An Image of “Liberated” Marjah

Ever since Marjah became one of the most famous “cities” in the world, I have been scanning the internet for images of it, and although I found thousands of photos tagged “Marjah,” or “Marja,” almost none of them show anything that looks like so much as a village, much less a city where somewhere between 50,000 and 80,000 people are supposed to dwell, and all that my many Google image searches turned up was a few tiny photos of almost nothing at all.

For example, the caption under this image from the Indian Express says…

US Marines walk in a column as they enter Marja in Helmand province on Saturday.


It’s like a joke! Entering Marjah! There’s about as much evidence of human habitation as in photos that come back from Mars!

But eventually a few TV reporters entered Marjah, and since TV reporters have to stand in front of something, the BBC found something in Marjah for their reporter to stand in front of.


And that’s “liberated” Marjah, insofar as I could find any representation of it on the internet.


  1. from

    We’re still at war, photo of the day 2.24.2010

    I managed to find a pic of an actual mountain village, it’s in the upper left hand corner.  Notice all the lush poppy fields just waiting for harvest.

  2. I had trouble focusing on the “big picture” about Marjah today, since there’s nothing but very little pictures on the internet, but I’ll give it another shot.

    The Christian Science Monitor posted a short article about the “progress” of Operation Moshtarak in Marjah on February 22…

    Ten days into the fight – with US Marines and their Afghan counterparts still advancing on Taliban fighters holed up in the north and west – Marjah’s new subdistrict governor was brought in and held a shura, or council, with local elders in the town center.

    Ten days of non-stop combat in that nowhere, and the article in CSM also includes a typical photo of “Marjah,” showing US Marines with only a couple of mud huts in the distance behind them.

    Assuming just for a second that the US had any kind of intelligence about Marjah… and I mean any kind of intelligence whatsoever, including aerial photos or whatever… they must have known that the place on the map called “Marjah” was turning into one big mine-field, although even with zero intelligence, it wouldn’t have been much of a surprise.

    Unless NATO expected no resistance at all, (and then why would we mass and keep on massing 15,000 troops around Marjah?) they must have known that the Taliban would rely on their weapon of choice, roadside bombs, and by publicizing this operation to the absolutely maximum, NATO must have known in advance that there would be a heck of a lot of bombs planted all over Marjah.

    So what did that obviously imply for the hapless residents of that nowhere?

    What did NATO calling out the Taliban… Bring it on!… in Marjah mean for the Afghan villagers whose hearts and minds we are supposedly trying to win over to our side?

    Of course it meant that Marjah was about to be reduced to a rubble-field!

    Inevitably! No chance of any other outcome!

    And that’s only the beginning! That’s the baseline of Operation Moshtarak!

    And then you have the “rules of engagement,” which allow NATO to bomb anything that offers resistance! Did shots come out of that house! Knock it down!

    And of course they can always claim that nobody knew there were also civilians in that house! But if the Taliban put civilians on the roof, so somebody knows there are civilians in it, then that’s “human shields!”

    And that’s as much of a “big picture” as I can see in Marjah. First it turns into a mine-field, and then the villagers are trapped at home, mostly without access to food or water, while the mines are exploded by advancing mine-sweepers, destroying everything around them, and then bombs and rockets respond to every shot that comes out of anywhere, for going on two weeks now, except for a patch in the middle of “town” where NATO can create a photo-op of a “shura” for the very few reporters who appear.

    Wouldn’t that make you love America?

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