There’s a section in Andrew Rossi’s excellent 2010 documentary, Page One: Inside the New York Times, in which the NYT‘s international news desk is debating how to cover a network news report that the last U.S. troops are leaving Afghanistan. It’s one of the more farcical sections in the film, the reporters and editors debating over what the announcement actually means. There is no word from the White House, only from the media themselves. How do they cover the story–as a media event? As a truly official end with the final troops pulling out of the country? For a time, they truly can’t tell what is going on.
That’s what this stunt, called “Casing the Colors” (what does that even mean?) reminded me of. According to the article, there are still “two bases…and roughly 4,000 troops” in the country. Less than before, sure, but a soldier isn’t going to be there doing humanitarian work.
To me, this is such a blatantly empty ceremony that you might as well write a theater review of it and call it a day. All of this will continue, of course.