Another interesting “surge” shot from AP photographer Kevin Frayer in Afghanistan. The caption reads:
United States Marine SSgt. Mark Doucette from the 2nd MEB, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, center, poses with Afghan locals while gathering information during an operation near Khan Neshin in the volatile Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009.
On first pass, the photo speaks to American gains in the battle for hearts and minds. Looking further, though, the enthusiasm of the locals could as much be that drill they go through when the Westerners hit the hamlet. I was thinking this especially looking at the guy with his arms crossed and his head cocked the other way. They are posing after all, aren’t they, indulging that tourist instinct?
It’d also be curious to know just what kind of intel these Americans received from their exotic new friends.