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War Propaganda from Afghanistan

Glenn Greenwald

The New
York Times
yesterday excitedly declared
that the imminent
Battle of Kandahar "has become the make-or-break offensive
of the eight-and-half-year [Afghanistan] war" and is "the
pivotal test
of President Obama's Afghanistan strategy."  As Atrios
, there never is any such thing as "make-or-break" because
we never leave no matter how completely our war and occupation efforts
fail.  That's what led to the countless Friedman Units
of the Iraq War:  the endless proclamations that The Next Six
Months will be Decisive
, only to be repeated at the end of the
six-month period of failure as though the prior one never happened.

Just consider what's being said now about how the Kandahar
offensive is the "make-or-break" battle of the war and the
"pivotal test" for Obama's war strategy by comparing it to what was said
a mere two months ago about the now clearly
assault on Marjah:

of London
, February 13, 2010


Allied troops launched a major offensive into Afghanistan's most
violent province last night, in a key part of President Obama's push to
seize control of the Taleban's last big stronghold. . . . If it
fails, many analysts believe that the war will be lost.

on February 9, 2010, that General
McChrystal wants the Marjah offensive to "be one of the most significant
in the country since the fall of the Taliban in 2001" and, of Obama's
war strategy, said that "Marjah looks like being its first major -- and
possibly decisive -- test
."  The BBC quoted a NATO
official who proclaimed that Marjah "was 'probably the
definitive operation'
of the counter-insurgency strategy" and
"this operation could potentially define the tipping point, the crucial
momentum aspect in the counter-insurgency."  Time
helpfully informed us
that "U.S. officials believe it will mark a turning
point in the war

Now that that "make-or-break decisive test" has
failed (or, at best, has produced very muddled outcomes), did the
Government and media follow through and declare the war effort broken
and the strategy a failure?  No; they just pretend it never happened and
declare the next, latest, glorious Battle the real "make-or-break
decisive test" -- until that one fails and the next one is portrayed
that way, in an endless tidal wave of war propaganda intended to justify
our staying for as long as we want, no matter how pointless and
counter-productive it is.

* * * * *

Speaking of war propaganda, today is a very proud day for the
U.S.:  the
military commission ordered by Eric Holder begins for Omar Khadr
, a
Canadian-born, Afghanistan-residing detainee encaged at Guantanamo for
seven years -- since he was 15 years old -- on "war
crimes" and "terrorism" charges that he was involved in a firefight with
American military forces who, revealingly enough, were using a
former Soviet military base as their outpost
.  Khadr was wounded in
the battle, imprisoned at Bagram, then at Guantanamo, claims he was
severely tortured into falsely confessing, and made worldwide news when a
of him weeping, begging for medical help, and crying for his mother

during an interrogation was released.  Apparently, if the U.S. Army
invades a foreign country, anyone who fights against that invading force
-- including a 15-year-old boy -- is a "war criminal" and a
"Terrorist," even the Worst of The Worst, which is, of course, all that
we're currently holding at Guantanamo.  Now that's some robust

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