Discover the softer side of the Taliban? The New York Times did an in-depth feature on the Taliban's attempt to makeover its image to woo more locals in Afghanistan. Spiritual leader Mullah Muhammad Omar urged his followers to avoid suicide bombings of civilians, stop burning down schools and maybe slow down on the cutting off of ears and lips and tongues. The code has been "spottily enforced" but the Taliban hasn't stopped there. Once they denounced the internet as the playground of infidels. Now the Taliban has an internet magazine, sends out text messages and uses other ploys to win over, you know, the kids. They won't stop there, as this secret memo reveals.
EXTREME TALIBAN MAKEOVER
To: Muhammad Omar
cc: Osama Bin Laden, Taliban underlings, friendly tribal chiefs
Asalam Alaykum! As the youngest member of the Taliban inner circle and the only one with a blog, I've been asked to suggest some ways the Taliban can get younger, hipper and win over the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. Here goes.
1. IPHONE APP -- We NEED an iPhone app. You could have a Taliban Rulz! app that promotes our image as badasses (like gangsta rap, but Islamic) AND spells out the do's and don'ts of living under the Taliban. (DO follow sharia law. DON"T date Jews. Actually, don't date.) But that's not ideal for recruitment. So I think our first app should be a game. How's this? You get one minute to herd as many sheep onto the road as possible. The more sheep you get onto the road, the more infidels you involve in a traffic jam and the more of them that die in a roadside bombing! The kids will love it. it's got playabilty and teaches some useful tactical lessons.
2. THEME SONG -- Every good campaign needs a theme song. Now I know we usually behead anyone listening to pop music. But we used to behead anyone with a gmail account and look how times have changed! A good pop hit could really turn it around for us. I bet we could get Beyonce. She took $2 million to do a New Year's Eve show for Hannibal Gadaffi, the reportedly violent youngest son of brutal dictator Moammar Gadaffi. This guy reportedly beat his wife on Christmas Day (that's a holiday of the infidels) and they both were detained in Switzerland for reportedly beating their servants. And his name is Hannibal. And she STILL did the show! So a theme song for us should be no problem. Maybe "Single Ladies (Put A Burka On It)?"
3. SUICIDE BOMBINGS -- It's just a really depressing concept, no matter how much you talk up the 72 virgins. I know, I know, we call them shahids (martyrs), but that hasn't caught on with the Western press and that trickles down to the Afghans and hurts recruitment. So we've got to rebrand it again. I thought of Final Destination, which is a really cool movie franchise, but they wouldn't give us the rights. Paradise Patrons? Velvet Rope Revolutionaries? Infidel-Away? I'm open to suggestions.
4. TWITTER ACCOUNTS -- If I've said this once, I've said it a thousand times: Get a Twitter account everyone! Twitter is huge and we're really missing out on a quick and efficient way of communicating with all our followers. (Hey, they're even called Followers on Twitter. Go figure.) Think of the possibilities. Got a beheading scheduled? Twitter it so people know. About to set off a roadside bomb? Twitter it in Arabic and everyone can scatter. Don't worry if the Americans discover your Twitter account; before they finish translating, the bomb will have gone off. But someone tell Bin Laden he should NOT Twitter where he's at. If the CIA ever figures out his Twitter name, it could get ugly.
5. SELF-IMMOLATING WOMEN -- As you know, some of the Afghan women are so filled with despair by the prospect of life under the Taliban that they commit suicide by setting themselves on fire. Women. Still, this does get us bad press. But maybe we could turn this around. When it happens again, just say the women are selfishly contributing to global warming. Everyone knows global warming is caused mostly by Western countries -- especially the US -- and it has the added advantage of linking these women to oil companies. Everyone hates oil companies.
6. REALITY TV SHOW -- We should have a reality TV show. Maybe follow a suicide bomber -- I mean Paradise Patron -- from recruitment to finale? Or shadow a Taliban chief as he deals with recalcitrant tribal leaders, battles the foreign infidels and watches over his (many) wives and children. The constant problems they have to solve would make for great TV; like Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares without the cussing. According to FOX News, our biggest fan is film director Michael Moore, but when I called Moore to pitch the project, as soon as I id'd myself he told me to F--- off and that he hated our brutal, anti-woman, anti-infidel regime so I don't know who to believe anymore.
7. DO NOTHING -- Frankly, we don't have to do anything to improve our image. The US keeps trashing its own reputation so we look better and better in comparison every day. Predictably, they've aligned themselves with a corrupt regime that stole the last election, clings to power and offers nothing in return. We wouldn't have elections of course, but that still makes us look better than Karzai's hypocrisy. And with Obama increasing troop levels even more (but nowhere near the level needed to actually pacify the country), they get to infuriate the Afghan people and drive them into our arms while providing more targets for us to blow up. It's a win-win. For us.
Follow Michael Giltz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/michaelgiltz