Vodkapundit's long promised essay is finally there, and it's a pretty good read. Well worth a look.
One thing about his main point (that the West needs to win a media war to win the war on terror) bothers me, though. I have often been amazed at how (gosh, how to put this nicely - here goes -) especially gullible about rumour the Arab world seems to be. There are many, many examples, but the one that sticks in my mind as emblematic was watching hundreds of men shooting and hunting around a Baghdad river on live TV during the Iraq war because there was a rumour that an American pilot had parachuted there from a downed plane. No parachute to be seen, but boats racing up and down, men going into the reeds to find him, hundreds of men pointing excitedly at the river every time they saw a bubble. After a scary 30 minutes (or so I recall it) of wondering if we were about to see an American shot on the spot, turned out there was no one there.
Then, how often do we hear, after some home made bomb goes off in Gaza or Iraq, someone saying it was an American or Israeli plane or missile that came out of the sky, and it seems to be immediately believed by the mob?
I suspect there must be something very cultural about this. I know that all cultures can be prone to believing rumour in the right circumstances, but as I say, I just haven't noticed it to such an extreme extent in other parts of the world.
If I am right about this (and of course this is an extremely subjective judgement for which I have no great body of objective evidence to back up,) it makes the media war for their minds a particular challenge.