The US government is turning to blogs and possibly to the virtual wasteland known as Second Life to step up its faltering information war against Islamist extremists. But critics remain unimpressed, saying the measures aren't enough to counter a massive internet campaign that spreads pro-terrorist messages to people in Islamic …
I don't think it will be enough, I think they might want to consider recruiting quite a lot of English (and I mean English), French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portugese, Swahili, Dutch, Creole, Arawak, Inuktitut, Amarag etc... etc... bloggers if they really want to improve their image.
Oh and they might consider not bombing people and saving them from their-selves.
Not to mention keeping their crappy media, celebrities, coca-cola, Chryslers, M$, legal system, concentration camps, ad infinatum within their own borders.
I'll get my bandana...
One blogger is enough if he's honest
They can turn a million Muslims, if they have just one honest guy, explaining in honest straightforward ways why the US is not the evil empire and why they made the choices that they made, and also to admit mistakes and state what they will do to fix the mistakes that arise.
They need to remember that these phrases are also valid responses, maybe not in politics but in discussions.
"You may be right"
"I hadn't thought of it like that"
"I don't know"
"I may be wrong"
Blogging, leafleting, radio or Tv broadcast etc will not work for the US or indeed anyone else until they are able to see the issue/s from the viewpoints of the various countries and factions involved. There has been more than a hundred years of interventionism perpetrated by the Americans, English, French and Germans in the middle east and Indonesia which is also largely Islamic. Whether the blogger or broadcaster is honest or not there are more than 500 million Muslims, many of whom think they have been singled out for exploitation, having their governments undermined or replaced to suit western needs. It's going to take more than honesty to win them over and more than five minutes. Firstly they are going to believe their own propagandists before any western ones and secondly they will have to believe the western propagandists understand their grievances and possibly even sympathise with them. Muslims are not stupid after all they provided us with the foundations of modern medicine and mathematics amongst other things. Imagine a disgruntled Iraqui whose country's infrastucture has been destroyed and whose neighbours or family are being killed by people who are liberating him whether he likes it or not, why should he give a damn about an American Blog or anything else?
US Army redeployed as bloggers?
Yup, I can see plenty of positive blogging posts comming from US personnel currently serving tours of duty in those havens of peace and tranquility known as Iraq and Afghanistan!
Can't you just feel the love!
Or they could stop bombing the bejeezus out of Arabic countries
How about they stop acting like the evil empire? That might work. Might even be cheaper than trying to put a positive spin on their behaviour.
They created Osama bin Laden because it suited them to have a terrorist as a pawn in their "war" in Iran. They supplied weapons to insurgents all over the world and bankrolled terrorism, all in the interest of destabilizing countries and introducing governments who were more "American friendly" (more likely to sell their oil to Halliburton).
America spies on its own citizens. They kidnap and torture foreign citizens without benefit of recourse to a court. They invaded more countries than any other nation did last century. They are also the only nation to have dropped nuclear weaponry on a civilian target. Twice.
Changing their foreign policy is the best way to stop terrorism in its tracks. I agree with Anonymous Coward - they should admit they were wrong and try to make some sort of honest reparation.
It's all spin. America and the 51st state both engage in covert operations in foreign countries. Yet somehow its not terrorism when they kidnap and torture people.
Spot the America Propagandist Challenge!!
I wish there were links to the sites and blogs. I'd like to get a contest together (El Reg you listening) and play "spot the American propagandist". The "enemy" is not stupid and I'm sure they know who is seeding the boards.
As Noah Shachtman was (sort of) quoted as saying, this sort of effort will require many viewpoints from many, many sources to be effective. A lone (or 6) crusaders spewing the corporate line is foolish as everyone knows who is acting as Satan's mouthpiece. (plus it makes me and my country folk look really, really stupid(er)
Who wants a "spot the American propagandist" contest on El Reg?
Not going to make any difference
Half of Americans reject evolution. They even speak English so there's no language barrier. There's little chance of convincing them to even consider the alternatives, much less getting them to accept that they were wrong.
I feel bad for the bloggers, I'm sure they would do all they can, but I'm afraid they're not going to accomplish anything and just end up frustrated and aggravated.
"How about they stop acting like the evil empire?"
Well, the thing is, Andy. Can I call you Andy? All right, Andrew then. Have it your way. The thing is, Andrew, that we ARE an evil empire. So, just going the "stop acting like one" route really would be undermining our mission statement, you know?
Yes, sure, we kill people everyday. Thousands a week, probably (we don't bother counting the brown ones). And sure, many of them are children or women or even British troops from time to time. But you don't make an evil empire without breaking some evil eggs; you know what I'm saying here, Andy? Sure you do. You're all right, kid. I liked you the moment you walked in the door.
So, what I'm going to offer you is the same deal I offered Tony (Heeey, Tony!) and Gordon: You take this gun and shoot a few ragheads for me and the boys back home and I absolutely guarantee you that I'll make sure that nothing happens to your oil supply when China comes asking for their cut. It would be a shame if anything did happen, mind you. Because, you know - and I know you'll not mind me telling you this because, in all honesty, we're both in the same boat - without that oil flowing, your economy is down the shitter. And I ain't talking in no airy-fairy "long term" here, no. I'm talking overnight. I'm talking riots in the street before the month is out. I'm talking food shortages and blackouts. Pretty serious stuff - you know?
Now, you don't want to see that happen, do you Andy? No, of course not. You're a nice guy, sure. I can see this bothers you. I think it even bothered Tony and Gordon. But, you know, you probably have a family to support. The economy goes down and what'll they do? Scavange for coal on the beach? Beg? Worse?
Not a nice thought, Andy, is it?
So these Arab guys have the oil and some of them play ball and some of them don't. Guy's like us, Andy, we gotta take a stand with them that don't, y'know. 'Cause, really, it comes down to them or us. And then it's the survival of the fittest. They got oil. We got tanks. A few heads get cracked, but, hey, they ain't OUR heads, right? Am I right? Sure.
You an' me, Andy, we're on the same side 'cause, like I said, we're in the same boat. An' there's no sense in rocking that boat, now is there? We're in it together.
Web 2.0 solution to combat terrorism
Blogging to combat the United States' image problem? It doesn't matter how many bloggers you have, the administration's actions are far louder than a million clicking keyboards. Now that a horrendous mess has been made, how can the Bush administration expect to solve everything with six or 600,000 bloggers? It won't happen. Blogs are popular with computer addicts, not the average person in Asia and the Mid East.
Osama bin Laden doesn't give a rat's ass about George Bush's Facebook page.
Ministry of Love
The people of the US of A love peace and freedom and extend an olive branch to our Muslim brothers across the planet. Our president George Muhammad Bush has recently converted to Islam. We have some bad eggs, but we are attempting to root them out. Zionist activists in France are responsible for propagating many falsehoods about our beautiful and healthy nation, including the notion that we condone torture and run an illegal concentration camp in Guantanamo. We respect your proud history and traditions and are working hard to restore the type of Sharia government we know you prefer. We would like to remind the good people of Iraq that Saddam Hussein was a friend of the infidel and a secularist who believed in educating women, and he did not respect the The Prophet and so deserved to be removed.
...right so wheres my $$?
and while we're at it...
...how about sponsoring Young Republicans chapters at the madrasas?
Or maybe syndicate Rush Limbaugh and Chabad telethons on Al-Jazeera?
Or how about stationing Audioanimatronic Dubyas from the Hall of Presidents in front of gas stations throughout the Middle East, exhorting Arabs and Persians to stand tall with us against terrorism and religious fanatics? (Kind of a modern cigar store Indian à la Disney.)
Just think of how much misunderstanding and needless bloodshed could have been avoided had these been available during the Crusades.
Pretty much everything I was thinking, why bother disputing it. We are the Great Satan and we have pretty much admitted it what are bloggers going to do with that.
and upon the breaking of the seventh seal...
Whilst agreeing wholeheartedly with all of the above, I still think that whatever did happen (even an apology and reparation.. ah we can but dream) the world is screwed because the other protagonists are not rational either. What other mindset proclaims that there's no homosexuals in their country because they hate the thought of it, or flogs gang rape victims for being in a car with an unrelated male? We like to blame the extremists but "extreme" suggests a minority, and unfortunately for the planet, it's a sizeable one. They don't care about dialogue any more than Bush does, they want global domination as well...
.... Religion, it's like polonium 210. Its all toxic and there's no safe background level.
I'm dying here
Although not literally like thousands of brown people feeling George, Tony and now Gordon's love.
Thank you al-el-Reg readers these comments are the best advert for Americans I have ever seen. See! Some of them do have a sense of humour!
However I spewed my coffee all over my keyboard while reading them so I take it back, I hate you all!
Re: I'm dying here
It's actually a UK site, and I'm guessing the majority of comments above are from UK posters, not Americans.
We weren't too different about 100-150 years ago. There's nothing to suggest that Muslims all want world domination, I truly believe that most of them just want to be left alone by America to their own internal policies. Taking the moral highground like this is the reason that they hate us, it's condescending, patronising, and when our own cultures have so much wrong with them, can you actually find any fault with them not being entirely enamoured with democracy? Our only way of convincing them so far seems to be, it's great, trust us, then invading their homes, killing their children and forcing control onto them. Getting them to read some blogs telling them how great democracy and The West isn't going to help at all because it's exactly what we've already tried, and weighing up some random blogger telling you its so against your dead family and friends, not such a big thing really is it? Once again another person looking like a twat because he's condescending and patronising purely so he can take a stab at religion.
Bunch Of Arse
That's all very well, but I suspect the response of your average foaming at the mouth anti yank islamic fundie will be along the lines of "Bismallah, Ahmed, the Great Satan's propagandists must be fucking insane if they think we're going buy into this horseshit. Ho ho ho, pass the detonator."
Which is fair enough really.
@ Robert Long
Yup, probible right.
Like you say we need the oil, interesting bit of crystal ball gazing is what happens when the oil runs out. no petrol, no plastics, no fertilisers no means to transport food to blighty. 75 million mouth in 50 years time and the whole of south east England under concrete we ain't gonna have the land to grow crops to feed ourselves never mind bio-fuels. we're on the fast track to hell and there is no brakes, enjoy the ride.
pro-terrorist web sites ..
> a massive internet campaign that spreads pro-terrorist messages to people in Islamic countries ..
Can one oppose US/Israeli policy in the md-east and still not be a terr'ist ..
RE: pro-terrorist web sites
Yeah, sure, you can do that and just be an Anti Semite instead, apparantly.
"Two bloggers, and 200,000 visitors - that's kind of small potatoes, right?"
Sure it is "small potatoes", but considering the blogosphere is more like 200,000 blogs for every two visitors, that is not so bad...
Terrorist sympathizers, "guerilla" advertisers, and Chinese info warriors have been doing this for a couple of years now. Just hire one of those companies out of San Francisco, New York, etc. that one of the "Penny Arcade" authors interviewed for, or that ran the Sony PSP "street artist" advertising campaign (or the fake terrorist hoax created with ATHF characters in Boston). It's about time supporters of Western ideals got on the ball and played to level the field.
You try to tell me that an individual who can afford almost $1BN US for a private "Flying Palace" Airbus can't and won't spring a few million to buy the most effective propaganda and psychologically advanced "advertising" to promote his pet religious control scheme? You believe the Chinese wouldn't spent ten mil here and there to undermine media and online venues if it can be more effective than the two or three missiles the money would buy traditionally?
Or are some of you so deluded you believe everyone else would be so morally advanced as to *not* resort to this sort of subversion?
Makes me wonder how many slashdot/El Reg posters are already part of this "hearts and minds" assault? Using your artificially amplified numbers to establish groupthink and essentially enforce thought and opinion control...
Six? or sixteen? or more
"A ferocious beast with teeth six...sorry, sixTEEN inches long!"
(paraphrasing a "Heavy Metal" movie quote)
"It's over Six THOOOUUUSSAAANNNNNND!"
(b@stardized Dragonball quote)
10 REM insert coat/hat thingy here
Being an Iraqi, I applaud your comment. Very true. When my country's past, present and future are destroyed for ever, how would a blogger or 100 of them help me?. What good they could tell me of America the Beast, when I am in its belly?