[ by Charles Cameron — Ts learn from CTs learn from Ts learn fro.. ]
Brachman and McCants note in the conclusion to Stealing Al-Qa’ida’s Playbook:
Jihadi ideologues closely follow Western thought and U.S. strategic planning for insights that can be used against the United States and its allies.
and acknowledge their own borrowing, not only in the title, but also in the earliest pages of their work:
Although we would like to claim credit for the approach described in the introductory paragraphs, it is modeled after a similar approach used by Abu Bakr Naji, a rising star in the jihadi movement. In his 2004 work, The Management of Barbarism,* Naji urges fellow jihadis to study Western works on management, military principles, political theory, and sociology in order to borrow strategies that have worked for Western governments and to discern their weaknesses.
And here’s Naji, in The Management of Savagery (which Will McCants translated) on borrowing from non-Muslim sources of military expertise:
Wisdom is the goal of the believer, and even if we generally follow in the footsteps of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) and his Companions (may God be pleased with them), we only accept that our policies in any jihadi action are Sharia policies, unless the Sharia permits us to use the plans and military principles of non-Muslims in which there is no sin.
[ .. ]
Following the time-tested principles of military combat will shorten for us the long years in which we might suffer the corrupting influences of rigidity and random behavior. Truly, abandoning random behavior and adopting intellectual, academic methods and experimental military principles and actually implementing them and applying military science will facilitate our achievement of the goals without complication and enable us to develop and improve the execution (of our plans), by the permission of God.
In practice, the loop is in fact a spiral, with each side learning, both on the battleield and on the mindfield, from the other.
The Brachman / McCants paper was published in 2006. I only learned of the Arabic translation today. For those interested in OODA loop timing, that looks to be an almost decade-long time-lapse, eh?
Or am I the slow one?