ISAF Makes Its Own Negative Publicity
2:45 PM, Sep 8, 2009 • By BILL ROGGIO
In July, the news broke that the U.S. military decided to end publishing reports on how many Taliban and allied insurgent group fighters were killed during clashes in Afghanistan. "We send the wrong message if all we talk about is the number of insurgents killed. It doesn't demonstrate anything about whether we have made progress," Navy Rear Admiral Gregory J. Smith, the top spokesman for NATO said. "We want to shift the mind-set."
Curiously, the military is keen on publishing each and every NATO soldier killed in action. In fact, if you follow the ISAF webpage, or the DVIDS Afghanistan webpage, which extracts stories related to the U.S. military from ISAF on Afghanistan, what you would see is what looks like a U.S. soldier bodycounter.
Of the last 10 entries on the DVIDS Afghansitan pages, seven stories report on the deaths of U.S. soldiers, two stories are about reconstruction or military logistics, and one refers to the investigation into last week's controversial Kunduz airstrike (see list below).
I track what I call the 'nuts and bolts' news stories on Afghanistan and other countries and publish these daily in short summaries. The U.S. military websites used to be a primary source of information on operations in Afghanistan. Now, if I want to find the nuts and bolts stories, I have to go to local Afghan websites like Pajhwok or Quqnoos, China's Xinhua, or the wires services.
If I want the U.S. bodycount, I'll head to the U.S. and ISAF websites. By deciding not to publicize U.S. and ISAF operations, the military has become one of the best negative publicity sources out there.
Last 10 stories at DVIDS as on the morning of Sept. 8, 2009: