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October 20, 2009

Afghanistan Reboot: Kerrying the Day

Kerry Helmand.jpg

Really, is anybody thinking about how this looks?

You’ve got Kerry — the guy Rove dismembered — leading the Afghan visual charge this week as we strong arm Karzai, who rigged the election, into accept a run-off. And as weak as that looks, the agenda included sticking JFK in front of tribal elders in Helmand, supposedly highlighting our re-calibrated military strategy of engaging the locals like we did in Anbar to win over hearts and minds, the result being they sit there on the floor, those not falling asleep, laughing at him.

And then, what a wonderful message allowing the cameraman to park front-and-center not just blocking the locals already lowly view but reminding us, as well, that this is a propaganda show.

(image: Abdul Khaleq/A.P. caption: In this photo taken Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009, U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass, right, speaks to elders of Garmser district in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.)

  • susan

    The members of the audience are probably thinking, “Yankee, go home!”

  • tardigrade

    For Kerry to stand as it would be done in the US and Europe, is wrong. He needed to be on the floor with them at least. Actually, WE look like buffoons!

  • donna

    If we really wanted to accomplish anything in Afghanistan, we would be working with the women, not the men. It is when the women finally become outraged enough over their treatment and abuses and the idiocy of how their country is run, and are educated enough to do something about it, that change will happen.
    The old men love their stupid tribal system and how it keeps them empowered.

  • DennisQ

    What’s the back story here? Kerry is sticking his neck out, but it’s not clear why it’s him and not the Secretary of State.
    Is Kerry the new Plan B? If all else fails, “Send John Kerry.” I do not understand the reasoning behind Kerry’s high profile in this matter at all.

  • lytom

    Another bright idea on how to bridge a gap? Oh, the winning strategy? It takes talking, and backstage threats, forthright bombings, and plans from west Think Tanks… Why is it that the Empire has the right to do all that in Afghanistan and everywhere else? Why would the solutions thought by politicians in the US work anywhere? Yankee go home. The phrase Ugly American still fits!

  • mcmama

    I see John Kerry, an honorable man, speaking to a group of tribal elders. What is our alternative to strong-arming the man who rigged the election into accepting a run-off? Let the election stand and become Karzai’s crooked partners? Overthrow Karzai outright, and reprise our roll as illegal invaders? Or maybe we should slink away and pretend that we were never there.
    Really, I don’t understand your point. Yes, John Kerry was defeated by Karl Rove and a national media which has devolved into at best a bunch of cowardly slackers, and at worst political operatives responding to Karl’s every foul directive. You seem to feel that Kerry should now fade away into embarrassed oblivion; I don’t agree.

  • Blue Shark

    John Kerry?…
    …John Freakin’ Kerry? … Is this the bone thrown to the Sec. State wannabe?
    …Unfortunately the man so media un-savvy, he makes Fred Thompson look exciting.

  • crabby

    ummm, what are you talking about? the speaker doesn’t sit – he stands. They are on the floor because it is their custom – they could bring in chairs. Chairs are for stiff and weak people from the west.
    I don’t know about the camera guy, but maybe he is thier guy… who knows?

  • crabby

    I agree with your work with the women part, but you may want to research your tribal meme. It may have been planted in your head over and over and over.
    [...] American and Afghan scholars and diplomats say it is worth recalling four decades in the country’s recent history, from the 1930s to the 1970s, when there was a semblance of a national government and Kabul was known as “the Paris of Central Asia.”
    Afghans and Americans alike describe the country in those days as a poor nation, but one that built national roads, stood up an army and defended its borders. As a monarchy and then a constitutional monarchy, there was relative stability and by the 1960s a brief era of modernity and democratic reform. Afghan women not only attended Kabul University, they did so in miniskirts. Visitors — tourists, hippies, Indians, Pakistanis, adventurers — were stunned by the beauty of the city’s gardens and the snow-capped mountains that surround the capital.

    Afghans today say that the view of their country as an ungovernable “graveyard of empires” is condescending and uninformed. “Unfortunately, we have a lot of overnight experts on Afghanistan right now,” said Said Tayeb Jawad, the Afghan ambassador to Washington. “You turn to any TV channel and they are experts on Afghan ethnicities, tribal issues and history without having been to Afghanistan or read one or two books.”
    “Afghanistan,” Mr. Jawad asserted, “is less tribal than New York.”

  • crabby

    maybe his military experience which our sos and pres and vpres lack???

  • yg

    next month is the anniversary. there is only one JFK.

  • yg

    i read it as “who better than someone whose had an election stolen from him to go straighten out another one?”
    obviously kerry is playing to an american audience, not to the afghans.
    i still don’t get why the UN fired a diplomat for blowing the whistle on fraud.

  • yg

    thank you.

  • Julia Grey

    Look, people, John Kerry is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, and as such, knows a lot about the situation he was sent to address. They probably also needed to send someone male, and someone whom the elders could easily have heard of, someone with international stature and even a bit of celebrity glamour. Sending Kerry was a form of flattery It’s a message to the elders that they are IMPORTANT. And I think it really helped.

  • Rima

    Nobody makes Fred Thompson look exciting.

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