Embedded with the Taliban

For an American cable news organization to embed reporters with the Taliban would be a bold move. CNN isn’t bold. But on Saturday evening it took the moderately risky move of airing a Norwegian journalist’s film of life with Taliban fighters.

“Some people might see this and think that you are trying to humanize this force which is attacking American troops,” Anderson Cooper says to Paul Refsdal. The problem being that if we see a Taliban commander embracing his children we might make a dreadful connection: such a scene must have preceded many a drone attack in which militants and their families have been eliminated. Refsdal simply says: “I show what I saw. I show the everyday life of the Taliban.”

Supporters of the war, however, better shield their eyes from such images — at least if they want to cling to the fiction that American forces are pitted against fanatical inhuman monsters.

As for the attack that is shown in the clip below, the Pentagon claims no such attack occurred. Cooper seems to infer from this that the Taliban has an inflated view of its own capacities. That’s one way of reading it. Another is to recognize that attacks against coalition forces are so frequent that the only ones worth recording are those that do damage — as though the only bullets a soldier need worry about are the ones that hit their target.

However CNN might have attempted to insulate themselves from criticism for airing this documentary, it’s likely impact will be this: that many Americans come away seeing the Taliban for what they are — an indigenous fighting force defending their homeland. In America’s war of independence, the militiamen who drove out the British, no doubt saw themselves in exactly the same way.

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5 thoughts on “Embedded with the Taliban

  1. Vince J.

    Extremist fanatical terrorists are easily found in the Pentagon(Gates;Mullen;Pertraeus)/WH(Obama;Bush;Clinton)/CIA…

  2. richard

    At the conclusion of a speech given on September 26, 2008, at the Seattle Central Library, the journalist Robert Fisk related the account of one Captain Mainwaring given in the official British report of ca. 1882 on the Battle of Maiwand. It took place on July 27, 1880, during the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Mainwaring wrote of how particular Afghan fighters wearing black turbans would charge the British infantry lines and, upon reaching a British soldier, would proceed by cutting open his throat; of these suicidal Afghan fighters Mainwaring reveals ‘they were called the Taliban’.[32]
    from Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban) …the talibs have been fighting back invaders for a long time…

  3. seamus o'bannion

    If Americans think we’re fighting monsters, it proves only one thing – they do NOT have a news source, they have a propaganda source.

    Turn off the tube, read a book, and get a life.

    SOB.

  4. Norman

    This reminds me of the visions we get of the patriots who fought in the Revolutionary War of Independence against the British. They used the same guerrilla tactics that are still in use today. If anything, this shows that even with all its might, the U.S. is at a disadvantage, will never gain victory, just as Vietnam was lost. Yet today, they are our friends, trading nback & forth, etc. The Military/Industrial/Neoconservative complex is a loosing proposition, the sooner it goes into the garbage can, the better. Perhaps the Retired Military, industrial, Neoconservative members would instead volunteer to take the place of the regular troops and go fight in their place?

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