Fighting the War of Ideas like a Real War: Short-term message strategies to combat the terrorists
This ground-breaking monograph by J Michael Waller departs from the conventional view of public diplomacy and international communication in time of war and argues for deploying messages as weapons of attack against the terrorists and other extremists.
Proposing an immediate-term strategy that requires no bureaucratic reorganization or major budgetary changes, Fighting the War of Ideas like a Real War is designed for quick implementation in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The book complements the Defense Science Board’s 2004 report on strategic communication, the State Department’s evolving public diplomacy strategy, and the joint Army/Marines Counterinsurgency Field Manual FM 3-24 of 2006.
The book opens with a new view of using information as a weapon of warfare, followed by chapters on the proper use of words to define the conflicts and parties involved, the use of Arabic and Islamic terminology in ways beneficial to the civilized world, effective branding of the enemy and of the war efforts, a “secret weapon that’s worse than death” among Islamist extremists, and a “spectrum of messages” for deployment where Islamist tendencies are strong or growing.
Blogosphere discussion, reviews and news
Proceedings – The magazine of the U.S. Naval Institute says that Fighting the War of Ideas like a Real War “clearly demonstrates that the new thrust in the war of ideas does not have to originate in U.S. government releases. . . By focusing primarily on the offensive aspects of strategic communication, the author has made a worthwhile contribution to what must be a key component of U.S. strategy in the terrorism war. For those who find themselves in a position to affect U.S. communications efforts, or to influence our image among allies and adversaries, this book should be placed at the top of their must-read list.” August 2007. Note: The book review is not available online. Click here to read the review: Proceedings review Aug 07
Armed Forces Journal – AFJ editor Karen Walker posts review: “. . . this guide offers ways that could discredit, divide and ultimately squelch the enemy into a blob of irrelevance. . . .” 26 May 07
Fox News O’Reilly Factor – Host Bill O’Reilly interviews the author about radical activity in Europe and promotes the book. 9 May 07
Blackfive.net – Nice review by Grim, with follow-on comments. 7 May 07
Psywar.org – Announcement of the book. 1 May 07
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Wartime message-making: An immediate-term approach
Chapter 2 The importance of words
Chapter 3 Making jihad work for America
Chapter 4 Branding the enemy
Chapter 5 The secret weapon that’s worse than death
Chapter 6 Spectrum of messages