HomeArticleMass Media Hasten To Help Pentagon Exonerate Itself In Afghan Airstrike

Mass Media Hasten To Help Pentagon Exonerate Itself In Afghan Airstrike

Listen to a reading of this article:

The mass media are full of headlines announcing that a “watchdog” has concluded in an “independent” investigation that US military personnel did nothing wrong in an August airstrike in Kabul which killed ten civilians and zero combatants.

“An independent Pentagon review has concluded that the U.S. drone strike that killed innocent Kabul civilians and children in the final days of the Afghanistan war was not caused by misconduct or negligence, and it doesn’t recommend any disciplinary action,” the Associated Press reports in an article titled “Watchdog finds no misconduct in mistaken Afghan airstrike“.

The word “watchdog” appears nowhere else in the article apart from its title, which means it was calculatingly chosen by an AP editor for the public (the vast majority of whom only read headlines) to see. When people hear the word “watchdog” in reference to scrutiny of government institutions they naturally think of the standard usage of that term: parties outside the institution being watched like Amnesty International or the American Civil Liberties Union. They most certainly don’t think of “watchdogs” being the government institutions themselves, as is the case here.

“The review, done by the Air Force Lt. Gen. Sami Said, found there were breakdowns in communication and in the process of identifying and confirming the target of the bombing, according to a senior defense official familiar with the report,” AP informs us.

The US Air Force is of course a branch of the US Department of Defense. So the Pentagon literally did the “we investigated ourselves and cleared ourselves of any wrongdoing” meme, and the mainstream press is passing that off as a real thing in much the same manner as the famous 1997 New York Times headline “C.I.A. Says It Has Found No Link Between Itself and Crack Trade“.

The claim that the investigation was “independent” is justified later in the AP report:

“As inspector general of the Air Force, Said had no direct connection to Afghanistan operations and thus was deemed an independent judge of the matter,” the article reads.

So AP was told by their source, a senior defense official, that the report is “independent”, and then they passed that claim on to their readers as though it’s an objective fact when it is in reality an assertion by a US government official. This Pentagon stenography is journalistic malpractice.

AP, along with Reuters and AFP, is one of just three news agencies which write the bulk of international news media reporting in the western world. Corporate media outlets who generally can’t be bothered to do their own original reporting on international affairs often run articles published by those agencies, along with whatever propaganda, spin, and journalistic malpractice they happen to contain. A quick search shows that this AP report has already been picked up and run verbatim by Politico, The Independent, Yahoo News, and many other outlets.

Not only there is there clearly nothing “independent” about government officials investigating their own agencies, but the possibility of any actual independent review of the airstrike has been made impossible, since the Pentagon’s report on the matter has been classified.

“The full report on the strike, which includes several recommendations on how to avoid similar incidents in the future, is classified,” reports Business Insider, who also used the word “watchdog” in its headline.

The world is dominated by opaque and unaccountable government agencies who are legitimized and normalized by the mass media. The Pentagon killed ten people, none of whom were combatants and seven of whom were children, lied about it, got exposed, investigated itself and found that those who perpetrated the attack were not even guilty of so much as negligence, then classified the report and called it a day. And then the mass media legitimized this by calling it an “independent” investigation conducted by a “watchdog”.

As we discussed previously, this is just one of thousands of airstrikes the Pentagon has launched since its “war on terror” began, a huge percentage of which have included civilian casualties and virtually none of which have ever been subject to this much critical analysis. The only reason this one is gaining special attention is because of the highly politicized nature of President Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal which the mass media aggressively criticized the entire time. It was only because this dynamic led to a New York Times investigation which showed the alleged “ISIS-K” target the Pentagon claimed it had slain was actually an aid worker named Zemari Ahmadi.

Dr. Steven Kwon, co-founder and president of the Nutrition and Education International where Ahmadi worked, released a statement on the Air Force inspector general’s conclusion:

“This investigation is deeply disappointing and inadequate because we’re left with many of the same questions we started with. I do not understand how the most powerful military in the world could follow Zemari, an aid worker, in a commonly used car for eight hours, and not figure out who he was, and why he was at a U.S. aid organization’s headquarters. According to the Inspector General, there was a mistake but no one acted wrongly, and I’m left wondering, how can that be? Clearly, good military intentions are not enough when the outcome is 10 precious Afghan civilian lives lost and reputations ruined.”

The most powerful military force ever assembled does not care about human beings and is completely unaccountable to the public. That’s why these things happen, and that’s why they will continue to happen until this entire corrupt power structure ceases to be.

__________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2

Liked it? Take a second to support Caitlin Johnstone on Patreon!

Latest comments

  • Why does any of this matter if Caitlin is correct and we’re going to be extinct soon?

    • First of all because “soon” is a relative term and second because there is a huge difference in the kind of our inevitable demise.
      Not giving a shit is unfortunately largely the reason for getting us into the situation we are in right now.

    • i understand your fears, anne-marie. but it’s like as caitline says, ” the only sane response to this glorious mess if to help each other out as best we can” we gotta keep on speaking our truth.

  • Just exactly WHAT do people do after they’re all woke up — pick up a gun; guillotine some VIPs; march hand in hand down Penn. Ave. forever and demand, demand, demand that the Elite behave better, or else?
     
    Here’s what you are eventually going to HAVE TO DO because
     
    there. is. no. other. way.
     
    If you do not want More Of The Same that you’ve gotten after every election in the past, do not vote for another R or D, ever, no matter what an R or D promises! Jimmy Dore explains EXACTLY why.
     

    • In small part because of this blanket position, and in large part because of unprincipled apathy, a working class democratic socialist candidate just lost the Buffalo NY mayoral election to an establishment WRITE-IN candidate. Like the good book says, there’s a time for everything under heaven…including voting occasionally for a candidate with a letter after his or her name. I say this not as a spectator or pundit but as someone who twice ran as an independent candidate for mayor in a mid-sized American rustbelt city, both times coming within a hair of beating an entrenched political machine. It’s always the candidate that counts, not the (corrupt) party. Looking forward, would it be OK to vote for Trump, were he to run as an independent without the R next to his name? Looking backward, was it OK not to vote for RFK because he did have that D next to his? My sound went out and I can’t listen to Jimmy Dore’s rap, so if he knows something I don’t know, please fill me in. I see no way around not voting, as a matter of principle, being effectively spun by the CIA/MSM as tacit satisfaction with the status quo.

      • “My sound went out and I can’t listen to Jimmy Dore’s rap, so if he knows something I don’t know, please fill me in.”
         
        Get your “sound” fixed.

  • Orwell: “In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words [or Medium] in which to express it.”
    https://seaclearly.com/2021/05/01/a-final-warning
    Orwellian: Dictionary Changing “Vaccine” Definition
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrEthk02bPw
    Now: How much is controlled as basic stenography?

  • “… this is just one of thousands of airstrikes the Pentagon has launched since its “war on terror” began, a huge percentage of which have included civilian casualties”.
    When it specifically comes to drone strikes, “huge” must be understood as 90% according to a Pentagon leak.
    https://gsgriffin.com/2017/06/07/90-of-u-s-drone-victims-innocent-bystanders/
    Don’t despair! They’ll get to 100% eventually. Don’t forget they’re the best-trained and richest military in the world! Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
    As to the presstitutes, this very interesting video explains how two investment funds, Vanguard and Black Rock are the main investors (therefore decision makers) in most companies in the world. Some experts in the field reckon that, by 2028, they’ll own the whole planet.
    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/10/joseph-mercola/who-owns-the-world/
    Now the funny part: they’re the main investors in the MIC, in the industries that furnish the MIC, like drone contractors, in the industries that provide the raw materials to make drones like all kinds of metals, plastics, electronic devices etc. and… in the press agencies as well as the nine corporations that control all corporate media.
    Of course this could go a long way into explaining why ten “unpeople” killed in Afghanistan a couple of months ago are just a “communication” glitch while the media are still irked, twenty years later, by the attacks on the WTC allegedly planned in Afghanistan, the “retaliation” war they brought about as well as the occupation ending with ten drone fatalities which, according to the Pentagon’s own statistics, are just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Guardian, drones have killed between 22,000 and 48,000 civilians since 9/11. The number of innocents in that number, according to the Pentagon’s own admission (see above) beggars beliefs.
    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/sep/07/us-airstrikes-killed-at-least-22000-civilians-since-911-analysis-finds
    However you can tell that the US military is getting soft. In 1890, after the massacre of Wounded Knee where 300 Injuns, overwhelmingly unarmed and including women and children (which gets us closer to the 100% innocents goalpost) were slaughtered by the US cavalry, twenty-five of the slaughterers got the Medal of Honor. It took over a century for Congress to say they were sorry but they eventually did it in 2001, so let’s not despair :o)

    • PS: The people slaughtered remained dead though…

  • Yep, we lost it 12000 years ago.
    And in 46 it really went to shit when a bunch of dudes sailed the Adriatic with a movie star .

  • The international court on war crimes in The Hague is a joke, that is obviously only meant work in favor of the western empire.
    The US would not even submit to that.
    This “attack” was comitted as a revenge for a war crime comitted by US troops and blamed on people that had no hand in this.
    In civil justice revenge is considered a lesser motive and will increase your level of guilt as well as your punishment.
    Isn’t it funny how we have grown so accustomed to these lies and obmissions, that noone even talks about the misguided mindset at the root of this?
    We used to say “We can’t force them to tell the truth, but we can force them to lie ever more brazenly!”.
    I wish we had forseen how common lying would become and how everyone bent their perception to adapt their cognitive dissonance.

  • Don’t none of y’all forget to thank them for their service.

  • Would love to hear your take on the reason the US found it necessary to invade and occupy Afghanistan in the first place. My take is that the ‘Project for a New American Century’ PNAC wrote the script in their now infamous Sept. 2000 publication ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces, and Resources For a New Century’ within which the famous line paraphrased here…absent some cataclysmic event, such as a new Pearl Harbor, this rebuilding effort could take a very long time. A year later, the new Pearl Harbor happened on 9-11, and the rest as they say is history….

    • They needed to move their heroin operation from Vietnam to Afghanistan. Now that Mexico is growing poppies, there’s suddenly a lot of southern border attention, to make sure trafficking runs smoothly.

  • Again! Wow. They really are having a good run. I’m reassured that the world is a good and just place when I see articles in the MSM that clear powerful institutions, governments, corporations and billionaires of wrong doing. It’s incredible because you would think looking at the actions of these people and institutions that something had gone wrong but nope. Like when Chevron destroys an ecosystem – it’s okay, maybe a few mistakes were made but nothing really that bad. Or, like this example, when a giant military force kills a handful of kids. You might look at that and think well surely someone did something wrong but again no! It’s all okay. Even the law of averages would have you thinking that surely in amongst all the multitudes of fuckups, murders, rampant ecocide, fraud, embezzlement etc that someone, somewhere did something wrong? But no. Everything is A okay. Like Crown casino in Australia recently who were a bit naughty laundering money or something … are free to keep on operating as a casino because, as it was discovered, nobody did anything wrong and it’s all okay. Just be more careful in future and they promised they would. Phew. It sure is an amazing world we live in when all these terrible things happen time and time again and, as it so happens, nobody is actually doing anything wrong! I don’t quite understand how that can be the case but it is. Keep up the good work Globocap.

    • Creative. 🙂

  • If the attack was intended only to hurt non-civilians, then it was ‘negligence’, and if those who mounted the attack didn’t care if civilians were hurt then it was ‘misconduct’.
    It displays a total lack of humanity and conscience that a government (or anyone for that matter) can dismiss the murder of civilians on a flimsy technicality. It was an attack not an accident – it was deliberately aimed at doing harm!

  • I was in the military and if you don’t follow ‘procedure’ you’re wrong. Plain and simple. It’s called following SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)! So, Caitlan, did you miss that in regard to “The review, done by the Air Force Lt. Gen. Sami Said, found there were breakdowns in communication and in the process of identifying and confirming the target of the bombing,…”. In other words, they didn’t follow some part of the SOP. Since innocents were killed due to that breakdown, negligence occurred as evidenced by the ‘breakdown’. From my experience the higher-up the rank the breakdown occurred, the more likely there’ll be a cover-up.

leave a comment