The Two Toms Talk ISAF Raids

by Joshua Foust on 10/15/2011 · 3 comments

Good morning! I’m Tom, and I’d like to share with you some of my favorite flat world uni-global head Spring democracy revelations!
Good morning, Tom! I’m also Tom, and my email correspondent-readers have a lot of feelings about whatever it is we’re doing to discuss. What’s on your moustahce?
Ignore that, I just ate a jar of mayonnaise. Anyway, Tom, today I’d like to talk about capture-or-kill raids that ISAF is maybe not doing in “Afghanistan.”
Intriguing use of scare quotes, Tom. My Best Defense Scare Quotes Correspondent emails that we should probably agree that Afghanistan is a real place that exists, and might have something going on inside of it, and that we probably shouldn’t do whatever the Chinese are doing because we’re still awesome.
An excellent rejoinder, Tom. It reminds me of myself in a lot of ways, much as my life’s mission to catalog the geopolitical analysis of the world’s taxi drivers reminds me that I really care about what brown people think.
Tom, I also think very highly of myself! So these two hippie nativists with totally fake names think ISAF might not be telling the whole story about SOF raids in Afghanistan. I declare poppycock and fiddlesticks!
Quite. I’ll tell you this much Tom, what happens in Kabul stays in a healing democracy volcano. We should think about spewing out hot, juicy streams of truth before passing judgment on the military, don’t you think?
I couldn’t agree with myself any more, Tom. My Best Defense PAO Correspondent just told me ISAF recently said Afghanistan had become a land without massacres, and since their press flacks never at all distort anything about anyone ever, I think we should take them at their word and also Michelle Obama sucks.

Tom, people seem to think of ISAF as this weird cult of group-think happy-talk about the war, and that makes about as much sense as two men holding hands in friendship and toppling a hated tyrant propped up by the American military for the short term and misguided purpose of catching a few terrorists. It just doesn’t make any brain-sense!
I think you’re right, Tom. See, ISAF isn’t a cult. It’s more of a collective cooperative community service operation outreach program project to win vicious Pashtun hearts and soothe treacherous ISI minds.
Clearly it’s not a cult, Tom. After all, would a cult respond to a report that details its own publications and concludes that ISAF’s own promotional materials tell a dark story about the war by basically confirming everything that report says while also complaining that said report is also unfair?
Exactly, Tom! My Best Defense Liberal Weenies Correspondent writes: It doesn’t really matter that literally every single non-military organization and agency operating in Afghanistan, whether those America-hating communists at the Soros Foundations, those brown-people-loving wall street protesters at Refugees International, the crypto-jihadists at Human Rights Watch, the democrats at the UN, or even the objectively pro-Saddam pacifists at the CIA all think the war is failing and is actively contributing to the misery of normal Afghans. They’re just not looking hard enough for the good news that says the war is actually going really well.
Woah there, Tom! I just don’t know how anyone can look at what’s happening in the world and think the war in Afghanistan doesn’t make sense. Even spending thousands of words each week quoting your readers’ thoughts instead of blogging any of your own is a bit alienating, Tom. I just don’t get the mindset!
I’m sorry you feel that way, Tom. But you see, I’m not trying to push you away — I’m trying to pull me toward myself.
Gentlemen, may I interrupt?
Oh hello there, Deanna. Do you happen to read the New York Times like a civilized person?
No, Tom. I’m a counselor, not a journalist.
Well then, little lady, what can I do you for?
Cute. I was wondering, Toms, if you perhaps ever thought that press releases don’t actually capture anything revelatory about the war? And that everyone, including ISAF, would be better off admitting that? And that everyone would be ever better off wondering why ISAF feels the need to publish, by its own description, incomplete and possibly misleading accounts of how the war is going? And maybe we should all eat a gigantic chocolate sundae?
I can’t believe you don’t read the New York Times. What are you, anyway?
I’m your worst nightmare, Tom. I can read emotions, which I’ve heard you might possess.
We both have a lot of emotions, Counselor. We use them to substitute for meaningful reporting or analysis all the time!
I’ve noticed, Tom-Tom. We all have.

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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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clarisse October 15, 2011 at 4:55 am

Humor -and caustic humor- is sometimes the only way to underline the absurdity/duplicity of what’s going on.

Your “Afghanistan” scare quotes sounds like Nadeem F. Paracha’s “Afghanistan”… I mean “Philippines”:
“The Halali Network also stepped in and one of its spokespersons while talking to the media from Pakistan’s hilly, arid FARTA area insisted that the Halali Network is not in Pakistan.
He added that he was not talking from FARTA but a place that looks like FARTA.

When asked whether he was speaking from Afghanistan, he said, he was speaking from the Philippines.
When media personnel suggested that the Philippines is a tropical area with lots of forests and not arid like FARTA, the Halali Network spokesperson claimed that US drone attacks have destroyed the forests and that it was because of these attacks and the resultant deforestation in Philippines that there were devastating floods in Pakistan and tsunami in Japan.”

b October 15, 2011 at 4:58 am

Hilarious. Well done!

Dan Smock October 16, 2011 at 1:28 am

It’s gotten to the point with PAO in this country where I’m pretty sure they’re watching clips of Baghdad Bob and going, “Hey, this guy’s got some really great ideas.”

I’d be happy with ISAF acknowledgement of well, anything, beyond trying to cram shiny happy stats down the public’s throat. But, since apparently people don’t actually read anymore, but just listen to what ISAF and their PAO have to tell them, what’s the point, anyway?

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