Saturday, December 06, 2008

More propaganda please

Douglas "FSGOTP" Feith pops up in today's Wall Street Journal in praise of India --

At a Pentagon meeting in 2002, a Muslim official from an Asian country observed that there were nearly as many Muslim citizens of India as of Pakistan, yet it was virtually unheard of that an Indian Muslim would join al Qaeda, while many Pakistanis had done so. Why? Because India is free and democratic, he asserted.

Now we know where George Bush heard that story, one that has coloured his relationship with India since. Other bits of the article give a lot of credit to BJP politician Jaswant Singh which suggests that he might be the source of the claim that India was al-Qaeda free. But anyway, Feith has "advice" for President Obama --

He can ask the State Department and intelligence community for formal strategies to counter radical Islamist ideology overtly and covertly and hold them to account for results.

The strategies could (1) identify, region by region, the key Muslim voices -- individuals and institutions -- for and against jihadist violence, (2) analyze their respective support networks and vulnerabilities, (3) develop U.S. and multilateral courses of action to amplify anti-terrorist voices and to undermine the extremists, and (4) establish measures of success and track progress. A key to success would be the quality of U.S. linkages with friendly foreign countries, like India, that share our interests and have relevant knowledge and capabilities.

It's not clear what he has in mind here but it would seem to involve secret campaigns to somehow embarrass "extremists" and promote "anti-terrorist" positions -- and all in a way that could be measured. Not that this scheme is ever likely to make it to Obama's desk, but presumably India would have the sense to stay away from it in any event -- if only from knowing the source.

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