As Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s budget proposal highlighted a few weeks ago, the wars of the future are more likely to take place on the cyberplanes of the interweb than the deserts of the Middle East.
So then how do we as a global superpower respond to this new landscape in our endless, monotonous, no-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel, what-are-we-even-really-accomplishing-here War on Terror?
By trolling terrorists on Twitter.
Yep. Using the handle @ThinkAgain_DOS, the State Department has been using a few of the million dollars they had allotted for just such occasion to “find users sympathetic to enemies of the state, and troll them until they see the error of their ways.”
Because everyone totally believes what trolls say and no one has ever studied the strong correlation between trolling behavior and psychopathy?
Though, as Mother Jones reminds us, “This kind of thing isn’t unusual for the State Department,” reporting:
The Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications was established in 2010 to coordinate messaging to target violent extremism on the internet, especially that of Al Qaeda and affiliates. CSCC (an interagency center that is housed at State) initially focused on non-English online forums where the State Department saw jihadists attempting to recruit and raise money (message boards, comments on Al Jazeera Talk, etc.) Late last year, CSCC made a move into English-language websites, with the small team of analysts and microbloggers expanding their fight on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and elsewhere, under the banner of the US State Department.
And they’ve really committed to this trolling persona.
Take a look at some of these pretty incendiary tweets:
That’s some Grade-A trolling right there.
And while there’s no telling whether this is doing more harm than good, you’ve got to give the State Department credit for at least thinking outside the box, right? #America?
Oh, and if you’re one of those Silicon Valley prophets that think Twitter is on it’s way out, don’t worry; there’s a Tumblr too. #America!