Afghan war reports "miss Talibans humanity".

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by JohnSmith, Aug 25, 2008.

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  1. Can I post this, without any comment:-

    BBC presenter Lyse Doucet: Media fail to convey 'humanity of the Taliban'
    Media coverage of the conflict in Afghanistan is failing to convey the "humanity of the Taliban", a BBC presenter has said.

    Lyse Doucet, a presenter and correspondent on BBC World News, was speaking at a discussion of TV reporting of the war in the country.

    Doucet, who has been at the BBC since 1983, also spoke out against the nature of the reports on Prince Harry's deployment in Afghanistan.

    The veteran correspondent and presenter, who played a key role in the BBC's coverage of the war in Afghanistan in 2001, told the Edinburgh International Television Conference: "What's lacking in the coverage of the Afghans is the sense of the humanity of the Afghans.

    "In the Prince Harry coverage for example, there were all these people out there you never really saw them.

    "You knew that the bombs were dropping in that direction and the guns pointing in that direction but you never got a sense of how Afghans are as a people."

    Asked what was missing in British coverage, she added: "It may sound odd but the humanity of the Taliban, because the Taliban are a wide, very diverse group of people.

    "Some of them would like to talk to the British Government. Some of them don't want to be fighting British troops. Some of them would. This is the ideological Taliban.

    "We never have the ability or sometimes the desire to present this in a different way, so that people would be interested ... it's a regret."

    She told the conference: "In a country which is as complex, and as difficult and dangerous as Afghanistan you can't really cover it properly and get the full picture unless you are there day in, day out. Unless you are living there and feeling and eating the heat and the dust."

    She added: "What does it feel like to be a British soldier under fire? It's bloody frightening and difficult and dangerous, exhilarating as well.

    "But we also want to know what it feels like to be an Afghan involved with such hopes in 2001 that things would get better and they've got a lot worse."

    She said that it was "getting more and more dangerous" to cover the country.

    Of the news black-out on Prince Harry's trip to Afghanistan, she said: "It's a hard one because with an issue like Prince Harry it meant that there was a series of decisions taken all along the way. Journalists were one bit of a very long chain.

    "If Harry went, there was no doubt that he was going to put himself and the lives of his commanders at risk.

    "We are making these deals all the time. When Gordon Brown goes to Afghanistan we are not allowed to report. Perhaps it (the deal) won't happen again."

    Canadian-born Doucet said: "It probably did bring a lot of people to think about Afghanistan who normally wouldn't ordinarily think about Afghanistan. If the Prince Harry story can bring more people to think about Afghanistan then that's a good thing.

    "There was a lost opportunity. There was hardly any mention of Afghans, even of Afghanistan ... (just a) sense of 'I went to a country far away'.

    But she added: "Viewing figures went up, Prince Harry got a hero's welcome and recruitment for the British Army went up so an objective was achieved. Did that mean people knew more about why Britain was there? I don't think so.

    "Journalists focused on the human story but it should part of a wider picture."

    Doucet, who also covered Iraq in 2003, and the war between Israel and Hizbollah in 2006, added: "The right questions were not asked."

  2. I bet they'd show her some "humanity" if they got their mitts on her, a few dozen times before beheading her in the local footy stadium...

    Dozy Canuk bint...
  3. Since when are "Taliban" and "Afghan" the same? The reporter seems to use the terms interchangeably, which seems somewhat naive.
  4. Pretty mixed message. I think she has a good point that the taliban aren't simply one group of people and there's more to them than simply supplying a bad guy to our good.

    But I also think she's being extremly naieve in assuming that, because they probably have their own squaddy humour and band of brothers mentality, means they're somehow less ruthless or evil in how they deal with their enemies.

    Heck, I'm sure Stalin and Hitler told jokes. It doesn't make what they stood for less evil or repulsive.
  5. She has a good point really, know your enemy and all that.

    Out of interest, do the guys get a int brief on who the 'enemy' actually are?

    I have a vague idea (without googling) that they're a mixture of al queda, pakistani extremists and hired locals, true?
  6. It's very complicated - I wish I could be confident that we're spending as much time examining it as we should. Describing someone as a "Pakistani extremist" for instance is meaningless - they could be from a tribe that doesn't like foreigners that straddles the Durand Line who happened to be born on the Pakistan side, or be from the coast and a product of the madrassas. Both of these examples have radically different motivations and need to be described differently. Equally, some locals fight because they hate foreigners, some because they get paid, some becuase it is a duty to God, some because they like it. Reality of course is more complex still.
  7. Crap!

    I just caught the bit saying 'miss Taliban'.

    I don't know what I was expecting. A lady shepherdess in a Burka and a Bikini, a goat dressed up as a Carry On Up The Khyber extra or maybe Osama in his Borat swimsuit.

    Back to work then...
  8. She might find herself doing a re-enactment of Margaret Hassan's final moments - unless those nasty men in British or US special forces rescued her.
  9. Dehumanising the enemy is one of mankind's favourite mistakes. The moral argument aside, if you don't recognise their human strengths and weaknesses you make mistakes in your tactical and strategic planning.

    I personally happen to think that it's our focus on the individual human being that makes us deserve to win. Forgetting that and what are we? More technologically advanced, but no different in principle to the people we're fighting. "Rome is the light", and all that.
  10. Perhaps she should consider how women were treated by her "Humane" Taliban when they were in power.

    Mind you if this is the kind of nonsense you get from an educated Doris, maybe they had a point.
  11. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Wish she'd marry one. Then she'd learn something.
  12. And the winner is:

    Attached Files:

  13. I'm due out there early next year and personally I favour de-humanising the enemy. One shouldn't allow any split second considerations surely in war. Our business is to close with and kill our enemies so why should we be out their pontificating on the whys and wherefores of the reasons the enemy made in opting to fight on. If they are fighting for money then they deserve little pity. Same with those fighting for religious reasons.

    As I said in my own build up to deployment i'd rather not think things through rather than concentrate on getting ready to close with, depatch or destroy the enemy.
  14. Thats a very blinkered view you have there max. An honest question, how old are you? Not attempting to abuse you or anything, just a hunch that you're still quite young.
  15. An interesting enigma! How do you dehumanise an enemy that you already consider sub human?