Truthful Propaganda and Food Against Terror
Wars are fought not just with the force of arms, but also with propaganda. Propaganda is the systematic distribution and promotion of ideas to further one's cause. Governments practice deceptive, one-sided propaganda, but there can also be truthful propaganda. What is needed in the War Against Terror is truthful propaganda. Bombs and bullets alone will not win this war.
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
The U.S. government needs to convince its hostile critics and enemies that the war against terror is just and right, and not just to protect American interests but also fought for humanity and to save the entire planet from the destruction of civilization and the world's economy. The six billion human beings on earth cannot survive if the economic foundations are destroyed. Billions of people could starve to death if the world's economy is wrecked.
Past misguided and foolish actions by the U.S. government and its military has made much of the world suspicious of U.S. policy. This is the time for wise action, including rightful propaganda. Starting with Afghanistan, the U.S. needs to convince the population that the U.S. is on the side of the people. It seems to me that an effective way for the U.S. government to communicate with the people of Afghanistan would be to send them food tied to righteous propaganda.
Afghans are poor, and many have fled their homes. Many face starvation. The U.S. could send airplanes over the country and drop packages of food. Of course, this needs to be food that would be readily eaten and would keep well. In the package would be a booklet written in the local language of that region of the country. The message would tell the people that the food is a gift from the people of the United States of America, as a token of their goodwill to Afghans.
The message should let them know that the U.S. government is attempting to defend itself against further attacks, and is in no way against the people or their religion. It should say that the U.S.A. honors and respects Islam and the glorious Qur'an, and that there are many Muslims in the U.S. This righteous propaganda would quote from the Qur'an about peace and not killing innocent people. The U.S. would remind the Afghan people that the U.S. helped them overthrow the Soviet occupation, and that the U.S. remains a friend of the people of Afghanistan and their culture. The U.S. would ask for their help in finding the terrorists whose actions could destroy not just the U.S. and its people, but innocent people world-wide, including many Muslims.
To be effective and truly righteous, U.S. propaganda needs to be reinforced with righteous deeds. The U.S. needs to stop its useless embargo on civilian trade with Iraq, which many Muslims blame for thousands of deaths and malnutrition. Of course that government is also culpable, but the U.S. and its allies should eliminate their real and imagined contribution to the problem. At the same time, stop the foolish embargo on Cuba just to show that we are not simply responding to the immediate problem but seeking a more righteous policy overall.
The U.S. could go further and apologize to the people of Iraq and all Arabs and Muslims for any damage it has done, however justified it may have been. Righteous propaganda needs to be broadcast on all channels that the U.S. fought and sacrificed to save Kuwait, a Muslim country, and has fought to protect Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo. Is the hostility of many Muslims what the U.S. deserves after saving many Muslims from oppression and death?
The U.S. government should encourage a global dialogue, even an international conference, on Islamic law and policy regarding terror and war. If the consensus of the Islamic clerics and religious leaders is that terror and the killing of innocents is unjust and wrong, it could go a long way to help reduce the antagonism many Muslims feel about the U.S. attempt to defend itself.
The U.S. needs to create and deliver truthful, righteous propaganda, starting right now. Without proper propaganda, the U.S. will ultimately loose the war on terror. But the propaganda must be righteous to succeed, and to be righteous, it must be truthful, and to be truthful, U.S. policy itself needs to change and become more in harmony with justice and concern with innocent lives.
-- Fred Foldvary
Copyright 2001 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.
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