I have come to expect that just about everything Time produces will be inept, superficial and basically reactionary. But this is pushing the envelope.
Responses here and here.
Others have already pointed out the following, but I'll restate a couple of the racist, sexist, imperialist assumptions motivating the "argument" articulated by the cover and its headline:
- Afghan women are inert, voiceless objects in need of the protection of an occupying foreign army.
- The interests of imperialist military occupations coincide exactly with the interests of Afghan women.
- The majority of "the Afghan people", and women in particular, want the occupation to continue.
- Even if they don't, the U.S. army has a duty and a right to occupy Afghanistan indefinitely by whatever means necessary.
- There is no rhyme or reason to why such things happen to women in Afghanistan: "they" must just be "brutes" who need the shining light of reason brought by U.S. military personnel.
- The absence (rather than the presence) of occupying U.S. forces (who routinely go on rampages killing dozens of innocent elderly and children) means chaos, violence and death.
- And related to 5. and 6. is the thought that the "Afghan people" (who? which ethnic groups? which classes?) cannot govern themselves, but need the "protection" of big old Uncle Sam.
- The Afghan people love drone attacks, misplaced mines, accidental bombings, occupation and constant "collateral damage" to their friends and family.
According to the editor of Time:
What you see in these pictures and our story is something that you cannot find in those 91,000 documents: a combination of emotional truth and insight into the way life is lived in that difficult land and the consequences of the important decisions that lie ahead.Yeah, right... there's nothing "emotional" or of interest in those 91,000 pages. Reading about 19 dead and 50 wounded unarmed innocents cut down in a hail of US troops' automatic gunfire isn't emotional at all. That's "just what war is". Or something. What a fucking bonehead this guy is. For all we know, US bombings disfigured the woman on the cover.