From PBS and Frontline - Behind the strike that killed Osama bin Laden was one of the U.S. military's best-kept secrets: a covert campaign that officials have credited with taking out thousa... Read allFrom PBS and Frontline - Behind the strike that killed Osama bin Laden was one of the U.S. military's best-kept secrets: a covert campaign that officials have credited with taking out thousands of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. A six-month investigation by FRONTLINE has gone insi... Read allFrom PBS and Frontline - Behind the strike that killed Osama bin Laden was one of the U.S. military's best-kept secrets: a covert campaign that officials have credited with taking out thousands of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. A six-month investigation by FRONTLINE has gone inside the military's "kill/capture" operations to discover new evidence of the program's impa... Read all
Frontline takes us to the Khost province, at this time thought to hold a moderate count of bunkered or hidden insurgents. Embedded in a US Marine unit, the journalist shows the effects of a day-time raid gone wrong; the address was incorrect! Here, a tribal leader supportive of the Government (as far as we know) is subjected to a search of his compound regardless. Now the documentary changes its course as we are taken on a critical inspection of the US Intelligence machine.
Third-party journalists (The New Yorker) and Pentagon advisers provide some insight to the US stratagem; mostly they are critical and convincing, but they give no clear alternative anyway. Sure, the current policy employed by Petreaus / McChrsytal may be imperfect, but we're never shown where their errors were, if any. Here, the film is annoyingly silent on alternatives.
These JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) operations undertaken to 'keep the Taliban on the run' are revealed as effective in the short term, but potentially at odds with the overall US strategy and therefore the Afghan peoples' interests. By creating an atmosphere of aggression and suspicion, the worry is that the population will sympathize with the Taliban. This questionable reasoning is reinforced when we are shown defectors and threatening language from some disillusioned villagers.
The films most confronting moments are with the journalist's interviews with current Taliban commanders. These figures come across as true absolutists, fanatics and worst of all, ruthless. The threatening language they use ("Jihad cannot be stopped", "We will attack US citizens in other nations" etc.) is textbook Jihadist 101, and is subject to the law of diminishing returns, not to mention exposing the Taliban philosophy as a truly one-dimensional cause. This twenty-year-old commander seems to be reciting these tag-lines by rote, and I can't help but ask "what else was he ever going to say anyway?" The most astounding figure thrown at the viewer is the embarrassing count of voters at a recent regional election, (we're never told for whom the election was for). A paltry 3 citizens voted out of a population of 100 000 or more. This number displays just how disconnected the strategy can be at its worst. But it is never said if this election would have been even offered had the region been under Taliban rule to begin with
- Jun 5, 2011