Nato’s current offensive in the town of Marjah is being
portrayed as a low casualty mission in the “good war” to get rid of the Taliban.
If you were to believe the news broadcasts, it’s already a success.
Since the assault was always intended to be as much a
publicity stunt as serving any military objective, Barack
Obama and Gordon Brown will certainly be pleased at how the
media has snapped into line and acted as stenographers for
Nato press releases.
The truth is, most of the few hundred Taliban fighters in
Marjah vanished well before the much touted offensive began,
not being stupid enough to face up to 15,000 of the most
heavily armed troops on the planet.
Much of what we’ve seen on the TV screens looks like random
firing into empty space to give the cameras footage for the
evening news bulletins.
But with very few enemy to engage it wasn’t long — two days
in fact– before tragedy struck when a missile attack looking
for Taliban to kill managed to slaughter 12 civilians, five of
them children — the very people this war was supposedly
tailored to keep out of harm’s way.
The attack on Marjah is no different from the numerous other
Nato “clear, hold and build” missions — except in the amount
of media ballyhoo.
And there’s no reason why this should be different in the
outcome, with the Taliban withdrawing tactically and biding
its time, before infiltrating back into the town, once the
overblown Operation Moshtarak, and its accompanying media
circus, has moved on to some other flashpoint of resistance to
The only reason the invading armies continue fighting a war
that cannot be won is in the hope that some escape route can
be found, from Obama and Brown’s “war of necessity”, which
will leave in tact the credibility of the Western powers’
ability to invade other countries with impunity.
The deaths of the 12 civilians this weekend is a brutal
reminder of the heavy price many Afghans will pay in the
months and years to come to save the face of those responsible
for prosecuting a futile and unjustifiable war.