July 17, 2009
Notes

Afghanistan: It's All Good


Helmand blast.jpg

What I don’t understand is the title MSNBC chose for this suspenseful photo in their “Week in Pictures” slideshow. It reads:

Last-second escape

A U.S. Marine of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade runs to safety moments after an IED blast in Garmsir district of Helmand province in Afghanistan on July 13. Two Marines were killed in the explosion, which occurred as they tried to clear a route into the Taliban heartland of southern Helmand province. About 4,000 Marines are battling insurgents in a massive offensive launched in the south in early July to clear Taliban militants out of strongholds.

I get it. The Marine in the foreground escaped.

…But two of them didn’t, which makes me think that the emphasis on the former is an example of the disconnect between these wars we keep getting ourselves into and the all-too-familiar tendency to deny or romanticize. And then, the piece of news evidenced by the photo — threatening the dominance of images of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan dodging anything but bullets — is the vivid demonstration how the I.E.D. threatens to “level the playing field” in spite of our more than overwhelming fire power.

(image: Manpreet Romana / AFP – Getty Images)

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Michael Shaw
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