Journalism still thrives here and there. It does so in The Christian Science Monitor. In its most recent issue (September 5, 2011, Volume 103, Issue 41), I read a story yesterday titled “Soldiers’ tale of an epic battle” by Anna Mulrine. One has to go beyond the mainstream media to get genuine reporting. Over the years I’ve found stories that give real insight in such magazines as the CSM, Harper’s, Atlantic, and even more obscure places. The story I point to here is on the web (link), but in fairness to the CSM, why not buy a copy? One has to penetrate beneath the canned, sanitized, propaganda to get a visceral (read human) understanding of how things really are.
This story visits the same Pech River Valley in Afghanistan I’ve pointed to before in two earlier posts (one, two), each time to make the point that we’re massively engaged in what is a pointless pursuit, a vast over-reaction. What it means in human terms is here rendered in old-fashioned journalistic style by Mulrine.
The story also highlights the valor of our fighting forces as they engage in actions that make as little sense to them as they do to us. I’ve served my time as a professional soldier myself, albeit in peaceful times. I understand and honor that world. But the merits of that profession do not transfer automatically to those who send troops into pointless battles.