Friday, April 2, 2010

A problem of 24 hour instant information on the internet availability

Chairman Admiral Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the latest to fall victim to a 24-hour news cycle. 

On April 1, 2010, US Centcom’s newsletter sends out a story with this headline:  “Mullen: U.S.-Afghan partnership stronger than ever.”

On April 2, The New York Times reports that on April 1 Afghan President Karzai gave a blistering speech against, among other entities, The United States.

A selected Karzai quote with commentary:  “In this situation there is a thin curtain between invasion and cooperation-assistance,” said Mr. Karzai, adding that if the perception spread that Western forces were invaders and the Afghan government their mercenaries, the insurgency “could become a national resistance.”

A comment, and embedded explanation, from former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Galbreith:  “Mr. Galbraith, who was dismissed by the United Nations after the disputed election, called Mr. Karzai’s speech ‘so absurd that I considered it an April Fools’ Day joke.’ He also said Mr. Karzai’s speech ‘underscores how totally unreliable this guy is as an ally.’

So Admiral Mullen’s comment:  “…never has our partnership … been stronger, or the challenges we face, clearer” seems a bit injudicious, given the speed with which events alter realities in this electronic age.

‘Tis a mess.

Trust, but verify.   (But how?)

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