December 2, 2009

The Surge: If America is Really Looking At Resuscitating the Afghans….

KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN - NOVEMBER 01: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains graphic content.) An American medic in the 82nd Airborne Combat Aviation Brigade gives CPR to a grievously wounded unidentified Afghan National Army soldier (ANA) in a Medivac helicopter November 1, 2009 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. The soldier, who later died of his injuries, had stepped on a land mine planted by insurgents severely wounding his legs. Medivac medics, crew chiefs and pilots fly at a moments' notice into the war zone in Afghanistan, quickly retrieving wounded Western and Afghan troops alike from the battlefield. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

The reason this photo touches a nerve right now is because it hits, in the most graphic way, at America’s frenzied resuscitation effort in propping up Afghanistan, its political system and especially, its military. The photo — taken last month by Getty photographer Chris Hondros showing an American medic giving CPR in a helicopter to a grievously wounded Afghan soldier — speaks to the true odds the poorly-trained, undermanned and quota-challenged Afghan military might actually deliver according to our terms and new timelines.

The other thing the photo does is offer a challenge to the U.S. corporate media. The question it poses is: with Obama putting a new stamp on the campaign, to what extent does traditional media have it in them to visualize what’s really happening in some kind of coherent context — as compared, say, to these artful and playful photos published by the NYT — one on Monday and the other on Tuesday — illustrating their lead stories about the surge.

For a slideshow of Chris’s series, see: US Army Medivac Evacuate War Wounded In Afghanistan (via

(photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images: November 1, 2009, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan)

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Michael Shaw
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