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The US Government Lied About the Afghanistan War; They Couldn't Have Done It Without Lapdogs Like the Washington Post
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“In ten years or so, we’ll leak the truth,” the Dead Kennedys sang. “But by then it’s only so much paper.”

But it might just score you a Pulitzer Prize.

Award bait and bragging rights are no doubt the principal goals of The Washington Post’s self-congratulatory data dump, “The Afghanistan Papers.” The papers — 2,000 pages that a court ordered the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction to release to Jeff Bezos’ newspaper — paint a Robert McNamara-esque portrait of Bush and Obama administration bozos privately admitting that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was always an unwinnable, counterproductive mistake while also telling the American people that victory in the post-9/11 “good war” was right around the corner. All we had to do was win Afghan hearts and minds.

“The (inspector general) documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting,” the Post reported. “Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul — and at the White House — to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.”

“The Afghanistan Papers” is a bright, shining lie by omission. Yes, our military and civilian leaders lied to us about Afghanistan. But they could never have spread their murderous nonsense — causing thousands of U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Afghans to be killed and trillions of dollars wasted — without media organizations like The Washington Post, which served as unquestioning government stenographers.

Press outlets like the Post and The New York Times weren’t merely idiots used to disseminate pro-war propaganda. They actively censored people who tried to tell American voters the truth — that we never should have gone into Afghanistan.

People like me.

I was among the tiny minority of journalists and commentators who opposed the Afghanistan War from the very beginning. Nine days after 9/11, I published the first of my cartoons pointing out that al-Qaida was in Pakistan, not Afghanistan, so there was no moral or legal justification for invading. As the war dragged on, I pointed out that the men and women in charge of the war didn’t have a clue about Afghanistan or the Afghan people. According to “The Afghanistan Papers,” those men and women knew they were screwing up, wouldn’t admit their ignorance and refused to bring in experts.


I went to Afghanistan to check things out for myself. It was obvious the U.S. didn’t stand a chance there. “The principal goal of this adventure in imperialistic vengeance, it seems obvious, should be to install a friendly government in Kabul. But we’re winning neither hearts nor minds among either the commoners or the leadership of the current regime apparent,” I wrote from Afghanistan on Dec. 11, 2001. “And so we’ve lost this war, not because they’re good or we’re not, but because of who we are. The American Empire can’t spend the bodies or the time or the cash to fix this crazyass place, because in the final analysis, election-year W. was right — we’re not nation builders … we ought to tally our dead, write up our losses, and count ourselves lucky to still be called a superpower.” My piece, for The Village Voice, was titled “How We Lost Afghanistan.”

It was published 18 years ago. But not in the Post. They didn’t want to hear what lefties like me had to say.

They still don’t.

Afghanistan was not a passing fancy for me. I wrote hundreds of essays and drew hundreds of cartoons urging an end to the madness. It was lonely. Even Democrats liked the Afghan war; they called it the right war, while Iraq was the dumb one.

I went back to the country, traveling independently as an unembedded reporter, several times. I wrote the first book about the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the only book about oil pipeline politics in that country, a book placing Afghanistan in the context of central Asia and yet another book comparing the state of Afghanistan when Obama said we were pulling out — another lie — with how it was at the start of the war.

What was my reward for being right while everyone else was wrong? Hundreds of death threats. Getting fired by my client newspapers and magazines. It’s hard to believe now, but back in 2004, George W. Bush was popular and being compared to Winston Churchill; that was the year the “liberal” New York Times and Washington Post stopped running my work.

Major news outlets and book reviewers ignored my books. Editors refused to hire me. Producers wouldn’t book me. Anyone opposed to the Afghanistan War was censored from U.S. corporate media.

Not that Afghanistan was ignored. It was the subject of countless analysis pieces and opinion articles in American newspapers — all of it pro-war propaganda. There were thousands of television and radio stories about the Afghan War on radio and television. Corporate media repeatedly trotted out the same retired generals, former CIA officers and random right-wing warmongers for quotes and analysis. Never, ever did they invite critics or opponents of U.S. interventionism in Afghanistan to share their thoughts with readers, listeners and viewers.

Nothing has changed. Whenever there is a foreign policy “crisis,” you will never read or hear or see someone completely opposed to U.S. involvement given a voice in the media. Certainly not in the Post.

So, 18 years, tens of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars too late, it’s nice to see the media finally shame these scumbags and their government handlers. But they ought to save a big portion of the blame for themselves.

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  1. Realist says:

    The US Government Lied About the Afghanistan War

    And all other wars…at least since WWII.

  2. Bert says:

    “at least since WWII” does not do justice to the press-distributed propaganda that enabled all the U.S. wars since the only righteous post-Revolutionary war, that of 1812-1815.

    • Replies: @Realist
  3. Onebornfree says: • Website

    Diagnosis: Mr Rall, like the vast majority of people everywhere, simply does not understand, [or refuses to accept?], the true nature of _all_ governments past, present, or future:

    “Because they are all ultimately funded via both direct and indirect theft [taxes], and counterfeiting [central bank monopolies], all governments are essentially, at their very cores, 100% corrupt criminal scams which cannot be “reformed”or “improved”,simply because of their innate criminal nature.” onebornfree

    “Taking the State wherever found, striking into its history at any point, one sees no way to differentiate the activities of its founders, administrators and beneficiaries from those of a professional-criminal class.” Albert J. Nock

    “Any number of scoundrels, having money enough to start with, can establish themselves as a ‘government’; because, with money, they can hire soldiers, and with soldiers extort more money; and also compel general obedience to their will.” Lysander Spooner

    “Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure” Robert Lefevere


  4. But why did the Washington Post reveal all this now?

  5. Realist says:

    If you are going to comment on my comment…address it to me.

    • Replies: @stegnethodyo
  6. NYC Girl says:

    Amen. And likewise, the Iraq War had the help of the New York Times.

    Every time I mention this to deluded liberals, they lash out in rage.

    Nice Dead Kennedys quote, @TedRall.

  7. anon[680] • Disclaimer says:

    A USMC Major pulled me aside in a teaching moment to say in (circa 1983) that “’s a dirty job and somebody’s got to do it..”

    He wasn’t talking about landing on a beach, crawling through an urban sewer, taking a hilltop or feeding civilians in a war zone.

    He was opening my eyes to a reality, revealing an unAmerican task.

  8. An opinion piece this morning at WashPost:

    Complete with patriotic or something, pictures:

  9. @Realist

    “If you are going to comment on my comment…address it to me.”

    Why? Who the hell are you to issue orders? You make a comment, it stands as one which can be in turn the object of another comment.

    • Replies: @Realist
  10. Realist says:

    Why? Who the hell are you to issue orders? You make a comment, it stands as one which can be in turn the object of another comment.

    It’s good manners dumbass. Others will not know the origin of the comment/quote. Are you so stupid you don’t see that???

  11. Realist says:

    Why? Who the hell are you to issue orders? You make a comment, it stands as one which can be in turn the object of another comment.

    It’s good manners dumbass. Others will not know the origin of the comment/quote. Are you so stupid you don’t see that???

    • Replies: @Bert
  12. Bert says:

    You definitely need to go outside and get some air. Deep breathing might help. No, that’s probably not going to give you permanent relief. Google “cognitive behavioral therapy.”

    • Replies: @Realist
  13. Realist says:

    Hey dumbass you need to reply in a timely manner. The post you commented on was 2 months old…and not addressed to you.

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