Telling Numbers: In 21 months since Wani’s death, 115 militants killed, 209 recruited
A report on militancy and recruitment in Kashmir, prepared by security agencies, has sought to draw an “effective correlation” between local militant killings and subsequent recruitments in militant ranks. As reported in The Indian Express Wednesday, the security agencies’ report has found that encounters have often been followed by a spurt in recruitment, with the new recruits outnumbering the militants killed in encounters preceding these recruitments, and with a large spike coming in the immediate wake of the killing of Hizb-ul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July 2016. That year alone, militant groups recruited 88 youth — over 2½ times the 33 militants killed in encounters — and nearly 40% of these recruitments (35) were made in the three months immediately following Wani’s killing. From August 2016 to April 2018, 209 militants have been recruited, over 80% more than the 115 killed in encounters. In only three of the 28 months from January 2016 to April 2018 — February 2017, August 2017, April 2018 — were new recruits outnumbered by the militants killed in encounters.
Tip for reading list: The Story Of a Reporter
In 1970, Seymour Myron “Sy” Hersh, then age 33, won the Pulitzer for International Reporting for his exposé of the My Lai Massacre, probably the most shocking of the Vietnam War, in which some 500 unarmed Vietnamese men, women, children and infants were killed by American troops on March 16, 1968. Hersh was freelancing, and his story was distributed by the Vietnam War-focussed Dispatch News Service. After he joined The New York Times, Hersh worked on a series of investigations through the 1970s and the early part of the 80s, including Watergate; the over a year-long covert US bombing campaign in Cambodia; and the CIA spying, using intelligence satellites, on American antiwar student protesters. In 2004, he wrote for The New Yorker his explosive Torture at Abu Ghraib report that blew the lid off the brutalising of prisoners by American soldiers at Baghdad’s infamous Abu Ghraib prison.
Over the years, Hersh developed a reputation that could make Henry Kissinger nervous, and CIA directors feel he sometimes knew more than even they did on certain cases. Hersh is today part of journalism folklore — notwithstanding the fact that some of his recent work, including the story of the Navy SEALs’ raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, has appeared in lesser known publications and been questioned on some counts.
All of this makes Hersh’s latest, Reporter: A Memoir, due for release on June 5, worthy of some anticipation. A review in The New York Times describes it as being heavy on “the policy and deadline details while leaving people and their beating hearts mostly behind” — typical of its author, “a first-rate reporter, but a second-rate memoirist” who is “not built for reflection”. That said, the review notes: “So many of journalism’s old war dogs have left or are leaving us, and there’s a sense that we won’t get many more memoirs like this one. If this book’s pilot light isn’t fully lit, it still puts a big career across.”