Saturday, October 18, 2008

Why Nir Rosen Isn't To Be Trusted

One of the most sensational installments in the Afghanistan Sell-Out series that has flooded the pages of western newspapers and magazines over the past few weeks is Nir Rosen's new Rolling Stone essay, to which the usual "anti-war" windbags have flocked like blackflies to carrion.

In the hands of a decent editor and rewrite specialist, Rosen's raw notes might have been useful for the purposes of constructing a fairly vivid picture of the banditry, mercenary violence and internecine gang warfare that is enveloping in the Afghan province of Ghazni. But there's nothing newsworthy about that, and as analytical journalism informed by the facts, Rosen's essay fails utterly.

Worse, it serves no purpose beyond the propaganda his Taliban hosts intended. Rosen's conclusions are exactly what the Taliban want you to believe about Afghanistan's prospects: "The Islamic Emirate wants to make it clear that the only solution and the most successful path for resolving the Afghanistan problem is for the foreign forces to leave Afghanistan unconditionally and to respect Afghanistan's national independence and Islamic faith." Can''t tell whether that's Rosen or the Taliban talking? Don't be hard on yourself. They're saying the same thing.

In his zeal to cast the whole story as a case of western imperialist villainy, Rosen can't even get his basic facts right: "This year, according to the United Nations, 1,445 Afghan civilians were killed by coalition forces through August — two-thirds of them in airstrikes."

In fact, the UN blames most of those deaths (800 people) on the Taliban and other insurgent groups, almost double the number these gangsters killed in the first seven months of last year. The UN attributes the remainder of the civilian death toll to Afghan soldiers, coalition ground forces, airstrikes, and undetermined "crossfire" mortalities. This calculation does not take into account the 700-or-so Afghan police officers murdered by "insurgents" in the first few months of 2008, either.

Despite what you might have heard, the Taliban are actually just engaged in a "battle against the American invaders and their allies in the Afghan security forces." It's all George Bush's fault, of course. If it wasn't for George Bush, the Taliban would have remained "an isolated and impoverished group of religious students who knew little about the rest of the world and cared only about liberating their country from oppressive warlords." What got the Taliban into such trouble was their impeccably gracious manners. It was "the Pashtun code of hospitality" that prevented them from turning over Osama bin Laden to the Americans after September 11.

Sure, the Taliban were bad, but they're not so bad now, Rosen writes. They're "prepared to move forward with a greater degree of flexibility and pragmatism than they have shown in the past." They are "not as doctrinaire as they were during their seven years of rule." Hell, "the Taliban have grown more tolerant."

Well then. Let's just get on with an "exit strategy," then, shall we?

Believe Rosen all you want. The last time he got his 15 minutes of fame, it was for this: “Iraq Does Not Exist Anymore: How the U.S. Invasion of Iraq Has Led to Ethnic Cleansing, a Worsening Refugee Crisis and the Destabilization of the Middle East." He's also the author of “In the Belly of the Green Bird: The Triumph of the Martyrs in Iraq.”

That's some triumph you've got there, comrade. It seems Iraq does exist, after all.


Blogger Mabus said...

He shall from now on be known as Tokyo Rosen.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Louise said...

The Iraqis are also negotiating a SOFA with the Brits. Funny how the lunatic left seems to forget that the US was not the only country involved in the liberation of Iraq.

6:01 PM  

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