I caught a story on the news yesterday about NATO realizing that it needed to take the war against the Taliban to YouTube. In a speech delivered last month, NATO's Secretary General explained the problem: "When there is an incident in Afghanistan, the Taliban are quick to say there have been high numbers of civilian casualties. The wires pick it up, then the TV stations, then the Web. Our response comes days later – if we are lucky. By that time, we have totally lost the media battle." According to a NATO spokesperson the Taliban is "doing better than we are on key battleground -- and that's video".
In an effort to counter Taliban propaganda, NATO has declassified some videos showing Taliban fighters disguising as women and using little children as human shields. The Record, a daily local Ontario newspaper, ran an interesting story describing how NATO came to change its position on releasing these videos.
In response (?) to NATO's move, al Qaeda's TV production unit today released a new Bin Laden tape accusing NATO of having disrepsected the rules of war and having attacked and killed women and children on purpose.
That just goes to show that fighting a war is about much more than just the physical combat on the ground. The real war is fought in the court of public opinion with YouTube videos as the new weapon of choice.