Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Todays Media Bullshit


I am going to start a regular feature: media bullshit watch. This weeks is

The Deteriorating Security Situation

'The ambush came amid signs of deteriorating security in Afghanistan.' If I called up the last fifty BBC stories on Afghanistan, at least forty-nine would have that rediculous phrase in them. What does that actually mean? How do you measure a security situation in the middle of a war? Having lived in a country at war, I can tell you that on most days, it doesn't really seem like there is a war on, apart from a nagging fear at the bottom of your stomach that never goes away. For Afghans, it is exactly like that. Some weeks, there are lots of ambushes and IED attacks, and others there are few. Why? A million reasons. In the summer, there is lots more Taleban activity because its not freezing cold and the mountains are easier to wander about in. Does that mean August sees a Deteriorating Security Situation, and January an Improving Security Situation. No folks, thats just bullshit. The fact is, until the enemy are beaten, the war continues. Thats it.

The nature of warfare in Afghanistan has always been small scale bands roving about killing and stealing. Just like now. The bands are guys from the mountains, and the people they kill and rob are from the lowlands. Like now. What NATO is trying to do is help create a 20th Century (lets be realistic here) state in the lowlands, while killing as many of the 7th century throwbacks as possible so they can't stop it happening. Is it succeeding? In much of Afghanistan, yes. But not the south east third, which is the part accessible from the mountains, strangely. Will it work long term? As yet to be determined. Helped by depressive turgid BBC articles? You be the judge.

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