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January 5, 2010

American ADD

Kunar protest NYT Ferguson.jpg

Crotch bombers! Scanners! underwear! Yemen! Yemen! Yemen! …Oops sorry, what was I talking about? Oh yeah…

America’s got a serious problem with ADD.

Just take Afghanistan as the “symptom” of the moment. We finally get the focus back on Afghanistan — deemed the central terror front — after forgetting about it for seven years; then we fight like cats-and-dogs over a controversial surge which will throw tens of thousands more troops and billions more dollars at the problem; then we promptly forget about it again when the next bright, shiny and inscrutable drama comes along.

In the meantime: our corrupt and not-so-puppet ally, effectively the President of Kabul, torpedoes our fantasy timetable almost first day out-of-the-gate; our crucial CIA station in Kabul gets leveled by a double- or triple-agent in one of the worst losses of life in agency history; Karzai’s rejiggered, supposedly “corruption-lite” cabinet gets a surprise thumbs down by his legislature; and the local folks in the border region with Pakistan — the one’s whose hearts-and-minds underpin our new strategy of war with a happy face — freak out when our new campaign starts blowing people to bits.

Do the people in the picture look familiar at all?

Well, like the passing-in-the-night of this single photo — buried in a holiday time Lens Blog Pictures of the Day gallery — the blowback from the border strategy, not to mention the whole country of Afghanistan, might as well not even exist right now.

(photo: Adam Ferguson for The New York Times. caption: Afghan men protested the killing of 10 civilians, including children, in a military raid in Kunar Province. The deaths in a remote valley eastern Afghanistan by a joint operation of Afghan and American forces put President Karzai and senior NATO officials at odds over whether those killed had been civilians or Taliban insurgents.)

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