Feb 1, 2023
cast a shadow over Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan,"
Post’s David Ignatius
warned in April of 2021. "Biden's Betrayal of Afghans Will Live in
Infamy," George Packer cautioned in The Atlantic magazine in August of that year. "The Cost of Betrayal
in Afghanistan," wrote The Atlantic Council’s Ariel Cohen in
broke in April of 2021 that the Biden administration planned to
withdraw all documented US troops from Afghanistan after a 20-year
occupation, media outlets almost uniformly rushed to issue
condemnations. How could the US, and the West more broadly, simply
"abandon the Afghan people," especially women, we’d so bravely
liberated? How could the US just up and leave, when it had invested
and sacrificed so very much to counter the Taliban over the course
of two decades?
outrage stood, and still stands, in stark contrast to the media’s
default state of indifference to the suffering people of
Afghanistan, and the US’ extensive role in engineering that
suffering. For many decades now, American, British, and other
Western media have only really seemed to be concerned with the
plight of Afghan people, namely women, when it serves to bolster
the case for war, occupation, and the continuation of US regional
hegemony. Meanwhile, during Afghanistan’s now second winter of
famine after having more than $7 billion dollars stolen from its
economy by the United States and its allies, these very same
pundits and outlets are uniformly silent on this unfolding human
rights disaster, caused, again, in large part, by the United States
this episode, we examine the media's pattern of selective,
chauvinistic outrage when addressing the welfare of Afghan people.
We also study how media diminishes the enormous role the US has
played in destabilizing the country of Afghanistan and endangering
its people, how media portray US military solutions as the only
means of support for Afghan people, and how media treat Afghans as
little more than pawns in a game of US soft- and hard-power
expansion and domestic media-focused moral preening.
guests are Hadiya Afzal and Julie Hollar.