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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Soldiers With Pens In The Information War Against Israel

I have been sounding the warning over Turkey since January 2009. Now that Turkey has instigated a confrontation with Israel, it is important to keep Turkey's greater game in mind.

Caroline Glick (h/t Instapundit) explains it quite well.

Glick makes another important point, which is that alongside the shooting war is an information war. The information war is designed to deligitimize Israel and deprive it of the ability to defend itself:

This is where the Useful Idiots, like Glenn Greenwald, come in. By demonizing and dehumanizing Israel and its supporters (for example, labeling them "Israel-firsters"), and attacking everything Israel does to defend itself, the incessant critics of Israel put Israel on the defensive militarily.

The flotilla incident is a good example. Apparently fearing criticism of using "excessive force," Israeli commandos initially only used paint ball guns (a mild form of riot control) to defend themselves. Had the Israeli commandos gone in with a greater show of force, and cleared the decks with tear gas, stun grenades, and other non-lethal forms of crowd control, there likely would have been no deaths.

This lack of force allowed the jihadist agitators on board the Turkish vessel to attack the commandos with iron bars and other weapons, which resulted in the commandos having to use deadly force to defend themselves. The use of deadly force, of course, was just more excuse to attack Israel.

The information war contributed to the fiasco at sea, and the fiasco itself became another weapon to be used against Israel.

In many ways, the information war is as important as the shooting war. The isolation of Israel by a ring of missile launching pads in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza is matched by the isolation of Israel by the Islamist-leftist coalition.

I am reasonably confident Israel can win a shooting war, although the price it will pay is rising dramatically.

As to the information war, I'm not so sure.

Fortunately, the vast majority of Americans do not buy into the verbal and written garbage hurled by the liberal intelligentsia at Israel.

We need to keep it that way.

Note: With this post, I'm starting a Turkey post tag, since I have a feeling I'm going to be posting on Turkey's slide into Islamism in the coming months and years.

Update: Read Robert Pollak's article in The Wall Street Journal, Erdogan and the Decline of the Turks:

To follow Turkish discourse in recent years has been to follow a national decline into madness. Imagine 80 million or so people sitting at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. They don't speak an Indo-European language and perhaps hundreds of thousands of them have meaningful access to any outside media. What information most of them get is filtered through a secular press that makes Italian communists look right wing by comparison and an increasing number of state (i.e., Islamist) influenced outfits. Topics A and B (or B and A, it doesn't really matter) have been the malign influence on the world of Israel and the United States.

Charles Krauthammer also gets it right:

The whole point of this relentless international campaign is to deprive Israel of any legitimate form of self-defense.

Related Posts:
Turkey Looking Like The Next Iran
Another Warning on Turkey's Islamist Slide
Turkey is Lost to Islamists

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  1. Turkey is being hailed on Muslim websites as a defender of Palestine. We need to tread lightly on this Turkish element.

    I am certain NATO nuclear materials must be staged and ready to go on Turkish soil. Not just western tourists are there.

    How about this scenario: Turkey appeals to NATO to let it escort the Irish vessel. Would Israel then attack "NATO"? Probably yes it it had to.

    On thinking about why the US subs and Naval battle ship groups are positioned, it is to protect our troops. We are certain there will be war.

  2. I occasionally wonder if Greenwald's representation of Matt Hale didn't represent something more than "everyone deserves a lawyer".

  3. If you don't already, you should read Barry Rubin's blog. He's also been following Turkey's move towards Islamism and Iran and has some sharp analysis.

  4. I did a post today about how people have stopped listening to words - arguments for or against on both sides and are riveted instead on the next action. Part of it goes:

    The old saw – “actions speak louder than words” should be remembered by both sides in this. They are useless at this point unless spoken within the context of a body of arbitration. Individual, isolated “addresses” to the global community now fall on deaf ears with everyone hyper focused on the looming confrontation as it may be repeated or tweaked as Israael has indicated.

    The genius of the civil disobedience approach [ie the flotilla] is that it usually garners support and more often than not ends in victory. Israel’s options are being reduced by European action of this kind. How have the “European” activists convinced the Global community that their mission is purely humanitarian? Their action has been to take vessels to thwart the blockade and by this act were willing to be stopped. In short: their action presupposed they had nothing to hide. This is the strong message that their action carried.

    By this act, Israel was instantly labeled as the aggressor. Ask any Republican, labels are tough to throw since they are now all right wing nut jobs.

    Analysis of the dynamics of this thing and not the arguments for or against what got us there will be key. The key to turning this around will be to coolly sit down and assess what actions produced what result rather than what words or ideas produced it. Actions speak louder than words - we need to remember this. Follow the action.

  5. I think Mayor Bloomberg had one of the best responses in recent times about claims of Israel's excessive force with the example if someone is breaking down your door, do you want 911 to send one cop in order to be proportionate to the perp, or as many as they can?

  6. War is coming. The sick logic of how this one event escalated is simply being writ larger, and war is the only possible end. It would take heroic maturity and prescient leadership to prevent war. Nowhere is that evident, least of all in America. The belligerance and lunacy in most of the world is being met with passivity, fear and morally confused collusion in the west. The next few years will be truly awful. But apparently this is the way of the human condition, one more time in history when foolish and weak human beings will take us all to a dark place before, in turn (with hope), we learn our lessons.

  7. My wife and I enjoyed Turkey as one of our cruise stops a few years ago. The women were mainstream and educated. It would truly be a shame for Turkey to ruin the society that Ataturk created.

    We as Americans should boycott travel and products from Turkey. Tourism is big business. Our dollars should no longer support an anti-Israel government.

  8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_and_Development_Party_%28Turkey%29

    The Islamist AKP party is declining in power and reeling under corruption charges.

    How does this support your assertion, William, that Turkey is becoming MORE Islamist?

    I don't think it is. I think there is a war between secularists and Islamists in Turkey.

    On the other hand, when a political party is losing power it stages stunts. This will get worse before it gets better.

  9. Everyone should keep top of mind that Turkey's bid for a role as protector of Hamas is not merely a result of its "moderate" Islamist ruling party. It's one of the more obvious, direct consequences of Obama's policies of retreat, weakness and "outreach" to enemies and rivals from the Middle East to East Europe and Latin America and around the world.

    Put simply, there is a huge power vacuum being created by an American withdrawal from its post-WW II role as what we used to call "leader of the Free World" (getting to sound kind of quaint now, eh?). Every state and non-state actor is watching this and making decisions about what is best for them under radically changed circumstances. If I were Erdogan, I also would worry now about Iran and the Arabs a lot more than I'd worry about Obama, the US and Israel. By doing a little "outreach" of their own to Iran and throwing support to Hamas while sharply distancing themselves from their de facto alliance with Israel, the Turks are making a bid for Arab support and some sort of detente with a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran.

    The Turks live in a very dangerous neighborhood with Iran over her, Syria and an Arab host over there, and an increasingly assertive Russia (which rules over millions of Turkic peoples) at their back door. If I'm a Turkish leader -- and this, I believe, holds true for secular Turkish Army officers as well as the AKP -- and I see that the US has been undermining and neglecting its allies and sucking up to its worst adversaries, I will no longer put much stock in US or NATO as guarantors of my own security.

    Like they say, elections have consequences.

  10. Great post. This really is the crux of the problem. Many Turks are secularist, but they are still Muslim. The identify with the European west which is also anti-Israel. The propaganda surrounding the Iraq war has hurt US standing in the country. The most expensive Turkish film ever made Kurtlar vadisi - Irak (2006) depicts US soldiers in Iraq murdering Muslims at a wedding and a US - Jewish doctor harvesting organs from injured civilians to sell in NY and Tel Aviv.

    The Propaganda surrounding the Israel-Lebanon war in 2006 also resonated in Turkey. Being anti-Israel has become one of the few unifying political issues in Turkey and the AKP is pushing that button to avoid criticism in other areas.