Friday, January 13, 2012

Memo to the YouTube Five – It’s the visuals stupid:

Re: Some things you should have known.

1. You nullify ten plus years of hard work, and success (such as it is) in gaining trust of the indigenous population/government. For, every ‘knuckle-head corporal’ episode like this, there are probably 50 episodes of ‘strategic corporal’ Americans-being-Americans, doing great laudable things like helping locals with infrastructure, schools, water supply, giving free medical and surgical services, soccer balls to the kids, & etc., that usually fly under the world- media radar, unreported for whatever reason.

So, the ripple effect of these significant, ongoing and positive efforts undertaken in Afghanistan (when it comes to the impact on the greater Muslim world) is considerably less than the ripple effect from far less frequent but big-splash media fed-negative events, like the one you went out of your way to produce.

2. The fact that you not only went to the trouble to video yourselves, but apparently shared this with others, leading ultimately to the You Tube posting, not only shows you are strategic knuckleheads, and had no clue you were feeding a well established media fire by pouring gas on it yourself, but it just as obviously fuels the anti-American conspiratorial mindset we contend with in that part of the world. In Afghanistan, it fuels the Taliban inspired propaganda that Americans have little respect for Afghans and Muslims. It is bleeding obvious to everyone, except you and piles of bricks, that such gasoline as you created fuels the sort of propaganda rampant in the media outlets of the ME.

3. Your act amounts to handing these despicable people the proverbial pistol with which to shoot your comrades in arms, The efforts you took in creating and sharing your video presents exploitable and plain visual evidence that your gang was particularly interested in going out of its way to desecrate and dehumanize Muslims, this enabling the propagandists to offer evidence in support of the contention that Americans generally don’t think of Afghans or Muslims as human. It doesn’t matter if this was not in your mind at all. It doesn’t matter if you did not intend for it to find its way to You Tube. You should have known it might find its way onto the web and that the the act would be portrayed that way. This will recruit more fighters, and harden those already in the field. It is more likely now, that more American blood will be shed than would otherwise have been. Like I said: Piles of bricks and yourselves seem to be the only entities on Earth unable to fathom that possibility.

In short: ‘It’s the visuals stupid.’

4. You were violating UCMJ and Geneva conventions.

5. Desecrating Taliban grunts works counter to winning over such lower level combatants, something we have always tried to do, and something that stood a better chance of happening before now (as compared to the probability of winning over Mullah Omar and his ilk, higher up the food chain in the Taliban crime family). You think negotiating with the higher ups is stupid, and likely to fail. You’re right about that. But, this thing you did is just as stupid, if not more so.

6. For the balance of our time in Afghanistan, you’ve made it harder to gain cooperation of local noncombatants for teams such as yours. Nice work.

7. It just doesn’t matter that the Taliban are barbarians. Yes we know they behead, kill and disfigure women, use terror against innocents as a means of first resort & etc. So what? Two wrongs don’t make a right.

8. (This one is aimed at a blog post I can no longer find, but which was supposed to defend your actions by comparing them with another famous warrior/pisser.)

No, Patton did not do anything comparable to this. Sorry , but pissing in the Rhine as you cross into Germany is quite different than pissing on dead enemy combatants and then proudly broadcasting the fact, ultimately leading to its appearance on to the world stage via the world’s most popular internet video posting site. Patton wouldn’t have done that. So, quit trying to excuse stupidity that way.

6. You think Karzai is borderline delusional now? Just give this episode time to sink in.

7. This’ll play well in Pakistan, not that they needed any help, but you sure as hell gave it to them.