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August 18, 2010

In a Picture, Why the Afghan Mission is Failing

Bob Strong/Reuters
Bob Strong/Reuters

We see a dead Taliban. They see a dead farmer.

(Caption: A man touches the body of a man who US Army soldiers said fired at them with an AK-47, after he was shot and killed near the village of Samir Kalacheh in the Arghandab Valley north of Kandahar on July 28, 2010. Though soldiers said they saw three men shooting at them and returned fire, killing one man and injuring another, local people were protesting that the dead man was a farmer from Samir Kalacha village.)

  • black dog barking

    Asymmetric warfare, 2010, boots on the ground vs barefoot farmers. Seems like we’ve been here before or somewhere close. The bystanders are headless, anonymous, could be anyone.

    Soldier camo’ed in the background is now thigh deep in an Asian big muddy.

  • lytom

    The touch: the right hand touching the side of the face, the left resting on the heart… Intent look on the face of the man is not a face of a stranger. He is someone who is giving blessing and realizing the common ground he shares with the dead.
    The occupier soldier’s back, shows indifference and empty search ahead.

  • Megan

    This picture made me so sad I had to go away and come back before I could comment. The Afghanis are present to this death, gathered around, very human and aware. The solder? Has his back to it and is transfixed by some militaristic gadgetry. Worse, the man in the beige robes has checked to see what the solder is doing, and noted the disrespect.

    I could weep.

  • CF2K

    The green-robed person’s hands convey helplessness and uncertainty, with splayed feet that suggest an imminent collapse.

    I’m with Megan. This picture could not be more hopeless.

  • lytom

    Maybe that picture is not clear enough to US warlords.
    Destruction of Iraq, and now what? Iran is next? I hear it is pretty rich in natural resources…

  • serr8d

    I’m sure Mr. Dead Taliban’s parents didn’t raise him for the sole purpose of dying because he was stupid enough to fire on American soldiers, thus bringing on a mostly self-inflicted death. What this photo speaks to me is, firstly, I hope to hell this guy was the right guy that fired on our troops, that they nailed the right guy and not some innocent civilian; and secondly, if they got the right guy, then the object lesson to the rest of the Taliban is that they shouldn’t fire on our boys; instead, they should tend to the crops they have planted in the fields.

    • Glenn May

      Seriously, you think the brothers of this man are going to “learn a lesson not to fire on our boys?” Is that what you would do if your brother was shot, serrated?

    • serr8d

      Glenn May, a violent segment of some of the population of Afghanistan is at war with the United States. We, here in the United States, have a vested interest in seeing to it that ours come home alive, no matter what sorts of sad photography focusing on the known perils of war and conflict make the rounds and cause butt-hurt amongst the sensitives.

      If we were at war here in these United States against an invading enemy, sure, I’d be involved in standing my ground. But your analogy is a strawman, because we are not, and I am not that dead man’s brother.

      Look to your own prejudicial and unhelpful commentary, Ms. Fonda.

    • black dog barking

      Q: Is that what you would do if your brother was shot, serrated?

      A: a) Bluster and variations on a theme of Right-Wing talking point. b) J’accuse concerning rhetorical fallacy: straw man. c) Name calling. d) QED.

      Note that the straw man reference is itself a rhetorical straw man, a ringing answer to a question never raised.

    • serr8d

      Black Dog Barking: “Woof woof! look at me listen to me can you throw me a bone please please PLEASE!”

    • black dog barking

      A bone? No problem, especially when you ask so nicely:

      You hand in your ticket
      And you go watch the geek
      Who immediately walks up to you
      When he hears you speak
      And says, “How does it feel
      To be such a freak?”
      And you say, “Impossible”
      As he hands you a bone

      Because something is happening here
      But you don’t know what it is
      Do you, Mister Jones?

      …B Dylan, 1965

  • Mal

    Hilarious comments here.
    Every liberal arts High School teacher has pulled this stunt when he didn’t want to bother with a real lesson…
    “What do you feel when you see this photograph?”
    “What elements of the photograph ’speak’ to you, and why?”
    “Has the photographer conveyed his message effectively?”

    • Stan B.

      Your right, mal- the real lesson is that we don’t learn anything from these pictures or from our foolish, murderous mistakes which we repeat ad nauseum. So we keep on killing, and fools keep on laughing…

  • hindzeit
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