How The War Is Spun: Mass Killings Mean ‘Progress’

That’s the title of Kevin Baron’s piece at Stars and Stripes, which explains how propaganda is wrapped around the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan to make them seem as if they’re on the losing end.

Politico’s Morning Defense shared an email Monday that is pure military public affairs gold. How do you interpret a suicide bombing assassination attempt north of Kabul that killed at least 20 people into an obvious sign the war was going as planned?

An International Security Assistance Force spokesman emailed MD’s Chuck Hoskinson a response claiming the attack was “a resounding failure” because: 1) the target, a provincial governor survived, 2) the Afghan security forces reacted “autonomously” and 3) the attack did not target U.S. forces.

The ISAF spokesman explained those points are important to make because they are “crucial to undermining the Taliban’s attempt to obtain a propaganda victory from their failed attack.”

Judge for yourself who won the victory, propaganda or otherwise. According to The Washington Post, the attack occurred in a relatively secure Parwan province, north of Kabul. A car bomb blew up an entrance to the governor’s compound, five insurgents breached the facility and a two-hour gunfight commenced where five explosions “shook the building.” ISAF reported at least six IEDs in addition to the car bomb were detonated.

In far worse carnage, bombings in at least 17 Iraqi cities on Monday killed more than 60 people in “bloodbath” scenes of scattered human flesh.

Stars and Stripes’ Erik Slavin, in Iraq, reports U.S. servicemembers were not attackedand Iraqi forces had to call for American assistance just once.

U.S. Forces Iraq spokesman Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, in the Pentagon Monday, said the attacks show Iraq remains dangerous but do not threaten the government and the insurgency remains an unpopular shadow of its former self.

This is notable, but of course just barely scratches the surface. I’ve written variously about systematic bias throughout the media, which is particularly potent when it comes to war. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans still develop their opinions about American foreign policy, and these wars in particular, from “news anchors” and pundits on the major networks. This results in systematic misunderstandings about U.S. foreign policy and obviously needs to change.