Thomas Polich 100797829
HIST 3902A Terrorism in History
September 30th, 2013 The title derives from a genuine conviction of General John R. Allen remarking what he envisioned the Afghanistan war legacy to be: ‘‘Afghan forces defending Afghan people and enabling the government of this country to serve its citizens. This is victory, this is what winning looks like, and we should not shrink from using these words.’’
Directed by the award winning journalist Ben Anderson, you quickly realizse that the title is used with great irony revealing the trulye despondent state of the country, itsher corrupt leaders and the war battered civilians that were cast innocently into this mess.
Upon Rresearch preparation ing for this review involved I watchinged several other pieces covering the battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The central purpose of those war-documentaries has usually been to give the viewers some sense of what a raw state of war feels like and the gritty situations in which that the soldiers are immersed. have to immerse themselves in. ‘This is what winning looks like’ has little of that, instead Anderson directs his gaze at the Afghan army and police who will ultimately be responsible for holding back the fort fromfrom the line against what the US sees as the scourge of the Taliban. This unique perspective which peers into the future displays the long-lasting effectiveness of terrorist organization of the Taliban’s capacity. 1
With the official withdrawal of US and allied troops scheduled for late 2014, the time available to sand of time in the hourglass of establishing a stable government is rapidly dwindling away. Anderson comments that this is the first time he sees the Afghan army conducting missions without the US troops leading the charge. Yet this frail hand-over of the leadership dishearteningly exposes just how woeful the situation is. Anderson who interviews Major Stueber who is there to assist the transition, laments that the current situation is dire: both the Afghan army/police force are ill equipped, poorly trained and contain soldiers who are barely teens, are drug addicts or worse still who defect to the Taliban. We witness one scene in which marijuana plants are freely being cultivated outside the police station, while in another incident the police recruits who are meant to be filling sandbags with soil to create some fortification are so high on opium that they can barely keep balance let alone tie a sandbag. Eventually the officer guy in charge of those police units stops some civilians and forces them to help-out. This scene displays the effectiveness of American and other media outlets. Where they mainstream meadia, repeating what it has been told by officials, would have the audienceyou believe that all is well with the Afghani in the nation rebuilding mission the exact opposite is true. The real tone of the situation is eerily similar to those of The United States previous US nation- rebuilding efforts which ended in , and subsequent failures. The documentary makes clear that the Taliban have infiltrated the Afghan police force and made it an extension of their organized crime initiative. The corruption and anarchy the Taliban has brought upon the streets of Afghanistan is consistent with terrorist tactics and ideologies of previous centuries. The presence of the Parisian Mob during the French Revolution in the late 17d00’s showed the effectiveness of street violence in numbers. During that era there were no street lights, and a diminished and a woefully outnumbered police force. High tensions allowed for casual murder to take place. Francis- Noel Babeuf organized a secret plot to stage a coup. He believed that for a revolution to be successful you must “let everything return to chaos… make society ungovernable and then one can take over.”2 The Taliban has successfully turned everything to