August 30, 2021
There is only one fitting response to last week’s heart-wrenching suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul: America must get out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible, and stay out, for good. Nothing good has come of America’s involvement in Afghanistan, and nothing more will come out of it, except more flag-draped coffins.
Sickeningly, the US security state responded to last Thursday’s attack with a borderline glee. Sadly, ISIS-Khorasan’s (ISIS-K) gruesome attack served the forever-war lobby perfectly, as it used the tragedy to launch a final Hail Mary bid to prolong America’s interminable, objective-free crusade in Southwest Asia. In the process, the globalist war lobby revealed one of the most cynical, sinister components of a playbook it has run for two decades — a playbook that capitalizes on public ignorance to conflate wildly different groups and oversell totally unproven claims in the service of perpetuating endless warfare.
ISIS-K immediately claimed credit for Thursday’s attack, and there is no reason to doubt it. Yet even before authorities released an official body count, former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster announced his choice of culprit: The Taliban, either acting alone or in direct concert with ISIS.
For DC warhawks, no doubt, it’s easy to imagine Taliban and ISIS teaming up. They’re both bad guys, right? Bad guys work together. That’s how it works in comic book movies — sub-literate America’s primary cultural lens for making sense of the world.
In reality, of course, the Taliban and ISIS are bitter foes. Even as the Taliban steadily took over more and more of Afghanistan, it also waged war against the country’s ISIS militants, often with tacit approval and even outright assistance from the US. When the Taliban seized Kabul, one of its first actions was to execute former ISIS leader Omar Khorasani, who was imprisoned there. ISIS and the Taliban disagree in terms of mission, tactics, and basic interpretations of Islam. Their rivalry isn’t a passive one, but one that involves numerous gruesome atrocities.
But for H.R. McMaster making the case for endless war on TV, they’re all just one and the same, folded neatly under some cable-friendly banner like “Islamofascism.” After all, George W. Bush only learned about the existence of Sunni and Shia Muslims two months before the invasion of Iraq.
McMaster went on to declare in a separate BBC interview that “this so-called ISIS-K attack has all the hallmarksof a Haqqani Network attack,” referring to an Afghan militia that is an offshoot of the Taliban.
How would McMaster know that the attack had these hallmarks? Is there a long history of suicide attacks on besieged airports conducting an evacuation? And why would the Taliban, which resolutely followed a year-long ceasefire with US forces so that they would leave the country, suddenly reverse course and begin murdering them on the cusp of final victory?
If that seems like it makes no sense, it’s because it doesn’t. McMaster is a babbling idiot making things up on the fly. His only objective is to flail at one last opportunity to extend America’s decades-long war in Afghanistan for a few more years at least.
This playbook has been followed over and over again, for the entirety of the War on Terror.
Think back to the fall of 2001, when in the wake of 9/11 Americans lived in fear of follow-up attacks after 9/11. As if on cue, the anthrax letters began. And of course, American experts were there to say the letters had “all the hallmarks” of being a terror attack planned by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
American investigators probing anthrax outbreaks in Florida and New York believe they have all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack – and have named Iraq as prime suspect as the source of the deadly spores. Their inquiries are adding to what US hawks say is a growing mass of evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved, possibly indirectly, with the 11 September hijackers. If investigators’ fears are confirmed – and sceptics fear American hawks could be publicising the claim to press their case for strikes against Iraq – the pressure now building among senior Pentagon and White House officials in Washington for an attack may become irresistible. [The Guardian]
Of course, in reality, no evidence whatsoever connected the letters to Iraq or Al Qaeda. According to federal prosecutors, disgruntled federal scientist Bruce Edward Ivins acted alone in making the letters, and while many still question the FBI’s findings, or believe Ivins must have had accomplices, it is anything but true that the attack had “all the hallmarks” of Islamic terrorism. That claim was simply an assumption.
In February 2003, an Australian lawmaker ginning up support for that country’s participation in the Iraq War confidently stated that “the stubborn, deceitful behavior of Iraq… has all the hallmarks of a nation which is hiding something.” In reality, Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, and the only thing Saddam Hussein was hiding was how feeble his regime was. Nearly 4,500 American troops died thanks to the hubris, arrogance, and (in some cases) outright deception that led to the Iraq War. In fact, given that the Islamic State’s rise was enabled by the chaos unleashed by the US invasion of Iraq, one could easily argue that the American troops slain on Thursday were just the latest victims of the disastrous Iraq invasion eighteen long years ago.
In 2017, after the chemical blast at Khan Shaykhun in Syria, it took less than 24 hours for US and allied intelligence services to confidently blame the blast on President Bashar Assad’s government. Of course, Assad consistently disclaimed all responsibility. The very next day, Britain’s UN ambassador said the attack… wait for it… “bears all the hallmarks of the Assad regime.”
Advocates of intervention in Syria seized upon the attacks and nearly succeeded in pushing for a the full-fledged overthrow of Assad’s regime, until President Trump settled on a limited retaliatory missile strike instead.
But if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. In spring 2018, a second chemical blast in Syria was once again blamed on Assad’s government. Once again, such an attack made no sense. Assad’s government was winning the war. Literally the only thing that could topple him from power was a major shift in Western sentiment leading to an intervention, and the only thing that could cause such a shift was a pointless, over-the-top atrocity like using banned chemical weapons.
No matter. America went to the brink of war again. And a certain phrase popped up yet again:
According to rescue workers, on Saturday more than 40 people died in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma in an alleged chemical attack, which left victims wheezing, with discolored skin and foaming at the mouth. The United States, Britain and France have argued the alleged attack bears all the hallmarks of a strike ordered by the regime of Russia’s ally Assad, which has been blamed for previous attacks by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). [AFP]
Did it, though? An investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said it did… and then a whistleblower promptly accused the organization of issuing a politically-motivated finding.
The leaked email by an investigator described as “Alex” and quoted by WikiLeaks expresses the “gravest concern”, saying the OPCW report “misrepresents the facts”, contains “unintended bias” and simplifies conclusions. The email says the published OPCW report into the attack changed the language on the levels of chlorine allegedly found compared with what investigators had originally wrote. It also questions whether or not the chemical came from barrels found at the scene, and whether those barrels had been dropped from the air – which would indicate Assad’s forces – or placed there manually there – which would indicate it was staged by Syrian rebels. The whistleblower said the published report’s conclusions on the barrels deviated significantly from the draft. [The Guardian]
One doesn’t have to fixate on a specific overused phrase, of course. The real point is that repeatedly, over and over, the war party in America has drastically outrun its evidence and conflated wildly different groups, counting on the fact it will never be held accountable for its behavior. In 2020, The New York Times laundered fabulous claims of Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Days later, Foreign Policy used the bounties to unsubtly agitate against the unfolding Afghan withdrawal:
Amid the peace talks brokered by the United States, one angle that most observers of Afghanistan have ignored is the role of Russia, which has enthusiastically supported the agreement. Along with Pakistan, Russia stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of any NATO withdrawal. Over the past several years, it has been quietly working in the background to enhance its ties with the Taliban, with the purpose of expanding its strategic interests in Afghanistan—and in the process exorcising the failings of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Once NATO and U.S. forces leave, Russia will once again have an opportunity to step in. And in that sense, the recent revelations about Moscow’s sordid arrangement with the Taliban should come as no surprise. [Foreign Policy]
In reality, once again, the narrative was totally false. There was no evidence of any Russian bounties, but as is so often the case, the truth came out months later, and with far less fanfare.
This sort of explanation-free certitude isn’t just used to start or extend American wars. It’s an all-purpose means to further the Security State’s agenda at home as well as abroad. Just to switch it up, the intel community added a little twist to the tried and true “all the hallmarks” line in their effort to protect President Biden’s son:
More than 50 former high-ranking U.S. intelligence officials have signed a letter saying the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” The emails were published by the New York Post last week after the paper was given an alleged copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Several Post reporters refused to put their name on the reports because they were concerned about the authenticity of the material being pushed to run in the News Corp publication. While the letter’s signatories presented no new evidence, they said their national-security experience had made them “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case,” and cited several elements of the story that suggested the Kremlin’s hand at work. [Daily Beast]
The time has come to stop falling for this, and the only way to do so is to stop listening to the bad actors who have pulled off this scam time and time again.
Americans are justifiably horrified and distressed that another 13 U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan. It’s justifiable to put blame on the Biden Administration for failing to foresee Afghanistan’s instantaneous collapse and creating a catastrophic and chaotic evacuation where US troops were inevitably put in harm’s way.
But the most blame of all must go to the generals, diplomats, and think tank goons whose lies and incompetence perpetuated the Afghan war for twenty bloody, expensive, fruitless years, and who even now are maneuvering desperately to keep American troops in danger for twenty years more. The best way to repay them is to strip them of all power, all influence, and all respect. Regard them as the cartoonish, revolting failures they are… and let them pass into the ash heap of history.