The media's Afghanistan disconnect from reality


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Sometimes it’s amazing how disconnected from reality the press can be. It usually happens when lazy or scared journalists simply report what a government official tells them without putting the spiel through the time-honored journalistic tradition called a Bullshit Filter. This news/reality disconnect isn’t a new phenomenon; in fact, it’s all too common. If you want to see the most egregious examples, go back and look at the U.S. press’ news coverage during the build-up to any of our needless wars. Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, you name it:  the enemy was always — just as whichever administration was in charge claimed — huge, evil and imminently threatening, and it always turns out later that, oh well, maybe we made a mistake, now let's get on the next war.

What brought up these thoughts were today’s reports on the assassination of Afghanistan president Karzai’s half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai. "Oh no!" cries the press, repeating what some military flunky has told it, "Oh no!" He was “a critical force in southern Afghanistan”! His death “sent tremors through the country’s political establishment.”There’s a grave danger that the security of Afghanistan could be threatened!" Oh no!

Now, put all that through the Bullshit Filter. Ahmed Karzai was a murderous, corrupt crook and international drug dealer, plain and simple, not the kind of guy who’s gonna be mourned by anyone who didn’t depend on him for cash. And Afghanistan's "political establishment”? That translates to “the gang of thugs currently cashing American's checks.”  As for threatening “the security in southern Afghanistan” — What damned security?! It’s Afghanistan, people — there is no security, there never has been, and it there won’t be during during the lifetime of anyone alive today. Will somebody get real here before we waste one more cent on that hell hole?

As the venerable columnist and author Richard Reeves wrote recently, it doesn’t really matter when we leave Afghanistan, so go ahead and get out.

Ten years. Five years. A year. Tomorrow. The same thing, a civil war, will happen with or without us. This is Afghanistan. Read a history book . . . the same things will happen the day after [we leave], whether that date is this summer or four winters from now. Get out!

It may not do any good in the short term, but why not e-mail Pres. Obama and tell him you want the troops to come home?

Haven't we had about enough of these?
  • Haven't we had about enough of these?


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