TIME Afghansploitation magazine cover: fixed it for you.

('shopped by Rob Beschizza).

Context, and Rob explains his thoughts in this comment.

Commenter "Unmutual," in the previous Boing Boing thread, observed:

When you show a naked little girl running away from a burning village, that is honesty. If you show that same little girl and say "this is what happens if we leave Vietnam", that is proganda, and it's a lie.

90 Comments Add a comment

AirPillo #1 8:08 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Time has been so full of shit for so long it's kind of pathetic to see them so desperate to sway public opinion.

mgfarrelly #2 8:12 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

How about

"What happens every day, all over the world even in our 'first world' nations"

Like how female genital mutilation is making inroads to in the UK
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jul/25/female-circumcision-children-british-law

Or how hundreds of migrants are dying in the desert crossing into the US.

http://www.nomoredeaths.org/

Horrible things happen right in our backyards.

Ford MF #3 8:18 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

When you show a naked little girl running away from a burning village, that is honesty. If you show that same little girl and say "this is what happens if we leave Vietnam", that is proganda, and it's a lie.

That's not really a good comparison. When you show a photo of a crying Phan Thị Kim Phúc running down the road burned by napalm, you're saying "this is what happens if we stay in Vietnam". Still propaganda, still exploitation. I think what people are responding to is that this extremely crass manipulation.

Capissen #4 8:18 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Hey Xeni, your context link is linking to this same posting.

Ernunnos #5 8:21 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Want to see a picture of what happened after years of saying, "Who cares what primitives do to their women way over there? I mean, it's a shame, but it doesn't affect us!"

Xeni Jardin replied to comment from Capissen #6 8:27 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

fixed thanks

necaver #7 8:38 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Reminiscent of the World War I propaganda posters showing vicious Huns bayonetting babies

grikdog #8 8:38 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Ok, it's war propaganda. Now fix the kid's nose! Unless you equate those two, the bullshit index goes off the chart.

Rob Beschizza #9 8:47 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

To add a little extra context, the thought here wasn't just that Time's cover shows what's *already* happening regardless of whether we are there or not.

It's to show that the image is politically meaningless by itself -- but can be used to make almost any statement seem meaningful. You could make the title "The True Face of Religion," as someone suggested, and it becomes an attack on something else entirely. You could make it "Now I can breathe" and make it an illustration of the power of modern medicine. You could write a human interest piece about her personal journey: "How One Woman Overcame Adversity." It could be an aid charity's flyer. It could be a Benetton ad.

That it's being pitched as a possible *future* of Afghanistan, rather than its past and present, is only remarkable for how distant the fact depicted is from the claim it's used to illustrate.

Time defends the image, but it's the words they used to give it meaning that matter.

Bevatron Repairman replied to comment from necaver #10 8:48 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Except the Huns weren't actually bayonetting babies as an instrument of policy.

hello whirled #11 8:53 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

"Context" is what's tricky here. This photo could be described to mean several things. And therein you have the power of words.

usonia #12 8:55 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

If we haven't fixed things yet, our continued occupation will likely maintain this gold-standard of nation building, right?

tursha #13 8:58 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Hey Xeni, and everybody with the same point of view. Just say it loud and clear: should we get out of afghanistan? Yes or No? Propaganda or not, sheer horror awaits afghan people with the talibans back on power. Everybody should remember that the talibans destroyed the giants buddahs that stood there for centuries. Everybody should remember that they smashed to pieces the statues and treasures of the national museum. You don't wage a war without casualties. I'm italian, and thousands of italians died as collateral casualties during bombings of the allied forces. But they finally got rid of nazis and liberated italy. And a final word. Don't think that there's a cultural war, the western world against a primitive society. Afghanistan was once a "normal" nation until the soviet invasion. I've seen pictures of volley ball girl team. From then on, all hell broke loose. But we all forget history. We're living in a ever-shrinking present. Again, should we get out or should we stay?

Anon #14 9:01 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

This is the visual equivalent to Bushes Incubator Babies

Nadreck replied to comment from necaver #15 9:06 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Hardly. The Huns weren't bayoneting babies but the Taliban, in fact, does this sort of thing every day. If this is propaganda then let's also get rid of the following evil propaganda:

- The aforementioned little girl running away from the burning Vietnam village which was one of the icon images used to oppose the Vietnam war. (She now lives a couple of miles away from me by the way.)
- Also the image of the South Vietnam soldier in the moment before he pulls the trigger on the gun he has pushed to the side of a prisoners head. An another wall poster favourite. (In which movie did Woody Allen have this on his apartment wall?)
- The picture of the black lynch mob victims dangling from nooses which local white kids walk by munching on popcorn.
- Pretty much anything from Gaza. Many of these are faked anyway.

After all, there's no reason to get emotional when discussing torture, mutilation, rape camps and the like. I'm sure that most progressive folks would never consider anything but a icy-calm conversation filled with bland euphemisms on such topics. Unless, of course, it has something to do with Jews or Yanks.

Is every appeal to emotion propaganda? I kind of thought there had to be a lie involved somewhere.

Nadreck replied to comment from tursha #16 9:08 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

You actually remember the biggest post WWII genocide in history? Even if it wasn't centred around Yanks? A Gold Star sir!

zoink replied to comment from Bevatron Repairman #17 9:57 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

The WWI posters were propaganda, but that didn't mean they were untrue.

"Dinant's citizens... were kept in the main squre until evening, then lined up, women on one side, men opposite in two rows, one kneeling in front of the other. Two firing squads marched to the center of the square, faced either way and fired until no more of the targets stood upright. Six hundred and twelve bodies were identified and buried, including Felix Fivet, aged three weeks." -- Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August.

pharmavixen #18 10:00 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Thanks for this, Rob! If that were the real cover, I might even start reading Time again.

Floyd R Turbo #19 10:13 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Not all propaganda is a lie... Obviously that girl was injured by the Taliban and we're there now. If we leave it will still happen -- on a wider scale. How do we know? Because it's happened before. What do you guys think happens to women under the Taliban? That's not to justify the ongoing or eternal war going on, but don't be Pollyanna about what will spread if we leave. People are dying now... more or different people will die (or be mutilated) when we leave.

If propaganda is a lie then WikiLeaks is a lair too -- because that's propaganda... the Collateral Murder video was highly edited and shown out of context.... at least be consistent.

And my link to the Telegraph story about the Taliban hunting down the Afghans named in the Wikileaks went down the Submiterator's wormhole. Nice.

Floyd R Turbo #20 10:19 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

"liar" not "lair" obviously

CJR #21 10:27 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Is this Is this propaganda? That's a tough call. It's true, so that immediately gives it some legitimacy (the WWII posters mentioned were fictional illustrations). The really determining question is probably, how common is this sort of thing? Simply espousing a point of view doesn't make something propaganda- it must also be a distortion of the truth. If it's very rare, then it likely qualifies as propaganda. If mistreatment and mutilation are a widespread problem still, then it's asking perfectly legitimate questions. Magazines are allowed to editorialize. It's not even necessarily anti-war. While it's questioning the effectiveness of what we've accomplished, it's also saying- if we leave this will certainly continue, so what option do we have to stop this kind of thing? (if any)

Anon #22 10:30 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

So much is spin.
Editorialising is one matter, but that sort of propaganda takes shoddy journalism to a new level.

Anon #23 10:34 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

If it is so obvious that a military presence is needed in Afghanistan to prevent atrocities committed by religious fanatics, then why doesn't the UN get involved? Why is always up to the US?

Phlip #24 10:54 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Two wrongs don't make a right.

strangefriend replied to comment from Nadreck #25 11:12 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Nadreck, you just outed yourself with that 'many (of Gaza images) are faked anyway' comment. I think you're going to be drummed out of the hasbara/neo-con brigade.

Avram / Moderator #26 11:14 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Everyone loves to be the hero who rescues the young woman. That's why this is propaganda. A typical American, seeing this image, will feel anger towards the Taliban, and want to rescue all the young women he imagines are threatened. Forgetting, of course, all of the young women who'll be killed or mutilated by the continuation of the war.

Mullah Omar liked to rescue young women, too. That's how the Taliban started. Back in 1994 he and 30 or so of his followers rescued a pair of teenaged girls who'd been kidnapped by warlords and raped. Then they freed a young boy who was in danger of being sodomized by two warlords who were fighting over him. Heroes, right? Rescuing young women and boys from rapists. Nobody can argue with that, right? And yet, they turned into monsters. Having those good intentions didn't stop them from becoming brutal tyrants.

If you've seen photos of Kabul in the 1950s and '60s, you know that Afghanistan wasn't always like this. The modern, egalitarian Kabul you see in those photos was what happened when the USA and USSR decided to compete for Afghanistan's favor by helping -- building roads and buildings, generally modernizing. That's how you build a civilized society, not by dropping bombs and shooting people.

jmullan #27 11:17 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Unicorn Chaser, plz.

I tried "cornify" on this picture as a smug "no, there, *I* fixed it for ya," but it made me feel like a bad person to cover her face with a unicorn.

MarkM #28 11:25 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

When you show a naked little girl running away from a burning village, that is honesty. If you show that same little girl and say "this is what happens if we leave Vietnam", that is propaganda, and it's a lie.

But they wouldntve ever said "This is what happens if we leave," because the media at the time was leaning towards getting OUT of Vietnam.

What they did say was "this young girl was fleeing a village that had just been napalmed by US forces"; ie,
"This is what happens when we STAY in Vietnam"

So: propaganda, once again.

[As with the above commenters, I quibble with the false dichotomy of propaganda OR truth. Not all propaganda is a lie; it is simply a partisan, biased point of view.]

Anon #29 11:31 AM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

you could ocuppy france for 10 years and still have a lady that kills 8 of her babies because ''she had too many kids already''.

maybe next time they should put a picture of Bush there and a caption that reads ' what still happened after 60 years of an established United Nations'.

johnpaul #30 12:01 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

I am sorry, it is so clear that the united states owes a massive debt to Afghanistan. Far from disengaging to cut your operating costs the US needs to put tens of thousands of more soldiers on the ground to take this from a thinly fought war using high degrees of firepower into a police action. And you need to stay there for 10-20 years.

The US broke this country, and we need to fix it. I am shocked at how disengaged and frankly lazy most people are to such extreme suffering. Sure, Time is being exploitative, but so what. Americans are simply loath to take real responsibility for their actions and bare the real costs (financial and otherwise).

We will loose more soldiers, we will continue to be reviled by the world, but if we truly commit to providing a sustained and numerous peace keeping force we can fix the country.

theawesomerobot #31 12:20 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

If the US (and the Soviet Union) broke the county then what makes you think that it could fix it? There's a huge difference between pulling yourself up from the bootstraps and having someone do it for you - one breeds pride and self-worth and the other creates dissent and displays a general sense of condescension. You don't help a country by waging war within it - you help it by developing the infrastructure and educating the people.

The violence within Afghanistan perpetrated by the US does nothing but make the Taliban and other terrorist groups stronger - we've already been in Afghanistan for nearly a decade and the Taliban is no weaker than it was in 2001. When do we admit that we're doing it wrong? How many more people have to die?

I think what the US really owes Afghanistan is the right to fend for themselves - if we really must do something it should be building them up, not breaking them down.

Anon #32 12:56 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

You could just as easily go to the Brooke Army Medical Center and photograph one of the wounded warriors back from Iraq or Afghanistan.

hello whirled replied to comment from Avram / Moderator #33 12:59 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

That's how you build a civilized society.

Call me an idealist, but to "build" a "civilized society" you need to do this: Tell the truth, and demand the truth.

What is truth, you ask?

Truth is context. Truth is understanding and explaining what's happening today, in the context of what happened yesterday, and 1,000 yesterdays ago. Truth is avoiding the easy, but lazy, practice of using a lack of honest context as a punchline for some empty-calorie snark.

Truth is all of that.

Truth is civilization.

k thanx bai!

hello whirled replied to comment from hello whirled #34 1:07 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Apologies... here's a "meta' note to explain my previous comment:

The first line of my comment, XXX That's how you build a civilized society XXX, is a direct a quote from Avram's earlier note.

I hope it makes my comment easier to understand.

brix #35 1:14 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

hey, so everybody who jut took opportunity # umptyleventeen to talk about US "responsibility" and the horrible things that would, without doubt, happen on a larger scale if the US pulled out...

first, you've got some precognition stains on your truth claim, and i don't think swabbing at it with hypothetical certainties is gonna help.

second: wikileaks' "afghan war diary" releases confirm what everyone who knew dick has been saying for years: the largest financial and logistical support base for the taliban comes from the pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence.

the ISI, in turn, receives huge subsidies from the US, as an "ally" in the war on terror.

so our efforts in the region are funding the taliban.
so yep, a withdrawal from the entire region would help that aspect of the problem.

and that's before we get into messier details, like how people might hate the taliban less than they hate being killed by drone bombing raids.


Anon #36 1:22 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

The taliban was armed and trained by the US, the US is back in there again training and arming the "other side" now, the US has had it's hands bloodied for many decades in that country.

The US absolutely positively cares NOTHING about the "freedom", "liberty", "democracy" or "some other bumper-sticker ideal" of any human being on this planet.

That is what you should take from this picture.

Antinous / Moderator replied to comment from Floyd R Turbo #37 1:24 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply
And my link to the Telegraph story about the Taliban hunting down the Afghans named in the Wikileaks went down the Submiterator's wormhole. Nice.

It's still 'published' in the system, but not showing up publicly. I believe that this is the result of it being voted down to the point of disappearance.

fnc replied to comment from tursha #38 1:30 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

"Afghanistan was once a "normal" nation until the soviet invasion."

This rather argues against the use of military force of any sort to fix the place.

What bugs me about the original cover's logic is that all those civilians that will die (and they will) in botched raids and misguided bombing runs are an acceptable price for preventing this. The algebra there just doesn't work out to me.

And I'm all for helping Afghanistan, but it's entirely clear either our current methods aren't working or we aren't being given a clear picture of the place (in which case Time's use of this image does far more damage to the war supporters than anything else).

Anon #39 1:47 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

So, before we got attacked in 2001, we didn't care how women in Afghanistan were treated, but now we have to stay there so they don't get abused? There are countries with way worse crimes against humanity happening. However, we do nothing there because they didn't kill any Americans. We can't "save" every country in the world. It'd be great if we could, but we can't.

Anon replied to comment from Bevatron Repairman #40 2:31 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Actually, the German assault on the civilian population of Belgium at the opening of WWI was explicit policy. They even pre-printed posters saying they would collectively punish towns (decimation and destruction of the entire town) if a single citizen resisted. Entente propaganda about German war crimes in Belgium were only a little exaggerated. I happen to have just read "The Guns August."

pontikos #41 2:39 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

I would find all these snide, oh-so-clever comments amusing, if the topic weren't so serious. If you holier-than-thou posters had any decency, you would say honestly that what the Taliban is doing is horrible and leave it at that. There is no moral equivalency between the United States and the Taliban. Simple proof: how many of you want to live in Afghanistan with the Taliban? Or how about with Al-Qaida in Iraq? Or in North Korea? Or how about your mothers or sisters or daughters? No? Then stop for a moment and thank God or whatever you believe in that you are blessed to live in the USA, Canada, etc.

Are we perfect? Far from it. Have we made and do we continue to make ghastly mistakes around the world? Definitely. Do we even have criminals within our military and government who have besmirched the reputation of our country and harmed the good efforts of the vast majority of Americans striving to do good for their fellow men and women? Without a doubt.

But for those of you who haven't been to places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia or Sudan - you cannot begin to understand what a different world we live in. And when I say different, I mean better. It's better because of our values, traditions, and yes, freedom. Freedom for all races and national orientation, men and women. We are more powerful because we are rich. And we are rich because our system is superior. Not without faults, but still better than any other alternative. Soviet Communism rotted from within and collapsed. North Korea is a brutal totalitarian state surviving on our and other countries' charity. Radical Islamism is a medieval philosophy dedicated to the subjugation of women and the intolerance of all other faiths and viewpoints.

In the real world, there aren't any easy answers. It's not so simple to say we've been there 10 years and this poor girl was still mutilated. What did you do to prevent it? If you don't care, then don't say a word. If you do care about it, then what *real* solutions do you have to solve it? If the US and its allies leave Afghanistan tomorrow, what will happen to the women there? How were their lives before September 2001? Not so easy to answer, are they?

spill replied to comment from pontikos #42 3:07 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Are you speaking for the trees, pontikos, or what's going on here? You've painted some broad strokes about how great the West is, and, hey, maybe it is!

So we should keep going in Afghanistan? Until when? They're like us?

mpb #43 3:09 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Here's another interesting post about the cover--
http://progressivealaska.blogspot.com/2010/07/time-magazine-doesnt-give-rats-ass.html

In the Spring of 1978, Afghan minister of social Affairs, Anahita Ratebzad, wrote, "Privileges which women, by right, must have are equal education, job security, health services, and free time to rear a healthy generation for building the future of the country … Educating and enlightening women is now the subject of close government attention." Soon afterward, the United States spent about a billion dollars to help keep her vision from coming to light.

Anahita Ratebzad was one of the founders of the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan. It was socialist, anti-clerical, anti-multi-national, and very pro-education. During its brief ascendance, the upward trajectory of women's rights in Afghanistan reached its peak, only to rapidly decline as the battle between Soviet forces and their puppet Afghan government on one side, and covert U.S. forces and resurgent Muslim fundamentalism on the other side, ended in chaos. From that chaos emerged the Taliban.

The United States, in backing the fundamentalist Mujahidin, spent about a billion dollars to defeat the only regime in Afghan history that mandated equal educational rights for Afghan women.

Anon replied to comment from tursha #44 3:37 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply
Propaganda or not, sheer horror awaits afghan people with the talibans back on power.

It does, and it evidently awaits them now, with the power the Taliban has, as this image shows. The propaganda here is focusing on the horror of leaving and ignoring the horror of staying. Both have worse images that you wouldn't be allowed to put on a magazine.

Anon #45 3:41 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

I'm going to repeat what I said on the other thread: if Aisha is to be used to comment on the war in Afghanistan, it would be nice to hear what she thinks about it, as a person.

Anon #46 3:43 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

War is the problem. I mean, thats how the extremists got in there in the first place. Forcibly trying to rebuild a culture just makes people cling to their beliefs harder.

Rindan #47 3:52 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

I am all for leaving Afghanistan. It is a black hole that eats resources. Further, there is absolutely zero hope it will be anything other than a backwards, miserable nation from now until the foreseeable future, no matter who rules. It is a waste, we should leave.

All of that said, I really fucking hate it when people try and downplay the horror of what the Taliban inflicts upon women.

The Taliban is a horrible, wretched, fundamentalist government. The paltry freedoms that women have received in some parts of the nation under the control of the national government, like the fucking right to go outside, get an education, not being killed for getting raped, not be stoned to death for premarital sex, etc, will certainly vanish under the Taliban. With the Taliban, we are talking about a government that is literally the most brutally anti-female government in the world.

Want to get out of Afghanistan? I am with you. Afghanistan is a hell hole you can't fix. Just don't re-frame it like you are doing the women of Afghanistan some big fucking favor. Every option sucks. Face up to that fact rather than engage in the back and forth propaganda war. Afghanistan is neither a nation of tiny little Americans waiting to be set free by the US army, nor is the Taliban a bunch of misunderstood but ultimately lovable folks who aren't that bad to women.

Egypt Urnash #48 3:55 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Arrgh, I'd been deliberately avoiding clicking on links to the original of this image. Thanks a lot for posting it without a cut.

Unicorn chaser pleeeease?

Anon #49 5:45 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Of course, this cover neglects that this was done to her by her own family - in-laws of course, but this seems a cultural problem, not just a Taliban problem.

So the judge who pronounced the sentence was in the Taliban, OK. But it took her OWN family members to do this to her.

Even if we could fix the government problem, good luck with the cultural issues inherent in the whole region.

Anon replied to comment from Rob Beschizza #50 5:46 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Global view requires an appreciation of things which challenge your basis in humanity to understand and confront without the taint of unique personal experience or 'feeling'.

It's not about the girl, the judge, her husband, or the Taliban, but how your expectation compares with her reality.

You block all paths with blind condemnation, including your own.

Unpleasant things must 'exist', though they are not be expected to 'persist'.

There's no single thing at play in Afghanistan, or indeed the Middle East or even the Mid-West, and nobody will ever understand well enough to help others understand without detachment from your own human experience.

CommieNeko #51 6:05 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Can I get a transfer to another species? Please?

W. James Au #52 6:24 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Rob, Xeni, you're not making an argument in good faith. Yes, the Taliban are still brutalizing women now. But that brutalization will surely increase many, many times over if Afghanistan is successfully re-Talibanized. And now, a brutalized woman still has some avenues to seek justice or at least a better life, beginning with women-led support groups in the country. That will be gone too.

In any case, that's hardly the only factor to look at. For example:

Number of children in school under the Taliban: 900,000, none girls
Number of children in school under Coalition forces: 6 million+, 30% OF WHOM ARE GIRLS

Afghans with access to health care under the Taliban: 9%
Afghans with access to health care under Coalition forces: 85%

Access to information under the Taliban: Taliban-run radio stations
Access to information under Coalition forces: 60 radio channels, 8 TV stations, 500K Internet users

Phone owership under the Taliban: 40K landlines
Phone ownership under Coalition forces: 10 million cellphone users, 500K landlines

Source: http://www.tnr.com/image/afghanistan-chart

Why not spend some time actually researching what Afghanistan is like, before and after the Taliban, before playing these trite Photoshop games?

Deidzoeb replied to comment from johnpaul #53 6:39 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

"The US broke this country, and we need to fix it."

Hellz yeah, the Pottery Barn Rule: you broke it, you occupy it ... and occasionally bomb a wedding party in it until you're ready to leave and declare it's fixed.

Anon #54 6:54 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

This is not what happens if the USA leaves. This is what is happening now, but with drones killing civilians, bombs hitting weddings, BlackWater warcrimes and U.S. soldiers acting as unwanted missionaries. You cannot bomb your way to ending spousal abuse, torture or wanton cruelty in another country (a country impossible to rule from abroad). The war machine is not interested in women's rights. Only to continue the war efforts, whether motivated by an attempt to stomp out terrorist organizations or make profits. This war is not helping the civilians of Afghanistan, are you mad, Time Magazine? Oh and W James, do you think that war is called for to end what I assume you would agree is heinous treatment of women in Saudia Arabia and Sudan? If not, then do not claim people who are against the Afghan war to be OK with abuse and torture lest you wish this fallacious standard to be placed on yourself.

Brett Myers #55 8:12 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Do you think she'd be on the cover if she wasn't attractive? I bet they wouldn't have tried this stunt if she hadn't been pretty before the nose-cutting.

regeya #56 8:14 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Yeah, Time! If you don't show these pictures, then we don't have to think about it, which means it doesn't happen!

Now make with the pictures of steampunk calculators, I'm bored.

Rob Beschizza replied to comment from W. James Au #57 9:01 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

You missed the point, somewhat.

However...

"Why not spend some time actually researching what Afghanistan is like, before and after the Taliban, before playing these trite Photoshop games?"

This is exquisitely condescending and I love it.

Cicada replied to comment from Avram / Moderator #58 10:06 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

That makes it a bit ominous-- the most civilized of countries to medieval hellhole in about a generation.
On the other hand, the photos tended to mainly focus on Kabul-- perhaps the rural Afghanis didn't care quite as much about niceties?

Heavily armed rurals versus urbanites...hmm...

Cowicide #59 10:38 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

I don't know about you guys, but I'm going to print this out and tape it over Time magazine covers on the stands.

If you're on a budget, print it in black n' white, it'll still get the point across.

Cowicide #60 10:41 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

On second thought, I'll I need to do is print out the words and quickly tape that part over the propaganda bullshit text that's there on the cover. Quick, cheap n' easy.

Kevin Carson #61 11:08 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Actually, tursha, Afghanistan was pretty much a normal country until the Carter administration decided to destablize the pro-Soviet government in the late '70s and covertly support Islamic extremists. The temptation for Brzezinski et al to give the Russians their own Vietnam was just too hard to resist, and you can thank them for 9-11.

pontikos replied to comment from W. James Au #62 11:40 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

Great post James- you are using facts and logic against those here who continue to repeat the same few cliched accusations against the US and the Coalition.

One huge problem we have these days is that the media doesn't present the proper context or perspective on how the real world is. That is a difficult chore, but increasingly, they don't even try. Whole wars have occurred with little to no reporting on them at all. Has anyone here heard of a little war in Nagorno-Karabakh about 15 years ago? Find it right in between Iraq and Chechnya (of which itself very little has been written following Russia's heavy crackdown on press coverage once Putin took charge).

The war in Afghanistan is a huge mess, but there is much more good being done there than it seems from a casual perusal of the news. In addition to Afghans, Americans, Canadians, Germans and British are dying every day for a noble cause.

It's easy to be self-satisfied and sarcastic safe and sound behind your computer screen.

Anon #63 11:52 PM Saturday, Jul 31, 2010 Reply

We need to get out and leave them be. Just because we don't happen to like the way the Taliban run THEIR OWN COUNTRY is no reason to continue a war which is killing far more than the Taliban ever will.

Is it sad what's happening to women there? Yes, of course. But it's not our business, even if George Bush and now Obama say it is.

We need to learn something difficult for we Americans; how to leave other cultures alone. Ours is not the only or even the best way to run a society and we have no right to judge the others. They do not define happiness and freedom and morality the way we do, and we need to learn to accept it.

Antinous / Moderator #64 12:23 AM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply
One huge problem we have these days is that the media doesn't present the proper context or perspective on how the real world is.

Yeah, Pravda's really gone downhill since the fall of the Soviet Union. I scarcely know what to think anymore without someone to tell me.

Donald Petersen #65 1:06 AM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

Whether or not the U.S. should keep fighting in Afghanistan is an argument that I, personally, am not qualified to join. I simply don't know enough, and I'm not proud of that. And it doesn't really comfort me to think that the vast majority of us don't possess a truly informed opinion either.

But what pissed me off about this cover (and what I think irritated Rob and Xeni about it as well) was Time's hypocritical attitude toward what they'd done here. The juxtaposition of Aisha's mutilated face with the caption "What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan" without so much as a question mark implies pretty heavily that facial mutilation (or worse) *will* be what happens when we leave... thus the cover becomes a prescription for staying. But Managing Editor Richard Stengel's "To Our Readers" column on Page 4 disingenuously denies any such prescription. He blathers on for a while about how he agonized whether or not to use this image for the cover, knowing it would frighten children and possibly endanger Aisha herself (and he goes out of his way to mention her upcoming reconstructive surgery and Time's support of it, so yay for that). Then he gets all high-minded: "We do not run this story or show this image either in support of the U.S. war effort or in opposition to it. We do it to illuminate what is actually happening on the ground."

The caption by itself could support that. The picture by itself could support that. The caption juxtaposed with the picture belies that.

RJHarvey #66 1:11 AM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

Propaganda or not, lies or truth aside, the amount of thoughtful debate from printing this controversial picture of such a courageous woman makes this a *WIN*.

hidflect #67 2:40 AM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

I see Joe Klein's name at the top. What a pimp/wh0re he is. Singing the praises of Bush before and then changing his tune the day of the power change. Disgusting.

Ruadhan #68 4:13 AM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

The subtext that nobody mentions is that it's fairly obvious she was exceptionally pretty before they hacked her nose off. That's most likely why she was chosen, from among all of the women abused and mistreated by the Taliban, to be on the cover of Time. I'm sure there was no shortage of examples.

These and other news stories of "honor killings" always leave me wondering, trying to imagine participating in a clubby culture of other men, one from which I could be ostracized for having anything less than total, brutal control over the behavior of my female relatives. The actions of street thugs like the Taliban are easier to understand than the American Iraqi father who ran his own daughter over with a car.

When they think of us, the perpetuators of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" on the world, they must see us as a venal and immoral lot, lost souls without moral compass. For our part, we regard them as backward and "tribal," self-righteously imposing our own values with an occupying army. All the Taliban have to say is, "If the Americans win, your daughters will be whores, and your sons pimps and fairies, just like them."

What are we going to spend the next ten years, the next ten billion dollars, and thousands of our soldiers' lives on, in Iraq and Afghanistan? The best possible outcome for us is to install another tyrant like Saddam or the Shah. The alternative, looking increasingly likely, is an embarrassing retreat like the last helicopter out of Saigon.

I'd love to think we had a plan to return this country to some semblance of prosperity, but that's not what you send an Army to do. That's what China's going to do after we run out of money and flee the country.

Rindan replied to comment from Anonymous #69 4:50 AM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

We need to get out and leave them be. Just because we don't happen to like the way the Taliban run THEIR OWN COUNTRY is no reason to continue a war which is killing far more than the Taliban ever will.

...

We need to learn something difficult for we Americans; how to leave other cultures alone. Ours is not the only or even the best way to run a society and we have no right to judge the others. They do not define happiness and freedom and morality the way we do, and we need to learn to accept it.

Fuck that mentality. We might need to leave, but don't try and cower behind moral relativism as the reason. I bet you were cool with the Rwandan genocide too because it was THEIR OWN COUNTRY and we just need to understand that Rwandans are different? How about apartheid in South Africa? I bet you thought that was fine too because it was THEIR OWN COUNTRY and we were mean to twist South Africa's arm to end it?

There is a time to accept that other cultures have different solutions, but this isn't one of them. The culture that the Taliban help enforce in Afghanistan with regards to women is flat out fucked up and wrong. Take your moral relativism and that can justify any horror man inflicts upon man and go to hell.

Leaving Afghanistan might be the answer because there is no way to fix the problem with bullets, or because we don't want to spend the money and lives, or because we think that the complete and total oppression of 50% of the population is better than making a pile of bodies to fix the problem. That is fine, but don't dare try and justify that kind of horror that the Taliban inflicts upon 50% of the population because they have the wrong naughty bits as something you need to be cool with because, hey, it is THEIR OWN COUNTRY and we can't possibly judge.

Anon #70 5:45 AM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

Sorry, Rindan, you and your Neocon (whether you choose to admit it or not) ideas do not hold up in the real world.

I will "dare" repeat that it is none of our business how other countries treat their own citizens inside their own borders. That thinking got us Vietnam (they're natural democrats struggling to be free), Somalia (they long for stability and freedom from warlords), Iraq (they will rise up and welcome us because Saddam was so bad). Imposing our values does not work. Does not. It results in more horror than if we had never gone in. Instead of 50% of the population being oppressed, it ends in them losing family members and sending their sons off to fight us.

If a revolution against the Taliban erupted and asked for our help, that might change my mind, but there is not one. The average Afghan is not willing to oppose the Taliban or to help us do it. Despite the awfulness, there is not a damn thing we can do about it. Anything we do will only make it worse. It will encourage people to make their anti-Taliban feeling known, which will make them special targets of revenge when our effort fails and we leave them (and we will, we always do. Ask the Marsh Arabs, the Hmong, the list could go on...).

Rwanda: what should we have done? Sent in the Marines to a swirling cauldron of horror where we have no idea who is who, no experience, no cultural understanding? Our guys would have ended up slaughtered or barricaded in firebases shooting at teenagers.

South Africa: well organized resistance asked for help...and we didn't send in troops, we boycotted and bitched, which worked because we were dealing with Westerners who we knew how to influence.

VagabondAstronomer #71 7:02 AM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

Taliban, plural for talib, student. As has been stated time and time again here; they exist because we meddled, starting back in 1978. In our haste to get the Soviets involved in land war in Asia, we ultimately created them.
That's all I want to say on this. This whole affair is sickening, and I just want to say shame on Time Magazine for this exploitation.

Patrick Dodds #72 8:24 AM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

What would be heartening, in the UK at least, would be that those on the right who generally favour the war (most wars, come to think of it - "our boys"putting their lives on the line, dead "heroes" and all that utter bull) would accept that, for women such as Aisha, getting the hell out of the country is likely to be a very good idea. But no, war supporters are the same people who think the UK is becoming "overrun" with refugees and asylum seekers and that they should "go back where they came from".
Here's an idea: make it easier for women (not generally terrorists or inclined to war) to leave the country and settle elsewhere, not harder. Leave the mad mullahs to stew in their own repression, anger and sociopathy.

Anon #73 8:40 AM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

Forget propaganda. This here is a premium example of marketing.

That headline is designed to stir up controversy and debate, all in the name of Time magazine!

What a great way to sell magazines!

Baldhead replied to comment from Anonymous #74 8:44 AM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

The UN is involved, for several years the overall military commander was Canadian, and we're still there now, as are troops from a dozen other nations. This has been international from the start. It was Iraq where most of the world knew Bush and co. were lying out of their asses for personal reasons.
And yes it is still happening despite our presence and yes it will happen again on a wider scale once we leave. One wonders if maybe the solution is good- old British style oppressive conquering. India would still be city- states if not for the British.
That leads to the question of why we need a region that's traditionally five regions to be a unified lump anyway.

Teller #75 10:41 AM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

Rob, you didn't fix anything. You just repropagandized it. See how easy it is?

Rob Beschizza replied to comment from Teller #76 1:43 PM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply
Anon #77 2:54 PM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

It's really weird when people talk about invading armies and say "we did this, we did that." The idea that your opinion counts is merely an illusion.

You are just paying the bill with your dollars and if you refuse, well... they will find a way to convince you otherwise.

Oh, but off course you have the priviledge to discuss morality while you pay for the bombs and the drones. But I suggest you remember that, never, not once in history, an army predominantly made of men, went to war for women's rights.

Teller replied to comment from Rob Beschizza #78 3:10 PM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

My string of comments stating the obvious remains unbroken!

teapot replied to comment from Rob Beschizza #79 9:13 PM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

Rob & Xeni:

Love the 'shoop, but I think it's missing something - commentary on the quality of TIME. Here's my re-jig:

http://img221.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=20197_TIME_122_649lo.jpg

Anon #80 9:53 PM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

Its visual rhetoric to communicate an idea, an idea with a definite slant. Alternatively any story could have grotesque imagery to make the argument more compelling, and to put it on the cover of ...Time magazine is to just put it in the spotlight. I find it ironic that US media find it okay to print grotesque imagery when it serves the status quo argument, for instance CNN showing blood coming out of Iranian Nida's mouth when she was shot during a protest, but refuse to show imagery of dead US marines killed in the line of fire citing decency. This is no different, and people should see through the propaganda.

Anon #81 10:00 PM Sunday, Aug 1, 2010 Reply

Women are still treated like differently from men.

That is what happens after nearly 100 years of feminism. Obviously feminism must be stopped because it hasn't solved 100% of the issues.

I think we should get out of Afghanistan because I don't care about those people. We were there for long enough to help the northern alliance take and hold most of the country.

Once the US leaves the women of Afghanistan will quickly learn not to do things that will get them in trouble. It doesn't take many pictures of women like that, or worse, for women to sit down shut up and do what they are told. Once that behavior is enshrined in law as it was before no one will complain. Women won't get defaced because they will know better how to act.

When the Taliban comes back into power you are going to have a whole generation of women who don't know how to act.

But seriously that is how that region of the world is. We can't enforce our ideals of rights because they aren't theirs. Once we leave it will be back to the way it was and we wasted trillions of dollars for nothing.

We should leave tomorrow. There is no victory; we aren't willing to kill enough people. We need total war to win. Anything less just prolongs the suffering on both sides.

Anon replied to comment from Rindan #82 5:33 AM Monday, Aug 2, 2010 Reply

"Fuck that mentality. We might need to leave, but don't try and cower behind moral relativism as the reason. I bet you were cool with the Rwandan genocide too because it was THEIR OWN COUNTRY and we just need to understand that Rwandans are different? How about apartheid in South Africa? I bet you thought that was fine too because it was THEIR OWN COUNTRY and we were mean to twist South Africa's arm to end it? "

In which case we need a US army in 2/3 of the countries in the world to make sure they 'behave themselves'. Hell, there are parts of London that could do with an occupying force if that's really the solution. But you know what? IT'S NOT.

The mutilation issue is completely off-topic from the 'purpose' of the invasion, don't kid yourself into thinking it's relevant in any way.

This war is about money and power; it has sod-all to do with anyone's human rights; if that were the case there are plenty of other places they could be focussing their efforts, but aren't. The only reason they're there is because of a handful of people that died in New York; a number that has since been dwarfed by the innocents killed by western forces. Now they're stuck, caught in a limbo. They'll never 'win' (whatever that means), but feel they can't just leave. The ironic thing is if the US wasn't fiddling with the middle-east's affairs a few decades ago none of this would have even happened; and the Taliban wouldn't have had such a nicely stocked arsenal of US made weapons.

THAT is why this is propaganda. It's also why this issue is irrelevant in the context of the current occupation; that's not to say it's unimportant, it's just irrelevant.

Unmutual #83 7:07 AM Monday, Aug 2, 2010 Reply

Holy crap! I just saw this! I gotta tell all my friends.

Unmutual #84 7:21 AM Monday, Aug 2, 2010 Reply

I feel kind of lame jumping in late to this thread, but as I pointed out in the original post, YES this will continue if US forces leave Afghanistan, but it is the presence of occupying forces that (be they US, Soviet, or whatever) that give the Taliban so much power.

If left alone, this nation would modernize eventually, and the people would toss out their oppressors or their oppressors would reform to adapt to changing cultural norms and stay in power (look at the history of Christianity, which is every bit as brutal).

But if the country is constantly under seige and being used as a proxy to fight wars that it really has nothing to do with (Saudi extremist Osama Bin Laden and his supporters vs. the western world) then the Taliban will never be the focus. For every one nose they cut off the USA or Al-Qaeda is going to blow up a hundred people.

Of course this does happen in many other parts of the world too, and Afghanistan has a buttload of natural resources (natural gas and precious metals, trillions of dollars worth) so it's no wonder we have all these post-hoc justifications for staying there indefinitely.

Unmutual replied to comment from Nadreck #85 7:44 AM Monday, Aug 2, 2010 Reply

"Is every appeal to emotion propaganda?"

Propaganda isn't inherently evil, which is why I said it is propaganda AND a lie.

Propaganda can be true, after all.

But it is their caption that is misleading, because it is, in fact, not truthful. This happened while we were there. This isn't "what will happen if we leave", this is "we are there now and look at what's happening!"

The reason I made the comparison to the napalmed village picture isn't because they are equivilant. I am aware of the many differences; first and foremost, the older picture was real and candid, this one was posed for as part of a "story", and both parties had a political agenda. It is the egregious lie that accompanies the picture that sparked the comparison, and the craven manipulation of real human suffering to promote the very same root cause of that suffering.

It's like showing a crack addict in the throws of withdrawal, absent any other context, and say "look what happens if you make crack illegal! Write your congressman: DON'T TAKE AWAY OUR CRACK!"

It may very well be that this girl appreciates occupying US forces and supports the war, with the idea that eventually the US will kill all the Taliban and things will be all better some day. I don't think she sees the big picture, though. She is not old enough to have seen the Taliban come to power. She probably does not realize that the US holds the most responsibility for the Taliban's control of Afghanistan in the first place.

Unmutual #86 8:08 AM Monday, Aug 2, 2010 Reply

Oh crap. I guess I spelled propaganda wrong in the original comment . . . .

Brainspore replied to comment from MarkM #87 11:53 AM Monday, Aug 2, 2010 Reply
What they did say was "this young girl was fleeing a village that had just been napalmed by US forces"; ie, "This is what happens when we STAY in Vietnam" So: propaganda, once again.

But they didn't run that photo with the caption "This is what happens when we stay in Vietnam," they ran the photo with an accurate description of what it depicted and let people come to their own conclusions. Thus journalism not propaganda.

If TIME had run this photo with a description of what it was, rather than what they thought it represented (i.e., what will happen if we leave instead of what is already happening) then it wouldn't be propaganda.

Anon, he must #88 11:57 AM Monday, Aug 2, 2010 Reply

Snc .S. sldrs r kllng ppl vr thr nyhw... thy knw wh dd ths t sh. Why dn't thy jst fnd thm, nd xtrmnt th ntr fmly? Tht wld d fr mr t prtct wmn's rghts thn jst rndmly bmbng ppl.

Snd mssg: ct lk nmls, y wll b trtd lk nmls.

Brainspore replied to comment from Anon, he must #89 12:02 PM Monday, Aug 2, 2010 Reply

Yes, let's send a humanitarian message by exterminating entire families. How could that possibly backfire?

Anon, he must #90 12:05 PM Monday, Aug 2, 2010 Reply

Another thing - why isn't there an international warrant on her father as an accessory to rape of a child? Since Obama has asserted the right to kill anyone, anywhere, at any time, why doesn't he kill her father, and all the men in Aisha's husband's family? What is he hiding?

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