The NY Times review of Christopher (son of James "Deliverance" Dickey) Dickey's new book about the NYPD's counterterrorism division begins with an odd observation about American films, especially really goofy ones, and the hearts and minds of terrorists.
From the review:
Roland Emmerich’s 1998 remake of “Godzilla,” starring Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno, was a hapless piece of moviemaking, panned by critics and largely rejected by American audiences.
In the third world, though, the movie touched a chord. Among those who loved it were Qaeda sympathizers and hangers-on in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The scenes of Godzilla stomping across New York City, crushing everything in its path, were mesmerizing and inspiring. One captured terrorist later warned of an attack against “the bridge in the Godzilla movie.” Interrogators had to go rent Mr. Emmerich’s film to find out what he meant: the Brooklyn Bridge.
It is both comical and scary to witness the degree to which terrorists (and would-be terrorists) have been in thrall to American action movies. Richard Reid, the failed shoe bomber, used the pseudonym Van Damme, after the B-grade martial arts star Jean-Claude Van Damme. Another terrorist was obsessed with “Air Force One,” the Harrison Ford president-in-peril film.
Weirdest of all, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — the pudgy 9/11 plotter who will be forever remembered for his disheveled mug shot — was supposedly an amusing guy when he attended an agricultural state university in North Carolina. His nickname? “B’lushi.”