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“Wag the dog” is not a movie, it’s reality


On the morning of Oct 3, people in the western hemisphere awoke to news of the US bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, which resulted in the death of 22 people including 12 staff of Medicine Sans Frontiers, a French NGO.

National Public Radio (NPR), America’s premiere radio organization, announced that the US military “may” have bombed the Afghan hospital and the resulting casualties “may” have resulted in collateral damage. This despite the fact that it had already been confirmed on the ground by foreign media. There was also the UN official’s declaration that if the attack was intentional it will be regarded as a war crime.


The careful recitation of Pentagon’s talking points signifies something bigger than it appears at first glance. Suddenly, reports of civilian casualties and confirmed “unconfirmed” reports of Russian airstrikes on US allied “Free Syrian Army” dominated the US airwaves. Strangely enough, missing are the reports coming out Syria and Turkey about the massive wave of dislocation caused by the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda, some of which were equipped courtesy of US taxpayers and facilitated by strategic choices made by the Pentagon.

According to the recent congressional hearings that were buried as quickly as they came out, the $500 million spent on the FSA are as missing as the army it was supposed to train. However, a few weeks back there was a very prescriptive narrative of unfolding events at Palmyra, Syria where the lamentations over the destruction of Roman ruins took precedent over its population and the carnage visited upon them. There was virtually no mention of the concentration of IS forces three days before the attack and the US-backed coalition’s premeditated refusal to bomb it.

Palmyra would have been saved, and the devastation that followed avoided. The striking contrast with Libya’s Benghazi air attack that stopped Gaddafi’s armor a few years earlier was not lost on people who followed the situation as it developed. It appears the West has already decided genocidal and ruthless IS a better alternative than the authoritarian and brutal Assad regime, which happened to be Russia’s ally. However, looking at the US media coverage one enters a world of parallel reality where the perception ruled by misinformation and contextual omission is everything.


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