Jingle All the Way to Bagram!
If you were an Afghan, and maybe you had a family member or a friend or someone you knew detained at the vast U.S. prison at Bagram Air Field, how would you feel about the Pentagon sending this fluffy news piece around?
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Dec. 22, 2009 – Army soldiers and civilians serving in Afghanistan spread good cheer this holiday season to U.S., coalition and Afghan audiences, in what they have dubbed “Operation Caroling.”
I’m not anti-caroling. And having spent some time at Bagram, I know that it’s basically a big transplanted similacrum of life in the U.S., as huge bases often are. So go around the base and carol to your heart’s desire. But telling the world that you’re spreading Christmas cheer so near to a prison where Afghans have been tortured — that’s unseemly. And it’s all the more amazing when considering that the story goes out of its way to portray the carolers as wise counterinsurgents:
“It was a moment with our Afghan friends that underscores a core COIN principle — the people truly are the prize,” McInvale said.
The COIN carolers were warmly received wherever they performed. One lady at a dining facility, after hearing the group, declared, “I started out feeling blue this morning, but you just made my day!”
I wonder if an Afghan released from Bagram would say the same thing.