Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bernard Henri-Levy on Afghanistan

Discussing a controversy over photographs of dead French troops published in Paris Match, in a column from Gulf News:
First, the Taliban's state of mind: the fact that they hate the French only a little less than they hate the Americans, and that the clever minds who thought they might get into the Taliban's good graces by keeping a low profile and being discreet and ingratiating - even collaborating with them - were sadly mistaken.

Then there is the fact that they are not "resistance fighters", "religious students" or anything of the sort. Instead they are motivated by cynicism, choosing to celebrate a recent military success by displaying trophies and parading around as in ancient times.

We also learn - and this is hardly without importance - that they are what we call these days good communicators, able to stage their own photographs, posing for the camera (especially since the photographer says that is exactly what happened, and there is no reason to doubt her word).

Finally, those of us who wanted it neither heard nor said, or who considered it a state secret, are reminded that for years and years, the French have had elite commandos fighting shoulder to shoulder with the American Special Forces in the Afghan mountains.

The report reminds these people - and this is key - that France is fighting a war over there, a real war that also happens to be as undeclared as the war it fought in Algeria 50 years ago.
BHL will speak again in Washington at the French Embassy's La Maison Francaise on September 20th at 8 pm. The event is sold out, more information here.