Friday, December 20, 2019

UK Elections, "Afghanistan Papers" and Terry Glavin

So I wanted to write about the Washington Post's "Afghanistan Papers" but while I was working up the enthusiasm to do that there was subsequently the tragedy of the Labour Party loss of the 2019 UK election. I literally AGONIZED over which topic to write about. I simply COULDN'T do a post containing two such disparate topics! And I SURE AS HELL WOULDN'T write two goddamned posts! But prayze gord I was saved by Terry Glavin!

You see, I was at work and I wanted to find something to read about Jeremy Corbyn, post-election and google's top-hits for me was something stupid by the National Neo-Liberal Prostiganda's Barbara Kay and then an anti-Corbyn editorial from Maclean's. I decided to skip Kay's effort and read the editorial. Now the thing is that I'd gotten it into my head that this was some editorial written by the magazine's committee representing the magazine as a whole. So I read the ridiculous headline: "Jeremy Corbyn's defeat is a win for the democratic world" and then I skipped the sub-title and went into the actual editorial. By the end of the second paragraph:
The crushing and richly-deserved defeat of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has led the once proud and gallant party of the British working class to its worst humiliation since 1935, should have been sufficient to put a spring in the step of any decent social democrat. It could have been the moment when Labour began to free itself of the Corbynite millstone that has been hanging from its neck since September, 2015.
I could tell this was the opinion of one unhinged, prejudiced individual and not an editorial committee pretending to be "objective." "Who the fuck is writing this dreck?" I asked and scrolled back up. That's when I noticed the sub-title:

Terry Glavin: Britain will not be yanked out of the western alliance. Its leader will not be a man who has counted holocaust deniers among his friends. It’s a victory of sorts.

"Terry Glavin!" I sneered out loud. Then it dawned on me. My post in response to the "Afghanistan Papers" was going to deal with the fact that Canadian governments and media behaved exactly the same way as successive US governments and US mainstream media did. And among those who pretended that we were going from success to success in Afghanistan (and who smeared their critics as "Taliban lovers" and "traitors") was Terry Glavin. Through the miracle that is Terry Glavin I could write about both of these topics and connect them with the slime of stupidity that dribbles from his pen!

[Note: I'm not even going to investigate or bother to refute Glavin's asinine "a man who has counted holocaust deniers among his friends" smear against Corbyn. I've investigated a few of the allegations of anti-Semitism against Corbyn and found them all to have been garbage. And Glavin is simply a detestable scumbag so I'm sure it's just more deranged lying on his part.]

Now then, there was a brief flurry of interest a few weeks back when the Washington Post released its "Afghanistan Papers" series. The title they'd chosen was meant to mimic the famous "Pentagon Papers" that had been leaked by Daniel Ellsberg. The "Pentagon Papers" was an internal study of the history and evaluation of US policy during their conflict in Vietnam. It found that the United States had committed numerous illegal actions and that governments from Eisenhower to Johnson had repeatedly lied to the US-American people about their involvement in the war and in the progress that had been made towards their stated objectives. So too, the "Afghanistan Papers" (which I'm not linking to because the Washington Post is behind a paywall because Jeff Bezos didn't become the richest man in the world by giving stuff away) is an internal study of US policies and progress in Afghanistan since they invaded that country 18 years ago. And, just as with the "Pentagon Papers" it turns out that the US government has been lying to the people and to itself for almost the whole time.

I can't say that I was exactly blown away by these revelations. Here's a blog post I made in 2011 mocking the claims that we were "winning" in Afghanistan. Recently, The Mound of Sound looked at the USA's own counterinsurgency manuals and found they were calling for 20 soldiers for every 1,000 citizens in order to effectively monitor communities and suppress insurgents. Canadian general Rick Hillier had insisted that Canada could effectively contain Kandahar Province in Afghanistan with 2,000 Canadian Forces personnel. We didn't. (Though here are posts 1 and 2 containing reviews about the CF's battles with the Taliban for Kandahar.)

Basically (unless you had your head up your ass) it shouldn't come as a surprise that rampaging through a country looking for insurgents; offering bounties to corrupt warlords for finding insurgents; imposing super-corrupt governments on a people; killing as many civilians through air-strikes as were killed by the Taliban; wasting resources on corrupt "development" projects (such as schools that fall to pieces a year after their construction that are staffed with absentee or incompetent teachers who are simply paid placeholders in a corrupt system of patronage); countenancing a police force and military staffed with extortionists, kidnappers, rapists and murderers and etc., etc., will make "winning hearts and minds" difficult, if not impossible. (I mean, unless your a Catholic, institutional child rape tends to be a deal-breaker.)

I remember raising the issue of child rape with Terry Glavin. At the stupid blog where his deranged screechings were posted I asked him FIVE TIMES to comment about the Afghanistan National Police's propensity to rape children. He deleted each and every one of those requests. Without comment. All the while self-righetously braying about how the anti-war left has disgraced itself. Terry Glavin is a gutless, pompous, deluded, obnoxious windbag, hypocritical lying scumbag.

Now then, why did the Washington Post (of all places) publish the "Afghanistan Papers"? I mean, aren't they owned by super-plutocrat Jeff Bezos? The guy who is also a CIA contractor? Well, rogue journalist Caitlin Johnstone lays it all out for us:
After all, by WaPo’s own admission it both sought and published the Afghanistan Papers in order to take a swing at Donald Trump. According to the Post it went down this path in 2016 initially seeking documents on Michael Flynn, who was then part of the Trump campaign, after receiving a tip that he’d made some juicy statements about the war in Afghanistan to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). WaPo then made the decision to publish the papers now rather than waiting for its legal battle for more information to complete because Trump is currently in the midst of negotiating with the Taliban over a potential troop withdrawal.
So this newspaper series is the happy result of an inter-oligarchic pissing contest. (Johnstone goes on to discuss how ominous it is that it takes an institution as powerful as the Washington Post to be able to extract basic information from the government.

Independent political writer and journalist Ted Rall isn't impressed with the WaPo's achievement though:
   “The Afghanistan Papers” is a bright, shining lie by omission. Yes, our military and civilian leaders lied to us about Afghanistan. But they could never have spread their murderous BS—thousands of U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Afghans killed, trillions of dollars wasted—without media organizations like the Washington Post, which served as unquestioning government stenographers.
            Press outlets like the Post and New York Times weren’t merely idiots used to disseminate pro-war propaganda. They actively censored people who knew we never should have gone into Afghanistan and tried to tell American voters the truth. ...
What was my reward for being right while everyone else was wrong? Hundreds of death threats. Getting fired by my client newspapers and magazines. It’s hard to believe now but back in 2004 George W. Bush was popular and being compared to Winston Churchill; that was the year that the “liberal” New York Times and Washington Post stopped running my work.
            Major news outlets and book reviewers ignored my books. Editors refused to hire me. Producers wouldn’t book me. Anyone opposed to the Afghanistan war was censored from U.S. corporate media.
Agreed. Because basically anybody who was paying attention (and who wasn't a delusional whackjob like Terry Glavin) would have known all of this already. I'll admit to enjoying hearing about how amoral psychopath Donald Rumsfeld complained about not knowing who the "bad guys" were in Afghanistan. But that's about it. And the fact of the matter is that the Canadian government and the Canadian media behaved just as badly. And therefore we wasted BILLIONS of dollars on this adventure and traumatized, crippled or killed hundreds of our soldiers and did the same to thousands of Afghani people. A-N-D we debased our parliamentary traditions and safeguards to cover-up our complicity in torture with the Afghan prison system.

On to the tragedy of the Corbyn/Labour defeat in the recent UK election. First it's noteworthy that all the neo-liberal scum gleefully pointing out that this was Labour's worst defeat since 1935 could hardly bring themselves to say that Corbyn's 2017 election showing had been Labour's best since their landslide victory in 1945. Most of these pukes (like Glavin) will revert to the false allegations of Corbyn enabling Labour to become an anti-Semite party (if he isn't an anti-Semite himself). You see, people like Terry Glavin hate Arabs so much that they simply swoon over a country that abuses Palestinians, steals their lands and has its military snipers murder innocent men, women and children if they approach the prison walls the Israelis have built for them to protest their treatment.

Aside from the baseless smears of anti-Semitism (along with the laughable fictions of Corbyn being a Cold War traitor or a terrorist sympathizer) why else would shit-head Glavin claim that Corbyn's defeat should "put a spring in the step of any decent social democrat"? I'm not sure, but it's possible that Glavin had his funny-shaped head shoved deeply into his stinking, hairy asshole when "social democrats" like Tony Blair were embracing US-American [illegal] wars of choice and imposing neo-liberalism and austerity on ordinary Britains. Corbyn was the first Labour leader in a long time to have rejected those noxious policies. Perhaps Glavin is ecstatic about the defeat of a man who challenged the NATO alliance that has been wreaking so much havoc around the Middle East and neighbouring lands where Glavin likes to locate his own masturbatory fantasies?

Unlike blithering idiot Terry Glavin, sane social democrats and socialists recognize Corbyn's defeat for the enormous tragedy that it is. It is the product of years of over-the-top smears and assaults (many of them from middle-class errand boys and girls of the corporate state). And it was also (as Ian Welsh tells us) the result of the irreconcilable differences within the Labour Party itself:
What urban liberals don’t seem to understand is that there was a genuine split in traditional Labour voters over Brexit. Progressives in London were Remain; working and middle class voters in Labour’s northern strongholds were for Leave.There was no way to split the difference, though Labour tried. Going Leave alienates London voters and gives the LibDems a chance to eat Labour’s lunch in greater London. Going Remain means losing the northern strongholds....But when you look at the ridings Labour lost, they include a lot of the Northern bastions. Places Labour hasn’t lost in decades. What you see is that the Brexit party (which ran in Labour leaning ridings, but not Conservative ones) made the margin of difference, and often more than it.By going “People’s Vote” Labour lost a big chunk of the north. It’s just that simple. BUT there was no good answer, going “Leave” would have lost a lot of other seats.
Whatever the case, the British voters who voted for serial liar Boris Johnson, or who simply didn't vote for Corbyn, were either witless fools or amoral greed-heads. BREXIT will have a slightly negative impact on Britain's economy; REMAINing would have had a slightly positive impact. More importantly, Johnson's campaign lies about reinvesting in the National Health Service will quickly be abandoned (unless they become a public subsidy to privatized service providers which will be paid for by cuts elsewhere). The foreign wars that Glavin rubs himself out to will continue (at public expense and to private profit). All in all, a bad show.

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