But perhaps the most important contributions to this ethos have come from Hollywood. In the late 1980s, the film Rambo III, in particular, embodied the Superman image of America for Afghans. In the movie, Rambo, with his buffed muscles and thirst to kill Soviets, made all of the right moves to win the hearts and minds of Afghans. He braved the towering mountains of Afghanistan on a horseback. He displayed his ghairat (enthusiasm and honor) by accepting an Afghan challenge to play buzkashi, a national sport which is similar to polo. And he impressed Afghans further by effortlessly beating the best and toughest chapandaz (players). He even took up arms and joined a ragtag group of Afghan fighters to blow up a Soviet military base.
The movie was such a big hit in Afghanistan that even high ranking officials in the communist regime loved it, despite having initially banned the film. Thousands of VHS copies of the film were smuggled into Kabul and provided a massive boost to America's image. Afghans loved seeing the American superhero on their side, sharing their sorrows, and fighting ferociously against the "evil" communists.
I can hear the conspiracy theory skeptics sharpening their pencils ready to cast ridicule and doubt on this idea. I challenge them to generate another explanation that some modicum of plausibility. Please, please, please do not recycle the idea that Hollywood makes the movies it does because "it just happens that way". No senior executive of American corporation could make that many bad decisions in a row without being deposed by their shareholders. Isn't that what we are taught about our free enterprise system? And remember these people are not paid well. Many of them struggle with a modest 7 figure salary plus bonuses.
A government conspiracy cloaked in secrecy which attempts to control the world by making bad movies would at least make some rational sense however vile these motivations may be. The alternative is to believe their story about the "development process" and no one in their right mind could believe that.