Friday, September 5, 2008

France In An Uproar Over The French News Paper's "Marketing For The Taliban"

Paris Match Taliban photoshoot shocks France

So let me understand this one (in the context of the new talking points by the American left):

Where as Iraq was a "diversion" from the REAL "War On Terrorism", Afghanistan was a just war because "We are fighting those who attacked us on 9/11".

Yet as we see in the article it is "Bush's fault" that the various troops are in Afghanistan.

Help me out here - if Afghanistan is the real war on terrorism isn't it in the world's best interests to be fighting in Afghanistan as they all have an interest in the outcome here? Why then is it made to be "About Bush"?

The French have an overpowering presence of 3,000 troops in Afghanistan. As a comparison the US is planning to pull about 8,000 troops out of Iraq alone and put them into Afghanistan. As the world attacks evil Bush for "staving the fight in Afghanistan" why don't they logically demand that France and Germany and Spain add more troops to bring the battle up to the necessary levels?

I am glad to see that the French don't like their own people implicitly working for the benefit of the Taleban with their propaganda. I only wish that someone goes after the "Anti-America Americans" who do the very same thing all of the time from within the states.

Paris Match Taliban photoshoot shocks France

By John Lichfield in Paris
Thursday, 4 September 2008

Politicians of the right and left blasted the magazine Paris Match today for publishing a photograph of a Taliban guerrilla dressed in the combat uniform of one of the ten French soldiers killed in Afghanistan last month.

The defence minister, Hervé Morin, accused the magazine of taking part in a Taliban “propaganda” exercise. The Green politician, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a leader of the French student revolt 40 years ago, said that Match was guilty of “abject voyeurism”.

The photograph was taken by a Paris Match photographer a few miles from the scene of the ambush in which ten French paratroopers were killed 30 miles from Kabul on 18 August. It showed Taliban fighters, who claimed to be part of the force which attacked the French troops. One of them was entirely dressed above the waist in French uniform, helmet, goggles and bullet-proof vest.

Further pictures in the magazine’s ten-page spread showed Farouki, the “leader” of the Taliban force amid seven young men holding assault rifles and other “trophies” taken from the bodies of the French soldiers. Anger and revulsion in France at the pictures was deepened when the newspaper Le Monde reported this afternoon that Taliban fighters had cut the throats of four of the French soldiers as they lay wounded on the ground.

The French military has insisted until now that the dead men died instantly. Le Monde, quoting the report of an official investigation and other military sources, said that three paratroopers had died from their wounds because other French, and other Nato, forces were slow in reaching the battle scene. Four other wounded men had their throats slit by Taliban fighters.

"It's a shock to see our children's killers parading their uniforms and their weapons," said Joel le Pahun, the father of Julien Le Pahun, who was shot dead while trying to give first aid to a wounded comrade.

M. Morin accused Paris Match of taking part in a sophisticated Taliban propaganda war.

"Should we really be doing promotion for people who understand the importance of communication in the modern world?” he asked.

“This is a communications war that the Taliban are waging. They understand that public opinion is probably the Achilles' heel of the international community that is present in Afghanistan.”

The publication of the photos was also condemned by left-wing opposition politicians, including M. Cohn-Bendit, who is likely to lead the French greens in the European Parliament elections next year. “There has always been an abject side to the voyeurism of Paris Match,” he said.

The magazine, once known for the power of its photo-reportage, became an outright celebrity magazine in the 1990s. In recent years, it has returned to its origins as a seeker of “hard news” scoops, as well as “people” images.

The meeting with the Taliban fighters was arranged by Eric de Lavarène, an experienced and respected Paris Match war correspondent, accompanied by a photographer, Véronique de Viguerie. M. de Lavarène today rejected suggestions that the magazine had allowed itself to be manipulated by the Taliban.

“No one talks of propaganda when we set off embedded with Nato troops, yet information is always very tightly controlled on those occasions," he told i-Tele TV. “However it is true that the Taliban have become masters in the art of communication.”

In an interview with M. de Lavarène, Farouki, the leader of the Taliban force, said that he had nothing against France or the French people. He also denied reports by the French investigative newspaper, Le Canard Enchainé, that French soldiers had been tortured before they died.

“These men died because of Bush and your president,” he said “We did not want to kill your husbands and your sons. We have no ill feeling for the people of France. If you you go, all will be well. If you stay, we will kill you. All of you.”

In a full-page article on the deaths of the French soldiers today Le Monde said that a preliminary military investigation suggested that the paratroopers had been ordered too far into Taliban territory and that ground support had taken more than three hours to arrive after the first shots were fired.

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