CBS’s Lara Logan: The Middle East Is In More Trouble Than Americans Think
CBS News reporter Lara Logan became rather well-known for her coverage of the protests in Egypt that led to the downfall of Hosni Mubarak, and sadly more well-known when she ended up being brutally attacked and sexually assaulted by members of the crowd in Tahrir Square the night Mubarak finally left office. After a prolonged recovery, Logan is back at work on 60 Minutes, and recently returned to the United States from another trip to the Middle East with what I can only describe as a warning:
[Logan’s] ominous and frightening message was gleaned from years of covering our wars in the Middle East. She arrived in Chicago on the heels of her Sept. 30 report, “The Longest War.” It examined the Afghanistan conflict and exposed the perils that still confront America, 11 years after 9/11.
Eleven years later, “they” still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They’re coming back.
“I chose this subject because, one, I can’t stand, that there is a major lie being propagated . . .” Logan declared in her native South African accent.
The lie is that America’s military might has tamed the Taliban.
“There is this narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years,” Logan said. It is driven in part by “Taliban apologists,” who claim “they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban,” she added sarcastically. “It’s such nonsense!”
Logan stepped way out of the “objective,” journalistic role. The audience was riveted as she told of plowing through reams of documents, and interviewing John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan; Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and a Taliban commander trained by al-Qaida. The Taliban and al-Qaida are teaming up and recruiting new terrorists to do us deadly harm, she reports.
She made a passionate case that our government is downplaying the strength of our enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a rationale of getting us out of the longest war. We have been lulled into believing that the perils are in the past: “You’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight. In your arrogance, you think you write the script.”
Our enemies are writing the story, she suggests, and there’s no happy ending for us.
Some may argue that Logan’s experience in Cairo last year are affecting her judgment. However, I’ve never found her to be a raving anti-Muslim before and it doesn’t appear to me that she’s taking out what happened to her on the entire Middle East. Besides, much of what she said about Afghanistan and Pakistan seems to match what her recent 60 Minutes report showed:
So, I have to wonder. Are we becoming complacent, much in the same way we did in the years before the 9/11 attacks? If we are then that, combined with the fact that eleven years of war in the Middle East have made a whole new host of enemies for us, could end up becoming something we’ll regret.