Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Petraeus: Hook, line and sinker

(Cartoon by Carlos Latuff)

By Gareth Porter
Asia Times

"Claims from General David Petraeus' command that the Taliban are losing Marjah in Afghanistan due to low morale ring hollow in the face of all the available hard facts. The episode and a similar one in Iraq two years ago instead illustrate the military's extraordinary efforts to shape the media narrative surrounding the war - and are straight out of Petraeus' manual on counter-insurgency....

To make matters worse for Petraeus, over the past six months, the Taliban have continued to establish a politically dominant presence in more areas of northern Afghanistan which had previously been judged relatively secure. The Washington Post's Joshua Partlow reported on August 15 - the same day Petraeus was making his claim of progress - that Taliban fighters were "spreading like a brush fire into remote and defenseless villages across northern Afghanistan".

Two weeks earlier, Alissa J Rubin of the New York Times had quoted the chairman of the provincial council in Baghlan province as saying the situation there was "very serious and day by day it is getting worse and worse". ...."

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