After reading an article on Truthout.com about a recent major military operation in Afghanistan it made me take pause. This operation was not a NATO mission – it consisted only of U. S. military troops, Special Forces, and air power consisting of bombers equipped with 2,000-pound bombs and other armament.
Here is the link to the Truthout article: http://www.truth-out.org/latest-afghanistan-operation-called-success-no-press-witnessed-it64277.
What was unusual about this well planned mission was the absence of embedded journalists. For weeks, journalists arrived at Kandahar Airfield for the opportunity to embed with U. S. forces. The operation was no secret and it was understood by journalists that they would have the opportunity to witness and report on this large-scale mission.
Surprisingly, journalists were told at the last minute that they were logistical problems that would prevent any of them to accompany the military on this mission.
Why were the journalists not allowed on this mission?
The U. S. Government usually invites embedded journalists to witness and report on large successful missions. Our military has overwhelming offensive air and ground power and the Pentagon encourages the media to tag along in an effort to help put a positive spin on the war. The media coverage also helps intimidate the enemy as well as show Americans how our tax dollars are being spent in the successful execution of war.
So, again, I ask why did journalists not accompany the troops on this mission?
There is a phrase from Hamlet that goes “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. The original meaning was, “There is an injustice being perpetuated in the Danish royal house.”
So, how does that saying apply here? Loosely translated, it means that there is foul play involved in the plot.
Could it hint at the possibility or probability of significant collateral damage? Could it be more sinister – maybe that we were planning to punish the civilian population of the area that was coexisting with the Taliban? Were the civilians, in addition to the Taliban, going to be the targets of our 2,000-pound bombs and that we simply did not want embeds capturing atrocities on video or even photographs?
I have read articles describing our military plowing over villages and hamlets so insurgents will leave. Unfortunately, the residents are encouraged to leave first and then the plows come in. Sure, the insurgents vacate the area but the villages and hamlets are buried under and the villagers have no place to return to. These people had so little before the plows came and now they have nothing – absolutely nothing. Are we simply cutting off the nose to spite the face? It sure seems so.
Sure, we periodically see news reports stating how many American troops or NATO troops were killed and we sometimes read about drone attacks killing “x” number of Taliban. A few days later we might even hear that there was collateral damage. Our Department of Defense usually says that everyone killed was either Taliban or Al-Qaeda and any civilians killed were either supporting or harboring our enemy. Later, we find out differently.
Most Afghans are poor in material things but rich in heritage. They do not matter to the average American. First, they live too far away. Second, they are associated with our enemy or at least someone who our country says is our enemy.
I keep reading where the Afghans and Iraqi’s love average Americans but they hate our military and our civilian leadership because of how the wars are being executed. I feel it will not long before they begin to hate us as well because we are simply turning our back on the atrocities being committed in both wars.
While these wars are being executed, we simply go to the mall, buy our stuff, and return home to watch television programs or rent movies.
Sometimes, we even watch news reports of the shock and awe and we shrug our shoulders and say to ourselves “they are getting exactly what they deserve”.
Again, just ask yourself, why were no journalists embedded in this invasion? Surely if we could load planes with hundreds of 2,000 lb bombs and we could invade with hundreds of vehicles used in previous missions that had embedded journalists in them, why were there no embedded journalists permitted this time? I suggest we were intent on punishing civilians for associating with our enemy and we did not want to be observed indiscriminately bombing whole villages.
There is an old saying that states, “The enemy of our enemy is our friend”. I propose “Any innocents living near our enemy will be treated as our enemy as well.” (in the eyes of our military leaders)”.
I further say “Something is rotten in the state of America”. “There are injustices being perpetrated by our military and NATO forces in the countries we are at war with and no one gives a damn.” It is not in our backyard, so it does not matter.
In many cases these atrocities are being covered up – until someone comes forward with either pictures or videos. When this happens, such as what is now happening with Wikileaks, the Administration chooses to come down on the messenger instead of going after the bad apples that order or condone the atrocities.
Do you care enough to at least become more informed and to speak out if you determine our country needs to go in a different direction?
As a minimum, we ought to demand that embedded journalists have the opportunity to accompany our military on large military missions. These journalists would be there to document the good and bad aspects of each major mission.