This link will take you to a post in “Longwarjournal“, which may be described as a neocon site, though their own description of their mission is, as expected, more flattering. Without shooting the messenger, try to watch some of the videos linked therein. We will continue with comments after you have done so.
Now, in the proper “high art” tradition (Luis Bunuel did it and every highly educated person is supposed to love him) I will show you one of the videos, after earlier implying that I was not going to expose you directly to this macabre theater.
Actually, its not graphic till you get to minute 3. I suggest stopping short of minute three if the sight of soldiers heads displayed on a white sheet is more offensive to you than the people who did it.
Next, to analysis. Why has this caused remarkably little fuss in Pakistan (where Imran Khan is having middle-class heart attacks at the very thought of Raja Rental as his prime minister)? And why am i posting “death porn” on a family website?
A. Little Fuss. People (not just liberals, even conservatives are bitten by this bug) are looking for deep explanations. Deep explanations are redundant when shallow ones explain the observed phenomenon with sufficient reliability and validity. Here are the shallow reasons (I can think of more, but I really have to run):
1. Outrage about enemies of the state (in any country) can be built up form existing material by the national security establishment. Our national security establishment is in the middle of a very delicate negotiation with NATO. Blanket outrage over this would provide assistance to NATO in their negotiating position. So, while its sad and terrible, it does have to be ignored in the higher national interest. Some outrage CAN be directed against NATO and Afghanistan, but even that has to be calibrated, these things can get out of hand. (and GHQ knows a thing or two about things getting out of hand).
2. The dead are humble soldiers. Even officers up to brigadier rank are a dime a dozen. A general has to be robust. (in military academies and staff colleges, they teach you that a good general is “robust”. He doesnt lose his focus just because a few thousand of his own people are dead. Napoleon was extremely robust. So was Mao).
3, The dead may also be mostly Pashtoons from the poorer section of society. While these are the most outstanding of men; honest, hard-working, honorable, self-confident… not calculating and grasping “Indus man and Ganges man” type poor folk, who bow before superiors and kick inferiors for sport (in this sentence, I am dead serious…i grew up knowing some) they are not family.
Its a fact of life. Just like the NLI soldiers in Kargil (Baltistanis) or Hazaras in Quetta (not only are they Shia, they even look different…while that is not as clear a difference as the color-coding that set “us and them” apart in the America of yore (among other places), it does make it easier to identify those who are us and those who are not).
4. The taliban cut off heads and display them on sheets!
YOU want to annoy these people?
Anti-drone protest when the sun goes down (garmi mein kharab naa hon) is one thing. This is quite another.
5. Strategic depth. India. Asymmetric assets. Irregular Youth.
6. Looking for more meat: Our national narrative. See from last year http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/05/pakistan-the-narratives-come-home-to-roost-by-omar-ali-.html. I will update predictions when I get time, but you get the idea.
B. Death Porn.
I have no defence.