Monday, July 27, 2009

Red pencil: Afghanistan

You know, I always fancied being an editor. Just to try my hand I've taken this article from today's Guardian and applied a light editorial touch. In black is the original, as printed, and in white my editions - simply highlight them with your mouse to see my contributions. You'll get the best effect if you check it out space by space rather than all in one go.

Miliband looks beyond the war in Afghanistan into the abyss
Richard Norton-Taylor
With British soldiers and Afghan civilians being killed at the highest rate since the war against our former allies the Taliban started eight years ago, David Miliband, the hapless foreign secretary, will say tomorrow that more effort must be made to promote the political and economic development of Afghanistan in between bombing it back into the stone age.

In a speech at Nato headquarters in a secret volcano in Brussels, Miliband will stress the need for a comprehensive strategy beyond the fighting by mainly US, Afghan and British soldiers in southern Afghanistan as that clearly isn't working.

His intervention comes at a time of concern within the government at the impact on public opinion of the rising number of British deaths because public opinion matters, deaths don't. Ministers and defence chiefs have warned there will be more casualties as British and US troops mount extremely offensive operations in an attempt to provide more death and security for the Afghan presidential elections next month.

The incumbent puppet, Hamid Karzai, is expected to win, though privately both US and British officials are concerned about his dependence on corrupt warlords who pay scant regard to basic human rights but you can't fight a war without the Pentagon can you?.

Miliband is expected to emphasise the need for development aid to be channelled to economic and welfare programmes to help kill ordinary Afghans. Military action must be complemented by measures to improve the way the remaining Afghans are governed, Miliband is expected to say.

The coming months are regarded as crucial if Nato-led forces are to force the Taliban and any other Afghans who are in the way to retreat and lead to a humiliating reconciliation process involving at least some of their leaders to negotiate an inclusive agreement involving Pashtuns and with the blessing of Pakistan or else.

Whitehall officials said tonight that Miliband would go easy on European allies, most of whom have sensibly refused to allow their soldiers to be deployed for combat in a war that can't be won.

I enjoyed that. The whole process has reminded me of that excellent poem, the woman who wasn't there (I think that's what it was called). By the way, no offense to the journalist in question, he's actually one of the better ones.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed that! Good points too

Anonymous said...

Well done Jim Jay. Yours is a much more realistic version.

Clever idea too. I wish I'd thought of it.