Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Is Gruesome Good Propaganda?


Gruesome and graphic are some of the words used to describe the recent leaflet drop on Daesh (see: http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/middleeast/2015/03/drops-gruesome-anti-isil-leaflet-syria-150326220931884.html which is also the photo source.)

The picture accompanying this post purports to convince young men that they will be put into a meat grinder if they acquiesce to the Daesh recruiting effort. The carton is clearly graphic and clearly shows young men of the target demographic age. Beyond that, there are some questions about its likely effectiveness.

The article has a couple of quotes which say that Daesh recruits are more or less immune to trivial influence efforts such as leaflets.

The true impact of such leaflets have to be judged in the context of the total effort. In another article Al Jazera interviewed Retired US MC General John Allen, the man charged with defeating Daesh. (see: http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/americas/2015/04/learned-general-john-allen-isil-150413232318261.html). He is quoted as saying that an enemy such as Daesh will require time and patience to defeat.

While it is probably true that one leaflet doesn’t convince anyone of anything, this is not the case with a cumulative effort as is under way against Daesh.

Images stick with us whether we like it or not. Some images we may have been exposed to just in passing such as in the case of a TV program or a movie. We may not remember the entire show or film, but certain scenes and quotes that stick with us in spite of our conscious efforts – much like that song that never leaves your head.

There is of course a second aspect of such a leaflet drop and that is the PSYACT of a Fighter Jet zooming over you – while leaflets are not necessarily troubling, the fact that US airpower knows where you are ought to be a little unsettling.

1 comment:

William Tarbush said...

Sounds typical of Al Jazeera to criticize US policies.