Tuesday, April 8, 2008

War and business

We featured (second hand) the views of Nelofer Pazira last week. Today we feature a short piece she did for CBC Television where Pazira takes a camera crew with her as she visits an arms sales show. Various corporate sales weasels try to weasel their way through short conversations with Pazira, who grew up in Afghanistan amid the violence of war and occupation.

While Pazira is not always eloquent, she manages a few great pull quotes:

It seems that we are more interested in wanting to sell these [military] products than engage in a conversation about what would be left behind when these products are taken to countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.

If we are thinking that possessing all of these heavy duty machinery is going to help us win the war in Afghanistan I think that is something we have to rethink.

... What I am suggesting is a different way of thinking... A different way of thinking about war is not to think of it as associated with winning, with victory, and with heroes. Because war at the end of the day is not about heroes. It is about death and destruction.
Pazira's preferred counterinsurgency approach is that of the Dutch contingent of ISAF operating in Uruzgan province, citing this New York Times article by Chris Chivers which touts the superiority of their brand of war fighting. She rather earnestly cites the glowing self-reviews made there by various NATO commanders and spokespeople.

But, to return to those weasels. Here's the most cringe-worthy performance:
Man: It's not an easy thing for a commander to decide to do... Because you know that that person is totally innocent but you've got your team and your troops here which are probably more important. Why? Because eventually you need them to protect [that innocent person] later on. So you take that chance and you say, 'I'll minimize [the risk] the best I possibly can because I'm using all this technology here.' That is going to pinpoint it and throw something through that window and just blow up that particular house or that area.

Pazira: You've had to do it?

(Grinning) Yes.
You can see the video here.

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