November 21, 2007
So, America’s almost sole recourse for contending with al-Qaeda has come down to … bribery.
With real diplomacy, legitimate foreign aid and honest cultural exchange judged as too slow, too weak, too passive, too expensive or too codependent by Washington, what is left is the “Anbar model.” Effectively giving up on Pakistan and its military to carry the fight to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the U.S. is now attempting to breech the gap through mercenary tribal fighters to supposedly pursue our interest — for awhile.
As part of the package, you get awkward portraits like this, of the bad guys recruited to fight the bad guys. They mostly don’t look you in the eye, but if they do, it’s simply to humor the photographer of the devil they’ve made the deal with.
As an amusing attribute, the “No Parking” sign (especially the way it spherically echoes the crossed-gun insignia on the fighter’s sleeve) seems to crudely reference our failure to land any benefit, by way of our supposedly good Pakistani friends over these past six years, in what was the “original 9/11 war.”
Instead, we resort to frittering away capital on stateless figures — one day in white hats, the next day in black — while being played for fools in the proxy bazaar.
(Ali Imam/Reuters. 2007. via nytimes.com)