Sunday, October 22, 2006

material support

Via Kevin Drum, Marc Lynch discusses the new RNC ad:

[W]hat to make of the fact that the Republican National Committee has produced its own al-Qaeda video. This is not just a video which suggests that Republicans will be better at fighting terror. It actually very closely resembles real al-Qaeda videos. It has the same tempo, the same images, the same juxtaposition of translated statements by al-Qaeda's leaders with glorified portrayals of powerful fighters waging jihad. The images don't just resemble those used in al-Qaeda videos: many were actually taken from real al-Qaeda videos, and you can still see the al-Sahab label faintly in the background (do you suppose that the RNC paid royalties?). A political ad? This video would not look out of place on a jihadi forum, and it wouldn't surprise me if it actually gets posted on them and admired (although the production values are a bit low for an actual al-Sahab product).

Anyone involved in analyzing or combating al-Qaeda's media strategies has to be astounded that the Republican National Committee has financed, produced, distributed on the internet, and aired on US television what is for all intents and purposes an al-Qaeda recruitment video. The video, if it works as intended, will frighten the American people and influence American politics... just like al-Qaeda's own videos. Bin Laden couldn't be prouder, or more grateful, especially since it didn't cost him a thing.

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