This post is just a stub. I’ll expand it later.
On 29 August the US murdered 10 people in Kabul. 7 of them were children. The alleged ISIS terrorist turned out to be a worker for a US funded NGO.
This massacre followed an ISIS attack on Kabul airport in which 13 US servicemen died. That that attack happened – at least that it killed US servicemen – is extrordinary. In the preceding days the US stated publically that an attack was imminent. They even knew the exact location to within a matter of meters.
These two events have a common thread. The common thread is that decisions are being made based on thinking about how to manage the media narrative. Incredible though it sounds policy decisions and in fact military operational decisions are being made by the PR team of the current administration based on how the story will play out in the media.
They kept the servicemen (soldiers not high ranking officers obviously) standing around the airport gate even though it was a near certainty they would be killed, because they were, for political reasons, desperate to avoid headlines about abandoning their Afghan allies. The Democrats did this to stop the Republicans gaining an electoral talking point. It seems that the military went along with it. That is the military sacrificed 13 low ranking service men so the Democrats don’t lose power. It is not a question of the Democrats planning a coup. They’ve already staged one.
The reckless attack on a civilian home was designed to make sure that the last attack of the whole debaclé was a US one. That the humiliating exit was not remembered for the ISIS attack. After suspicions arose that it had been a mistake the US military simply tried to lie and brazen it out. All that mattered was that the record showed a successful ‘righteous strike’ against ISIS. It is the narrative they are controlling not the terrorist threat. It was only because of the excellent reporting by the New York Times that they admitted it had been an error. Again – the terrible decision making was precisely because they were so keen to manage the narrative.
Who is the narrative being managed for? To some extent it is about the world image of the US; this is especially the case with the strike on the alleged terrorists. But much of it is about a domestic political audience. The Democrats could not be seen to have abandoned their Afghan allies.
The combination of electoral ‘democracy’ and the mass media transmitting highly curated narratives to the electorate does not, it seems, always lead to good outcomes. Nor does this look anything like democracy in the sense of rational adults discussing and deciding the best policies. It is of course all about Manufacturing Consent. It shows an almost unimaginable degree of cynicism on the part of those involved in these decisions.