Dec
04
2009

Norman Solomon on Afghan escalation, Robert Naiman on Afghan civil war

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: 30,000 new troops to Afghanistan at the 'fastest possible pace,' President Obama has declared, are in our vital national interest. The Washington Post called it a strong but carefully calibrated to Afghanistan and Pakistan, describing the plan as "a counterinsurgency strategy aimed at protecting the Aghan population." Perhaps some message shifting going on, about whether US actions are aimed at helping Afghans or defending ourselves, (or maybe you can take your pick) but what doesn't seem up for serious discussion is whether the actions will have the effect of doing either. We’ll be talking […]

Nov
01
2009

In Afghan Debate, Few Antiwar Op-Eds

Elite papers marginalize public opposition

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/The U.S. Army

The Obama administration, having increased the number of troops in Afghanistan by 21,000 in March, is engaged in a contentious internal discussion about whether to send an additional 40,000 more. There is growing anger over Afghan civilian deaths, and July and August were the deadliest months for U.S. soldiers since the U.S. invaded in 2001 (AP, 8/28/09). Meanwhile, polls throughout 2009 show a U.S. public divided on whether the war is even worth fighting, let alone in need of escalation. In three surveys since July, the AP/GfK poll has reported that at least 53 percent of respondents say they oppose […]

Aug
25
2009

Where Is the Afghanistan Debate?

When public support slips, TV packs in war boosters

With new polls showing the American public becoming increasingly critical of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, the Sunday morning network talkshows turned primarily to Pentagon officials and war boosters to discuss the issue, continuing the media marginalization of critics of the escalation of the war (Extra!, 4/09). The most recent ABC/Washington Post poll (8/13-17/09) found that 51 percent of respondents believe the war is not worth fighting--the first time that position has received majority support. Just 24 percent supported sending more troops to Afghanistan, while 45 percent think the level of troops should be decreased. As the New York Times […]

Apr
03
2009

Mark Weisbrot on the G20, Gareth Porter on the Afghanistan surge

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Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Barack Obama’s military surge in Afghanistan has caught very little flack in the media, even though experts on the region say it doesn’t make sense and distorts realities on the ground in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. We'll talk to journalist Gareth Porter about coverage of the Afghanistan surge, an Obama policy he calls "a stunningly irrational blunder.” Also on CounterSpin today, the G-20 summit in London has attracted a lot of media attention; that this is Barack Obama's first major sit-down with other world leaders is probably one factor. But looming over the event […]

Mar
19
2008

Why Are Winter Soldiers Not News?

Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

Given the common media rhetoric of "supporting the troops," to ignore these same troops when they speak out about the horrors of the war is unconscionable.

Aug
01
2007

'Accidents' Will Happen

Excusing civilian deaths in Afghanistan

When they’re discussed at all by corporate media, civilian deaths in Afghanistan are often presented as a tactical or public relations problem for U.S. military and political officials, or labeled as “accidental” or “errant.” The civilian deaths are not accidents, however; they are the predictable result of a deliberate decision to protect American troops by putting Afghan noncombatants at risk. A Chicago Tribune story on July 8 commented, “Such bombings and the allegations of civilian casualties, exaggerated or not, are now the biggest challenge facing foreign forces trying to prop up Afghanistan’s government.” This is an odd construction; U.S. media […]

Feb
01
2002

New York Times Buries Story of Airstrikes on Civilians

Extra! Update February 2002

On December 30, U.S. airstrikes hit the village of Niazi Kala (also called Qalaye Niaze) in eastern Afghanistan, killing dozens of civil­ians. The attack was major news in several British newspapers, with the Guardian and the Independent running front-page sto­ries. The headlines were straightforward: "U.S. Accused of Killing Over 100 Villagers in Airstrike" (Guardian, 1/1/02); "U.S. Accused of Killing 100 Civilians in Afghan Bombing Raid" (Independent, 1/1/02); –100 Villagers Killed' in U.S. Airstrike" (London Times, 1/1/02). In contrast, the New York Times first reported the civilian deaths at Niazi Kala under the bland headline "Afghan Leader Warily Backs U.S. Bombing" […]

Feb
01
2002

Indirect From the Battlefield

EXTRA! Update NEW YORK CITY—If the first casualty of war is the truth, any dispatch from Afghanistan was likely to slay it in its very first word. The dateline says: We are there, we saw it happen. But they weren’t. They didn’t. Poor Geraldo Rivera got slugged for pretending otherwise. A crossover from MSNBC to Fox News in the rating wars, he was on his first combat mission for Rupert Murdoch (Extra!, 1-2/02). He let it be known that he was armed to the teeth, or at least to the ankle holster, raring to track the enemy into his cave. […]