The turmoil in Afghanistan is getting worse with each passing day. Terrorists control many parts of the country. As a result, the Afghani people live in constant fear. In efforts to assist this struggling nation, the US and NATO have tried to strengthen the Afghani national forces. Unfortunately, very little real progress has been made toward securing a solid Afghani government. This paper analyzes two editorials that discuss the current situation in Afghanistan, and who is to blame for the current disarray in the country.
One editorial is from a liberal publication (The New York Times), while the other is from a conservative publication (the Washington Times). Both editorials provide valuable arguments, but neither is effective enough to persuade someone to change their mind about the situation by reading one or the other. The New York Times’ editorial (“Unfinished Business in Afghanistan” published on June 20, 2008), attempts to persuade their readers that the reason the situation in Afghanistan remains unchanged is because of a lack of action on President Bush’s part.
The editorial opens with “Five years after President Bush largely dropped the military operation against the Afghan-based Taliban and Al Qaeda so he could invade Iraq, American and NATO troops are needed as much as ever in Afghanistan to hold back a resurgence of those forces. Yet Washington and its European allies still do not have an effective and comprehensive strategy to combat the threat. ” By making such a claim right away, the author automatically tries to persuade readers that President Bush has basically ignored Afghanistan while spending five years in Iraq.
The audience of the New York Times consists of upper-middle class urban readers, who are politically liberal. They would not be hard to persuade in this situation. They already have a distrust of President Bush and the situation in Iraq. In terms of trying to persuade someone who is more conservative, the opening paragraph does a good job of shifting blame onto the President and his European allies. It is an effective use of pathos because the writer’s tone is accusatory and self-righteous – a fact that is mitigated by the use of a casual style of writing.
The editorial goes on to describe the dire situation in Afghanistan, and how it is another example of President Bush’s lack of effort and persistence in this situation. It states that the country’s troops are far from being able to defend themselves or the country from terrorist attacks. The editorial directly says that, “Despite the presence of more than 50,000 NATO troops — most of them American — and some 140,000 Afghan troops and police, the Taliban and Al Qaeda have gotten stronger over the past two years. Once again, the editor believes that the genesis of the problem can be linked back to President Bush and his inability to create a comprehensive plan that utilizes the United States’ resources in combination with those of NATO to achieve optimum results. So, the liberal New York Times believes that President Bush is to blame for the failures in Afghanistan.
The writer does admit that: “NATO allies must also beef up their forces – as Britain has promised to do. But, the clear conclusion is that failures in our government’s policies have led to failures in Afghanistan. The Washington Times editorial (“Fissures on Afghanistan” published on June 25, 2008), attempts to persuade readers to blame NATO for their failure to invest more resources in Afghanistan. This viewpoint shifts the blame away from President Bush and his administration. In fact, this editorial stresses how much money the Unites States has invested in Afghanistan’s national defense and laments how little they accomplished.
The conservative audience that subscribes to the Washington Times would most likely agree with this writer’s opinion. The writer, like the New York Times’ writer, used a serious and accusatory tone to further persuade their readers. They are very direct about their opinion, and said, “The current anti-terrorist offensive that NATO is waging in Afghanistan should be a wake-up call for two U. S. allies in the war against al Qaeda and the Taliban. ” The two allies they refer to are Pakistan and NATO.
The editor blames Pakistan for allowing their country to become “a sanctuary” for terrorists. He accomplishes an effective, persuasive argument by saying that “Much of the violence and terrorism enveloping Afghanistan has its roots in Pakistan, where Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has made peaceful engagement with the Taliban a top political priority. ” By stating that the Prime Minister himself is supporting this behavior, our editor illustrates just how serious the situation there is.
It is the editor’s opinion that as long as Pakistan continues its current behavior nothing will be accomplished in Afghanistan, and this conclusion is very effective. NATO will have a slim chance of accomplishing anything productive if this situation still exists. There is no doubt that something needs to change in Afghanistan in order for progress to be made. Both liberals and conservatives have an idea of what the main cause of the problem there is (and why progress is being delayed).
Liberals believe that President Bush’s concentration on invading Iraq stalled progress, while conservatives believe that Pakistan’s harboring of terrorists is causing the major delay. Both editorials argued their sides effectively, using effective language and literary techniques to persuade their readers. They also both used persuasion and tone to try and sway people over to their side. However, because both points were argued so effectively, neither editorial is effective enough to persuade someone to change their mind about the situation by reading one or the other.
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