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August 16, 2007

BBC: "Heavy Losses" Inflicted On Potential Sympathetic Civilians In Tora Bora

The Taliban and Al Qaeda is getting roughed up, and the BBC wistfully pines for civilian casualties.

Alas, no reported civilians dead yet.

US and Afghan forces searching for militants on the Pakistani border have inflicted heavy casualties on al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters, officials say.

The governor of Ningrahar province said that the operation in Tora Bora was going "very well" and that al-Qaeda and the Taleban had suffered heavy losses.

But a spokesman for the governor, Nooar Agha Zwak, said he could not give precise casualty details.

No additional news in the article, and even that vague report -- "heavy losses" -- comes without even an estimate of casualties.

Why are there no photographers or cameramen present at this fight? The BBC relies on old stock pictures; I haven't seen any fresh ones. The AP can embed a photographer with Hamas but no media organization can manage to position a photographer at the scene of a battle where we're pounding hell out of the enemy?

Really? They can't? Or they won't?

Has anyone noticed how very, very little pictures or footage we see of American or coalition forces actually doing what Americans like to see them doing-- killing Taliban and Al Qaeda?

Why is that, do you think?

The other day someone objected, presumably on grounds of taste, to my posting of the Flyin' Imam mortar-strike. But the fact of the matter is that the visual evidence of tangible progress in war -- pictures, film, video -- has always been a crucial component of sustaining homefront morale. Like it or not, we want to see our boys killing their boys. Not just for sadistic reasons; just for the simple reason of undeniable confirmation we're accomplishing something, even if it's a few jihadis at a time.

Think of all the footage of WWII combat. We have an entire cable channel that plays almost nothing else.

And yet in this war it seems that there's almost no combat photography. Partly this is because the military either doesn't bother with much of it itself anymore, maybe because they see every military cameraman as someone who'd better serve the cause by shooting a gun instead. Which is understandable, I guess.

But a bigger part of it is the lack of media interest. Embedding with units, according to media chin-scratchers, is now unacceptable propagandizing on behalf of the dreaded Bush and his evil war for oil (and oil pipelines). Are there no media in either theater who are interested in being choppered to major engagements to report and take pictures? You know, stuff journalists are supposed to do?

The net effect is a decrease in morale. We see every torn body of every child killed by Iraqi terror-bombs, meticulously and lovingly documented by the media, but barely a single terrorist coming to a bad end. We see US soldiers killed by terrorists -- the terrorists sometimes bring cameras -- and that's shown on CNN.

But showing terrorists blasted to hell would be, what, pandering? Jingoistic? In bad taste?

This is balance?

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posted by Ace at 10:43 AM

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