Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bullshit story

This is bullshit and I claim my five pounds. Do not, guys and gals, get me wrong. I am fully aware that insurgents in both Iraq and Afghanistan have engaged in some grizzly, grotesque spectacles. However, this story is caked in shit and is currently drawing more flies than a carcas in the sun. This one AP story has been repeated in at least 260, count em, 260 news items. On the calculation that at least half of you are too lazy to click on the link, it says that the Taliban tried to trick a young boy who doesn't appear to know his own age into becoming a suicide bomber, but he escaped into the arms of the Afghan troops. Oh, it's the usual: poor detail, no corroboration, lots and lots of emotionalism (a bunch of war-hardened men, some of whom have dropped cluster bombs on ickle children, well up and touch their eyes and sniffle and castigate the evil menace that would do such a thing). There is lots of the giveaway "colour": irrelevant but evocative details about the child's appearance, mannerisms, hobbies, background - and the allegedly besotted reactions of those who are in fact parading the child. And then they all have a whip round and give the kid $60. You would think that if Afghan troops defused a vest on the kid that they would be able to confirm the story, but apparently not. Now get this - this is a classic line:

Thomas said the case would force soldiers to think twice before assuming children are safe.

"This is one incident. We hope it doesn't repeat itself. But it gives us reason to pause, to be extra careful," he said. "We want to publicize this as much as we can to the Afghan people so that they can protect their children from these killers."

Oh yeah, you certainly want to publicise it. So, Major Thomas, what are you going to do if you see a child in a dirty coat running toward you? To be on the safe side, I mean? Hamstring him? Pepper him with plastic bullets? Destroy the brain instantly, utterly?

In other news, claims that the US army have used an impoverished child to legitimise the killing of other impoverished children left the editor of Lenin's Tomb incensed. "I kicked in the television screen and wept. How can anyone use a child in this way," he mourned, wiping away horrible tears. "This is an evil, cowardly act. Relating to these kids as someone who has not as yet impregnated anyone, I think, well golly, what if I did have children and someone tried to do that to them? I'd have to take the $60 off them."