Washington déjà vu: ‘Hearts and Minds’ rears its head again

By GEORGE SALAMON / President Obama was unaware of or undeterred by that warning when in a February 18 Los Angeles Times op-ed piece he wrote: “Our campaign to prevent people around the world from being radicalized to violence is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds.” To many American journalists and their audiences the campaign’s more immediate strategy was not voiced in his remarks: stopping ISIS and other jihadist organizations and individuals from killing people around the world. Many had hoped to discover it. Moreover, the administration is faring badly in the media battle against the terrorist organization ISIS, particularly in the social media. The task of leading our battle was handed to CSCC, the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications. This bureaucratic entity has not found ways to compete with the gruesomely bloody materials released by ISIS that immediately go viral. The suggestion that CSCC should expose the nihilistic destructiveness through competitively vivid releases has not yet been acted upon. Our Department of State wallows in goody-two-shoe mini-lectures as responses as well. A day before his op-ed appeared, Department of State spokesperson Marie Harf insisted that a short-term strategy would not prevent the radicalization to violence the president hopes to thwart. Instead, she proposed that “we have to combat the conditions that can lead people to turn to extremism. “We can’t kill every terrorist around the world, nor should we try. How do you get at the root causes of this?…It’s really the smart way to combat it.”

Africa’s increased use of cell phones changing culture

BY MADELINE SMITH / Mobile phone subscriptions are sweeping across the African continent like never before. After years of technological repression caused by colonial rule, Africa’s mobile phone usage in the 21st century has gone viral. At the Africa Com 2013 conference in Cape Town, Africa, annual mobility reports were revealed. It was reported that mobile phone subscriptions had increased in Africa about seven percent.