Monday, February 4, 2008

Manley Report as propaganda

Over at the Fix Media First blog, you can find some choice, scathing comments on the Manley report. We've blogged on other reactions to the report (here and here), and earlier relayed Professor Byers' shunning of the panel (here) for its evident bias. This one cuts much deeper than those earlier reactions. The full piece is worth reading in its entirety, but I want to highlight one section:

... Just a few of the things [The Manley Report] completely fails to mention are:

1) the fundamentalist bona fides of so many of the parliamentarians and supporters of the Karzai government (they are no better than the Taliban, often worse);

2) the fact that we are fighting Afghans in Afghanistan, many, if not most, of whom are fighting for perfectly legitimate reasons (defending their traditions and economy; defending their personal sense of honour; resisting foreign occupation; seeking revenge to killings of extended family members and tribespeople, etc);

3) there is a long tradition of Western abuse of Afghans, from the Crusades through European colonialism to Soviet intervention, and NATO is seen by many, if not most, Afghans as a continuation of that history;

4) that our ally in Afghanistan, the U.S., has murdered thousands of innocent Afghan civilians because of cowardly aerial bombardments of their homes and villages and that we have become tarred with that brush;

5) that our main reason for being in Afghanistan is to please the U.S. which is necessary for Canada’s economic well-being.

This is a key characteristic of propaganda - repeat over and over again points which support your position, and suppress, or completely ignore, points which will tend to undermine it. ...

And also on the subject of name calling:
[Manley] describes the Taliban as “brutal”, that is like “brutes” or “animals”. He never uses this kind of language to describe our U.S. allies who routinely bomb little Afghan children playing near their homes into pieces. Rather he describes the NATO actions as “humanistic”. ... (link)

1 comment:

Nick Barrowman said...

These are very useful points. I recently blogged about the assumptions people make that keep them from seriously considering Canada's withdrawal from Afghanistan. Wars are always fought on (at least) two fronts and the more important one is in our minds.