December 29, 2009

(A Photo-Activist Take on the) ’09 Photos of the Year: Afghanistan in our Skivvies

Soldiers from the U.S. Army First Battalion, 26th Infantry take defensive positions at firebase Restrepo after receiving fire from Taliban positions in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan's Kunar Province on Monday May 11, 2009. Spc. Zachery Boyd of Fort Worth, TX, far left was wearing 'I love NY' boxer shorts after rushing from his sleeping quarters to join his fellow platoon members. From far right is Spc. Cecil Montgomery of Many, LA and Jordan Custer of Spokan, WA, center. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
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“Any soldier who goes into battle against the Taliban in pink boxers and flip-flops has a special kind of courage … I can only wonder about the impact on the Taliban. Just imagine seeing that: a guy in pink boxers and flip-flops has you in his cross-hairs. What an incredible innovation in psychological warfare.”
–Defense Secretary Gates   

Touted at the time as the iconic photo of the Afghan war, this picture from early May now stands as a classic example of denial and misdirection. While the media and the Pentagon made light of Spc. Zachary Boyd fighting the Taliban in his pink “I love NY” boxer shorts, the total overhaul of U.S. strategy six months down the road acknowledged we actually were waging a war with out pants down.

Original post here.

(2pm/11pm PST – slight edit)

(image: David Guttenfelder/A.P. May 11, 2009. Korengal Valley, Afghanistan)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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