Heterodox Views on Politics and Public Policy from Michael Blaine

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Afghans Get A Glimpse Into The "Culture" Of Their Would-Be Liberators

The View From The US vs. The View From Afghanistan

Now that General Stanley McChrystal has been deposed, following some ill-considered remarks about his civilian bosses in the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine, what impressions might the people of Afghanistan be left with? What if the magazine that brought the general down were to be distributed among the populace?

Would they be aghast over the cover photo of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (aka "Lady Gaga") posing with machine guns pointing out of her breasts? Would they be outraged by such a flippant treatment of violence? Would they wonder why the military officer making life-and-death decisions regarding their country saw fit to discuss his efforts in their country with a magazine generally focused on pop culture? Would they wonder why "serious" journalistic outfits such as the New York Times and Washington Post never dug deep enough to reveal the general's contempt for the civilian leadership?

More broadly, would Afghans wonder why the country that purports to desire the betterment of the lot of women in Central Asia has no females (or for that matter ethnic or religious minorities) in the upper echelons of its military establishment? Would Afghans wonder what they ever did to deserve having such a hypocritical, decadent and ineffectual power poking and prodding at them for nearly a decade now?

If Afghans don't end up asking these questions, at least we Americans should.