Adam Gadahn: Just a Tool
Today, ABC News published an article about al-Qaeda's beloved Amriki (American), Adam Gadahn, titled The Making of an American Jihadist. For whatever the merits of the article are or are not, getting past the first paragraph is a struggle.
Adam Gadahn, al Qaeda's English-speaking spokesman who calls himself Azzam al-Amriki, or Adam the America[n], has become a powerful propaganda tool for the terror organization.
Perhaps a propaganda tool, but a powerful propaganda tool?
Perhaps it's because he does not speak with a menacing thick Arabic accent. Perhaps it's because his persona on camera comes off to American-Idol-obsessed Americans as somewhat of a theatrical effort rather than a pure passion. Perhaps its because we have all seen his pictures and he looks like "that one kid" from high school.
But for whatever the reason may be for any particular American, his staged diatribes do not have nearly the gripping effect of conveying terror that the message(s) is designed to impart unequivocally.
He may be valued highly by his handlers on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border as an American who can condemn his own country, and he may well relish in that stature. And perhaps he is a "powerful propaganda tool" among al-Qaeda supporters and sympathizers in the Middle Eastern region.
But it can be said with a fair amount of certainty that the Americans (and Brits, for that matter) he addresses see him for the tool that he is. In fact, the thaught has likely crossed the minds of many that it is better that he is likely in the foothills of Pakistan creating English media banter rather than roaming California with something to prove to those same handlers.
The value of propaganda is the manner in which it is received by the target audience, not the number of times the message is repeated. Bearing that in mind, just because broadcast media outlets worldwide cyclically run his English language footage does not make him a powerful propaganda tool.
Propaganda tool? Yes. Clearly.
Powerful propaganda tool? Hardly.