"The Global War on Terror is an ideological war being fought in the environment indicative of fourth generation warfare. Propaganda bypasses traditional defenses and strikes right at the center of gravity -- popular support. In a modern war of ideologies, communication is decisive; propaganda is cleverly designed, influential communication that compels associated populations to support the cause or leave the battlefield. The Jihadists seek social revolution and rely on propaganda to communicate the cause. Propaganda is especially effective because of the nature of globalized communications -- a picture, a video, or a statement quickly consumes the attention of the world media and is spread instantaneously. Communist China successfully completed a social revolution during the 20th Century. Their revolution has striking similarities to the current Jihadist social revolution. China had a significant capability the Jihadists do not; the Chinese government could control nearly all aspects of information within their country. Despite the advantages of globalized communications, the Jihadists do not 'own' the battlefield. They are effectively using the battleground (television, internet, satellite TV) but pale in comparison to America's potential. Today, America does little to compete with the Jihadists in the realm of information operations. America can win the war of ideology on the information battlefield should it ever decide to compete."
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/