As a communicator, first of all, you have to communicate your message through mediums to which people listen. So I think that we clearly need to be more effective about how we communicate on Al Jazeera.What do you know. The administration is actually buying into the idea that communicating with folks you disagree with might somehow be beneficial.
The superlative documentary Control Room shows how the United States could have benefited greatly from knowing how to work with (which is not the same as saying "aligning with") instead of constantly vilifying Al Jazeera (as Rumsfeld in particular is so adept at doing). In subsequent interviews on NPR, I remember one of that documentary's main characters Lt. Josh Rushing confirmed that the military could've used Al Jazeera much more effectively, and that he himself was sent to Iraq with little more knowledge of the place than what he learned in Iraq for Dummies on the flight over. His role was to be Central Commands military liaison to Al-Jazeera.
As Rushing told NPR
The fodder that feeds the fires of 9/11 is the Arab perspective. There's no greater shaper that we have access to than Al-Jazeera. It's too important to ignore.Glad someone's finally listening.
(Via Kevin Drum and Abu Aardvark.)