Thursday, July 24, 2008

Robert Spencer on James Glassman's Dimness

Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer doesn't seem to think the author of Dow 36,000 is any more credible when it comes to the "war of ideas":
In "Winning the War of Ideas" in the New York Sun, July 23 (thanks to Ethelred), James K. Glassman, the new under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, says many positive things. He points out that our primary task is not to make foreigners love the United States -- which has been the focus of many of our "ideological" initiatives up to now. Instead, he says that "our priority is not to promote our brand but to help destroy theirs."

Great! Does that mean that he will confront the Sharia imperative and Islamic supremacism, and try to make the millions of Muslims who implicitly accept Western values make that acceptance explicit? No. He doesn't seem to have any idea of the stealth jihad at all -- that is, he doesn't seem to have any idea that jihadists might be trying to advance their agenda by means other than violent attacks. Glassman demonstrates this lack of awareness by praising Lawrence Wright's article about how Muslims are turning away from Al-Qaeda, which I discussed in detail here. Glassman seems to have no comprehension at all of the significance of one telling phrase in the Wright article: "jihad did not have to be restricted to an armed approach."

This does not bode well for his attempts to "destroy" the enemy's ideology: if he doesn't even understand it, how can he possibly expect to destroy it? For he cannot even name that ideology (which is no surprise these days), and declares: "We also should not shrink from confidently opposing poisonous ideas — even if they are rooted in a twisted interpretation of religious doctrine." That the jihadists are proceeding according to a "twisted interpretation" of Islam, rather than according to core and mainstream principles of the religion, is of course an iron and never-to-be-questioned dogma at State, but it rests upon the word of Muslim Brotherhood-linked "experts," and ignores the copious teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah, as well as of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, about warfare against and the subjugation of infidels.

Not an auspicious beginning for a war of ideas: Glassman only dimly understands the ideas he is fighting, and can't even call them by name.
Glassman may also only dimly understand legal restrictions prohibiting US government propagandists from trying to influence domestic public opinion by placing op-eds in US newspapers, found in the Smith-Mundt act, IMHO...