Faith and Freedom Foundation
Stephen Coughlin on National Security
Stephen Coughlin is a leading expert in the United States on Islamic Doctrine, specifically as it relates to the "doctrinal drivers of jihad" that affect our national security. He is also the founder and President of Unconstrained Analytics, LLC.

Before retiring as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, Stephen Coughlin was assigned to the Intelligence Directorate (J2) of both the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and United States Central Command (CENTCOM), where he had responsibility for intelligence support to strategic communications and information operations as it related to the War on Terror, as well as operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and related areas. Upon leaving active duty, Major Coughlin was sought out to support Joint Staff efforts along these same concerns. Coughlin is an attorney with a background in International and comparative law. (Read more)
Postmortem on the 2012 election
By Stephen C. Coughlin, Esq.
November 8, 2012

As noted in a recent email, I mentioned that to defeat the MB, we have to attack the postmodern meme where the target audience is the public. This election makes the same case writ large. For all those blaming the citizen for getting what they deserve, and there is something to that, I think we need to remember that as a group, we are all hyperaware of issues that the rest of the country has had filtered from them. In this election, we were so focused on the distortions in the Democratic polling, we lost the sense that maybe we were running after the bright shiny things on our side as well.

Back in the good old Cold War days, when I spoke Russian, I would ask Soviet refugees why if they thought the Soviet Union was evil and always feeding them propaganda that they still always opposed most of what the United States did. The answer was telling and immediately relevant to our current reality. The answer was that when the only information you got was from the propagators of the propaganda, even as you knew that most of what they said was untrue, you never know what specifically was untrue. Hence, even the opposition was left in a position of agreeing with what they knew, at any given time, not to be true. That and also the fact that, for those same educated and informed Russians, there was the sense that one could only go so far with a country that both created Aids to kill blacks in Africa and also adopted foreign children so they could conduct experiments on them. (On these last two points, our response was that no one would believe such nonsense and, hence, it did not warrant a response. We did not respond and were shocked when it turned out that many believed them to be true in the non-Western world. Just go to parts of Africa. Just ask anyone trying to adopt abroad today. In fact, go to Europe today and ask how so many actually believe that 9/11 was an inside job. (Another issue we did not stoop to justify with a response.) This was the O attack on R. And R didn't stoop so low as to grace such rhetoric with a response.

How is it that we who are so keenly aware of how factual stories are routinely and systematically suppressed at the programmatic/policy level are nonetheless surprised that the public are unaware? Of the many who like to talk information operations (IO), most hardly get it. The left not only removed our issues from the debate, they have effectively destroyed the underlying basis that makes those issues comprehensible. One cannot finesse a hostile IO campaign, one must counter it in a muscular way. We should no longer call it "news." While there were attempts to counter various instances of the IO campaign (to challenge certain instances of insults to R), the IO campaign itself was never challenged. The Big Lie rolled forward intact and unchallenged.

The R campaign was too cute by half. The RNC and Romney (by which I mean establishment Republicans) thought they could win without challenging the meta-narrative. Since Bush 1, this has been the case. We have lost our American principles with the American public because of this – not to speak of an entire generation propagandized in the democratically dominated public and higher education systems. The left can always move with the evolving memes because they exist to empower them and besides, the left doesn't believe in anything other than power. Conservative views are built on foundations and will always fail when built on memes (as opposed to truths). The only thing worse than Bush 2 losing to Gore based on "Compassionate Conservatism" (Conservatism built to suit the postmodern meme) is that he would win with it and then get folded in by it. Bush 2 caused Obama (and gave us McCain, Boehner, and Romney).

I prayed, I hoped, but I was not among those yesterday who thought R had the edge or that the fix was in for him. I really have no ill will towards Mr. Romney at all. But I also did not believe his victory would be anything other than a reprieve from the dramatically downward trajectory we are currently on. I was present in a room where a Member of Congress was told by R's people that they were not going to talk about terrorism, it was only going to be about jobs and the economy, and if anyone went down that road and the election was lost, they would blame them for the defeat. They ran on one leg of the three-legged stool. Romney's strategy was to be a risk averse challenger (truly a contradiction in terms) and ride a wave of politically-acceptable disenchantment. WOW!

Yes, he showed us what he could do in the first debate, but reverted to form – being safe – by the third. Yet in the third debate, this meant giving O a pass on Benghazi in a situation where he could have taken up the charge and in the process forced the mainstream media to pick it up. For those who understand it, he passed on an issue with immediate and serious national security consequences. This was a non-trivial issue that did not lack for documentation. Risk averse is almost too kind. (For those who care, shouldn't this have been expected in a Romney administration as well?) Only Gingrich had the awareness to know that the meme itself, and hence the media, had to be attacked as much as O – and knew that in both cases, this meant having to go ugly early and often. R never challenged the uber-memes of this race. But the very memes themselves sought to marginalize R and the RNC.

I was perfectly willing to support R on the simple proposition of "anyone but O." As this constituted a large percentage of those who would vote for him, the whole gentlemanly "Obama is a nice man and good father" was a backhanded slap at the many who truly (and with merit) believe that O wants to destroy this country and what it stands for. This is a man, O, whose entire election depended on dishonest smears and control of the media. What the citizens didn't know they didn't hear. (Or is that the other way around?) R was actually complicit in this! "Only the economy!"

My thoughts going into the election was that O would probably win – for the same reasons that Boehner and the leadership were willing to throw Bachmann on the tracks. The RNC is hostage to postmodern narratives that it seeks to accommodate. Yet, these narratives seek to destroy what the RNC says it stands for. We keep getting calculating candidates from an RNC that, for example, manipulates patriotism as a prop for "bubba" (and then gets embarrassed in polite society for doing so). "It's just that demographic – you understand." We don't get candidates who believe. And it shows. And Benghazi confirmed it. A candidate who believed would not have allowed this to pass. A candidate who let it pass because polling indicated it might bring risk is a candidate who doesn't believe. Say what you will about Obama and the Democratic leadership, they believe. And because of this, they were always willing to go ugly to get it. The RNC doesn't and didn't. Obama was willing to lose rather than compromise certain issues (which may be why he won)! The Tea Party is still unwashed, but it believes. Boehner, the RNC and the folks behind Romney are embarrassed by the Tea Party. They are, get ready, "true believers."

I am still holding out for the American people. What they don't know the left withholds from them and the RNC is too craven to raise. Just ask the signers of the IG Request. The American people need a true voice – they need a hero or two and it ain't coming from the RNC.

All R ever had was the real disdain people had for O and his policies, and he wasn't willing to drive that point home. Didn't want to get dirty!

Just as with another famous person, the American people spit out the lukewarm.