February 15, 2006


Quieter presence urged in Mideast (John Diamond, 2/14/06, USA TODAY)

The United States should launch a major covert information campaign to promote the nation's image in the Middle East and sow division among radical Muslim groups, according to a West Point critique of U.S. terrorism policy.

The strategy, amounting to a secret campaign for hearts and minds, could involve paying for favorable publications and schools that promote moderate Islamic philosophies.

The report also proposes using Muslim allies, or at least groups hostile to the more militant Islamic movements, to exploit ideological rifts within terrorist groups.

Through it all, however, "it is essential that the U.S. hand not be seen," said the report by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. military academy.

The strategy is sound enough, but do it publicly.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 15, 2006 7:24 AM

How could the US hand not be seen, when so many would be dedicated to exposing it?

Posted by: pj at February 15, 2006 9:16 AM

Seems like a waste of money.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at February 15, 2006 9:26 AM


I agree with you if they do it the way the West Point group advises. If on the other hand it is done in public with the message "Were the strong horse and da*n proud of it". I could see some value.

Posted by: jeff at February 15, 2006 9:53 AM

While we hash this out, let's keep this private on this blog, ok?

Posted by: Bruno at February 15, 2006 10:00 AM

We don't need to tout the obvious. Moslems may be ignorant, but they're not stupid.

Posted by: erp at February 15, 2006 10:01 AM

West Point? It reads like it was written by the Brookings Institution or a Marin County think tank. While the ideas have some obvious merit, it seems retired General Officers are generally against the use of the military for warfighting and maybe that's a healthy condition. However, The Viet Nam syndrome seems alive and well among them and their influence may have a neutering effect upon those now active and responsible. That may not be a healthy condition.

Posted by: Genecis at February 15, 2006 11:04 AM

"Proxies"! I thought that most of our problems in the Middle East arose from using proxy governments and/or movements (e.g., Egypt in the first instance) and that President Bush repudiated that approach. We should be completely open about who we Americans are, what we stand for and emphasize that we have a culture that makes the inclusion of decent Muslims a foregone conclusion.

Posted by: Brooks at February 15, 2006 8:03 PM