January 5, 2010

American ADD

Kunar protest NYT Ferguson

Crotch bombers! Scanners! underwear! Yemen! Yemen! Yemen! …Oops sorry, what was I talking about? Oh yeah…

America’s got a serious problem with ADD.

Just take Afghanistan as the “symptom” of the moment. We finally get the focus back on Afghanistan — deemed the central terror front — after forgetting about it for seven years; then we fight like cats-and-dogs over a controversial surge which will throw tens of thousands more troops and billions more dollars at the problem; then we promptly forget about it again when the next bright, shiny and inscrutable drama comes along.

In the meantime: our corrupt and not-so-puppet ally, effectively the President of Kabul, torpedoes our fantasy timetable almost first day out-of-the-gate; our crucial CIA station in Kabul gets leveled by a double- or triple-agent in one of the worst losses of life in agency history; Karzai’s rejiggered, supposedly “corruption-lite” cabinet gets a surprise thumbs down by his legislature; and the local folks in the border region with Pakistan — the one’s whose hearts-and-minds underpin our new strategy of war with a happy face — freak out when our new campaign starts blowing people to bits.

Do the people in the picture look familiar at all?

Well, like the passing-in-the-night of this single photo — buried in a holiday time Lens Blog Pictures of the Day gallery — the blowback from the border strategy, not to mention the whole country of Afghanistan, might as well not even exist right now.

(photo: Adam Ferguson for The New York Times. caption: Afghan men protested the killing of 10 civilians, including children, in a military raid in Kunar Province. The deaths in a remote valley eastern Afghanistan by a joint operation of Afghan and American forces put President Karzai and senior NATO officials at odds over whether those killed had been civilians or Taliban insurgents.)

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

The Big Picture

Follow us on Instagram (@readingthepictures) and Twitter (@readingthepix), and


A curated collection of pieces related to our most-popular subject matter.


Comments Powered by Disqus