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Pondering the palimpsest and panoply of the planet.

Archive for the tag “Afghanistan”

Travels with Tiziano Terzani

Tiziano Terzani (1938-2004)

2011 is coming to a close and, as usual, we tend to look back at the major events and developments, both personal and global, of the last year. Among the many things that one could place into these categories, I will mention but two here: this year we were told about the unexpected assassination of America’s greatest terrorist nemesis, as well as the conclusion of the American presence in Iraq. Afghanistan has long been regarded by public opinion as the ‘good’ or ‘necessary’ war, while Iraq is mostly called (quite rightly) a war of ‘choice’ or even ‘American adventurism’, etc. Osama bin Laden and his rogue al-Qaeda network were based out of Afghanistan (after relocating from other less-than-desirable places such as Somalia and Sudan), which provided the rationale for a long bombing campaign (what is there to bomb there, anyway?) followed by a seemingly interminable occupation of that unfortunate country. Here are the agreeable euphemisms: “Operation Iraqi Freedom” lasted from 2003-2011 (a mere 9 years), while “Operation Enduring Freedom” began in late 2001, and will apparently continue until at least 2014. This last one, ‘OEF’, is already America’s longest war at 10 years and counting. Any sense of “progress” cannot be measured except by often-misleading statistics, and, as usual, civilians have suffered the most (while, as usual, arms producers have benefitted the most). It didn’t have to be like this.  Read more…

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