Abu Muqawama was reading the Economist's review of Marc Sageman's new book yesterday when he came across this passage (which also refers to Daniel Byman's new book):
Both authors believe that in the war of ideas Americans should focus on jihadist brutality rather than trying to burnish their own image.
Abu Muqawama then glanced down at the front page of Saturday's Times of London:
Baghdad’s fragile peace was shattered yesterday when explosives strapped to two women with Down’s syndrome were detonated by remote control in crowded pet markets, killing at least 91 people in the worst attacks that the capital had experienced for almost a year.
Iraqi and American officials blamed al-Qaeda, and accused the terrorist organisation of plumbing new depths of depravity. Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, said that al-Qaeda’s use of mentally-handicapped women as bombers showed that it had “no political programme here that is acceptable to a civilised society and that this is the most brutal and the most bankrupt of movements”.
Ryan Crocker, the US Ambassador, said: “There is nothing they won’t do if they think it will work in creating carnage and the political fallout that comes from that.”
It's too bad the U.S. and its allies have only a primitive IO campaign, because stories like this should be a goldmine.
Update: Taking advantage of those of you joining us through Instapundit, does anyone out there know how Islamic law differs among the four major schools with respect to the mentally retarded and incapacitated? Abu Muqawama knows there is a section in Bakhtiar's Encyclopedia of Islamic Law: A Compendium of the Major Schools on this, but, wouldn't you know it, doesn't happen to have that in front of him at the moment. It sure would be nice for the public affairs officers at CENTCOM to keep an Islamic law scholar on speed dial, though. (That would be a great conversation to listen in on, wouldn't it? "Salaam alaykum. Shlonak? Al-hamdu lillah. Ya hajj, we have a situation in Baghdad that we're pretty sure ain't 'halal' if you know what I mean...)