The fight against terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda or the Taliban is more often in the news than the other struggle against militants–the battleground of virtual reality. Jarret Brachman, former director of the West Point Combating Terrorism Center, believes Al-Qaeda has transformed from a terrorist organization that uses the media to a media organization that uses terrorism.” Our focus is so much on killing terrorists that we often lose sight of the ideological struggle which is just as critical to achieve peace in the region. Rep. Adam Smith, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, argues we have to focus both on immediate issues of terrorism and “the long term message, the battle of ideas.”
Unfortunately, right wing pundits on Fox News shout and rant about the need to fight terrorism with weapons of war and do not have a clue as to how a nation wages a war of ideas. During the Cold War there were numerous centers and scholarly efforts to understand communism in order to combat propaganda from Moscow or Peiping, but today, there is too often the message of hatred and this invariably fails to resonate with people of the world.