Loose Lips Sink Ships, a variation of a poster slogan used during World War Two, seems extremely relevant today, albeit in a different sense.
Back then it was a reminder to Americans to watch what they say to avoid giving away strategic war secrets to the enemy. The “enemy” was more likely to be an individual stranger who, upon hearing some errant comment, would tip off the opponents and thwart the American plan.
In 2012, the “enemy” has very different characteristics.
For one thing, the “enemy” is fluid, unpredictable, and sometimes illogical.
As U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton has been pointing out, the United States was hugely instrumental in liberating the people of Libya. That, however, has failed to impress the anti-American elements who might have used the YouTube trailer of a blasphemous schlock film -- produced by some guy who allegedly duped the actors into participating and whose motives are still very much a mystery--as an excuse or a cover for a previously-planned guerrilla attack on the American embassy in Benghazi. U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, State Department information management officer Sean Smith, and former Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods died in that assault, according to the State Department.
As a result of the irresponsible content of a low-budget film that deliberately mocks Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, protesters are airing their anti-American anger in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories.
So, very much like the last century’s Viet Cong, “the enemy” does not wear a uniform or dog tags, is not led by a military hierarchy, and is a mixture of surreptitious plots by organized interests and spontaneous eruptions of ordinary citizens.
A second characteristic of “the enemy” in the Information Age is instant access to communications. Instead of armies acting upon a formal declaration of war we have a relative handful of individuals, in effect, pulling the trigger with the stroke of the Enter key on a keyboard. One American of dubious origin and allegiance now has the ability to not only leak national secrets but also to strike the match that ignites the entire Middle East.
With everybody exercising their freedom of speech, without concern for consequences, to the billions of the world’s electronically-connected people, it is not a stretch at all to foresee a conflagration of global proportions caused by one shady ex-convict with multiple aliases who is high on hate.
Apparently Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the admitted producer and poster of the offending film trailer , is not at all regretful for making the film.
What hath technology wrought?