A not very effective recruitment video

I'd finished writing a really beautiful post about al-Zarqawi's latest pronouncements, in a newly released video (you can find it here, at Centcom). I then did the intelligent thing, hitting the "save" button, only to do see my magnum opus vanish entirely. Sadly, I don't have the time to recreate it. I urge you to read the speech yourself. I'll give you my conclusions, though, for what it's worth:

al-Zarqawi is hurting for troops. Despite statements about high morale and repeated victories, he acknowledges that his troops have sacrificed to their limit and, twice, in high-flown classical language, calls for new warriors:

Where are the lions of Al-Anbar? Where are the lions of Salah-al-Din? Where are the men of Baghdad? Where are the knights of Nineva, and the heroes of Diyala? Where are the brave men of Kurdistan? Where are you lions of monotheism?

Zarqawi recognizes that the news is hurting him. He announces that America is in defeat and in retreat. However, in an acknowledgment that the media shows the opposite, he claims that his troops are the victims of an "escalating and collaborated media blackout," and that, absent that blackout, "you would have seen wonders." You're psychotic or lying when you claim invisible victories to advance your position.

al-Zarqawi has been studying the anti-War playbooks for both this war and the Vietnam war. In terms of this War's anti-War effort, he talks in terms of imperialist expansion, sure to push the buttons of any liberal who sees the US seeking to exploit the third world. He also reverts to the Vietnam War by reverting to the big lie that portrayed American soldiers as dissolute, drug-addled, suicidal losers:

Not a single time were you truthful to yourself or your people; even though truthfulness, which you lack, is found in some of your forefathers. Why do not you tell the truth about your soldiers and that their fighting will is rather weak, so that your people will know the truth about this war? Why do not you tell them that your soldiers are continuously committing suicide? Why do not you tell them that your soldiers cannot sleep without taking drugs and hallucination pills and that those pills make them lose their mind to allow your evangelical-Zionist war generals to drag them into the slaughter house? Why do not you tell them about the mass desertion and revolt [which] is growing among the ranks of your soldiers?

As part of this approach, he plays on American fears of an endless war, by reminding us that his soldiers have no love for life, only a love for Allah and victory — making them the sure winners in a fight against our drug-addicts.

al-Zarqawi inspires his followers with a vision of the Caliphate, and makes it clear that a Democratically elected government cannot be the precursor to the Caliphate. All our promises of freedom, and happiness, and goodness simply don't rank against the blood-soaked Caliphate he envisions for his people.

At the same time that al-Zarqawi seeks to unify all Muslims against the "Crusader" oppressors, he's still working on his plan to foment an escalating civil war. He lumps the Sunnis in with the evildoing Crusaders and Zionists. If you can't get all Arabs working together, at least get them fighting against each other so violently that the momentum of that battle itself frightens the West into leaving. And considering the nine year war between Iran and Iraq, with casualties comparable to those we saw in the American civil war, the Arabs are perfectly capable of fighting each other to death, and taking everyone else down with them.

I didn't find al-Zarqawi's communication very impressive, but I'm not a true believer. Of course, even the most mediocre speech can sound inspiring when you're hearing it at gunpoint. And that's the real issue — will al-Zarqawi's rambling pep talk serve his recruiting goals and inspire his existing fighters in such a way that they will have real, rather than just imaginary, victories?

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  1. says

    Where are the brave men of Kurdistan?

    Maybe Z-Man is suffering form oxygen deprivation, but I do believe the Kurds are training with American forces on counter-guerrila insurgency tactics. To kick people like Z-Man, here out of Iraq for good.

    One of the dyanmics I probably picked up from reading, is that the “veterans” of the Jihad in Iraq know what’s up. They know that you attack Americans you die, if not now, then when somebody else’s laptop gets captured. The recruits, the greeny beanies, come into Iraq expecting paradise and jihad, and the veterans just use them as cannon fodder “stick them with suicide bombers” and then tell them that they should park that car right over there, for “surveillance reasons”. We saw that like a year ago, when one “suicide bomber” survived and said that his friends blew him up in his car… Okay.

    So there’s like this influx of new recruits who are clueless, and fired up. Then there’s the veterans, those who survived, demoralized but still kicking. Given the casualty ratios for the enemy, (1 death per 1 casualty), their turn around is pretty high. America’s casualty ratio is 1 to 10. And most of our casualties don’t die, they go home, get prosthetics, and come back to the war front.

    So even if Z man got his recruits, they’ll still got clobbered because he has a problem keeping his veterans alive. Another Fallujah or two, and Al Qaeda might not exist in Iraq anymore in numbers greater than squad level. If Z-Man thinks that was a victory, he should repeat it.

    His hope is that Sadr somehow distracts us or causes civil war, for him to feed off on the chaos. Maybe Osama’s rediverting some of the mujihadeen back to Afghanistan, for a counter-offensive or something. Trying to keep his “vets” alive.

    Their bombs in Egypt’s tourist center, might have been their attempt to recruit Palestinians. Now that the intifada seems to have caught a little snag.

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