The dirty decade(s)

I find it cruelly amusing that the media and the power elite in America, at the moment, are having a fake wonder moment - why, OBL was in Pakistan of all places! I can only compare this to discovering that the tooth fairy is a fake, or that no, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus. Did anybody, year after year, think he was anywhere else? I, luckily for my told-you-so tendencies, although unluckily for my mental health, have long kept a blog, Limited Inc, and from the end of 2001 until the assassination of OBL, I have had no doubt about the status of the tooth fairy or of Osama bin Laden.

So why was I so sure? well, for one thing, I did not rely on the American media for my news. During the Bush years, a whole new method of managing consent was devised, in which the media could continue to pretend they maintained a critical function towards our governors whilst doffing their hats, bowing and scraping, and generally retailing nonsense. They straddled servility and 'freedom' by displacing the news into another time zone, one in which important events were reported years after they had happened, and in fact years after the relevant players in the media knew that they had happened. This technique proved so successful that it has been deployed to report the current economic crisis.

In any case, shortly after, or even during, the Kunduz airlift in 2001, the newspapers and the tv knew that it happened. They just didnt emphasize it. Thus, our narrative of the Great War in Afghanistan is missing a crucial piece. In our narrative, the Americans and their heroic allies, Pakistani and Afghan alike, advanced relentlessly against the arch-fiend Osama and the Taliban, mopped up territory with that supreme ease for which our GIs are celebrated, and had Osama all cornered in his hidey hole when he found a magic poney and escaped, perhaps to the North Pole, perhaps to Tahiti. In reality, the winter of 2001 showed, in miniature, that we were lead by a group that combined the cynicism of the street-corner pimp with the competence of the Three Stooges trying to screw in a lightbulb. Rumsfeld's generals, a lickspittle crew, withheld American troops even though they had them in positions where they could have advanced and, say, hardened the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This was well perceived by all players in the area, including India. It was simply not perceived by Americans, who still didn't understand what had been spawned in December, 2000 by our country club Supreme Court. Meanwhile, as Seymour Hersch wrote in one of the first articles about Kunduz, the administration did this: American soldiers combined with irregulars from the Northern Alliance surrounded the the northern hill town of Kunduz, which was on the way to Tora Bora. Embarrassingly, our friend and ally, Pakistan, had, while agreeing to all our Commandante's terms so stirringly laid out for them - we wasn't taking no shit after 9/11! - calmly pocketed American money and went on doing what it had been doing before 9/11, supporting the Taliban and the Taliban's ally, Al Q. Thus, Kunduz contained more than a peck of Pakistani SSI men. What to do, what to do? The gulls in America might not understand the friendly relationship we had with Pakistan, but our governor's did. Thus, American soldiers were treated to the sight of Pakistani aircraft lifting out whoever the fuck they wanted to from Kunduz. And the Bush administration than mounted its usual m.o. - lie blatantly. As Hersch reports:

"Even before the siege ended, however, a puzzling series of reports appeared in the Times and in other publications, quoting Northern Alliance officials who claimed that Pakistani airplanes had flown into Kunduz to evacuate the Pakistanis there. American and Pakistani officials refused to confirm the reports. On November 16th, when journalists asked Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld about the reports of rescue aircraft, he was dismissive. “Well, if we see them, we shoot them down,” he said. Five days later, Rumsfeld declared, “Any idea that those people should be let loose on any basis at all to leave that country and to go bring terror to other countries and destabilize other countries is unacceptable.” At a Pentagon news conference on Monday, November 26th, the day after Kunduz fell, General Richard B. Myers, of the Air Force, who is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked about the reports. The General did not directly answer the question but stated, “The runway there is not usable. I mean, there are segments of it that are usable. They’re too short for your standard transport aircraft. So we’re not sure where the reports are coming from.”"

Well, if the big and the powerful said it, and if they are, gosh almighty, generals too - why, who are we to believe our own peepers? However the gulls in America swallowed this bullshit, however, the players in Afghanistan and Pakistan had their eyes opened. For what possible reason would American generals not only not order their soldiers to adhere to the first rule of invading a country, but allow Pakistan to actually airlift out the very people Americans had supposedly come to kill?

Definitely Osama bin Laden, in his hideout, got the message loud and clear: not only would the administration not be averse to him getting 'lost' in Pakistan, but they would even lie and send up fog and generally pretend that this hadn't happened. It turned out that things went even better than planned for all participants: Pakistan got its aid, OBL and the Taliban got their bases, Bush got his GWOT (allowing him to invade Iraq, the one country in the Middle East that did not have its hand in OBL's pie), and the American media got to bask in being all patriotic and shit. This is an act they are still all about today, although they've moved on: now patriotism and shit means destroying entitlements for the middle class cause we - that is, we happy few, we who have been somewhat advantaged by TARP and the nine trillion in low interest/no interest loans handed out merrily by the Fed - can't afford them any more! Nh uh.

The transition period between democracy and plutocracy is always dirty. It is strewn with lies, betrayal, mass murder, and the corruption of the very fonts of information - and that is what we see all over the former democracies at present. In the U.S., these things are simply writ larger. At one time, in the 90s, people spoke of the new gilded age. 9/11 put a stop at least to that. This is the dirty era. It has left its unforgettable taste in every mouth, on every tongue. And we are not through with it yet.


northanger said…
are you eating freedom fries with this victory lap?
Brian M said…
more politics, roger!