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September 15, 2008

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smintheus

Fascinating stuff. I'm particularly intrigued by the second point, partly because it's hard not to hear an echo as well of the Republicans' cynicism toward manipulating and blunting public discussion of pressing political issues at home (e.g. the regular whipping up of the culture wars to distract voters from bread-and-butter issues).

In the short term the tactic of using popular culture to distance younger voters from the lure of Muslim extremists might succeed to some degree. But in the longer term I can imagine it backfiring badly under regimes that remain oppressive, in an Iranian revolutionary kind of way. The more westernized that culture is, the more it risks backlash I'd think.

will

It is curious to me why so many US officials think that public diplomacy, strategic communications and other forms of advertising can change the currently negative attitudes of most Muslims towards the US. Having lived for a period in both the West Bank and Iraq, my sense is that most Muslims form negative attitudes about the US as a result of direct experience with US foreign policies that negatively affect them, violate their human rights, etc. A more effective way to improve Muslim attitudes to the US would be to simply adopt better policies which do not favor strategic interests over human rights concerns. For example the US could refrain from invading and occupying Muslim countries.

annie

don't forget this 'war of ideas' isn't just taking place in the middle east, it is taking place here in america where we are directed to fucus with increasing pressure on the 'dangers of islam'. this tension in their presentations in the portrait of al-Qaeda is necessary at all costs because while it may be true they really see al-Qaeda as a marginal, self-defeating movement collapsing on its own irrelevancy, , and this gives us 'hope' our efforts are working' it is imperative we understand this threat is still a major threat requiring the concentrated resources of the U.S. national security establishment , or else, or else what? what would happen if the US populace didn't believe we need to have a 'war on terror'. there are many of us who think terror is being used as an excuse for our geopolitical goals.

without islam we would be exposed as just being greedy imperialists.

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