Fighting terrorist in the internet battle space

James Zirin:

Thomas X. Hammes is a retired Marine colonel. He is the author of a seminal book on conducting counter-insurgency warfare. The work is called "The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century."

Recently, he made an intriguing proposal on how to battle jihadists on the Internet (a virtual agora where Islamist militants appear to consort with alarming frequency). This is what he said:

"For the last few years, individuals and private organizations that are pro-Israeli have been in a daily fight to shut down or deface anti-Israeli Web sites. Unofficial and informal, this Internet Hagana has had considerable success. They cannot shut down all hostile sites because they keep popping up, but at least they have not completely ceded the field to the Internet jihadists.

"While we have a few Americans who take similar action against mufsidoon (evildoers) Web sites, why don't we encourage Americans/western 'geeks' to go after these Web sites? Exploit them, disrupt them, shut them down, post false information, and create distrust. This will not be a government-controlled or directed effort. Essentially, I am suggesting a leaderless effort that allows Americans to use their creativity, technological skills, and the rabid dedication some people will apply to such a project. The mufsidoon are coming after all American citizens; this is a way some Americans can fight back.

"Some will object that such actions will simply encourage Islamists to attack American sites. But our sites — government and private — are already subject to tens of thousands of attacks per day.

"Obviously, such action won't solve the overall strategic issues but it will insure the terrorists no longer have a sanctuary on the Internet."

...

While it may be difficult to keep these guys off the net, we can make it inconvenient for them to use it without disruption and make it harder for their potential followers to keep up with them. The Jawa Report has also done a good job of getting these guys off the net. The enemy has said that half the battle is in the media battle space and the internet is where they are fighting much of that battle.

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