July 19, 2009

COIN 101

Two weeks after Taliban militants captured Private Bowe Bergdah, the soldier who wandered mysteriously off his base, they released a video showing Bergdah begging for his life and, most likely at gunpoint, asking for America to withdraw from Afghanistan. Propaganda at its fullest, but the sweetest, most ironic propaganda is that which claims the enemy's propaganda is illegal.

"We condemn the use of this video and the public humiliation of prisoners. It is against international law," U.S. military spokesman Colonel Greg Julian said, who denounced the video as "propaganda" like he had never heard of the word. "We are doing everything we can to return this soldier to safety... Basically they would like us to go home. That is just simply not going to happen."

No one expects America give into the Taliban's demand, an ill omen for Private Bergdah. Maybe the Taliban is violating international laws of war with its propaganda, but what about guerrilla law? Colonel Julian validated the success of the Taliban's propaganda with his own. Propaganda battles are endlessly entertaining.

[Update: America wasn't done either. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would claim the next day on Good Morning America, "We are attempting to do everything we can to locate him and free him. It's a real sign of desperation and inappropriate criminal behavior on the parts of these terrorist groups, so we are going to do everything we can to get him." Yes, the Taliban is desperate, so desperate that it's sending at least 17,000 extra soldiers to Afghanistan, probably more.]

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