Attack on the US - 2
Hearts and minds.
We stray from
our strict brief this month because of we know hearts and minds matter
in any "War against Terrorsm", because of, the important part broadcasting
can and will play in outcomes and with much unhappiness as what we
see as an inefficacious pursuit of a worthy aim by the US and its
allies and a rather more efficacious pursuit of an unworthy one by
Osama bin Laden..
What is war?
How do you fight for hearts
How have we done so far?.
Pretty badly we'd say.
The technology to speak to the world is there as is the infrastructure through the BBC and Voice of America through radio in most of the world and also through the BBC, CNN and other satellite TV channels, including al Jazeera in richer areas (you don't get much television without a mains electricity supply).
But instead of taking on and defeating bin Laden and al Qaida on the basis of their words and actions, the US seems to have ended up arguing more about whether American and British broadcasters should carry bin Laden comments or segments of an interview with the Taliban leader than it have initially put effort into getting arguments against him put over well.
We really do not think it difficult to convince all but a few deranged humans that flying civilian airliners into buildings is plainly wrong, that they do not favour the idea of love of death being greater than love of life.
But it is also difficult to argue against anyone who responds that it's also wrong for an occupying nation to lob shells into civilian areas of the land it occupies unless you are prepared also to condemn such activities.
Equally we think it not that difficult to argue the superiority of freedom of speech over its absence but you don't promote that idea by allowing your opponents to point to ill-conceived censorship efforts by you, yourself.
"Enlighten the people generally," wrote the second US President Thomas Jefferson, "and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day."
Over stated maybe but the thought is on the right lines. Even bearing in mind the almost complete absence in the US leadership of major figures able to speak languages other than English, in marked contrast to leaders in many other areas of the world (with the noticeable exception of the Taliban leadership), more of the public utterances of those leaders could and should have both taken into account the susceptibilities of a wider audience and have been addressed to them.
None of this alters our views about the nature of al Qaida and the Taliban but it does mean the debate has to be on a clear understanding of the enemy rather than allowing him the advantages that come from being under or over estimated.
It also mans that the US may, as Britain has with the IRA, Spain with ETA, have to accept that it can only constrain terrorist activities not eliminate them.
But it will go much further along the road to elimination if it bears in minds some words of Abraham Lincoln, yet another American President who knew something of war: "I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.".
Any views? Please comment
on the above. For that matter, if you can put the time aside,
we'd like your "Guest comment" pages this year to stimulate
more feedback and dialogue.
|Front Page||About this site||Freelance
|Site audio files||Radio Stations||Other links||Archives Index||Comment Pages||Your feedback||Browsers
Radionewsweb.com, 38 Creswick Road, Acton, London W3 9HF, UK: