When Headlines Go Bad, The Afghan War Version.
November 5, 2001 4:41 PM   Subscribe

When Headlines Go Bad, The Afghan War Version. Like, are they talking aikido or judo or what?
posted by solistrato (33 comments total)
 
And it's especially compelling from the people who murdered 4000+ civillians to start this whole thing.
posted by mattpfeff at 4:50 PM on November 5, 2001


But as for the headline itself: they mean "as opposed to air raids." I thought that was fairly clear -- it's pretty literal.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:53 PM on November 5, 2001


This must be the most surreal news published on the theme so far.

WTF are those guys really talking about?
posted by betobeto at 4:54 PM on November 5, 2001


the taleban seem to let their testosterone do most of the talking, so I think it's safe to assume that they DO mean akido or judo or something.

there's no goof on yahoo's part - these taleban guys are really pent up and are raring to get some really hot and heavy, guy-on-guy action going. militarily-speaking, that is.
posted by nobody_knose at 5:24 PM on November 5, 2001


Actually, what they're talking about is the attitude difference between warriors and soldiers. The Afghans are warriors, and as such are primarily interested in glory and honor. They're out there to prove themselves.

Soldiers are different; a soldier's job is not to win medals, but to win wars in a fashion which is efficient and certain. A soldier has no problem with standing back and firing a missile, but a warrior wants the man he kills to see his killer's face before he dies.

What these guys are saying is "Stop all this bombing crap; come over here and fight like a man!" What we've been doing so far is to politely decline -- and it's driving the Taliban nuts.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:25 PM on November 5, 2001


Yep. Like I said before: they're Klingons.
posted by donkeyschlong at 5:44 PM on November 5, 2001


The Afghans are warriors, and as such are primarily interested in glory and honor.

Those warriors are Living in a World Without Women {NY Times story}:

"This is the warriors' time," said Fouad Ajami, director of Middle East Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. "The warriors, the martyrs — they're all men. In this moment of history, with the world of the Arabs and the larger world of Islam on the boil, the whole question of women and women's progress is shelved."
posted by Carol Anne at 6:31 PM on November 5, 2001


Perhaps if both sides stopped behaving like shamefaced boys trying to assert their manhood, some progress could be made. But between idiot Bush's "round up Bin Laden dead or alive" and the idiot Taleban offering to clean his clock if he comes out of his bunker, I don't see much hope.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 7:03 PM on November 5, 2001


And it's especially compelling from the people who murdered 4000+ civillians to start this whole thing.

Oh? The deaths of which 4000+ civilians are you invoking? Palestinians? Iraqi children? Afghani civilians in America's original support of the war against the USSR? Or perhaps Iranians under the Shah? Etc, etc.

Can't tell who the players are without a program, you know.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 7:09 PM on November 5, 2001


fold_and_mutilate,

Since you asked, here's scorecard for your list:

Palestinians = killed by Israelis
Iraqis = killed by Saddham
Afghanis = killed by Soviets
Iranians = Killed by Shah, later by Saddham

As for the “4000 civilians,” that probably referred to the innocent folks killed in the WTC/Pentagon/Pennsylvania attacks, which at this point, look to be the work of bin Laden.

Hope this helps.
posted by nobody_knose at 7:21 PM on November 5, 2001


Can't tell who the players are without a program, you know.

That really is very clever (though I suppose if you were paying attention you wouldn't need someone to spell it out for you). But, no, I wasn't defending anyone's innocence in this whole affair, I was just pointing out how absurd it is for an army that is willingly defending people who kill civillians by flying airplanes into tall buildings, to complain about the fairness of the manner in which its soldiers are being attacked.
posted by mattpfeff at 7:39 PM on November 5, 2001


And it's especially compelling from the people who murdered 4000+ civillians to start this whole thing.

The Taliban is not Al'Qaeda. Try as hard as you like you just can't equate the two. They may be allies, but they are far from the same like that sentance suggests.
posted by skallas at 7:49 PM on November 5, 2001


The Taliban is not Al'Qaeda
When they're both funded by Bin Laden, and one protects the other - they might as well be.

I say we send Chyna to kick his butt. Taliban smacked down by female wrestler...
posted by owillis at 8:00 PM on November 5, 2001


The Taliban is not Al'Qaeda.

agreed. Though quite possibly the Taliban commanders knew of the planned attacks before they happened, and it's also possible that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are more in charge of the Taliban than the other way around. But I don't mean to equivocate; you are right, it would be more accurate to say that it's an ironic request coming from those who defend people who attack civillians with airplanes.
posted by mattpfeff at 8:05 PM on November 5, 2001


fold_and_mutilate, your situational ethics have become appalling. If you can't tell the difference between deliberate murder and accidental death during wartime, you've no business lecturing any of us.

While the Taliban are not precisely the same as al-Qaeda, it should be noted that neither of them represents the people of Afghanistan. Most of the former are Pakistani glory-hounds; most of the latter are Egyptian, Saudi, Indonesian, and Chechnyan glory-hounds.

The phrase "shamefaced boys asserting their manhood" may be appropriately tagged on people who kill for glory. For our part, we have a moral duty to prevent those shamefaced boys from killing any more civilians, if we can. Ethically, we have no choice, because the first duty of a government is to protect its citizens. The first duty of a putative Afghan government should be, in a rational system of ethics, to protect its own citizens. Instead, the Taliban have chosen to protect mass murderers, and by so doing have put their own people in the line of fire. This is morally inexcusable. It's like a drive-by shooting on a street where children are playing. It's disgusting, and you should give these people none of your sympathy. We cannot end this until bin Laden can kill no more. The Taliban, on the other hand, could end this at any time, by standing up as adults responsible to the citizens for whom they cravenly claim to speak, and turning over a crude killer who has been properly indicted by the United States for hundreds of unnecessary civilian deaths in two largely Muslim nations, and which indictment the United Nations has supported with sanctions against the grimly insouciant Taliban.

I certainly don't think the (dozens?) of casualties that might be attributed to American bombing even begin to approach the numbers of Afghan civilians killed by the Taliban themselves, nor by any of hte other warring clans who have prolonged their war long past any sane purpose, with lives sacrificed by the hundreds to exchange the same miserable few square miles of territory, year after year. If we bring this deadly and inhuman civil war to an end, we will have saved countless more lives than were taken.
posted by dhartung at 8:22 PM on November 5, 2001


Now I've seen it all:

Life imitates a Jackie Chan movie.
posted by Dirjy at 9:32 PM on November 5, 2001


Yeah, I make one joke about a poorly-written headline and it all goes to hell.
posted by solistrato at 12:22 AM on November 6, 2001


... Iraqi children?
Iraqis = killed by Saddham

Now this really isn't good enough. It's an old, old, tired point but those half a million kids weren't any more killed as a result of Saddam's foreign policy than the poor blighters in NY were by GW's foreign policy (which I gather, is what many of our detractors are saying). They died because they were hungry or sick. Next time we must do better.
posted by dlewis at 4:22 AM on November 6, 2001


I think the Iraqis = killed by Saddam is not about his foreign policy, but about Saddam's quelling of uprisings. Including the use of sarin gas on his own people, men, women and children alike.
posted by jedrek at 6:09 AM on November 6, 2001


dlewis: Yes, jedrek is correct. Most of the suffering and death experienced by the Iraqi people has been the result of two things:

1) Saddham's frequent and vicious attacks on his own citizens.

2) Saddham's decision to consistently spend Iraqi oil revenue on guns instead of butter.
posted by nobody_knose at 7:15 AM on November 6, 2001


Saddham's decision to consistently spend Iraqi oil revenue on guns instead of butter.

Which leader really wants their nation to be stricken with an epidemic of heart disease? After all, LBJ did die of a heart attack.
posted by iceberg273 at 7:29 AM on November 6, 2001


iceberg273: ahhh, now I get it! no wonder he's been calling it the "HeartSmart" plan! I'm seeing him a whole new light!
posted by nobody_knose at 8:12 AM on November 6, 2001


There's nothing to worry about: Fox News is sending Geraldo to Afghanistan! If Geraldo finds Osama bin Laden in a vault, "I'll kick his head in, then bring it home and bronze it...I'm very fit. I still box. I don't smoke. I'd like to find a reporter who can outdistance me. I have a 31-inch waist, a 42-inch chest. I'm still real butch. Courage has never been my problem. Brave men run in my family. story...I think, arguably, I am the most experienced war correspondent in America today. Some people in Europe have more experience. But in the U.S., I've seen more combat than 99 percent of the armed forces personnel." (via Jim Romanesko's wonderful Media News)
posted by Carol Anne at 8:47 AM on November 6, 2001


they should go at it with swords. swords are cool, and every battle should have some sword action.
posted by tolkhan at 8:50 AM on November 6, 2001


I see a big kung-fu movie scenario, in which the final man-to-man battle is fought on a beach (you can tell it's the final battle, because Dubya's shirt is either torn off of removed in a fit of pique). After Dubya has fought through all the Taliban adversaries, including the penultimate "boss", that translator ambassador guy with the eyepatch and possibly some hidden throwing stars, he faces off with Bin Laden.

"Teacher!" he cries out, confusing everyone. "I must avenge you!"

Bin Laden shakes his head, freeing huge braids, just like that guy in Bloodsport, and they fight it out for hours. Just when you think Dubya's down for the count, he wipes a trickle of blood from his mouth with the back of his hand and gives Bin Laden the biggie: "The Shadowless Big Oil Kick" right to the head!

Then, of course, we zoom out and spin around the battlefield, the director hoping for a troubled "What have I done? What have we all done?" look from the hero, but all we get is that simpering little smirk.

Exeunt all.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:02 AM on November 6, 2001


I certainly don't think the (dozens?) of casualties that might be attributed to American bombing even begin to approach the numbers of Afghan civilians killed by the Taliban themselves

Dozens? Dozens? I have seen at least a dozen pictures of inujred children on the net. I have read dozens of reports of family members killed or injured. I have seen evidence of whole villages that have been wiped out with my own eyes. Omar himself had his own son killed.

The injured in Pakistan were the lucky ones, they made it over the border to a hospital.

America is now dropping bombs which wipe out everything within a six hundred yard radius.

It's all very well to support the war, but do not kid yourself that civilian casualties are in the dozens. Hundreds of innocent people are dying. Do not minimize this for ideological purposes.
posted by dydecker at 10:56 AM on November 6, 2001


The BLU-82 bombs you refer to are being dropped on Taliban front line positions staffed by their military.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:58 AM on November 6, 2001


There are villages on the front lines Steven and you know it. Don't be disingenous.
posted by dydecker at 12:10 PM on November 6, 2001


I have seen evidence of whole villages that have been wiped out with my own eyes.

cool mutant power.
posted by tolkhan at 12:33 PM on November 6, 2001


Geraldo: "I'm still real butch."

Somehow, reading that line brought up an Icky Mental Image of Geraldo on his knees in a rest area men's room.

Must. Drink. Heavily. To. Erase. Image.
posted by ebarker at 2:21 PM on November 6, 2001


There are villages on the front lines and you know it

yes, but as the media has been telling us for weeks now, non-military folks have fled Afghanistan.
posted by nobody_knose at 2:30 PM on November 6, 2001


Dozens? Dozens? I have seen at least a dozen pictures of inujred children on the net. I have read dozens of reports of family members killed or injured. I have seen evidence of whole villages that have been wiped out with my own eyes.

Pictures of injured children prove nothing if you have *no evidence they were injured by American bombs*. (Did this even occur to you?) Consider your sources. The Taliban has been shuttling international media around to hospitals for the last few weeks showing sick and injured civilians that were supposedly injured by American bombs. Afghanistan has been at war for years with internal groups and outsiders and we're not the only ones that use explosives. The Taliban isn't exactly the bastion of truth, but they're not so stupid that they don't understand the concept of disinformation and reporters don't exactly get a lot of airplay for noticing an *absence* of casualties. If you're going to be a skeptic, at least be an equal opportunity skeptic.

At first I was happy that the media refrained from showing the real carnage at the WTC, but now I wonder if it was a mistake given the fact that people like you have no tolerance for any civilian casualties - even the ones that occured despite our more-than-reasonable efforts to avoid them. If we're going to use imagery as a weapon, then let's be fair about it.

Here's a lesson we learned in the Gulf War that you're apparently not familiar with (some mainstream columnist recently alluded to this, but most people still don't get it): That House Is Not Really a House. Saddam Hussein understood that civilian casualties were not tolerated by our public and made a practice of piling civilians on top of his key military installations as well as hiding munitions and soldiers in civilian residences and buildings. The U.S. military does not intentionally plot to kill innocent civilians. Ever. Since you obviously don't believe this is the result of any moral reasoning on their part, I'll appeal to your cynicism. They have *no incentive to kill innocent civilians* and it's *bad PR* for them to do so.
posted by lizs at 8:38 PM on November 6, 2001


let me qualify that last statement by saying that i have no doubt that there were *some* casualties, but I think the estimates being referred to here are ridiculously inflated.
posted by lizs at 8:39 PM on November 6, 2001


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