The Taliban’s favorite website?

Over at The Daily Beast, John Avlon ran a profile of The Long War Journal and the coverage of the Hakeemullah and Qari Hussain Mehsud tapes in relation to the failed Times Square bombing. The article provides some concise yet accurate background on this site. The title of the article is “The Taliban’s Favorite Website,” which is definitely good for a laugh. Well, clearly one of the fathers of the Taliban likes us.

During the interview, John asked a great question about the risk of disseminating Taliban propaganda. Here is the answer:

Critics may charge that publishing information gained from the Taliban amounts to disseminating propaganda during wartime, but Roggio said he has wrestled with that ethical issue and found clarity. “I think the propaganda cuts both ways,” he said. “They might be getting to gloat and maybe benefit in terms of recruiting, but it really should serve another purpose from the U.S.’s perspective: The propaganda should be viewed as a reminder that these people really are our enemies and they really do want to kill us.”

Read the whole thing.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Neo says:

    The Taliban probably reads this site to figure out what they are up to. It hard to keep tabs on everybody when you’re on Jihad.
    Sooner or later the Wikipedia community might even notice this site exists. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that though.

  • Lorenz Gude says:

    When I read John Avlon’s story I was brought up short by the following sentence:
    “The Taliban’s attention to The Long War Journal is the ultimate backhanded compliment from an enemy in the Internet age -” because I’d written a similar sentence to an earlier LWJ post on the Times Square bombing.
    “The terrorists emailing this blog with the location of video and audio files on the Times Square attack before it occurred is an interesting backhanded compliment to the excellent reporting done by the Long War Journal.”
    I have no issue around the idea that my words may have influenced Avclon’s sentence – besides his is much shorter and a better sentence – but the idea about the ‘Internet Age’ is the same which is important to me because it demonstrates that a new journalism is emerging that understands the blogsophere. Conventional journalists claim that it is just a parasite on their reporting, but the blogosphere actually creates new content like the LWJ as Avalon recognizes and explains. There IS a vacuum because the old, industrial age journalists still operate on the model of central control and new journalists are filling it. They can fill the vacuum by operating faster and smarter in a networked media ecosystem. That is why I am NOT upset that I see what looks like my own words come back to me – either way it is just the network doing its thing. It is parallel to why in an open networked environment Linux bugs get found and fixed quickly while with Microsoft’s industrial model the centralization of control first requires the PR department to try to control the bug report and only much later do the people who created the bug come out of denial and fix it. To come back to the Times Square incident compare the government’s attempt to downplay the Taliban connection while the open networked LWJ is getting email from the Taliban that puts anyone – you, me, or John Avalon ahead of the US government.

  • My2cents says:

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery


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