities."