Those words are variously attributed to Abraham Lincoln or Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson. I think this quote is germane in light of yesterday’s White House Conference on countering Jihadist terrorism recruiting propaganda. The problems are clear.
“We’re being outdone both in terms of content, quality and quantity, and in terms of amplification strategies,” said Sasha Havlicek of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London-based research organization, in a presentation at the meeting. She used a diagram of a small and large megaphone to illustrate the “monumental gap” between the Islamic State, which uses social media services like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and other groups and governments, including the Obama administration.
When I was in Paris a month ago, it was clear that the Charlie Hebdo assassins entrance point to the Anwar Al Awlaki network was through his You Tube channel of more than 7000 videos.
If the First Amendment fundamentalists feel we must give ISIS complete access to You Tube and Twitter, then we are living out Lincoln’s prophecy. I find it fairly ironic that Anonymous can easily take down Al Awlaki’s websites, but the U.S. Government wants to bring a knife to a gunfight.
Somehow our counterterrorism folks think the solution to our problems is to put out better anti-ISIS propaganda as if that could ever solve a problem. We have the capabilities to totally disrupt the Jihadist online propaganda infrastructure. We could request Twitter and You Tube to block ISIS propaganda in the same way they block child porn.
What are we waiting for?