Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Another Good American Falls Without Notice

On Sunday, the “NATO” headquarters on the island of Kabul announced that a soldier was killed in a roadside bomb. No location or nationality. Another soldier was injured in the blast. But without specific information on this casualty – no newspaper or network in the US can give this attack in Afghanistan much play. (It’s hard enough to capture the news on a Sunday – especially when we lost at least 10 troops in Iraq this weekend – which makes the US headlines.)
On Monday, the U.S. DoD released his name, hometown and unit. He was Pfc. Conor G. Masterson, 21, of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., a soldier assigned to 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment. These are soldiers who normally play to role of the opposing force in training at the Combat Maneuver Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany.
Who was this good American?

In the DoD release, they simply say that Masterson was killed in “Eastern Afghanistan” – no specifics – by and IED that hit his vehicle. Here they are again, dribbling out very unspecific information about the loss of a good American serving his country in a largely forgotten fight in Afghanistan.
If Mastersons’ death was lost in the news cycle, how can we differentiate this loss with the unfortunate vehicle accident that killed a Dutch soldier sergeant in Uruzgan Friday or the six Canadians killed by a roadside bomb this weekend?
And today, (April 10) the AP reports that two troops were killed and 14 wounded in a rocket attack along the Kabul/Kandahar highway in Zabul. And Afghan Army officer was quoted, but there is no mention of which nation in the “coalition” the troops belong to.

Afghanistan is not "turning" bad – it’s been bad. It’s continuing to be a difficult slog against the Taliban and other anti-Western insurgents. But why try to hide that news from the US public? ? The Canadians have some good coverage of their fallen troops in Afghanistan, but our go largely unnoticed. I have my ideas on why we are doing this….what are yours?

Also, a sidebar – the Afghan government has banned Al-Jazeera from local TV. So this so-called “democracy” we helped start in Afghanistan does not support opposing views of a free fourth estate. Al-Jaz is not my favorite news outlet, but they have their place – in fact, they have millions of viewers worldwide. Clamping down on them only makes them more intriguing to those who have doubts about the U.S.-back Afghan government. It’s the U.S. military that has had trouble with Al-Jazeera’s reporting slant in the past. The odd thing is that the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture are blocking the English version of Al-Jaz – not many Afghans are fluent in our tongue.


Thursday Next said...

Hmm - about the sidebar - very interesting. Maybe the point was to block the military from accessing the English language version? Or would be be able to get that anyway?

hoochBP12 said...

The US military is not likely watching the local TV. It's soldiers would not likely want to watch al-Jazeera because of the alleged anti-American stigma surrounding the Arab media. It really does not make much sense to ban English-speaking Arab TV news - but the Afghan government is advised by the State Department, so there is likely a behind-the-scenes reason to do this now. One can only wonder the objective.