The ongoing horror parade in Afghanistan has US presenters alerting viewers with each new video: the images below are shocking, inappropriate for children.
But press attention to the longest war in U.S. history was comparable to that of bored children – until images of bodies falling from planes exploded on the screens. Then the rush to find the culprits and the competition for sudden outrage began.
But it was an actor who was the first to self-criticize the role of the media in the Afghan tragedy. At the opening of his show on Monday (15), Stephen Colbert recalled that his monologues reflect the news of the day and said: “Let’s run VT with what I have already spoken about in Afghanistan”. The video showed balls of dry grass rolling in the desert.
Amid the jokes, Colbert argued that shock at the cruelty of the day’s events cannot ignore the fact that failure has crossed four presidents, from both parties, and public disinterest.
It’s easy to visually compare the Americans’ flight from Kabul to the iconic flight from Saigon in 1975. One important difference: wars today affect Americans unevenly. Compulsory military service ended after American families, rich or not, white or not, lost 58,000 children fighting in Vietnam.
There wouldn’t be 20 years of war if the privileged Americans were forced to fight for a medieval enamored kleptocracy. There wouldn’t be enough stories of the liberation of women and girls to convince an audience still with a strong isolationist DNA – after decades of growing inequality and increasingly dilapidated public services – that it made sense to bury $ 2 trillion in a country that doesn’t stay at home alone.
For context, the Marshall Plan, designed to recover European economies devastated by World War II, cost the American taxpayer $ 135 billion in present values.
This does not justify the omission pointed out by the actor Colbert. And that does not alleviate the moral and historical stain of the United States which, in the confrontation with the former Soviet Union in the region, contributed to the destabilization which led to the emergence of the Taliban.
There was plenty of intelligence on the impracticality of the military operation in Afghanistan. A 2016 report by the Occupation Inspector General concluded that of the 350,000 members of the Afghan armed forces listed, 200,000 were ghost soldiers whose pay was divided among corrupt officials, in a “fissure” that any guy named Bolsonaro would envy.
The public, in addition to not paying attention, was not informed about the war. In 2019, the Washington Post newspaper obtained 2,000 pages of previously classified documents that made it clear: Successive US governments lied about the fiasco of the war in Afghanistan. Even so, the scandal did not have the merit it deserved.
The first thought that occurred to me when I heard Joe Biden strongly defend the decision to step down was that of his son Beau, a decorated soldier who fought in Iraq.
The aggressive cancer that killed Beau Biden at the age of 46 in 2015 is often associated with exposure to smoke from outdoor fires. These were bonfires made by the military to burn waste containing toxic materials in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The anger we hear in Joe Biden’s voice has a story.
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