Manipulation of news by government is easy when insurgents start targeting journalists
By Patrick Cockburn
"American and Afghan forces are poised to attack the town of Marjah, the largest Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan, in the first major US military offensive since the President Barack Obama announced that he was sending 30,000 reinforcments.
The US strategy is to expel, kill or capture the Taliban, prevent their return, and then provide aid and services to a grateful populace. Described as a sophisticated attempt "to win the hearts and minds of Afghans", its covert and more realistic aim is to win the hearts and minds of the American media, particularly those back in the US who direct the efforts of reporters on the ground. The message the US military wants to send is that in Afghanistan it is fighting a winnable war and not blundering deeper into a quagmire......
The largely mythical US success in Iraq is now to be replicated in Afghan towns like Marjah and skirmishes there will be heavily reported. A Nato spokesman says the people of the town will soon "feel the benefits of better governance, of economic opportunities and of operating under the legitimate authorities of Afghanistan". But according to a leaked cable from the US ambassador in Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, to President Obama three months ago, no such Afghan authority exists at any level. Instead he warned that US troop reinforcements, which are now going into action, will only ensure "an indefinite, large-scale US military role in Afghanistan". "