His journeys brought him to Egypt, Morocco, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Israel. He talked to people on the street, relatives of suspected terrorists, and embedded with the US military for a day. While he broached some serious issues, the overall tone was lighthearted and whimsical, thanks mostly to Spurlock’s affable personality.
One key point, recurring throughout, was how “extremism nourishes itself in the darkness” and “violence is birthed by economic dead ends.” Terrorist organizations find their recruits in kids with no jobs and no positive outlook… youth who are susceptible to their propaganda.
A big part of reducing terrorism can be achieved by addressing the underlying socio-economic conditions. This point is reiterated by a US military officer (named Williams) who says with counter insurgency “killing doesn’t work.” Instead, you need to focus on the people – give them clean water, medical clinics, schools… so that the Taliban cannot take hold.
Ultimately, what the filmmaker realized in his quest, is that the vast majority in the countries he visited (and the vast majority of people all around the world) are just like us. Our world is full of regular people, trying to raise families and make ends meet, wishing nothing more than to live in a peaceful world.