The American Press And The Afghanistan War

By:  Troy J

The firing of General McChrystal placed the Afghanistan War back on the media’s radar. The result was people yapping about the politics of Obama’s firing the General, quick polls to determine how the uninformed public interpreted the divisive reporting, and of course how will all of this affect the fall election.

What major media failed to discuss was why we remain in Afghanistan. I’m as baffled by Obama’s sending troops to that beleaguered nation as I was by his predecessor’s sending of our soldiers to Iraq. Recent reports that Afghanistan is a field of untapped minerals could be a motivating factor with the United States government once again doing the groundwork for corporations ready to start digging and drilling in that forlorn and battered nation. I wonder if anyone dares suggests that technical assistance might be more readily received by the people of that land; a nation that has been systematically destroyed and witnessed to civilian casualties – people caught in crossfire. Most of the media fails to address the subject of withdrawal, fearful that questioning military action might be interpreted as “Un-American.”

The simple fact is that if we are serious about a war against terrorism it would begin with our withdrawal of troops, concluding a war that is saturated with horrible deaths of civilians as well as our own soldiers. The Afghanistan people, like the Iraqis, have seen up close the ruin of homes and schools and mosques. What better ammunition for recruiting terrorist activity. Every time we kill 25 or 30 civilians, you might find a brief note of this in the International Section of the New York Times, pages read by less than one percent of the population. Television and the internet, and endless blogs are preoccupied with celebrity stories, soccer, and finalists in various reality shows. The reality of civilian deaths in the Mid-East is real for the people in the Mid-East, but it’s too real for the American public. You can rest assured that the people of Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, and Syria are well acquainted with our misfirings in Kabul and Baghdad.

The recently failed Times Square bomber in New York City captured the attention of the American media for days, and his arraignment brought out the press in mass. The mere threat of a terrorist attack understandably caught the concern of the public. I find myself walking with trepidation in the midtown area of New York City, always wondering if any angered Mid-Eastern person will earn his stripes with an act of violence. I hear others asking, “Why do they do this? Why do they hate us so much?” And yet these same proud Americans are impervious of the slaughter of citizens in Mid-Eastern countries. The Muslim world viewing our internal, our anti-Muslim activities, see themselves as expendable in our political and military decisions. I don’t minimize the threats Osama Bin Laden or the dictatorship that existed under Saddam Hussein in Iraq, but both tyrants, both were fed and supported by American dollars in their early maneuverings. Our miscalculations don’t make them any less of a threat, but there is cause and effect for every action.

So let it be said loud and clear without apologies that the real fight against terrorism begins with our removing soldiers out of Afghanistan and Iraq. As long as Arab television shows nightly the carnage inflicted in their countries by American and United Nations soldiers, we are the chosen villains. I can well imagine a young Mid-Eastern boy, a survivor of a family wiped out in this war, motivated to drastic action and revenge. Our military presence is sheer folly and Obama’s Afghanistan War is as counterproductive to our continued safety as Bush’s Iraq War was.

The American press, critical of the President at almost every turn, fails to challenge him on this issue. Any suggestion of military withdrawal was viewed as soft on terrorism, rather than understanding the escalating hatred of all that is American by the Muslim and Arab world. During the Viet Nam War we were constantly told of the consequences of bringing home the troops. The only visible result of that war ending was an army of homeless vets, men frazzled by the war, addicted, angry, and often institutionalized.

The firing of General McChrystal excited the press. The cable news shows just love confrontation and conflict, and the various sides’ battle for endless sound bites on CNN and Fox News. The people are paid to argue, conjure up fear, but they haven’t the guts to ask the real questions since most of them are protecting their image and the salaries they gain from acceptable visibility. To President Obama I say that I don’t care who the General is in charge, unless he’s in charge of bringing the soldiers home. If you want to fight terrorism you don’t do it by killing civilians and misappropriated military strategies.

With that on this past 4th of July weekend, I’m Troy J., out on a limb.

8 Comments on “The American Press And The Afghanistan War”

  1. Troy – when you said, “I don’t care who the General is in charge, unless he’s in charge of bringing the soldiers home”, you said a mouthful.

    The pundits are debating – endlessly, it seems – the notion that there’s a real ‘reason’ for us to have spent over a trillion dollars chasing ghosts in the Middle East.

    The real and dreadful possibility hasn’t really entered the minds of too many people – rather than a vast conspiracy involving Bilderbergers, Hoozits, Saducees, Pharisees, Nastyfleas, Rothschilds, and a host of others – the reality is probably this:

    No one is in charge. No one knows ‘why’. They are making this up as they go along.

    Frankly, I’m more afraid of that than I am of anything else.

    It means that the inmates have found the exits, and set the asylum on fire.

    -W

  2. Troy, I’m afraid that it was the homeless, addicted vets of Vietnam who were also outspoken and in our face that are somewhat responsible for the situation we are in regarding our relationship to all things military. We don’t want to ignore our boys again. NO WAY! The rest of the world be damned! We need to honor anyone who held a gun. Happiness is a warm gun!(insert irony here)

    In all honesty with all of our meddling which I cannot suss out the reasoning for, we are looking at generations before Afghanistan finds a new enemy. We created this monster. Those who create have a responsibility and unlike that God feller we can’t call in a flood and call it a day (or 40) we have to do something.

    And really we need to look at what that is going to be because Hershey’s bars aren’t going to do it, neither is cash, they have that from the Opium trade…WAIT! Here’s an idea. Let’s buy their opium! We need it to kill our collective pain anyway.

  3. I was extremely gratified to see on the television the other night an advertisement from vets against the Afghanistan war. We don’t pay any closer attention to our military men than we did during Vietnam. They still go out without a clue as to why they are being trained to murder and return in body bags or with missing limbs. The only difference is, Americans have grown mature enough or smart enough not to villainize these military men and women, realizing they are young and susceptible to propaganda.

    I think Vietnam was the last time America took an up close and personal glimpse at its own aggression. The imprints are there. It’s not hard to find photos of the destruction we’ve caused, not hard to hear the voices of the victims who are alive and count the numbers of the dead. But we’ve removed ourselves from the human situation. The war is no more real to us than a video game, than the latest action thriller. We are desensitized.

    I suggest getting off those opiates. If you can’t feel your own pain, how can you empathize with the pain of others?

  4. I recently came across some very disturbing information about the so-called “war on terror” in this region – namely that the U.S. government (via private contractors) has been financing local warlords in the region to the tune of $4 million a week since at least 2006. Furthermore, it seems that there’s over 11,000 crates of war supplies (rifle, grenades, ammunition, etc…) that is left unaccounted for: and the local governments even deny that these crates exist!

    After thinking it over and putting this information together with the apparant incompitence I can only come to one logical conclusion – that the U.S. government doesn’t want victory in the region, but rather they want a justification for expanding the military and police powers of the state and this “war on terror” is too convenient for that purpose to ever truly win. In other words, the men and women of the armed forces have been duped: this isn’t a war for some nebulous idea of “freedom” or even the furtherance of national security interests – this is a power play on the part of the political class, and they are more than willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands of this nation’s sons and daughters (not to mention the lives of many thousands of foreigners on top of that) to bring this country closer to a facsist police state.

    We are quickly approaching the society of “1984” – one of constant war to justify a power monopoly in the name of “security” whilst the public is distracted by hate for the elusive Emmanuel Goldstien (Osama Bin Laden, anyone?)…

  5. Those are good points Christopher. Sounds very much like Viet Nam in the 1960s and 1970s. The United States was not in that war to win it either, but sacrificed so many soldiers needlessly.

  6. The entire Iraq War was simply a gigantic lie. Or perhaps more accurate is, it was BASED on lies. These so-called WMDs were simply a scare-tactic to influence public opinion into thinking that this illegal war was actually right, and even right in the eyes of God Himself. George Bush et al. truly were laser-focused on their aim of ridding the world of what they viewed as a menace to their own wholesome, american identity. They believed that brute force was the only means by which to respond, given that the ‘islamists’ (or more accurately a very small minority of members of the good muslim faith ) had used force in the first place. Does anyone remember the commandment, thou shall not kill?

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