Media Once Again Trolling US Withdrawal from Afghanistan

As usual it comes in an outbreak of various “concerns,” which Caitlin Johnstone says are all designed to conceal the real agenda.

By Caitlin Johnstone

[President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced all U.S. combat troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by Sept. 1 this year. He rejected a “conditions-based withdrawal” saying the U.S. would never leave. Biden has received a barrage of criticism for wanting to withdraw and opposition from the Pentagon.]

Concerns mount that US withdrawal from Afghanistan could risk progress on women’s rights,” blares a new headline from CNN.

“Concerns are mounting from bipartisan US lawmakers and Afghan women’s rights activists that the hard-won gains for women and civil society in Afghanistan could be lost if the United States makes a precipitous withdrawal from the country,” CNN tells us.

What follows is yet another concern-trolling empire blog about why U.S. troops need to stay in Afghanistan, joining recent others geared toward the same end like this CNN report about how the U.S. military will open itself up to “costly litigation” if it withdraws now because it signed defense industry contracts into 2023, and this one by The New York Times about a U.S. intelligence report urgently warning that a withdrawal from Afghanistan could lead to the nation being controlled by the people who live there.

This latest article by CNN features an extensive series of quotes by Annie Pforzheimer of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank regurgitating the tired old mantra that a withdrawal from Afghanistan needs to be “conditions-based” to ensure that no women will be mistreated if the U.S. ends its 20-year military occupation of the country.

CSIS, for the record, is funded by war profiteering corporations like Northrop Grumman and Boeing, as well as fossil fuel companies like Chevron, ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco. It is also funded by plutocrats. It is also funded directly by the United States government and its allies. This article is precisely the sort of narrative management initiative that such think tanks exist for, and the fact that it’s considered normal journalistic practice to quote sources with such blatant ulterior motives as objective experts shows that Western news media is propaganda.

When think tankers like Pforzheimer babble about a “conditions-based withdrawal” from Afghanistan, they are lying about what the requisite “conditions” would actually be. A complete and total withdrawal will have nothing to do with the treatment of women. It will have nothing to do with whether defense contractors will sue the U.S. government or whether the Taliban will be able to retake control of the nation.

A complete and total withdrawal from Afghanistan will happen when Afghanistan ceases to be a vital geostrategic point of control, which effectively means the U.S. will maintain some sort of foothold in Afghanistan for as long as China, Russia and Iran remain sovereign nations.

A U.S. puppet regime in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran. If that somehow happens one day, the empire will have no further use for Afghanistan. Those are the real “conditions.”

The U.S. empire does not care about women. The U.S. empire routinely kills women and creates lawless environments where rape and sexual slavery are commonplace with its military interventionism. What this hand-wringing about women’s rights in Afghanistan has actually accomplished is a convenient justification for further military occupation, a destructive industry of shady NGOs and functionally not much else.

But this argument wouldn’t even make sense if it was sincere.

The only way to argue with logical coherence that the U.S. should militarily occupy a nation to uphold liberal values is to also argue that the U.S. should invade and occupy all other nations in the world with illiberal cultural values and force them all to change at gunpoint. Unless you uphold this argument with logical consistency in this way (and almost nobody does this because that would be insane), it looks like you’re simply making up arguments to justify invading and occupying geostrategically crucial regions with great military and resource value. And, of course, this is exactly what you are doing.

So much empire propaganda is just concern trolling at mass scale. “Oh my, it sure is concerning how they’re abusing that poor oppressed population in that nation whose government we just so happen to want to topple. Sure we’d have to butcher mountains of human beings and destabilize entire vast regions in order to rescue them, but that’s a sacrifice we’d be willing to make. We are humanitarians, after all.”

“Concern” is the propaganda carrier for the most violent of interventions. If imperialism was a virus, “concern” would be the benign-looking shape it took so the body didn’t set off an immune response. “Concern” is the most Karen of manipulations.

Still it says a lot that they need to tug at our humanitarian heart strings like that in order to advance their empire-building agendas these days. It used to be stuff like “They’re savages and they need to learn about Jesus,” or even just “Your King has decreed that those people shouldn’t get to control the land they live on anymore.”

We’ve evolved as a society to the point where at least now they need to appeal to our better demons. Where they need to hide their disgusting agendas behind noble-looking ones.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.  Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix, Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article was re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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17 comments for “Media Once Again Trolling US Withdrawal from Afghanistan

  1. Tennegon
    April 16, 2021 at 11:06

    In addition to previous comments about only ‘combat troops’ being withdrawn, a standard semantics slight-of-phrase, if you will, there is another dimension to our ongoing foreign policy slaughter practice, as Norm Solomon correctly notes.


  2. KiwiAntz
    April 15, 2021 at 23:05

    Biden is taking his Military out of Afghanistan & ending America’s ridiculous, 20 yr Military failure? Don’t hold your breath, I won’t believe it until I see it? This is a humiliating retreat of astounding proportions that rivals it’s Vietnam defeat humiliation? For over 20 yrs, America has wasted $2 Trillion dollars in Afghanistan & achieved absolutely nothing besides sacrificing the pointless deaths of US Soldiers & Afghani Civilians, just to fight & defeat the combined might of 80 Al Qaeda Soldiers? Yes you read it right, 80 Al Qaeda Fighters? Their own US Military reports confirmed it! This is Military waste spending & Fraud corruption on a massive scale! Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11, neither did Iraq but they both were invaded anyway, based on American lies & deception! All the while, the real culprits in Saudi Arabia just sat back & laughed at American stupidity for this heinous crime that Saudi Nationals committed! And now Biden & his delusional Warmongering cronies are threatening & Sabre rattling against China,Russia & everyone else, going up against Nuclear Superpowers in a pathetic display of one up, brinkmanship? Its the roar of a mouse, pretending to be a Lion, what a joke, they can’t even beat a ragtag, stone age bunch of 80 Al Qaeda fighters, over 20 yrs & wasting $2 Trillion dollars to boot so how the hell do they expect to defeat China or Russia in a War? Its late stage, end game, delusional thinking that’s a telltale sign of a Empire in its death throes!

  3. Lee C. Ng
    April 15, 2021 at 22:28

    Usually I laugh only after reading Caitlin Johnstone’s systematic deconstruction of some clumsy propaganda. This time, however, upon reading that CNN epigraph on protecting women’s rights in Afghanistan, I simply burst out laughing. The excuse wasn’t only lame but intellectually challenged. Oh well, with the continuous rightwing sabotage of America’s K-12 schools, such unintelligent squawks from the mass media are perhaps to be expected.

    Wilkerson’s geopolitical reasons for Empire’s invasion have some validity, but his comments on Uighur’s dislike of the Hans doesn’t square with reality. Some dissidents exist, certainly, but the Uighurs were among the first minorities to welcome Mao’s revolution in 1949. Before 1978, Mao’s government used to arm them with AK-47s which they sometimes used for hunting, hahaha. After Deng started his neoliberal program, however, the inevitable happened: Han businesspeople appeared in their neighborhood and the difference between the comparatively well-off sellers and their impoverished buyers almost inevitably led to envy, accusations of dishonesty and other incidents common to such relationships all over the world. The Xi administration is the first since 1978 to intervene on a big scale, setting up large state or state-supported enterprises for all minorities, including the Uighurs. The Uighur population was about 5 million in 1949, it’s now about 12 million – more than double in size (not 20 million as Wilkerson imagined: all minorities have increased their numbers dramatically, unlike the majority Han which had to subscribe to a one-child policy

  4. John Neal Spangler
    April 15, 2021 at 21:58

    Great article. Spot on. R2P just a modern version of White Man’s burden. Should have mentioned the huge amount of heroin shipped straight to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo so our KLA buddies can ship it all over Europe. Also the Pentagon does not want to admit they lost another war, officially.

  5. Dave LaRose
    April 15, 2021 at 20:17

    Right on the mark, as usual, Caitlin. Keep up the good fight.

  6. jo6pac
    April 15, 2021 at 18:25

    Yep, the small print says


    The cia need the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ from their poppies and the merchants of death need to sell death.

  7. Moi
    April 15, 2021 at 16:44

    I don’t get it.

    It was the US allies in Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance, who introduced restrictions on women’s rights. The Taliban simply didn’t change the status quo once they came to power. But in the 20 years of the occupation, the US has only made cosmetic changes to the status of women introduced by their allies.

    The US wanting to stay in Afghanistan to keep things how they are now doesn’t make the slightest sense.

  8. rosemerry
    April 15, 2021 at 15:30

    “if the United States makes a precipitous withdrawal from the country,”
    Precipitous??? After twenty year of destruction and waste????

    • vinnieoh
      April 15, 2021 at 17:15

      Yes, just puts one in a blind panic of whether to laugh or to cry, doesn’t it?

  9. jon nelms
    April 15, 2021 at 13:29

    Isn’t pretending to be concerned a way of glorifying us as a nation? Isn’t thinking we’re so wonderful called patriotism? So when you rightly point out how we “hide disgusting agendas behind noble-looking ones” aren’t we using patriotism to justify doing terrible things to others?

  10. Linda Jean Doucett
    April 15, 2021 at 13:04

    Half a century ago, 70% of Afghan teachers and 40% of doctors were women. Today only 1-in-3 girls can read or go to school.
    But the myth that the US is helping women is so useful to neocon warmongers that it won’t die, no matter what the facts are.

  11. Jeff Harrison
    April 15, 2021 at 11:27

    All combat troops? What about our mercenaries?

    • Anonymot
      April 15, 2021 at 14:42

      Jeff, My understanding is that the mercenaries have exceeded our troops for the last decade at least. We contract with the barrel scrapings of the MIC like Eric Prince and his neofascistic counterparts, paying them vastly more than we pay our real soldiers. The Navy Seals and Marines are largely training grounds for Prince & Co.’s fat-pay killers. Initiated by Bush, the Democrats have been happy to continue and expand. Political contributions and envelopes apparently expand also.

      Has anyone ever seen the annual cost of mercenaries in the Military Budget?

  12. Will
    April 15, 2021 at 10:33

    Spot on. It’s interesting that Wilkerson doesn’t acknowledge oil pipelines as part of the US interest in Afghanistan. I also wonder if opium factors in at all.

  13. Anonymot
    April 15, 2021 at 10:29

    Caitlin is consistently right on the mark. There is, however, one aspect of the Afghan invasion and ongoing presence beside its proximity to Russia – poppies. Since Hillary blew her attempt to woo the Generals of Burma (Myanmar) who produce 18% of the world’s heroin, the 80% that that Afghanistan produces is an essential product to feed America’s needs, just as much as Iraq’s or Libya’s or Syria’s or Venezuela’s oil! The 3-letter agency that controls American foreign policy has long been deep in debt to our Mafia interests and that’s why we went into Afghanistan and why we have stayed. That agency’s interest in women’s rights is about as deep as a child’s swimming pool.

    Why has no alternative media gone into this subject?

  14. vinnieoh
    April 15, 2021 at 10:02

    Of course Caitlin correctly assesses the pushback by the “never give back anything you’ve stolen” crowd. So, on to Wilkerson’s remarks and Caitlin’s unspoken conclusion that the US, despite Biden’s announcement, IS NOT leaving Afghanistan. Wilkerson by the way failed to mention another reason the US would stay and that is the function of denying China the opportunity to exploit the mineral wealth there. That is not a dead end street though as many a lucrative business deal lives happily submerged below military posturing.

    OK, to move on: Caitlin is merely talking about the completely predictable doom and gloom reaction of the MIC(IMAT). The bigger question to me is – What is Joe Biden up to? So far he’s seemed to have said the right and obvious things wrt why it is long past time to get out, such as (to paraphrase) “conditions-based withdrawal means we’ll never withdraw.” What I’ve heard (sensed) so far is that he appears to be aligning the will of the POTUS with the majority citizen opinion. I could say here that “Trump also tried,” but would that be true? – considering his “effort” did not materialize until he was well behind in polling before the election, and there was not enough time (without re-election) of accomplishing that.

    I guess I’m in a wait and see mode. Yes Caitlin, the MICIMAT response is both disgusting and predictable.

  15. Dfnslblty
    April 15, 2021 at 09:34

    Bravo, Ms Johnstone.

    Speaking/writing truth to Biden’s/mic’s/plutocrats’ violent lies.

    Keep writing.

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