I’ve read through the National Security Strategy for 2006 released last Friday by the White House, and overall it’s a hardheaded and realistic approach to dealing with current and future enemies. However, I think they missed something: aggressively conducting cyber warfare against jihadi web sites and bulletin boards.
For years now it’s been common knowledge (even in the mainstream media) that the Islamists use web sites and online bulletin boards to coordinate their efforts and recruit new adherents to their cause. They also use encrypted e-mail to transmit commands, coordinate their finances and handle logistics. The jihadis expertly manipulate the media into broadcasting their calls to jihad, their videotaped bombings, and worst of all the beheading of hostages.
Encouraging words, but where’s the follow-up?
Continuing a theme he’s advanced since 2002, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld noted last month:
We are fighting a battle where the survival of our free way of life is at stake. And the center of gravity of that struggle is not just on the battlefield. It is a test of wills and it will be won or lost with our public and the publics of free nations across the globe. We will need to do all we can to attract supporters to our efforts, to correct the lies being told which so damage our country, and shatter the appeal of the enemy. [emphasis added]
My first reaction to the speech was, “Great! Let’s start taking down their websites and bulletin boards and e-mail servers.” Based on Secretary Rumsfeld’s comments, I figured that there’d be something along those lines in today’s new National Security Strategy … but I don’t see it in there.
4/4/2007 Update: Is the behemoth finally waking up? Maybe.