This shot by Tyler Hicks demonstrates the profound ambiguity of the much ballyhooed “new style” offensive in Marjah in Helmand province.
The question is: how does anybody really know if this guy — who wasn’t detained — is one of the civilians we are bending-over-backward to protect, or whether he’s Taliban? (According to the Pentagon, 75% of the insurgent force happen to be local residents.)
And then, as far as the coverage itself is concerned, give credit to the NYT for having a reporter and photographer there at all — given how other media (CNN and the BBC, for example) are relying heavily on the Pentagon and Britian’s MOD for “news” images.
‘Operation Moshtarak’ Begins: NYT Slideshow. CNN video.
(photo: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times. caption: Company K, accompanied by an Afghan army platoon, set down in three landing zones to gain a foothold in territory long under insurgent control. Here, an Afghan villager, who was not detained, was confronted at the first compound that the Marines seized)
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