What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sorry for breaking the silence... only now

Sorry, because although I'm back home and back to blogging by now, this is not the way I planned this. I thought I would be able to post a couple of remarks from time to time about this or that, while I was again away from home. I have recently seen Viktor Franke's excellent documentary, "09:11 Zulu", made in the autumn of 2006, in Uruzgan, and I had imagined that I'd write about it as soon as I'd drop by an internet café. But I didn't, and it's not that the place I visited was like that - in fact I could have looked a little harder. Also, my thanks go to "fm" for his informative comments to my last post, and of course sorry for my not having posted them earlier.
I'll do two things now.
First of all, I recommend to everyone interested the above mentioned documentary. Franke was embedded for two months with Dutch special forces (green berets) working in Uruzgan. In the film you can hear Dutch special forces soldiers talk about their frustration that they can't operate according to what in their view would be sufficiently permissive rules of engagement, that they often can't act on actionable intelligence and that that lets threats grow, obviously. They even opine that reconstruction work makes not much sense at all if you let your opponents roam around unimpeded. They even suggest that at the time the Taliban may have been steadily building up for a greater sustainable tempo of operations in Uruzgan, and so a lax approach, desired by the political and the military leadership in The Hague, seemed to them dangerous for "the men on the ground". The documentary is available on You Tube in several parts, under the title "Dutch commandos in Afghanistan". I can't possibly know of course if it was put up there with Viktor Franke's permission or not, so it may or may not stay there eternally. Check it out. For a teaser, to draw attention to it, I'll ask this much: What for do you think soldiers would possibly feign their vehicle has broken down at an ambushable location? (And so on, there's much more interesting stuff in the documentary.)
Secondly, for a little compensation for the long and unannounced break, so to say, I'll insert here a photo from my journey. You can see an interesting-shaped mountain to the left. Well, there you see the world's oldest republic (as they say), San Marino - the three castles from San Marino's coat of arms occupy the three highest peaks of that mountain. I chose this particular photo from the many I have made, because it provides a kind of artistic perspective on what a state may look like. Just reflect on it over a glass of good wine if you're free to do so.
OK, I'm not transforming this site into a travel blog, so rest assured, my attention will be focused more on Afghanistan again.

No comments: