By Caitlin Johnstone
August 16, 2021"Information
Clearing House" -
I love how everyone’s just pretending the
Afghanistan Papers never happened and the Taliban
takeover is some kind of shocking tragedy instead of
the thing everyone knew would happen because they’ve
been knowingly lying about working to create a
stable government this entire time.
If the US had a free press and was anything like
a democracy, the government wouldn’t be getting away
with squandering thousands of lives and trillions of
dollars on a twenty-year war which
accomplished literally nothing besides making
assholes obscenely wealthy.
Thousands of human
lives. Trillions of
dollars. If western mass media were anything
remotely resembling what they purport to be, they
would be making sure the public understands how
badly their government just fucked them. Instead
it’s just “Oh no, those poor Afghan women.”
War apologists talk about “doing nothing” like
that’s somehow worse than creating mountains of
human corpses for power and profit. “We’ve got to DO
SOMETHING about the Taliban! We can’t just do
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Uhh, yes you can. Please for the love of God do
nothing. Doing nothing would be infinitely better
than more military interventionism in a nation
you’ve already tortured for twenty years for no
People who think US interventionism solves
problems just haven’t gone through the mountains
upon mountains of evidence that it definitely
definitely does not at all. Nobody honestly believes
the US needs to invade every nation in the world
with illiberal cultural values; they only think that
way with Afghanistan due to war propaganda. And
women’s lives in Afghanistan have
still been shit under the occupation.
They had twenty years
to build a stable nation in Afghanistan.
Twenty years. If you believe
that’s what they were really trying to do there, or
that results would be any different if you gave them
twenty more, you’re a fucking moron.
If you think the US needs to be in Afghanistan so
the Taliban doesn’t take over then have some
integrity and intellectual honesty and admit you
want perpetual occupation. In which case you should
be arguing for Afghan annexation so they get votes
and congressional representation.
The objection shouldn’t be that there was no
“withdrawal plan”, it should be that there was no
occupation plan. Nothing was done in those
entire twenty years for the long-term benefit of
Afghans. The entire plan was “Stay and plunder as
much as we can until we feel like leaving.”
And of course more than this we should be upset
that the US and its allies invaded Afghanistan at
hundreds of thousands of people for no
When all you’ve got is an insanely overfunded
military every problem looks like a job for your
insanely overfunded military.
I am once again asking you to stop believing US
military invasions have noble intentions.
And stop blaming this on the “corrupt Afghan
government”. There was no “Afghan government”; there
was just whatever random Afghans happened to be
willing to align with the occupying force that
invaded their country while it was there. All blame
rests entirely on that occupying force.
Now would be a great time to un-rehabilitate
public opinion of George W Bush.
People who think the US military can be used for
good remind me of that scene in Edward Scissorhands
where he’s going around the house accidentally
slashing things and then trying to fix them but he
can’t fix them because he’s got horrible scissor
hands that can only slash.
Every time mass military murder fails to achieve
good things the proponents of mass military murder
show up saying “The problem is we didn’t murder
You’ll never see westerners so concerned about
humanitarian issues as when there’s a chance some
distant part of the world might not be subjected to
military occupation by the most murderous power
structure on earth.
Oh no, the country is immediately returning to
the state it was in before we started using mass
military violence to force it to look a bit
different for a while. That’s like dressing your kid
up as Batman for Halloween and then getting sad the
next day because Batman’s gone.
Can’t figure out why Americans keep consenting to
a government foreign policy of piracy and mass
murder which is killing people by the millions via
starvation and military violence. All that theft
must be buying them awesome benefits like great
healthcare and quality of life. Americans must be
the happiest most thriving people in the world.
So many movies depict young men coming home from
World War 2 like “Howdy Ma, hey Pop, boy it’s great
to be home, now I gotta go see about that girl!”
instead of hollowed out husks who’d go on to live
out miserable half-lives beating their children and
trying to drink away their trauma.
I still can’t get over how mainstream news
stories about empire-targeted countries can be based
entirely on reports by think tanks that are
openly funded by weapons manufacturers. How is
the fact that this is journalistic malpractice not
obvious to everyone in the world?
The international symbol for the United States
should be the Pentagon. It’s far more representative
of what that nation stands for and what it does than
some flag or an eagle.
War is the worst thing in the world. It’s the
single most insane, destructive and unsustainable
thing humans do. People who tell me I shouldn’t
focus on it as much are people I just disregard,
because they simply don’t grasp the horrific nature
of war and the need to condemn it.
Sure they could have just killed Assange. But
then the message to journalists would’ve been “We’ll
get you if you expose our crimes, but we’ll have to
be sneaky about it,” which is less intimidating than
“We’ll get you if you expose our crimes, and we’ll
do it right in the open.”
Western rightists are
being trained to blame western civilization’s
rising authoritarianism on “communism” and
“Marxism”, and as a result they are reacting to
anti-capitalists like myself with increasing
shrillness and hysteria while the actual (very
capitalist) authoritarians go unopposed.
Just another regular reminder that there will
never be peace and economic justice as long as the
majority are successfully convinced by establishment
propaganda that those things are not in their
interest. The propaganda machine must first be
discredited and rendered nonfunctioning.
If you’ve got any urge to write articles or make
videos or a podcast, just do it. You’re infinitely
more qualified to be the media than people who are
paid by billionaires to lie, and they’re
not asking anyone for permission to speak. If Chris
fucking Cuomo gets a voice, then so do you.
You don’t have to be perfect or professional
quality or whatever; hell, give yourself permission
to outright suck at first if that’s how it plays
out. Give yourself permission to not be perfect and
just learn as you go and correct your mistakes as
you make them. That’s allowed. Again, no matter how
bad you are you’re still infinitely more qualified
to report the news and tell the truth than any of
the shitstains who are being platformed by
multibillion-dollar media outlets right now, and
whatever you make will be better than what they
make. Just do it.
Don’t stop if you don’t get a big audience right
away, or if you never do. It’s not about that. If
you can open even one person’s eyes to one aspect of
reality, you are helping humanity to become a more
conscious species by that much. That’s what it’s
about. That’s what matters. And even if you don’t do
that, fleshing out your ideas in some public medium
is a great way to help yourself become aware of more
things and deepen your own understanding, so you’re
still improving humanity by that much. So no matter
what happens you can’t lose.
If we’re ever to turn things around it will be
the result of a very large number of us grabbing a
rope and tugging. You don’t have to be a megastar,
you just have to do your bit. Start from there and
see what happens.
It’s impossible to be a truly good person without
loosening your relationship with mental narrative.
If you’re clinging tight to thoughts and beliefs
you’re not able to relate to life as it is, you’re
just relating to your own mental stories, so you
can’t respond to life wisely.
Les Miserables’ Inspector Javert is a
perfect depiction of what goes wrong when you
emphasise narrative over reality, in his case
replacing true goodness with moralism, with shoulds
and shouldn’ts and rules and laws instead of
responding to life as it shows up like Valjean. In
contrast to Javert, Valjean is able to recognize
that Fantine’s plight was a result of his own
negligence even though she shows up as a prostitute
in trouble with the law. Because his eyes are open
to life as it is, he’s able to exercise true
compassion and help her and Cosette.
People like Valjean are able to see through not
just their own mental narratives, but the narratives
that are imposed upon them externally by mass-scale
propaganda. People like Javert will support every
power agenda no matter how depraved, because they
believe mental stories.
Ego doesn’t make it out alive. One way or
another, it’s a goner. It either dies by being seen
through, or it takes us all out with it. The good
news is that every single one of us gets to make
that choice in every single moment.
has written extensively on international affairs,
with articles published in several languages. He is
a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and
worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society
of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a
career in newspaper journalism. He is also a
musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he
worked as an editor and writer in major news media
organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and
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