On Saturday, Breitbart National Security contributor and Major General Horner Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University Dr. Sebastian Gorka told Fox News viewers that the key to defeating jihadism is to target it as an ideology.
On Fox News today, Dr. Gorka expanded that concept, calling for law enforcement and media to “ditch” the “lone wolf” label, as it obscures the one thing that ties all independent American jihadists to each other: ideology.
“This is a global network of jihadi activists,” Dr. Gorka explained, noting that the “lone wolf” label– applied to a number of Islamist shooters, from Fort Hood’s Nidal Hasan to Chattanooga’s Mohammad Abdulazeez–“is designed to make us think these are sporadic, disconnected individuals– they’re not.” The label “is designed to disconnect the dots,” he explains, as many of these individuals are watching similar, if not identical, Islamist propaganda online. In reality, “They are all connected by the ideology, by the stuff they consume on the internet,” Dr. Gorka explains.
Islamist propaganda online appears to differ in who is making it, but their objectives are the same: to destroy the American way of life and establish the global imposition of Sharia law. Abdulazeez was recently found to have been viewing videos by Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki, which may explain the lack of evidence he was consuming propaganda made by rival group the Islamic State, but does not mean the content of his preferred propaganda differed at all. (Dr. Gorka, who served as an expert for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Boston Bombing trial, has confirmed that the younger Tsarnaev had consumed numerous Awlaki audio lectures on jihad prior to detonating the pressure cooker bombs.)
The State Department’s attempts to crack down on radical Islamist propaganda online, Dr. Gorka notes, have been particularly ineffective. “Their attempts fail again and again because they ignore the fact that it is about ideology,” he argues, noting that the State Department has had little success in combatting Al Qaeda propaganda, which has already been eclipsed by the sophistication of the Islamic State’s 20,000 online platforms and English-language magazine: “It makes Al Qaeda’s English-language magazine, Inspire, look like some high school publication,” Dr. Gorka notes.
The key to defeating their propaganda, Dr. Gorka concludes, is not to try to prevent people from seeing it, but to provide vulnerable potential recruits with more compelling counter-propaganda that tears them away from jihadi materials. “You can only beat an ideology by coming up with a counterattack, a counteroffensive,” he explains, “we have to use social media to attack their ideology, to make them seem illegitimate, and talk about the things that make them vulnerable.” He also called for the U.S. government to covertly support Muslim reformers already active in the region.
Watch the full segment from Fox News on Tuesday below: