Hmm...let's see. People the world over hate and fear America. Why is that? They seem to take issue with a preventive war doctrine that allows the U.S. to attack anybody it likes based on what it sees (or claims to see) in its crystal ball. They seem not to enjoy it when our President not only pulls out of international treaties but also makes a point of displaying utter contempt while he does it. And while the Bush Administration enthusiastically flouts international law, at the same time it cries foul when others break it.
And the rest of the world seems to have some kind of problem with that. I know--go figure.
So, obviously the cure for the low standing of the United States in world opinion is...a public relations campaign! Jack Tapper of Salon points out the cluelessness of the Bush Administration propaganda:
- When the State Department launched a propaganda TV campaign in the Arab and Muslim world last year, two of its Muslim-American stars were Rawia Ismail, a public school teacher born in Lebanon, and Abdul Hammuda, a bakery owner originally from Libya. Both live in Toledo, Ohio, and spoke lovingly of their adopted country in the ads, part of the "Shared Values Initiative."
"I wear a hijab in the classroom where I teach. I have never had any child that thought it was weird or anything like that," Ismail says in the TV spot. "Islam in the United States could be followed just as well as I can follow it in my village where I was raised." Adds Hammuda in the commercial: "Religious freedom here is something very important, and no one ever bothered us. Since 9/11, we've had an overwhelming sense of support from our customers and clients."
But Hammuda and Ismail, America's goodwill ambassadors to the Arab world, have little good to say about the U.S. war with Iraq. "Everyone knew ahead of time that so many people were going to die, so no, I didn't want it to happen," Ismail tells Salon. While she opposes Saddam Hussein, she says the loss of life — whether of U.S. soldiers or Iraqis — was not worth the price. Through her satellite dish, she sees Arab news reports of the war: "All the locals and all the kids that died. And it hurts."