Thursday, February 07, 2008

Pornography At War

Michael Totten has a new report up on the goings on in Fallujah. He covers a subject that I have touched on a time or two. The importance of pornography in changing our opposition. If you want a look back you might like Jewish Porn Sweeps The Arab world and Defeated By Pornography. How about a look forward at what Michael Totten has to say.

At the Amariyah station in a village just outside Fallujah, several Iraqi Police officers sat at the dispatcher's desk and watched explicit pornography streamed over the Internet. They whooped and yelled and elbowed each other as the video kept getting racier. I sat at a desk just behind them and tried to work on an article, but they kept trying to get me to watch the video with them. Several Marines shared this work space with them, and all of them ignored the Iraqis and tried to pretend the porno show wasn't on.

Marines aren't even allowed to check their personal email accounts while they're on duty, let alone watch explicit sex videos on a laptop.

Irony abounded in that room. Iraqi culture is orders of magnitude more sexually conservative than American culture. Soldiers and Marines in particular are not shy or restrained when it comes to sex (except when they have to be while they're on deployment). Yet the Americans in the room were the ones put off by the pornography. It wasn't because they are uptight or square, but because porn on the job could hardly be less professional. Some of them rightly accused the Iraqi men of hypocrisy. “How come you guys cover your women but you sit around all day looking at our women without any clothes on?”
The contradictions abound.

As I have been saying all along. Contact with American culture (especially the sexual aspects) will liquefy the Middle East. Osama agrees.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


Snake Oil Baron said...

I suspect that pornography will have some corrosive effects on the extremely socially conservative out look of some segments of the population. But I suspect that increasing literacy will have a far more profound effect on Islamic culture.

It may have already resulted in dramatic drops in fertility and the effort to translate the Western Cannon into Arabic could have cultural effects as well as the demographic changes brought by improved female literacy.

Smut will get made on its own. Educational materials need effort and investment. And before anyone mentions it, I know that many terrorists are educated but the fact is that they come from cultures which are not. People (both students and teachers) pick up the views of their parents and friends and neighbors. A critical mass of literate people need to be exposed to many ideas for at least a generation or more before they change the attitudes of a culture.

M. Simon said...

Democracy, whiskey, sexy.

For that society those are the most subversive elements.

Of the three, sexy is the easiest to deploy.

Of course that can't be all we bring. We need to bring that other part: work hard.

The dreams of a culture matter. In Islam they dream of virgins in heaven. In America we have college campuses.

Which dream is the more attractive?

In any case the liquefaction has started. Self government will be required to shore it all up.

Whiskey is also important. Because it is forbidden.

Snake Oil Baron said...

"The dreams of a culture matter. In Islam they dream of virgins in heaven. In America we have college campuses.

Which dream is the more attractive?"

It depends on the campus. From what I see happening at Berkeley lately I think I would rather spend a semester in Hell.

The rapid urbanization in the Middle East will probably improve the economics of Whiskey too since even nations that ban it will have large cities and transportation infrastructure where beer barons and rum runners can improve the payoff to risk ratio. Already there are many Muslims who drink beer as well as consume pornography. When one sees that the risks associated with a "vice" are far less than have been advertised they begin to lose respect for those who wish to cut them off from their source of stress relief with sermons about hellfire.

This erosion of respect for clerics will not happen overnight since humans are good at holding contradictory views but over time it will happen. Seeing the cautionary examples of Saudi Arabia and Iran will be good medicine as travel and cultural connectivity begin to dispel illusions for nations like North Africa and Central Asia. The same tools which AQ and like groups use to organize like modern communications and international travel are far more dangerous to traditionalism than they are to AQ's targets.