Wikileaks Leak Suggests Hollywood Is Better At Preventing Terrorism Than The TSA

from the winning-the-hearts-and-minds dept

While it seems like US politicians keep insisting that Wikileaks’ release of State Department cables has put people in harm’s way — despite a lack of evidence to support that — some are pointing out that at least some of the cables actually show that some of what the US is doing in the Middle East has been quite effective. Prashanth points us to the news that one of the leaks showed that American TV and movies in Saudi Arabia are actually “are doing more to dissuade young Muslims from becoming jihadists than virtually anything else.” As the cable noted: “Saudis are now very interested in the outside world and everybody wants to study in the US if they can. They are fascinated by US culture in a way they never were before.”

Of course, the same politicians blasting Wikileaks as a “terrorist” organization can’t admit that some of the leaks are actually showing that some of what the US is doing is working quite well. As Prasanth notes in his own blog post, if US politicians were smart, they’d use cables like this to play up evidence that they’re doing some things well:

I feel like this is along the lines of winning the people’s “hearts and minds”. The reason why this works is because as opposed to state-sponsored propaganda (which is pretty obvious when shown), this more subtly shows what’s so great about the US.

Finally, I think this report is a great send-up of all the politicians who are equating Wikileaks with terrorism. Quite the contrary: while a lot of what it shows is what we’ve done wrong (and of course these politicians will hypocritically call for press freedom in other countries yet repress it here), it also shows a lot of what we’ve done right. Why not publicize that more?

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Comments on “Wikileaks Leak Suggests Hollywood Is Better At Preventing Terrorism Than The TSA”

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Tor (profile) says:

“Wikileaks Leak Suggests Hollywood Is Better At Preventing Terrorism Than The TSA”

The tougher question is which one is best at coming up with movie plot threats? 😉

Seriously though, this is an interesting perspective. I wonder if we haven’t seen a transition from poor people envying the living standard in the USA to people in other countries being fascinated by american life style and values. I heard a foreign reporter some time ago talk about how big influence american soap operas had on people’s ideas about gender equality in some arabic countries.

Richard Kulawiec says:

Re: Re:

That’s precisely correct and bears repeating in very large, bold type as many times as necessary until the lesson sinks in. (Which for some, unfortunately, it never will.)

Which is why we should have kept the troops at home and flooded those countries with laptops loaded with as much content as we could cram onto their hard drives. Much cheaper, much safer, far more disruptive.

Joe Blue Jeans says:


Totally Agree. The bread lines, repression, and stasis of Soviet society simply could not compete with a culture that looked fun, harmless, and most importantly free.

Sure, there will probably be a fringe element where that sort of thing just makes them angry, but you’ll convince a lot more of the people worth persuading, rational everymen and women.

Bubba Nicholson (profile) says:

Wikileaks suggests the obvious

My propaganda (wrote OF LOVE B0030MIG24 Hillary’s Angel B002TSB0ZU, Invented Inclusive Found cure for crime, addiction, perversion, suicide Proposed GA’s HOPE ScholarshipProgram/BrightFutures Poems for DeadPoetsSociety &sax solo, lyrics for “Light&Day” Spotless Mind
FilmingStarWarswasmyideaStories,characters,speeches&concepts(asForce,Jedi,Code)AFewGoodMen,Aladdin,Alexander,AmericanBeauty,AmericanPresident,Apocalypto,Armageddon,AustinPowers,Avatar,TheAviator,BacktotheFuture,Bandits,Batman,BeautifulMind,BenjaminButton,BigFish,BigLabowski,BourneIdentity(myhandprint),Braveheart,ABronxTale,BruceAlmighty,CastAway,CatchMeifYouCan,CharlieandtheChocolateFactory,ChroniclesofNarnia,CityofAngels,Cloverfield,ColdMountain,CrouchingTigerHiddenDragon,DaVinciCode,TheDayAfterTomorrow,DeepImpact,Elf,EnemyoftheState,EternalSunshineoftheSpotlessMind,FindingNemo,Flyboys,ForrestGump,GalaxyQuest,Gattaca,Gladiator,GreenMile,GoodWillHunting,Hellboy,Hook,Identity,Inception,IndependenceDay,IngloriousBasterds,IRobot,TheIsland,Jaws(styrofoamcup),JourneytotheCenteroftheEarth,Juno,LadyKillers,LemonySnicket,LOR,LostinTranslation,TheMask,TheMatrix,MeettheParents,TheMexican,MinorityReport,Munich,MysticRiver,MysticPizza,NationalTreasure,NeverBeenKissed,NightattheMuseum,OhGod!,PassionoftheChrist,ThePatriot,PiratesoftheCaribbean,Pleasantville,PrincessFrog,RaidersoftheLostArk,RemembertheTitans,RoadtoPerdition,RunawayBride,SavingPrivateRyan,Schindler’sList,ShawshankRedeption,Shrek,Signs,SimpsonsMovie,6thSense,SleepyHollow,SomethingAboutMary,SpaceCowboys,Spiderman,TheTerminal,300,Titanic,Troy,TrumanShow,Unbreakable,VforVendetta,VanillaSky,TheVillage,WagtheDog,WaroftheWorlds,WeddingCrashers,WhatWomenWant,WhatLiesBeneath,WildThings,WildWildWest.MorningEdition,Simpsons,TheVisitor,JAG,TouchedbyanAngel,Bones,Justice,House,Lost,Numbers,Kings,Fringe,Glee) is better than Bush crony propaganda? Well, duh.

Jose_X (profile) says:

Re: Two classes of money (holy living money and play money)

>> Do you mean that playing instead of fighting is an attractive feature to humans the world over?

This is one reason why I like fair markets with many competitive players if possible and no one too strong. It enables more people to play rather than for many to have to worry about fighting (to get food, shelter, etc) frequently.

It’s also why I am intolerant of the very wealthy’s approach when they keep leveraging their easier and easier dollars to add more and more pressure to those that don’t have access to a similar quantity of dollars and levers.

Dollars for food, shelter, education, and basics come first as a human requirement so that all people can eventually be peaceful and play. Afterward, we can divy up the remaining bucks over time to play our games, hopefully with some degree of “reset” mechanism (eg, progressive taxes) so that the same players aren’t always starting each year with a huge lead over everyone else. If you always start off with a big lead and many levers, all else being equal, you end up each year with a bigger lead and more levers (until you slip from the diminishing players that are the cream of the crop and get pressured back towards the masses). Think of Monopoly the board game.

Sure, this may sound crazy to some ears, but it’s a pretty interesting way to live I think. We need to make sure there are two distinct categories of dollars: (a) those that apply to the basics (we can find jobs, and we can do our chores to earn these, perhaps a la “to each according to need from those according to ability”) and (b) those dollars that apply to our games.

As a small way to impact legislation in the US at this very moment, consider letting each of your two Senators know that you don’t support reinstating the 2yr tax cuts on easy money (money for the top 2%). These people are loaded with levers (including holding huge cash reserves that have become inaccessible to the rest of us).

Having a fair playing field and a genuine opportunity is a part of thwarting terrorism and of enabling the potential of the “American Dream”, no matter who you are or where you live.

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