A War Correspondent

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New York Times prize–winning reporter Dexter Filkins describes his harrowing work in Afghanistan and Iraq since 1998 - a very eventful period in both countries. He’s widely considered one of the best war correspondents of his generation, and his new book is The Forever War.


Dexter Filkins

Comments [12]

barry from Manhattan

And another thing.
The Taliban is a an extension of Pakistan and you/we all of us are bout to witness the continuation of the Afgan/Pakistan war which has been hot and is now being talked about.
You suggestion below is senseless.
"It seems to me we should make a deal with the Taliban: you don't mess with us, we won't mess with you - anymore."

Sep. 16 2008 02:27 PM
barry from Manhattan

No Chris you think the Surge is "pure propaganda", the war is illegal, our troops are illegal and if I remember correctly you think we should make a deal with the Taliban so the can be free to take Afghanistan back to the 7th century.

As for Filkins, he said this about the surge,"
Well, this is something I actually do feel strongly about. I wasn’t sure that the surge
would work, but I thought it was worth a try. I felt we owed to the Iraqis. We toppled
Saddam, after all, and we made so many mistakes in the aftermath that helped send the
country into its tailspin. By late 2006, the country was headed toward the abyss. So I
thought we owed to the Iraqis to stick it out and get it right. And it’s worked–at least for
the time being. The violence is down dramatically. I’m in Iraq right now and the changes
are just extraordinary. I can barely recognize the place.
I mock you because you deserve it.

Sep. 16 2008 02:24 PM
chris o from new york city

And Barry, you don't need to be mocking and sarcastic just because you (presumably) disagree with me.

Sep. 16 2008 02:05 PM
chris o from new york city

Maybe you should listen to me because I am really echoing and amplifying Filkins comments. He just said it was the $30M/month that we pay to the former insurgents of the Sunni Awakening that has been the centerpiece of the improved situation in Iraq.

But more substantively, as a representative of the Times, his perspective is invariably limited by training, background, access to the players, proximity to US forces, etc. All the traditional critiques of MSM. Plus, I heard reports on the radio the last few days about how awful Iraq still is, especially compared to the pre-invasion days. And the 4.5M refugees (internal and external) are not impressed by the surge.

Barry if you want to believe something else, I can accept that.

Sep. 16 2008 02:04 PM
barry from Manhattan

Gee Chris why should we listen to what Dexter Filkins, who by the way is "widely considered one of the best war correspondents of his generation" has to say about the surge when we can just agree with your view from New York?

Sep. 16 2008 01:58 PM
chris o from new york city

It's a criminal invasion and occupation. I like to think that if Iraq invaded and overthrew George Bush, who I despise and who violates out Constitution and has been a lawless leader, I would be an insurgent. I would hate the Iraqis. I would fight the Iraqis. I would not be grateful despite my contempt of the leader.

We are wrong to be there, our soldiers are wrong to be there, we have killed tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Millions of displaced persons. It is a massive crime.

Sep. 16 2008 01:55 PM
Hugh from Brooklyn

Thanks to Leonard Lopate for mentioning what Dexter Filkins hasn't the decency to mention -- the civilians.

"Sometimes," Mr. Filkins?

One million civilians according to the ICRC and the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Another thing Filkins omits -- the ongoing bombing campaigns by the US.

And still another -- the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad -- the division of the city into ethnic cantons.

Shameful, Mr. Filkins. You should have more courage.

Sep. 16 2008 01:54 PM
chris o from new york city

The retired colonels in the studio were part of the Pentagon's Psy-Ops program. So you are right, they were not to be believed.

Sep. 16 2008 01:50 PM
chris o from new york city

$30M/month is not "the surge". The surge seems to just refer to 30K additional troops. It seems to me the $30M a month to pay off the (now thankfully) former insurgents is the reason for the decline in violence (and the Sadr ceasefire). Without the Awakening, 30K troops would not have pacified the country. Without the 30K troops, the 30M (and the Sadr ceasefire) would.

I believe the surge is pure propaganda so Bush can claim victory based on military supremacy instead of the less triumphant "if you can't beat them, join them."

Sep. 16 2008 01:48 PM
Jasonin-Bkyn from Bkyn

Does Mr. Filkins think the U.S. soldiers have good intentions and are basically "righteous" as opposed to the obvious duplicity he just spoke about with regard to the Iraqi citizens?

Sep. 16 2008 01:40 PM
chris o from new york city

Of course, it was our meddling in Afghanistan and $3B program in the 80s which led to the al Qaeda and Taliban dominance of that country a decade later.

Sep. 16 2008 01:37 PM
chris o from new york city

It seems to me we should make a deal with the Taliban: you don't mess with us, we won't mess with you - anymore.

Can we really control who runs Afghanistan and should we care as long as they don't plot attacks against us or directly harm our interests? So no alQaeda and foreign fighters and let us get out. I don't mean to sound cruel or indifferent but rather humble.

Sep. 16 2008 01:32 PM

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