This blog contains material I wrote and posted on multiply.com between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).
Sunday, 25 November 2012
Cutting Off Your Nose To Spite Your Face
What do you do when you’re faced with a lost war abroad, a war entirely of your predecessor’s own choosing and your predecessor’s own making, but a war you’ve made your own and which you can’t admit to have lost? What happens when your own people have turned overwhelmingly against the war, and you have to delude them somehow into continuing to support it?
You need to lie, and once the lies fail, you have to lie again.
Nobody who has any sense will consider Time magazine as anything but an arm of the American Empire’s propaganda machine, a mite less crude than Reader’s Digest perhaps, but without even the pretence of objectivity that Newsweek attempts. So, one shouldn’t be overwhelmed with surprise at the latest Time cover (the 9 August issue). Take a look at it: You’ll note the shrill warning, thrust into the reader’s faces along with the photo of this poor mutilated girl: What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan. It’s such a blatant attempt at emotional blackmail that one needs to ask just how many layers of deception are wrapped up in it.
First, of course, is the simple fact that the headline is wrong: this isn’t what will happen if “We” (the American Empire) leaves Afghanistan; this is what happened while the American Empire was already in situin Afghanistan and allegedly taking care of the people there. Therefore, the real message isn’t that the Empire is protecting the Afghans from mutilation; it’s that, despite bombing shooting and maiming the Afghans, despite drone-rocketing weddings, despite “surging” troops, the Empire has signally failed to protect the Afghans. But do you expect the propaganda machine to acknowledge that?
Then, there is the little fact that the mutilation isn’t something unique in the annals of world history; mutilation has happened on many occasions, in many parts of the world, including the United States, and at the hands of relatives and spouses as often as not. Is there something special in the air or water of Afghanistan that will cause its men to leap at their women with knives the instant the Empire’s henchmen, hirelings, and hangers-on leave?
Should we allow Time magazine to get away with the insinuation that the Afghans are being kept from this grisly fate by the benevolent jackboots of the American Empire? Until 1992, the Afghans actually had a relatively modern government, one which attempted female emancipation, ran schools and universities where women were students and teachers, ran hospitals where they were doctors, and so on. What happened to this regime? Wasn’t it overthrown because of the deliberate and cynical manipulation of this same American Empire? Weren’t these Afghans allowed to fall under the control of fanatical Islamic fundamentalists entirely because of the help provided by the United States of America?
Therefore, the insinuation that the Empire is somehow protecting the Afghans from a descent to savagery is like a robber who cuts someone’s throat, steals his property, and then claims that his ownership of the property is essential to prevent it from falling into the hands of thieves.
Isn’t it true that once the socialist Afghan government of Mohammad Najibullah fell in 1992, the Empire left the Afghan people to be shattered by civil war between the victorious mujahideen? Isn’t it true that when the Taliban were first set up, the Empire practically fell over itself welcoming them? Isn’t it true that the Empire, to this day, actively supports and allies itself with regimes, like Saudi Arabia, which make the Taliban look almost mild in many respects? Isn’t it true that the Empire doesn’t give a damn what the Zionazi pseudostate does to the Palestinians it oppresses on a daily basis?
Also, is the Empire’s benevolent rule in Afghanistan all that benevolent? What about the hundreds of civilians murdered wittingly or accidentally by the forces of the Empire or its NATO vassals? Even if one calls them “collateral damage”, isn’t it true that not one of them would have been killed but for the fact that the Empire’s forces are stationed where they are emphatically not wanted?
I, for one, am tired of reading accounts of American soldiers’ suffering in Iraq or Afghanistan. So they suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, or lose a leg or a penis or something. Big deal – when you think of the hundreds of greater times of suffering they and their commanders have heaped on the people they are occupying. Big deal – when you think that their “sacrifices” have achieved the signal objective of securing for their supreme commander in chief the Nobel Peace Prize, while raising the level of violence more and more.
Obviously, Time magazine’s issue isn’t aiming at swaying the Afghans towards the Empire. The Afghans know the truth; hell, they’re living the truth, trapped between a ravaging ultra-corrupt kleptocracy on one side, which in turn is propped up by a murderous occupation force, and a savage guerrilla struggle on the other. At least the guerrillas are home-grown, and that counts for more than all the blandishments and lies of the Empire put together.
No, the magazine cover has nothing to do with swaying Afghan opinion in favour of continuing the occupation. It has everything to do with swaying American opinion in favour of continuing the occupation. After all, as the lies that led to the invasion of Iraq demonstrated so admirably, Americans aren’t exactly the brightest people in the world. But even for Americans, the crudity of the propaganda may prove to be counterproductive.