Greg Sheridan, in The Australian, describes how Al Qaeda is winning, not by battlefield success, but via propaganda.
the awesome power of what the boffins call al-Qa’ida’s “single narrative” for Muslims everywhere. The single narrative is the most powerful propaganda tool yet devised. It presents all of Muslim experience worldwide as a story of Western and Zionist persecution of Muslims. This embraces obvious cases such as Palestinians, Kashmiris and Bosnians, but also the experience of Muslims in the Middle East under corrupt governments, the experience of Muslims in India, the marginalised status of Muslims in western Europe, the conflict in Iraq and everything else. The beauty of the single narrative is that any grievance at all, real or imagined, whether based in fact or fantasy or conspiracy, can be fitted into it.
(Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer observes) “In terms of their PR, I give full marks to al-Qa’ida. They’ve been very successful.”
“Every time there’s a terrorist attack in Iraq there’s a Western reaction not of how horrible these people are but that we must pull out, we should give up. I give full credit to al-Qa’ida for their excellent public relations.”
Downer is right in this withering analysis. Al-Qa’ida in a sense wins whether it wins or loses. If it kills a large number of innocents, the chief reaction among most commentators is that this is somehow the fault of the US or its coalition allies.
The Western commentariat, not least in Australia, has embraced the pro-terrorist proposition that almost the only people not morally responsible for terrorism are the terrorists.