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Bag’s Take-Away:A beyond-sobering photo about the cost, consequence and, if we’re talking good faith, the extremely long term obligations of war. (See caption.)
(photo: RICHARD NYBERG/AFP/Getty Images caption: This handout picture taken by USAID on June 17, 2011 shows soldiers in protective gear at a presentation on dectecting unexploded ordnance (UXO) and defoliant Agent Orange during the launch of a US-funded project to clean up Agent Orange contamination at the central Vietnamese city of Danang’s airport. Authorities started by removing unexploded ordnance at the site, part of the grounds of the airport, having identified it as a “hot spot” of potentially cancer-causing dioxin.)
Bag’s Take-Away:So can we go now? Apparently not. Here’s a picture of “successful” Afghanistan where the Karzai government is supposedly functioning as, well, a government with full participation from regional leaders. The picture elements are nearly pitch perfect….engaged, intent elders, a photo of Karzai on the wall…..but wait, it’s framed by elements that let you know we still have a heavy hand….a USAID sticker on the door, a military-like parachute type ceiling, and hovering American soldier (left foreground, our guys wear floppier hats) watching everything. Sigh. Guess we’re still there for a while.
(photo: Mauricio Lima for The New York Times caption: Zabul Province, one of Afghanistan’s poorest, is mainly known for being a transit route for Taliban insurgents and NATO supply convoys. But recently Zabul, in southeastern Afghanistan, has become important for another, better reason: as a small but overlooked corner of the Afghan war that offers a glimpse of what a stable future might look like as Afghans take over their own security and administration by 2014. Afghans gathered for a shura, or council meeting, in Zabul in April.)
NYT slideshow: Afghan Army Takes the Lead in Zabul