article I said that Islam needs be ridiculed. This concept is now
getting new currency and is being echoed others. The following article
shows that Michael Waller, of The Institute of World Politics, is
also suggesting the use of ridicule to belittle the terrorist. He stops
short of asking ridiculing Islam. The truth is that Islam is the ideology
of the terrorists, just as communism was the ideology of the Soviets and
Nazism was the ideology of the Nazis. If the terrorist is to be ridiculed,
Islam must be ridiculed. Ali Sina
An effective weapon against terrorists: Ridicule
By Peter Schweizer
taking terrorists too seriously? In the wake of continued threats, that
might seem like a ridiculous question. But in terms of the psychology of
the war on terrorism, it's a question that needs to be asked.
In a brilliant new white paper on public diplomacy,
Michael Waller, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg chair in International
Communication at The Institute of World Politics, makes a strong case for
America's employing a new powerful weapon against the terrorists:
"Ridicule raises morale at home. Ridicule strips
the enemy/adversary of his mystique and prestige. Ridicule erodes the
enemy's claim to justice. Ridicule eliminates the enemy's image of
invincibility. Directed properly at an enemy, ridicule can be a fate worse
than death," writes Waller.
History teaches that ridicule weakens the moral and
political capital of our enemies.Arabic
Reagan employed it with great effect during the Cold War. We all
remember the "evil empire" speech, but what about the jokes? Two
guys were standing in line at the vodka store. They were there for half an
hour, then an hour, then an hour and a half. "I'm sick of this,"
one finally said. "I'm going over to the Kremlin to shoot (Mikhail)
Gorbachev." The man left and returned about an hour later.
"Well, did you shoot him?" "Heck no," he responded.
"The line up there is a lot longer than this one."
Reagan a good model
Many of Reagan's comments reached the underground
press in the
, no doubt encouraging dissenters against communism. Reagan understood
that sowing fear in the West was a potent weapon for
. By laughing at communism, the spell of fear was broken. It was the same
during World War II. A cartoon of Donald Duck mocking Hitler and Mein
Kampf no doubt was demeaning to the Führer.
Thus far, the Bush administration's approach to
fighting terrorists has been to demonize them. "Their vision of the
world is dark and dim,"
Bush said in January at
. "They have got desires to spread a totalitarian empire."
During his March 11 radio address, he said: "The enemy we face has
proved to be brutal and relentless."
Certainly, their actions and goals warrant such
treatment. But that alone is a tough strategy to maintain psychologically
because it can be exhausting. As Waller writes: "Incessant, morbid
portrayals of an individual, movement or mortal enemy might rally support
for the American side, but they have a shelf-life that gets tired over
time. Constant specters of unrelenting dangers risk sowing defeatism and
chipping away at our own morale. Abroad, they risk making the
look like a bully in some places and surrender the propaganda advantage to
the other side."
Demonizing doesn't work.
By continuing to demonize our enemies, we elevate
their political status in the eyes of those disaffected souls in the
developing world who dislike the
I'm not suggesting that Bush start cracking Osama
bin Laden jokes. And we should not mock Islam. Reagan joked about
communist leaders but never about the Russian people. What the Bush
administration can do is mock the terrorists.
For example, we should note that these self-professed
warriors hide while they pay impoverished young men and women to become
human bombs. We should play up Osama's privileged background. We should
highlight the terrorists' ridiculous failures. The reality is that much
like Soviet officials, terrorists are full of grand illusions about
themselves and their mission.
The war on terror has military, political and
economic dimensions. But it also has a critical psychological component.
The terrorists are not 10 feet tall. We should engage in a psychological
war that brings these thugs down to size.
Peter Schweizer is a research fellow at the Hoover
Institution and author of Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal
Hypocrisy and Reagan's War.