Sunday, November 02, 2008

Does Embeding WIth The Taliban Make You A Traitor?

From the wonderful folks at Danger Room, who predictably act like they walk a middle path but imply "NO!" and if you don't answer "NO" you are a kunckle draggin moron.



Does Embedding with the Taliban Make You a Traitor? (Updated)
By Noah Shachtman October 30, 2008 6:21:00

Two weeks ago, Rolling Stone published the most detailed Western account to date from within the Taliban insurgency. Now, a fighting has erupted in military circles over the story, "How We Lost the War We Won." Is journalist Nir Rosen a traitor, for telling the Taliban's story? Or are his critics the ones spouting anti-American tones, for ignoring the 1st Amendment?

On one side, we've got Small Wars Journal's Dave Dilegge and Bing West. "Just call me old fashioned – I have serious misgivings respecting and tolerating journalists who embed with an enemy," Dilegge writes.

West, for his part, implies that Rosen should be shot:

Rosen described how he and two Taliban fighters deceived the guards at a government checkpoint. Suppose during World War II an American reporter had sneaked through the lines with two German officers wearing civilian clothes. “When we caught enemy combatants out of uniform in the 1940s,” a veteran wrote in The American Heritage, “we sometimes simply executed them.” The Greatest Generation had a direct way of dealing with moral ambiguity.

Spencer Ackerman is not amused by the analogy. "So there you go. Try to understand the Taliban on its own terms -- ask questions that offend the Patriotism Police -- and, in West's moral universe, you should be executed. Now there's a sentiment the Taliban would recognize."

Andrew Exum, over at Abu Muquwama, ain't happy, either.

The thrust of West's op-ed is that journalists like Dexter Filkins and Rosen have failed the patriotism test. By not taking sides in their coverage, West argues, they have abdicated moral responsibility. Worse, they are not American enough because they dare approach and analyze wars involving Americans in the same way they would approach wars involving exclusively foreign powers. This is the same crap of which the Vietnam generation accused the media in the 1960s as well. And look how well it worked!




Bing West author of many a USMC glorification project, answers in the affirmative.

Good for Dave Dilegge for speaking out in Small Wars Journal about the October issue of Rolling Stone magazine, wherein Nir Rosen, an American reporter, described his visit with Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Rosen left no doubt about his active cooperation with the Taliban fighters. “They have promised to take me to see the Taliban in action: going out on patrols, conducting attacks,” he wrote, “…. once we are on the road we should take the batteries out of our phones, to prevent anyone from tracking us.”

Having told the reader what his intent was, Rosen described the Taliban as “religious students who knew little about the rest of the world and cared only about liberating their country from oppressive warlords.” Rosen concluded his piece by declaring that the war was lost – unless we negotiated an ending with the Taliban.

But in addition to providing the Taliban with a propaganda coup, did he violate moral strictures, given that killing Americans was an objective of the very Taliban attacks he wanted to watch? Is a journalist guided by virtues higher than those of patriotism or nationalism? Does a journalist transcend the laws and norms governing other American citizens? And who is not a journalist, if every blog and e-mail is a branch of journalism?

...Rosen is in elevated journalistic company in detaching from the American soldiers and their cause. In describing his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins wrote, “This was not my war. This was not my army.” Whose army, then, was it?

Rosen described how he and two Taliban fighters deceived the guards at a government checkpoint. Suppose during World War II an American reporter had sneaked through the lines with two German officers wearing civilian clothes. “When we caught enemy combatants out of uniform in the 1940s,” a veteran wrote in The American Heritage, “we sometimes simply executed them.” The Greatest Generation had a direct way of dealing with moral ambiguity.

"I am a guest of the Taliban." Rosen wrote. Supposing in 1944 he had written, “I am a guest of the Waffen SS.” It is doubtful if Rolling Stone would have published Rosen’s article during World War II. The norms and values of American society have changed enormously in the past half-century.

Yet had Rosen been captured by Afghan soldiers, it is likely Rolling Stone magazine would have asked the US military to intercede for his release. But if the reporter has no obligation toward the soldier, does the soldier have the obligation to protect the journalist? Should Rosen, if captured, have been released or put on trial for aiding or abetting the enemy?


Personally, I think Mr. Rosen wants it both ways. He wants his journalistic freedoms that are guaranteed by the first amendment but he also has no problem giving aid and comfort to the people who if they were in charge would have nothing of the sort. He claims he's just telling their side of things, his personification of the enemy is calculated (by some at least) to try and make us quit the fight, or at least have less enthusiasm for it.

I am quite certain if one visited various Nazi, Italian or Japanese units during WWII one would have found that they were in fact populated by a great deal of people who didn't understand what the fighting was all about and just wanted to defend their homeland. For those who actually paid attention during history class this doesn't come as news. Books are filled with evil men who duped the masses into doing their will with these people going to their deaths believing they were doing the Lord's work.

The leaders of the Taliban and Al Quedia made it clear why they were doing the things they do long ago...to embed with the Islamo-fascist foot soldiers does nothing but create a more sympathetic picture to the ignorant wretches who usually swallow the drivel published in "Rolling Stone".

Hey dude spark up another fatty...Obama's going to end the war and pay us all $1000.

Traitor not really, ignorant dupe most assuredly.

He (Mr. Rosen) answers (not to me, but to all the readers) over at Danger Room:


The Taliban are not well understood by anybody. We don’t know who they are, why they take up arms, what their goals are. There is not even one Taliban. There are many groups who call themselves the Taliban and many different reasons why people join, Pushtun nationalism, resentment of foreigners, fear of Afghan police, revenge because one of their boys was shot by Americans as he was riding his bike past a checkpoint (true story), the desire to impose their strict brand of Islam, acting as mercenaries for the Pakistanis, whatever, but we don’t know them the way we could understand past groups the US fought, because of the danger involved in meeting them. Isn’t that an interesting thing to learn? And isn’t it relevant if an end to the war is sought? That end will be a political one, as even the American military knows, and there will be negotiations with the Taliban. At this point just about everybody is calling for those negotiations, even if it includes an element of killing the so called ‘irreconcilables.’ Unless Mr. west is from the Sassaman school of war. Maybe he just wants to kill all the Pushtuns. This worked for the Russians in Chechnya, though it hasn’t worked well for the Israelis.

I spent a month in Falluja in the spring of 2004 when it was under mujaheddin control and I came under similar criticism. Three years later, these people were on the US pay roll, and President Bush was praising them.

Some of you people take this war too personally. This is not good vs evil, its much more ambiguous, and if anything you should be grateful for my work, for the light it sheds on your opponents.


That last part there made off with my goat somewhat...I take this war too personally...HMMMM. Yeah, maybe so. Around three thousand dead on 9/11, then the bombings in Madrid, London, Bali not to mention the first WTC bombing and the embassy bombing, Kobar Towers, well the list goes on. All run by the leaders of the people Mr. Rosen embeded with.

Is it possible we could swing some of these people like the ones Mr. Rosen stayed with to "OUR" side? Maybe so. If it can be done that would be great. But what a snooty load of self serving crap for that oxygen thief to sit their and type that "some of us take the war too personally"...Mr. Rosen you can get stuffed.

Labels: ,

|

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

|