Déjà Vu All Over Again: The Media Beats The War Drums For Afghanistan
By Melvin A. Goodman
The Public Record
Sep 8th, 2009
President Barack Obama is currently facing the most two important decisions of his young presidency. On Wednesday, we will learn whether he has the intestinal fortitude to fight for real change in reforming the nation’s health care system.
And later this month, we will learn whether he will commit more young men and women to a losing battle in Afghanistan, which is rapidly becoming President Obama’s briar patch. Meanwhile, nothing has changed at home, where the armchair warriors of the mainstream media are campaigning for more troops and a greater commitment to “winning.”
Sadly, nothing has changed in Afghanistan, where Afghan civilians are being killed in NATO bombing raids that continue to demonstrate a cavalier attitude toward protecting the innocent from U.S. fighter planes. And yesterday we learned that U.S. soldiers stormed through an Afghan hospital, searching for wounded Taliban fighters and tying up hospital staff and visitors.
We were led to believe several months ago that the change in U.S. commanders in Afghanistan was due primarily to making sure our military power more responsibly and to avoid “collateral damage” in order to “win hearts and minds.”
The late Supreme Court justice Hugo Black believed that “paramount among the responsibilities of a free press was the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shots and shells.” Seven years ago, however, many elements of the mainstream media helped build a consensus for war against Iraq based on falsified intelligence and devious claims about weapons of mass destruction and Iraqi links to terrorism.
The day after Secretary of State Colin Powell’s calumnious speech to the United Nations making the case for war, the editorial and oped writers of the Washington Post seconded the motion and called for immediate military action. Even the most liberal Post writer, the late Mary McGrory, wrote an oped titled “I’m Persuaded,” which failed to analyze the dubious claims put forth by Powell’s speechwriters at the Central Intelligence Agency, led by CIA Director George Tenet and deputy director John McLaughlin.
Once again, the editorial and oped writers of the Post are making the case for an expansion of the war in Afghanistan. Armchair warriors such as Richard Cohen and Anne Applebaum in Tuesday’s Post as well as David Ignatius and Michael Gerson in recent weeks have made their pitches for war. Cohen, who is neither a student of national security nor foreign policy and regularly beat the war drums for Iraq, makes the simplest and most simple-minded argument in an oped titled “Eight Years Later and Still No Revenge.” …