even warfare is a game of branding and PR these days

Warfare — and politics on the whole, of which warfare is but a subset — has always been subject to propaganda. But this… The guys at the Onion must be kicking themselves for not having come up with this first. From PRNewser:

Bin Laden Considered Renaming al-Qaida, According to Recovered Documents

Osama the Jihadist. Osama the Terrorist. Osama the Marketer. Taking a page from the crisis handbook of corporations under extreme stress, Osama bin Laden considered renaming al-Qaida, according to writings retrieved during a raid on the compound in which he was killed last month. It had become just too…well, you know. Bad. And not anti-American enough.

What happened to the AQ is the entire world dropped the second half of the full name of the terrorist org: al-Qaida al-Jihad. According to the undated letter recovered from the compound, lopping off the second part allowed the West to “claim deceptively that they are not at war with Islam.” One option was simply the Jihad Group. As if it were a hedge fund, or a publicly traded company.

I might have suggested Jihad: Fuck Yeah! Bin Laden didn’t just need a new name for his organization — he also needed the Middle Eastern equivalent of Matt Stone and Trey Parker working for him. Except satire doesn’t really fit into a fundamentalist mindset. This is perhaps a primary problem for al Qaeda: one needs satirists to point out how extreme the extremes are, and then one needs someone with no sense of irony — a Sarah Palin, a Glenn Beck — to run with them, not realizing that they’re satire.

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