If I were President Bush, there are three points I would make about Iraq over and over again, and with fresh detail every day.
I would appoint someone high in the administration — and who could do it better than Tony Snow — to give an additional public briefing on Iraq every afternoon at about four P.M., in time for the evening news. The point of this exercise would be to focus the mind of the country on three essential points about Iraq.
1) Barbarism: It must be made clear the sheer barbarity of the enemies our men and women are encountering in Iraq. Michael Yon has reported the story of a couple families in Diyala Province being courted by al Qaeda. Each family, with a son about eleven years old, was invited to a lunch by al Qaeda and “sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.” We need no starker reminder.
2) Terror: The point of this barbarity is to evoke terror and compel zombie-like obedience and subservience. Terror is a psychological weapon. The point of terror is to invade the soul of opponents, and thus to compel them to cease resisting, and to lay down their arms. The point of treating women harshly is to induce terror. The point of almost everything is to evoke and to multiply terror.
3) Tools: The best instrument of terrorists is, first, the international media, which allows them to strike fear of their primitive barbarity even into the hearts of peoples far away, convincing them and convincing their governments that fighting terror is hopeless. Second is the use of the Internet, which inspires millions of young Muslim men in every part of the world to seek after invincibility, power, and the gaining of respect through fear. The Internet is also used to teach amateur groups how to make for themselves, and deploy for themselves, simple instruments of local terror.
These three characteristics of our enemy need to be elaborated with new detail every day. Otherwise, the people might never learn the danger that approaches them. Most of the press refuses to report evidence of primitive barbarism and fanaticism. Multiculturalism inhibits the enlightened from politically incorrect observations. Thus, many are inhibited from reporting reality as it is. They try to suggest that our enemy is like us. (Our enemy never makes this mistake). Our media have largely become deception-based institutions, all too willingly self-deceived. We must gently make them confront this.
Fortunately, al Qaeda may be its own worst enemy in Iraq. Those who feel its punishment like lashes upon their back soon come to hate them, and reject them, as they have already done in Anbar Province. They do not want to live in the seventh century, which al Qaeda seemingly prefers.
We are now engaged in a war of ideas. For this reason, we need to draw for everybody a better picture of just who and what our enemy is, because this enemy is feverishly engaged in spreading to others their conception of who we are. They grasp the essence of a war of ideas far better than we have yet grasped it. They mean to kill us.
This is not marbles. This is death.
Pay close attention to what our men and women are learning about the enemy in Iraq. Do not sugarcoat it. Do not believe the politically correct press. They just don’t get it.