Troops Pose With Dead Bodies: Cue Massive Afghan-Free Speculation

Sure, The Times could at some point interview actual Afghans, but then that would be journalism, and that's a a lot like work.

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  1. Back in 2010, some dim bulbs in the 82nd Airborne took some pictures with dead insurgents. 
  2. Two soldiers posed holding a dead man's hand with the middle finger raised. A soldier leaned over the bearded corpse while clutching the man's hand. Someone placed an unofficial platoon patch reading "Zombie Hunter" next to other remains and took a picture.
  3. Oh good. And we're back to pictures again. 
  4. An American soldier says he released the photos to the Los Angeles Times to draw attention to the safety risk of a breakdown in leadership and discipline. The Army has started a criminal investigation.
  5. He expressed the hope that publication would help ensure that alleged security shortcomings at two U.S. bases in Afghanistan in 2010 were not repeated.
  6. Bravo, Turbo: you're doing your civic duty. 

    Apparently the Army was pretty aware of the situation in the brigade, and the security concerns Turbo Idiot is trying to address: 
  7. An Army investigation into a July 2010 suicide attack in Kandahar that killed four U.S. soldiers found that senior members of the battalion had complained about security. But it concluded that force protection measures were "reasonable and prudent" in the face of limited resources.
  8. Here's where this article veers into the stupid: 
  9. The photos have emerged at a particularly sensitive moment for U.S.-Afghan relations. In January, a video appeared on the Internet showing four U.S. Marines urinating on Afghan corpses. In February, the inadvertent burning of copies of the Koran at a U.S. base triggered riots that left 30 dead and led to the deaths of six Americans. In March, a U.S. Army sergeant went on a nighttime shooting rampage in two Afghan villages, killing 17.
  10. Tweeter and general good egg Ahmad Shuja had some thoughts on this: 
  11. I contribute my insightful commentary: 
  12. What's likely to follow are more stories like this...
  13. A story like this is such a fascinating flight of faux journalism fantasy because even in that rosiest of Afghan survey pictures, the Asia Foundation Poll, only 34% of respondents were satisfied with their electricity supply. 
  14. So 2/3 of respondents in the most secure parts of the country are dissatisfied with the electricity supply. 

    Somehow the interwebs and memes probably drops way down on their list of priorities.

    I mention the Time piece because it speaks to Shuja's point above: that access to things like the internet, television, etc., are tightly focused in those areas where electricity is available. By extension, then, images like that from the LA Times piece are not going to reach nearly as many Afghans as the pundits already wringing their hands over what this will do to Afghan/US relations would have us believe.

    Outside of that, though, there is this: actual Afghans will likely not be consulted by the vast majority of reports that will soon emerge speculating on the response by the Afghan people. 

    Brace yourselves for the impending tsunami of insipidity. 

    It's a fairly common trend in reporting both here and anywhere there are non-white type people: reliance on the opinions of "experts" and their "analysis" rather than delving into what the response will be on the part of the Afghan people. Because the hairspray helmet brigade knows what the Afghan people are really thinking. 

    True, there is that component of respect for the dead that's going to get hammered home by God knows how many "experts" on Islam, but this is likely not going to resonate at all with the average member of the Afghan population. (By average I mean that majority of folks working really hard to stay alive and don't really have the time to be worried about what Turbo Trooper and his crew did two years ago far away from where these Afghans actually live.) 

    Once again, the talking heads and would-be journalists will dress up their self-centered rehash of irrelevant photographs as concern for the Afghan people and their reactions to something the majority of the population will have no access to in any way whatsoever. 

    What would be refreshing would be a broad-spectrum series of interviews with Afghans from multiple walks of life who didn't rely on their job with foreign aid organizations for their livelihood. Instead, what we'll have to endure is more Kabul-centric anecdotal blurbs from graphic designers wearing pointy shoes and tailored suits.  

    I can't wait.  
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