Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Joshua Foust, "The Damning Complexity of Afghanistan’s Border Politics,", September 8, 2008.

[Not knowing who we are fighting means "shooting in the dark." Foust believes that "militant leaders" must be undermined "without bombs or guns or raids or torture—it requires a socio-political solution, one no one has yet come up with." The Registan writers are Americans, so when he says "we" that's who he is talking about. -jlt ]

"...we are at war with a not-insignificant percentage of Pakistan’s citizens, even if we are not yet at war with the state itself (and probably won’t be, now that Mr. Ten Percent is running things.) But figuring out exactly which of those citizens we are at war with is vitally important, and one I don’t yet trust our government to do reliably—in part because there is no fool-proof way of ensuring the “right” bad guys get killed by U.S. bombs and SOF."

Dexter Filkins wrote was can only be called—per Péter Marton’s formulation—a must-read. It is worth putting all else aside to read it. It is rare a piece of journalism from the NWFP manages to get both access to some of the main players while avoiding the annoying self-aggrandizement of playing up the danger while repeating little more than platitudes (I’m looking at you, Janine di Giovanni).

I find it hard to discuss this without gushing: it is a work of exception efficiency, summarizing two decades of difficult morass for a mass audience, without dumbing down any of the region’s horrid complexities. One part in particular, however, stood out for me:
“The government cannot do anything to us, because we are fighting the holy war,” he said. “We are fighting the foreigners — it is our obligation. They are killing innocent people.” Namdar’s aides, one of whom spoke fluent English, looked at him and shook their heads to make him speak more cautiously. Namdar carried on."

Read the rest of the article; check out the blog here =>
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