Sometimes Mark Mardell just can’t help but express his opinion on world affairs. This time he’s expressing his disdain for the way US troops will continue to engage in military action in Afghanistan even though a decision has been made by the President to hand full military control over to the Afghan Government in 2014. The fact that he simply doesn’t understand what this means shows just how naive and ideological the man is.
Mission, sort of, accomplished
After the obligatory dig at George Bush, Mardell gives us an analogy to show us what he thinks about the whole state of affairs. He likens the troop draw-down and continued military policing of the country to the pointless butchery in the last few hours of World War I after the armistice had been signed. No, this highly-paid, world-traveled, expert journalist actually doesn’t know the difference between a cease-fire and the gradual handing over of power to a new government after military reconstruction.
I have been asking some of those involved whether the end in Afghanistan amounts to a prolonged version of much the same thing.
For the next two years British and American soldiers will be risking their lives for a war that we know will end in 2014, no matter what.
See what I mean? He really doesn’t get it. And he’s not done expressing his opinion. Of course, being a clever, trained journalist, he uses the rhetorical device of asking a question behind which to hide his opinion.
Has Nato masterfully spun an acceptance of defeat and subsequent retreat into something that looks a bit like victory?
Defeat? Al Qaeda has long been broken into the tiniest of pieces, really no longer existing, the Taliban we’re fighting bears little resemblance to those who ran much of the country 12 years ago. This is obviously a definition of “defeat” I wasn’t previously aware of. It’s not a perfect, obvious victory in that we haven’t created a stable environment like we did in Germany or Japan after WWII. But Mardell doesn’t see any of that. He sees only continued fighting, ergo it’s a defeat.
So outraged and confused is he by the fact that young men will continue to die for what he sees as someone merely hitting the “off” switch, that he goes to Ft. Bragg to question the last batch of US troops preparing for their tour of engagement. Fortunately, most of the soldiers seem to understand what they’re up against, and can grasp the larger picture better than the man the BBC expects not only you to trust about US issues, but expects their own young journalists to trust for lessons on how to be a correspondent.
The soldiers seem to understand that there are larger issues at play in the long term, but also realize that doesn’t discount everything that’s gone on the whole time. To Mardell, though, the fact that there are larger issues at play is proof that this war never should have happened, and needs to be shut down. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Mark Mardell report without the reflexive praising of the President, and he doesn’t disappoint:
It seems obvious to me that Obama has been pretty hard-headed, deciding to end a war when it was clear to him that it couldn’t be “won” in a conventional sense.
This view is supported by an important article by David Sanger in the New York Times.
Here we see the appeal to authority. Because he realizes most of his readers won’t know who Sanger is, he even explains that authority for us.
Sanger’s record is impressive. He gets the inside story more often than any other Washington journalist.
People who do know who Sanger is, though, will know that he mostly just likes hands-on, authoritative Presidential behavior in this matters. He like Clinton’s quasi-personal approach, mocked Bush as “Incurious George”, and expressed his disappointment when the current President dithered on Libya and then led from behind. Funny how Mardell wasn’t appealing to Sanger’s authority then, eh? So now when the President has acted decisively, Sanger is pleased. Mardell is especially pleased because on this occasion his beloved Obamessiah has done something with which he agrees.
Next comes the required “balance”. Mardell quotes John McCain’s disapproval of setting a date for withdrawal. Never mind how so far this piece is really two against one – Mardell and Sanger in support of the President’s decision to withdraw, and McCain against. And it’s about to get much worse. Where does Mardell go for the final say on the matter? Does he seek out a foreign policy expert? A military historian? A seasoned diplomat? No, becaue none of them with any credibility would call this a defeat, which is what Mardell thinks. To find somebody who agrees with him, he asks an Occupier:
The many anti-war protesters who gathered on the streets of Chicago believe the real problem is the exact opposite.
Riot police and protesters clash in Chicago The Nato summit has attracted many anti-war campaigners to Chicago
Among them is Occupy Washington’s Kevin Zeese. He says soldiers are going on fighting their way towards a deadline for one reason.
“That’s what happens when you lose a war. It is like Iraq. This is how you get out when you lose.
Mark Mardell: BBC anti-war correspondent, and dishonest Beeboid. Why am I calling him dishonest this time? Because Kevin Zeese isn’t just an Occupier or merely one of a number of anti-war protesters: he’s also executive director of the anti-war activist group, “Come Home America“, and co-founder of “Voters for Peace”. The man the BBC expects you to trust most on US issues doesn’t want you to know that, because it would detract from the credibility of his piece, so he left that out. Neither he nor his editor want you to know the truth, because it’s with Zeese that Mardell agrees most of all.