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The Guardian whitewashes its own support for the invasion of Afghanistan

from Ian Sinclair Journalism

We’re posting this short but significant piece because it calls attention to the current bid to erase from collective memory the part our media played, during recent conflicts, in propagandising and paradigm-creating for the war-agenda. The Guardian and other liberal outlets want us to forget they supported, either tacitly or quite overtly, the atrocities of the Bush/Blair coalition, because they are busy doing the same thing again. Someone said journalists of every persuasion always support the war party – because that’s who’s paying their wages. A hundred years ago it was Germany and Kaiser Bill and babies on bayonets. In 2003 it was Iraq and Saddam and WMDs. This time it’s Syria and Russia, sarin gas and fake “invasions”, otherwise the script is identical. But the lie only works if we all think that this time it’s true, and for that we need to forget about all the times it wasn’t. The Memory Hole is the friend of journalists with corrupted intent.

Following the official service at St Paul’s cathedral to commemorate the British servicemen and servicewomen who served in the 13-year Afghan war, on Saturday 14 March 2015 the Guardian’s editorial turned to assessing Britain’s leading role in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Interestingly, the Guardian gave space to summarising its own position on the invasion at the time:

“The morning after 9/11, this newspaper recognised the need for a response but warned against an over-reaction, especially a military over-reaction. A day later, the Guardian said that pounding Afghanistan into dust ‘would do nothing to curb the menace of transnational terrorism’, and urged that a military assault should be an option of last resort. It risked, we said, civilian casualties, the inflaming of Muslim opinion and the danger of handing the terrorists the ‘holy war’ they had tried so hard to provoke. The conflict could be protracted and bloody. There was a lack of clear mission aims, limits and rules of engagement.”

Like me, no doubt everyone reading this summary will presume the Guardian opposed the invasion of Afghanistan at the time, or at least was deeply sceptical. However, the Guardian is only able to present itself as anti-war by ignoring its own editorial on 8 October 2001 – the day after the US-led attack on Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom, begun. Here is what this inconvenient editorial had to say:

“… it needs to be said as clearly and as unemotively as possible at the outset that the United States was entitled to launch a military response [to 9/11]… As long as that kind of danger – that scale of evil – remains loose in the world, then military action can be justified not just as an act of justice, but as an act of legitimate self-defence to protect our nations from further attack and further casualties… Much of the world remains deeply sceptical about this campaign, to put it mildly. Naturally, also, many will fear that its goals are unachievable. Nevertheless, judged by his own words last night, Mr Bush understands these truths much better than some of his critics have given him credit for. In his broadcast, as he has done more often than not since September 11, he repeated that the actions will be focussed on terrorist assets and on the military capability of the Taliban. As the attacks began, he also promised drops of food, medicine and other supplies to Afghan civilians. Both Mr Bush and Mr Blair said the right words last night. But words are the easy part. It is now for the US military and their allies to put those words into action. Nothing in the world is more important right now than that they succeed.” (my emphasis added)

Not only are these two editorials a good example of why the liberal media is deeply compromised when it comes to British foreign policy, they are also a near perfect example of the intellectual deceit of some of the most senior journalists at the Guardian.


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