Time magazine's new cover: Woman whose nose was cut off by Taliban

Not just her nose, though: They ordered her husband to saw off her ears too for the crime of running away from home. Time’s editor insists that “We do not run this story or show this image either in support of the U.S. war effort or in opposition to it,” but that’s nonsense, of course. The image is as stark an argument as you’re likely to see for continuing the war, which is why lefties naturally have been griping about it all day. Some offer legit complaints — instead of putting a mutilated girl on the cover to make the case for staying put, why not put a dead soldier on there to make the case for pulling out? — and some not so legit, like the idea that because this happened last year when U.S. troops were already in the field, it portends nothing about what’ll happen on a wider scale when we leave. I’m glad that Time’s trying to reintroduce the moral complications of withdrawal into the debate at a moment when the anti-war Narrative would prefer to ignore the messy aftermath, but this may be a case where “the story about the story” overshadows the actual, you know, story. Most of the bloggy links that I’ve seen today have gone to the piece at Time defending the decision to publish the photo, not the actual cover story about the catastrophic social backsliding to come once Islamist fanatics regain power (not to mention the inevitable retrenchment of Al Qaeda). Maybe a little too heavy on the distracting shock factor here?

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy