In their reportage on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Western media of record are doing a disservice to their roles as crafters of the first draft of history. Rather than straight reporting on the disastrous situation as it unfolds, the news consuming public is being fed reams from the point of view of what the media workers think should have happened.
This conflating of news and opinion by old media to compete in the age of instantaneous new media presentation of the raw and often gory details of occurrences, is what led the last US president and his followers to label them fake news.
The right wing media were more blasé in their attitude toward facts and what was true, and offered their “alternative facts”, to quote Kellyanne Conway in her justification of the Donald Trump administration’s co-alignment with distorted reality.
Joe Biden’s hastening of his predecessor Donald Trump’s decision to pull US forces from the protracted 20-year invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is being presented as a calamitous evil being invoked on the culturally pro Western segment of the Afghan population and those who worked for the occupying forces.
Scribes blaming Joe Biden for the tragedy of people falling from military planes airlifting refugees from Kabul, is as absurd as blaming Trump or George W Bush who initiated the war in pursuit of the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 assaults on American soil by Islamic rebels headquartered in Afghanistan.
One analyst reporter, using his opinion as the measure of Biden’s decision and its consequences, said the troops should have been left until December/winter when Taliban fighters take time off. He felt that would’ve given the crumbling Ashraf Ghani regime time to prepare to establish itself when the Americans left. Duh?! The Taliban had already taken three-quarters to the country and were at the gates of Kabul, with said media posse forecasting a fall (autumn) Taliban take over when a fall was imminent in days.
It might feel like indifference and portrayed as inhumane to view the current debacle as part of the class and religious conflicts shaping future history but it’s the sad reality.
The USA, like the USSR before it, cannot indefinitely prop up an installed regime in an attempt to stop the broad march of history.
The USA is portrayed as Babylon the Great, tip of the dual economic and religious spear against evil populism and anarchist fundamentalism–narrowly represented by Karl Marx as capital vs labour, and the modern USA as free markets vs communism (socialism).
Westernization might be a suitable designation under which to place the relentless march of capitalism wed to a pauline Christian ethic of self justification. Russia and China as late 20th century manifestations are products of the dialectical march. The USSR fell leaving Russia to pick up the pieces of its colonial romp and Chairman Mao’s cultural revolution was subsumed by a “Communist” Party that has led China to jump ahead of western Europe in high rise, high tech and all material aspects of cultural Westernization.
It is Russia and China who should be exclaiming the most about the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, rather than Western liberal media. Those countries share borders with a country that now has a leadership not aligned to Western ideals or goals. In fact, the Taliban have an explicit anti-Western agenda–whether it’s listening to pop music, playing sports or ideologically viewing women as the equal of men.
In the geopolitical sphere, the kissing up of the leadership of Russia and China to the new Taliban regime is a cover for their fear of what the new order portends for them, a mere imaginary line away from a system that gave cover to Al-Qaeda that struck in the USA thousands of miles/kilometers away.
The Western media, concerned about optics and public relations, say Biden has tarnished the USA’s image and reputation, harping back to the 1970s withdrawal from Saigon, viewed as an American loss. American mischief in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, has served American interests of proxy wars away from its homeland and wearing down “enemies” in the the long war for global domination.
Russia and China, then, must be sad to see the US and the other Western nations pull out of Afghanistan. They kept the bothersome neighbours occupied while expending much blood and treasure that could have been spent strengthening America’s economy and global dominance.
Russia has Islamic discontent in Georgia on its mind and a ring of stans with Muslim populations neighbouring a state committed to Islamization. And China.., it has a population of Uighurs, ethnically and somewhat religiously related to a large percentage of Turkic-Mongol people also oppressed by the dominant Persian communities of Afghanistan.
It’s easy to sit and speak about the need to be objective in reporting but it’s not asking too much of journalists to be conscious of the flaw of bias. So, report passionately on the human catastrophe unfolding in that unfortunate desert land and don’t present your fantasies, fears and foibles as fact.
Editor, author and writer with career spanning print, radio, television and new media.