Monday, July 26, 2010


Remember the assault on Marjah? Here’s a report based on real life

by Larry Geller

Do you remember that long-running reality show in the Advertiser as the US showcased its assault on the “southern Afghan town of 80,000 people” called Marjah? at least the following stories ran:

Feb. 21: Marjah, Afghanistan—Marines endure withering gunfire in Marjah
Feb. 22: Kabul, Afghanistan—Allied coalition’s next big fight is Kandahar
Feb. 24: Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan—Afghan troops relish Marjah test
Feb. 26: Camp Geronimo, Afghanistan—Marjah flag-raising a bright spot in longer campaign
Feb. 28: Marjah, Afghanistan—For the most part, ‘Marjah has been cleared’
March 1: Marjah, Afghanistan—NATO force in the for the long haul in freed Taliban town

It was never a “town of 80,000” people, first problem. Then, for some reason the story ended mid-way.

Maybe this is why. Here’s a snippet from the middle of today’s Democracy Now program devoted to the just-released Wikileaks Afghanistan data:

Well, I came back from Afghanistan ten days ago. And while I was embedded with the Marines in Marjah and elsewhere in the country, I can tell you that this picture matches perfectly with what’s going on on the ground there right now. In Marjah, which was supposed to be the poster child of this new campaign, Marjah—you know, it’s a small farming community where two Marine divisions were sent in to try to prove that this war was still winnable. Those two Marine divisions have been pinned down for months. We were there at the beginning of an operation called Operation Cobra that was sending in reinforcements, a couple extra Marine companies, to try to, you know, push out their security perimeter. But it’s the—Obama’s surge has completely derailed. They haven’t brought security to Marjah. They have one to three kilometers of security around their forward operating bases.    [Democracy Now, The New Pentagon Papers: WikiLeaks Releases 90,000+ Secret Military Documents Painting Devastating Picture of Afghanistan War, 7/26/2010]

I guess it is nothing to boast about, two Marine divisions pinned down for months. That sounds different from the official line, “For the most part, ‘Marjah has been cleared.’” Yeah, right.

The Wikileaks data will serve as a reality check on military claims in Afghanistan.

Of course, your local newspaper will still follow the party line, which is why the alternative press and websites are increasingly valuable news sources.

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