Author Biography

Pat Proctor is a U.S. Army field artillery lieutenant colonel with over seventeen years' active service. In 2007, he served in Iraq as a member of the Joint Strategic Assessment Team under General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, mapping the future for post-surge Iraq. Colonel Proctor is currently deployed to eastern Afghanistan as the chief of plans for the First Infantry Division. He is the author of Task Force Patriot and the End of Combat Operations in Iraq. He holds master's degrees in military arts and sciences for strategy and theater operations from the U.S. Command and General Staff College and the School of Advanced Military Studies, respectively. He is a doctoral candidate in history at Kansas State University. Colonel Proctor's recent publications include "Message versus Perception during the Americanization of the Vietnam War," The Historian (Spring 2011); "Fighting to Understand: A Practical Example of Design at the Battalion Level," Military Review (March–April 2011); and "The Mythical Shia Crescent," Parameters (Spring 2008) and Iran International Times, May 23, 2008.




After a decade of war, the United States has failed to eradicate the threat of salafist jihadism. No matter how hard it tries, the United States cannot kill its way to victory in the war on terrorism. Sweeping changes across the Middle East—dubbed the "Arab Spring" by the media—have presented the West with a unique opportunity to pursue an alternative approach. Rather than engaging in war (politics through violence), the United States should engage in mass politics (war without violence) to compel the Arab world to reject the salafist jihadism idea. This article proposes a strategy calibrated to defeat international terrorism without unnecessarily antagonizing non-jihadist salafists and political salafists who enjoy broad-based support in the Arab world. The article goes on to identify key political figures already espousing elements of this counternarrative, and it describes the methods the United States should use to empower these and other anti–salafist jihadism activists.