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Jun 17

The Battle for Hearts and Minds: Uncovering the Wars of Ideas and Images Behind the Global War on Terror

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During the Global War on Terror, multiple wars of ideas and images played out as belligerents and competing political interests sought to influence multiple public audiences toward their desired political goals. The international media also played a vital role in framing issues, debates, and events in the arena of ideas that accompanied the conflict. These wars of ideas and images had profound effects on domestic and international public opinion, which not only influenced events and operations during the conflict, but also threatened the outcome. This study traces these wars of ideas and images from the prewar debates following September 11, 2001 through military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. It not only examines how belligerents and various competing political interests sought to shape public opinion toward their political objectives during the Global War on Terror, but also examines both media performance on the battlefield and the media’s role in shaping public opinion, policy, and events during the war.

Timothy S. McWilliams is a marketing and communication professional with more than two decades of experience studying and understanding the media in all of its forms. As a U.S. Marine Corps reserve officer, he has studied U.S. strategic communication, media performance, and media influence. McWilliams is the co-editor of the two-volume Al-Anbar Awakening: U.S. Marine Counterinsurgency in Iraq 2003-2009.

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Timothy S. McWilliams
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James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

Vice President for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow Read More