The global militarization of Afghan babies

Afghan boys for a militarized future
photo by Hakim; used with permission
© All rights reserved


May 08, 2010 — Please watch how we are making the babies of Afghanistan more militarized and violent than their country already is today

A US backed Afghanistan defense advertising campaign has pictures of cute Afghan babies

The global militarization of Afghan babies


How are you? Fine.

Defense poster with a question next to the picture of an Afghan baby : Suicide bomber or doctor?

Omid ( Hope ) Jan, do you want to be a doctor or suicide bomber?

A doctor.

Do you want to be a soldier or a doctor?

A doctor.

Why do you want to be a doctor?

To serve the people.

The wish to be an Afghan doctor has been militarized

Afghan poster babies can no longer become doctors without violence and guns

Article excerpts from

A U.S.-backed push is using insights into traditional Afghan culture to try to encourage a war-ravaged population to help build a more peaceful nation.

“The soldier-marketer behind the effort, Lt. Col. Allen McCormick, is deploying the marketing expertise he gained at Procter & Gamble and other U.S. companies to target Afghan citizens.


The ad campaign has three themes, each backed by radio, TV, print and billboards.

The first, called “Guardians,” is intended to improve the image of the Afghan army by forging an almost romantic connection with the country’s long folkloric tradition of warriors who protect their people.

“It creates an emotional and iconic imagery that’s easy to understand, in almost a movie poster format,” said Cyrus Oshidar, the creative lead for the campaign at Lapis. “The warrior concept was researched and found appealing to young Afghan males. In a country ravaged by war, with a certain air of cynicism, they can have a sense of pride and hope.”

Focus groups thought the traditional warrior figure didn’t look strong enough, so the ad was reshot, Mr. McCormick said.

The second theme is governance, illustrated with images of hands holding objects, from bricks to ballots, to help rebuild Afghanistan with the tagline, “The future of Afghanistan is in your hands.”

The third and final part, which involved a widespread casting call for cute babies, is “New Afghan, New Afghanistan.”

Each of six different ads features a baby, with his name, birth date and province, and a welcoming message. The copy makes clear the responsibility to raise children well and the stark choices faced in a war-torn country. One ad, celebrating the birth of Massoud Sanjeer, is headlined: “Suicide Bomber. Or Doctor?”

“It’s a very tribal country, but a common thread is love and passion for children, especially sons,” Mr. McCormick said.”


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