Very Little to Add

by Joshua Foust on 2/1/2010 · 10 comments

Tim Lynch properly eviscerates CBS Senior Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan for the cheap trash she peddled as journalism last night on 60 Minutes.

Everything the “quiet professionals” did in this story was ridiculous, from shooting at targets down range while Afghans are standing right next to the targets, to screaming obscenities at them, calling them “fucktards,” and inflicting group punishment because they couldn’t master the “load, unload” drill, which I know from experience your average 12 year old can master in little under an hour of professional instruction.

I could go through this piece, point by point, harping on quotes like wearing beards is “a mark of respect amongst the locals” – complete bullshit – but why bother? The piece speaks for itself, so let’s get back to this shooting business. What should the guy have done when a truck load of males is approaching at “high speed?” He should have done what I do – walk out to the road, hold up your hand, have them stop, and then tell them to sit tight until the Americans are done. It is that simple – the biggest weapon us Americans have in Afghanistan is a warm smile and the ability to at least say “Singa yai” (”how are you?” in Pashto). But you can’t automatically make those kinds of environmental calls unless you know the environment. And you can’t know the environment unless you are living in it 24/7.

Baba Tim, you ask, what if the truck is full of Taliban gun men? That’s what binoculars are for.

Really, read that whole post. FRI is one of the essential Afghan blogs.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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JTapp February 1, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Did you watch the piece? The quote above and the post in general is mostly just critical of the Green Berets themselves. I thought the footage spoke for itself– seeing an innocent 14 year old get shot in the chest by someone who seems very weary of “cultural differences” was quite disturbing.

Maybe Logan didn’t ask the right questions or understand how bad it was but I find it more disturbing that the FRI guy finds the actions of our “elite” troops and Afghan trainees incompetent. If these guys are the best of the best, then what does that say for the rest of the operation?

M Shannon February 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm

The point to take away from the 60 Minutes story is that if these “Commandos” are the elite of the ANA being mentored by the elite of the US Army then what possible hope is there for the Afghanization of the war.

The USSF have done a very, very bad job building ANSF from day 1. They may be ok at training a rifle company within an existing army but their lack of concern and in depth knowledge about anything above that level has meant the ANA has not had the command, staff, communications, logistics, repair and medical elements built that make up an “army”. This lack of the big picture was slowly being changed but I understand the “new” plan is to forgo that and concentrate on numbers of increasingly poorly trained infantry.

AJK February 1, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I am not trying to correlate, seriously, but considering everything that gets discussed over in this corner of the internet, someone oughta run with this story:

Blaine February 1, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Nice take down by Tim. The Logan piece made me a little sick just watching it.

reader February 2, 2010 at 10:04 am

Come on people, it’s Laura Logan! You were expecting some more out of her? Is this the first time you’ve been subjected to her hard-hitting journalism? Jeez, I recall when she was interviewing Eric Prince I thought she was going to start touching herself in inappropriate places halfway through the interview.

shohmurod February 2, 2010 at 12:17 pm

How should one begin talking about this report…

Okay, Lara Logan is hot! And all the critics of her reporting seem to have something to say about how hot she is. Even Baba Tim chose a provocative photo of her and said she flirts with SF.

I say her sexiness is precisely half the reason why CBS elevated her to Chief Foreign Correspondent of that raisin box known as 60 Minutes.

If you did not know, CBS is not a public service station, but a commercial TV network out for ratings and advertisement dollars. I imagine Ms. Logan has done wonders for CBS’s ratings.

Now, the part about quality of reporting. Oh yes, well that depends on how much the average CBS viewer can digest. Would the majority of CBS viewers keep tuned in if Ms. Logan started talking about COIN, Afghan factions, civilian casualty effects. Methinks not!

And, would Ms. Logan be invited back for an “embed” with SF if she was critical of the SF?

Reporters want to keep reporting and need good rapport with their protectors.

I can go on…

reader February 2, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Maybe the whole idea of embedded reporter isn’t so great an idea. Maybe we should have more reporters like Nir Rosen, who actually speaks a local language, instead of of glorified cheerleaders from down under. But, I agree, such reporting would not be a wise idea from a commercial standpoint; warporn is so much more profitable.

M Shannon February 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm

2 1/2 months of reporting and all they get is a series of reckless and incompetent weapons handling incidents. If you believe that Lara Logan, who was probably on the ground for a couple of days, is a cheer leader for the SF what footage do you think was cut out? Drunken brawls? Hash night? Torture? Romance?

BruceR February 2, 2010 at 7:03 pm

I’m assuming it was intended as a pilot for a screwball comedy. Cause you know, all that thing needs is a little Monkees-style chase music and you could have the makings of this war’s M*A*S*H*. Just a bunch of happy go lucky Green Berets, wandering around Afghanistan, shooting themselves, passersby and each other in between bench press competitions. Even the title, (“The Quiet Professionals”) is pure comedic gold. It’d be a big hit, I tell you. The people in the CBS comments section sure don’t think it was intended as serious pro-military journalism, that’s for sure.

BruceR February 4, 2010 at 7:25 am

I’m still enjoying this one for the comedic value. “The Quiet Professionals” really should be in the running to replace “The Aristocrats” as the punchline for the world’s dirtiest joke… The joke would start, a CBS reporter goes to the producer of 60 Minutes, and says, I have an idea for an Afghanistan documentary,” and the producer says, “okay, let’s hear it.”

The pitch embarks into describing a series of ever more bizarre occurrences involving a confused SF team, and ends with the producer saying, as per the usual… “helluva story. Whaddya call it?” Ba doom bang.

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