Pentagon Propaganda Machine Rolls on in Afghanistan

Sunday, March 14, 2010
Robert Gates, second left, in Now Zad, Afghanistan, Tuesday March 9, 2010. (AP Photo: Jim Watson, Pool)

When is a city not a city? When the media actually does its homework and stops taking the Department of Defense at its word.

In February, the U.S. and NATO allies launched a major offensive against the Taliban, during which troops had the task of taking back Marja in Helmand province. Beginning with an Associated Press article on February 2, the American media began parroting the same “fact:” that Marja was a city of 80,000 people. This representation gave readers the impression that American soldiers would be confronting the Taliban in urban warfare.
But Gareth Porter with Inter Press Service has pointed out: “Marja is not a city or even a real town, but either a few clusters of farmers’ homes or a large agricultural area covering much of the southern Helmand River Valley.”
The disinformation first reported by the AP came from the U.S. Marines, who pushed the notion that American forces would be taking on 400 to 1,000 insurgents “holed up” in the “southern Afghan town of 80,000 people.”
The AP also reported that the “town” was 80 square miles in size, which would have made Marja larger than Washington, DC.
In addition, on March 9, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates paid a visit to Now Zad, another town in Helmand, which Marines have fought hard to liberate from the Taliban. To demonstrate the success of the U.S. military mission, Gates walked down a street in Now Zad and chatted with shopkeepers. Gates described Now Zad as a former “ghost town, a no-go zone” where now “stores are opening, people are returning.” However, in the words of Anne Gearan of the Associated Press, “Gates' walk, with armed guards in front of and behind him and soldiers dressed for battle posted all along his short route, also showed the limitations of the U.S. and NATO military campaign.”
As for the reborn town of Now Zad, which was once the second most populous town in Helmand, so far only 2,500 of its 30,000 former residents have returned
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Fiction of Marja as City was U.S. Information War (by Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service)


AshamedMARINEson 11 years ago
A gold star and a bad attitude are poor replacements for an actual flesh and blood person. How many more generations are we going to waste as obedient canon-fodder? Is what the government gives you so good and fine it is worth tossing your sons and daughters into the hands of a Molech war machine for blessings for yourselves? Last time I checked, playing henchman for oil companies isn't "defending America" any more than Afghanistan is in the North Atlantic. But it is good business for all the war department camp followers, contractors, and other assorted beltway banditos. My dad came home in a marine corps coffin from 'Nam. Hell, I was born on a USMC base. Vietnam was another crock of lies handed to the American people, and a bloodbath for what? To show how wrong we can be. "My country - right or wrong"? No thanks - we've had enough of the perpetual Orwellian wars. Time to wise up and stop blindly believing lying crud. Government war propaganda falls into that category.
ProudMARINEparent 11 years ago
Noel & David I guess you are on the frontlines along with my son. If your not then you are a couple of back biting punks - yes I am conservative to validate your "educated" OMG thoughts. Please become educated in the real world. I grew up in Iran and understand the middle east. Please tell me you have lived there, been in a war zone and have experienced some hardship in your lives. Tell the public about your experiences that give you the ability to make comments such as you have.

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