If there’s one thing radical Muslim terrorists like Zarqawi seem to crave it’s to be taken seriously, so any time one of these guys is mentioned in the media as a dangerous terrorist it actually has the effect of increasing their status among their potential recruiting base and a certain segment of their Arab peers. On the other hand, they are so insecure that there’s nothing so intolerable to them as to be publicy made light of. That’s why in some cases it can be even more damaging to their cause to subject them to widespread derision than to attack by conventional arms. It seems even the most hardened, impassioned potential jihadist will think twice before joining an organization that is the butt of the local jokes. This technique works even better when the humor is of the terrorists’ own making and all we have to do is disseminate it. That’s why the recent Zarqawi “outtakes” video is such a welcome development–it makes it clear to everyone, most especially their fellow Arabs, that in reality these guys are far from embodying the hyper-macho image of competence and power they take pains to project. Best of all, in doing so it exposes them to derision by their peers. Add to this the fact that Al Qaida already appears to be struggling in Iraq and you have a powerful, perhaps game-changing development.
I haven’t been able to find a version of the actual DoD video online yet, but when I do I’ll post a link to it.