March 22, 2006

Visual propaganda

Your post reminds me that in this day and age, there is few if anything we need to make up to revival WWII days. The amount of videos taped by the terroists, found in Fallujah and elsewhen and where, are mind boggling stunning. Literally, mind boggling to a point at which the human mind begins to fail to grasp the meaning of those videos.

For the terroists, taping executions and tortures are both an entertainment venue and a weapon to terrorize others into ceasing their resistance to the "cause".

It would be highly catharthic for the numerous victims of Uday and Qusay to see, for themselves using their own eyes, the recreated hit and assassination of Uday and Qusay, carried out by foreign American forces. Because they knew the reality, and they had never dared hope that anyone who had the power, would kill Uday and Qusay.

It is one of the grandest and most uplifting stories of Iraq. Yet such a story cannot be told, if the witnesses and the members just sit there and let it bake in the sun. Like Black Hawk Dawn, you have to dig for witnesses, write a book, get a Hollywood movie made. Such experiences cannot be osmosed through a "few words". Or even a great many words. Black Hawk Down was the first movie that caused me to question the anti-military liberal biases I had integrated from watching television and cable. It was the first movie that portrayed American soldiers as something other than mindless, brutish, thugs in the service of a contemptible cause and leader.

When the convoy came back to the Ranger base with their wounded, I was amazed that the Rangers were standing in line to go back. I could not understand why they were so eager to rush back into the crucible of pain, death, tragedy, and sorrow. The firestorm of bullets, rpgs, and crashed helicopters. The sound of the wounded and the ever present dust, enemies, and bullet cracks. It was literally inconceivable, until I had personally seen it with my eyes. Then I could conceive it, then I could mold my mind around such a foreign concept as loyalty to a cause and to a brotherhood, beyond death, fire, and adversity.

You cannot help but feel admiration for the courage and the virtues of such men. You could also not help but feel contempt for Clinton, when he made all their sacrifices in vain when he pulled out. I hadn't considered that until I heard one of the Rangers who was there, speak on History Channel about his experiences. He said he didn't mind dieing in combat, so long as his death would mean something in the end.

Such experiences produce ties of loyalty between the viewer and the person on screen. Regardless of whether we knew each other or not. Because after seeing such will and determination, I could not condemn them to a meaningless fight just because I had personal weaknesses about a cause. Such knowledge helped in Iraq, although enemy IED psychological attacks were just as devastating to me as to anyone else at the time.

If our government and nation is truly based upon the belief that a group of citizens informed to the fullest extent by good information, can govern themselves through the wise selection of representatives of leaders, then there is no excuse not to tell the story of Qusay and Uday along with the stories of the men and women who finally ended their miserable, loathsome lives.

This is only one application of the psychology and the propaganda, learned through painstaking observation of Al Qaeda, AP, Al Rueters, Dan Rather, and Al-Jaazeera's antics.

You cannot be afraid about learning from the enemy. If your goal truly is victory, if it is truly the safety of our women and our children, then you should be willing to do whatever it takes to defeat the enemy. Including becoming more like them, including learning from them, including doing things you never would have imagined you would have done in peace time.

Bush promised to use whatever tools was at his disposal to protect the American people, you, me, our families. In my eyes at least, Bush has not made good on that promise, the promise he made right after 9/11.

In reply to steve's comments. Propaganda is about the human soul. That's it.

Artists have to know what they are crafting and why they are doing it. A writer or an artist cannot just sit down, shut off his brain, and start drawing/writing. Purpose is required.

The second reason why I don't like steve's characterization, is the assumption that propaganda is about political issues only. Rather tunnel visioned.

As for steve's thinking on Stalin and music, it looks rather compartamentalized to me. I don't think separating enjoyment and philosophical understanding from each other in specific categories, is a good idea for the human soul at large.

At its heart, propaganda is the art of persuasion as much as military science is about the art of war. Or perhaps even the science of war. Whether it persuades the eye through aesthetics, or the human ear and mind through rhetoric, does not matter.

In the end, a movie is not just entertainment as Fahrenheit, Syriana, and Munich have proven. It is a powerful means to communicate with people you would never meet.

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