US-NATO Aggression to ‘Win Hearts and Minds’
Civilian deaths are merely political setbacks, say ‘independent’ news media.
By Dan Alba | February 14, 2010
Anyone aspiring to write or edit textbooks for the Department of Education should study U.S. news-wire reports. Rarely will you see imperial aggression being so expertly spun into peaceful liberation within the context of U.S. exceptionalism.
Take for example a February 13, Associated Press report, “US troops fight, then work to win hearts and minds,” where the editor mourns the mission:
[I]n the revised U.S. war strategy, the fight against the insurgents is as important as winning the allegiance and confidence of Afghan citizens. For American soldiers here, their days are often a mix of winning hearts and minds and fighting a determined enemy.
How many of those “determined enemies” are actually “insurgents“?
How many are lawfully defending themselves and their property from the foreign invaders, whose “key goal is to prop up Haji Zair, who was appointed as the Marjah governor but hasn’t been able to actually travel there, let alone set up residence”? [Jason Ditz, “US to Launch Massive Helmand Offensive ‘Within Days,'” AntiWar.com, 2/3/10.]
Readers are told that the invaded inhabitants are threatened only by the local resistance:
It’s a tall order in a Taliban-controlled area where some villagers are scared to take money from the Americans. . . .
The conversation with a farmer seemed positive at first. But it was ultimately inconclusive — an illustration, perhaps, of the difficulty of winning over civilians who know the Taliban are a longterm presence, and that the Americans will eventually leave. . . .
“A lot of guys are unwilling to do anything,” he said. “They’re worried about the Taliban.”
But how many are offended by the aggressive invasion and political bribery of the foreign occupiers? How many non-aggressive villagers are being terrorized by the effects of the U.S.-NATO mission?
Silly questions, of course, considering the mission’s obvious righteousness:
Repairing the irrigation canals is an important step toward reviving agriculture in the area. And the Americans were offering hard cash for anyone willing to work.
In other words: American taxpayer dollars, hard at work, forcing non-aggressive self-determining people to live under the absolute authority of an empire-made national government.
But according to the empire and the “independent” news media, such is the proper way to “win hearts and minds.”
Besides, who would argue against creating jobs and “reviving” the economy?
Moreover, who would bite the hand that “cleaned and bandaged the injured finger of an elderly man at the farmhouse”? [para. 17]
Only insurgents and Taliban, and the folks who would shower the foreign invaders with affection if not for their existential fear of their own families and neighbors.
– – – – –
In a follow-up report, readers learn that 12 Afghan civilians were killed by those innocuous foreign invaders.
In the 28-paragraph February 14 release, “NATO rockets miss target, kill 12 Afghan civilians,” six paragraphs are pertinent to the headline; four of which analyze the civilian deaths as merely a political setback. To wit:
The civilian deaths were a blow to NATO and the Afghan government’s attempts to win the allegiance of Afghans and get them to turn away from the insurgents. . . .
Karzai ordered an investigation into who fired the rocket. Before the offensive began on Saturday, Karzai pleaded with Afghan and foreign military leaders to be “seriously careful for the safety of civilians.”
In other words, the killing of civilians is not an immoral or illicit act that reflects badly on the policy in general. No. Quite the opposite is true: the remaining 22 paragraphs mourn the dangers to the U.S.-NATO invader-occupiers, whose stated intentions — “providing some building for the people there, better security, better economic opportunity, better governance, more of an Afghan face” — are taken as Gospel.
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By Ron Jacobs | CounterPunch | December 2, 2016
The movement against South African apartheid was perhaps the most universal and popular movement in the western world in the 1980s. Hundreds of thousands protested in a multitude of ways—from letter-writing campaigns to shantytown occupations of city squares and college campus greens. Institutions of all types, from churches to universities, from corporations and banks to city halls, were forced to remove their investments from companies doing business with the racist South African regime, ultimately forcing that regime to end its racist legal system. Even the right wing Reagan and Thatcher regimes were ultimately forced to end their support for Pretoria’s racist system and grudgingly go along with the popular will.
However, as Ron Nixon’s new book, titled Selling Apartheid, makes clear, the South African regime was not going to go down without a fight. In addition to police and military actions of varying brutality, the regime hired advertising men to sell their brand of repression to people and governments around the world. The campaign he describes involved a cynical manipulation of emotions about race, implied white supremacist chauvinism, and outright lies. Advertising campaigns presented South Africa as a tourist destination full of beauty and the perfect climate (which it had) with absolutely no mention of the racial discrimination built into its social and political systems. Glossy photo spreads were bought in newspaper and magazines and television programs were made and sold to television networks in the United States and Britain. These shows were then shown to the unsuspecting viewer as if they were made by agencies independent of the apartheid government and their only agenda was tourism. … continue
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