The conflict in Afghanistan is taking a heavy toll on resources and human lives in both the US and the UK.
The media and public in both countries have taken a long time to wake up to the fact that it is not going to be an easy war to win against the Taliban and that our military might is easily matched by the terrain of the country and the unpredictability of the opposition.
Our politicians are panicking at having to face up to the the problem of convincing us all we are making progress, before there is a political price to be paid, domestically, for our continued involvement. They need to show us that normality is returning, due to our efforts and we are liberators and not occupiers.
Enter the media and Public Relations experts!
What is more normal than to go out into the streets of what was once one of the most dangerous towns in Helmund province – the area where the majority of deaths and casualties to our troops have occurred – and buy an ice-cream?
You can almost hear the collective brain of the media machine suggesting the idea as a classic illustration of normal life returning due to our military efforts in the region.
Cue Lieutenant General Jim Dutton, Deputy Commander ISAF (NATO’s International Security Assistance Force) as the man nominated to be sent into the busy town bazaar to purchase the ice-cream.
There is no doubt that it would make a convincing picture – just as long as the 50 US Marines, British army troopers, Royal Marines, Afghan army troops and the police who were providing his protection were not seen in the resulting image!
Just a few miles South, both US and UK troops were still in the thick of the fighting.
The camera never lies……or does it? Beware of false images!