My source was a former computer programmer for NBC television. He asked that his identity be not revealed. He explained to me how the War on Terrorism is not only a war of guns and bombs, but also a war of words.
This is nothing new. Political and religious contests have always been fought over words and their meanings. My source says, “In the Middle Ages people in one country were burned at the stake for using words that were perfectly acceptable to others just across a nearby border.” During the writing of the King James version of the Bible, theologians were executed for their “wrong” interpretations of Hebrew or Greek or Aramaic. In modern times, Hitler rose to power with the help of a Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, who was given a cabinet position to work his trade. He had thousands of people laboring on the right words to promote their ideas. Today, we no longer use the word “propaganda” but the science continues with the more acceptable title of “public relations.” In the United States, our presidents will sometimes have their pollsters seek out the perfect words to please the people. The White House employs hundreds of people who work in several different departments entitled, Press Office, Media Relations and Communications. In addition, American presidents maintain between 10-20 full time speech writers, as well as outside contractors for special occasions.
My source comments, “Today, there are American politicians, including our own President Barack Obama, who insist that this is not really a ‘war’. The President has not completely explained his reasons for this but it is often assumed that he is trying to ratchet down the level of hostility. The fear is that by calling it a war it will offend more peaceful Muslims and they will be recruited into a never ending battle. Which brings up another issue. Most Americans believe that this is not just a war on Terrorism but a war on Islamic Terrorism. This, the president definitely rejects, saying that ‘Islam is a peaceful religion’. He believes that the terrorists are corrupting the beliefs of their faith and that they should not be dignified by calling them Islamic.”
Those who see this as a war of Islamic Terrorism, which includes the majority of Americans, point out that the Terrorists quote from the Koran and carefully justify their acts with precedents from the Koran and the life of their prophet, Mohammed. The ritual be-headings, marriage to nine year old children, subjugation of women, including denying young ladies education, are all justified by them with verses from the Koran and examples from the life of their prophet.
Those who agree with President Obama’s interpretation of events point out that there are extremists in all religions. His opponents reject this argument, saying that Christians are not killing others because of their religion.
My source explains, “The Islamic Terrorists are using words and actions to recruit their followers. Their videos and Youtubes show their cruel handiwork, cutting off heads, burning people alive, and torturing children. How does this attract followers? Muslims who feel that they have encountered God in their faith, look to everything else that is written in the Koran and accept it as holy.” When terrorists use the methods of the Koran, be-headings, for example, rather than hangings or firing squads, they are signaling to other Muslims that they are purists, true believers, doing exactly what the Koran dictates. Thus the Islamic terrorists use words and images to recruit and provoke their enemies who include all infidels or non-believers. This bold, unabashed, literal embrace of the Koran and its dictates, is attractive to many who have seen their culture diluted by the materialism and secularism of the West.
Keep in mind: my source points out that, “One of America’s largest and most profitable exports is pornography.” No wonder America is called “the great Satan” by many in the Islamic world.
Americans who are outraged by the despicable acts which are committed, put them on television to show the world how outrageous and evil the terrorists are but the exposure also attracts Muslims, struggling with their faith, and inspired to see someone acting it out in literal fashion.
If the War on Terrorism is also a war of words and also ideas, it will continue long while the last innocent person is be-headed or the last bomb is dropped. It is a clash of ideas and cultures and religions. This will not go away easily.