Michael Totten

“Hollywood” on the High Seas

A few days ago the U.S. Navy rescued 13 Iranian fishermen who had been held hostage on their own boat by pirates for a month in the Arabian Sea (between Oman and India).

Iran’s foreign minister described the rescue as a humanitarian act, but the state-run Fars News Agency says our Navy turned a routine incident into a “Hollywood” drama.

I don’t believe the United States military routinely rescues Iranians, but let’s leave that aside for right now. What Tehran’s propagandists are concerned about here is the imagery. That’s what they mean when they play the “Hollywood” card. Hollywood is all about imagery. They’re saying the rescue was also all about imagery.

Okay, so let’s take a look at the imagery. What we have here is a picture of an Iranian fisherman hugging a member of the United States military.

The odds that a random working-class American will ever voluntarily hug anyone in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is just about zero. The FNA would love to get its mitts on such a picture, but it’s never going to happen unless it is photoshopped.

We can’t know the political opinions of the Iranian man in that photo. We don’t even know who he is. The odds are decent, though, that the fisherman has a more positive opinion of the United States than he has of his own repressive government. It’s almost certainly true of at least some of the rescued 13, and it might even be true of most of them. The hacks at FNA know it, too, and it must be driving them crazy.