Salon's Glenn Greenwald has had a couple of posts (2/18/10, 2/22/10) on a New York Times op-ed (2/18/10) that urged the U.S. to not worry so much about killing civilians in Afghanistan. The piece was written by Lara M. Dadkhah, who is vaguely identified as an "intelligence analyst" and who notes that she is "employed by a defense consulting company." Greenwald's second post reports that Dadkhah actually works for Booz Hamilton, a very well-connected military and intelligence contractor.
Greenwald quotes from a response that media critic Charles Kaiser got from Times op-ed editor David Shipley when he asked about Dadkhah's op-ed: "We found Ms. Dadkhah from work she did in Small Wars Journal, work that was part of her Ph.D. dissertation at Georgetown." As Greenwald notes:
Shipley's answer strongly suggests that Dadkhah did not submit her op-ed unsolicited, but rather, the NYT purposely sought out an op-ed to urge more civilian deaths in Afghanistan…. Why would they do that? Maybe tomorrow theNYT editors can actively solicit an op-ed urging the use of biological agents and chemical weapons on civilian populations inYemen. After that, they can search out someone to advocate medical experiments on detainees in Bagram. Perhaps the day after, they can host a symposium on the tactical advantages of air bombing hospitals and orphanages as a means of keeping local populations in line.
Greenwald writes, "When Dadkhar reads things like this from today — 'Airstrike kills dozens in Afghanistan . . . . Ground forces at the scene found women and children among the casualties' — she presumably thinks: 'Yes, that's exactly what we need more of.'" One wonders if Shipley and the rest of the team at the New York Times felt a similar sense of satisfaction.