Given photo-ops like this, it’s pretty hard not to be blindly cynical about the Afghan war.
In a brilliant stroke of bad timing, what we see is Sarkozy buzzing around in a French helicopter en route to a French unit in the relatively quiet North on the same day Karzai’s powerful brother is killed by a likely Taliban-sympathizing body guard, not just squelching a corrupt ally and influence peddler in the South, but as a potential tipping point, leaving Kandahar (“Taliban Central”) up for grabs.
So much for your helicopter ride.
(photo 1: Philippe Wojazer/AFP/Getty Images caption: France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) flies aboard a helicopter from Kabul to the 152nd Infantry Regiment military base in Tora on July 12, 2011 during a surprise visit to meet troops stationed in Sarobi district, northeast of Kabul, and to be briefed on progress against the Taliban by a French general. Sarkozy said France would withdraw a quarter of its 4,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year, becoming the latest NATO power to downsize its combat mission in the war-torn country. photo 2: Philippe Wojazer/Pool/Reuters. photo 3: Philippe Wojazer/Pool/Reuters)