Skip to comments.Surprise! Leftist Media Elite Was All Wrong on Afghanistan (Why Surprised?<--Me)
Posted on 12/27/2001 11:06:45 AM PST by SusanUSA
The quick and decisive victory in the Afghanistan war left some of the most celebrated liberals among the media elite scurrying for cover after having been egregiously wrong in declaring that the war was going badly in its earliest phases.
Take PBS's Dan Schorr for example. Just six days after the U.S. increased its air attacks on the Taliban defenses the old liberal advocate pontificated that "This is a war in trouble," during the PBS "Weekend Edition" show on October 27.
That was then. Now he's trying to explain his goof. Schorr told the Wall Street Journal's Matthew Rose "I had to eat a little crow. I have never been in Afghanistan and know nothing about Pashtuns and the rest of it."
That wasn't enough to stop him from commenting on a war in a country about which he now admits he knows barely anything.
Then there was the New York Time's leftist star R.W. Apple. According to Ross on October 31 he wrote "Signs of progress are sparse."
After the U.S. and its Afghani allies tore through Taliban defenses and took Kabul, he began singing a different tune.
Wrote Ross: After Kabul fell in mid-November, Mr. Apple noted the shift in mood. "What a difference a week makes," he wrote on Nov. 16 under the heading "Letter From Washington."
Apple now tells Ross his late-October column was "unduly pessimistic, but it was a reflection of the state of mind at the time. This is journalism, not history."
Excuse me, R.W., but it's anything but journalism. It's out and out liberal propaganda aimed at a president you do not believe has any right to be occupying the White House or capable of running a war.
Not to be outdone by a fellow N.Y. Times celebrity journalist, on Oct. 28 the often rather confused Celtic minx Maureen Dowd declared "Now, like the British and Russians before him, [President Bush] is facing the most brutish, corrupt, wily and patient warriors in the world, nicknamed dukhi, or ghosts, by flayed Russian soldiers who saw them melt away."
Marc Santora, a Dowd spokesman argued that there was a "moment of hesitation" in Washington that Dowd's column was generously designed to overcome.
Then there was the LA Times editorialist Jacob Heilbrunn who a few days later declared the first round of the war a failure: "The United States is not headed into a quagmire; it's already in one."
Then, on November 4 keeping up the drumfire he wrote, "There does not appear to be a political force capable of replacing the Taliban."
A mere five days after Heilbrunn's monstrous gaffe the Taliban's northern stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif was overwhelmed by Northern Alliance troops aided by U.S. bombing sorties. A few days later Kabul fell.
"Three weeks after that, the Taliban's southern stronghold of Kandahar was taken," Ross notes, adding that, "In Bonn, Germany, various anti-Taliban forces from Afghanistan were negotiating a deal to set up an interim government."
Heilbrunn can't bring himself to admit how far off the mark he was. Ross writes that "he still isn't convinced that there is a viable political regime in place, especially if it doesn't have strong Western support. But he acknowledges that his earlier view was 'too saturnine. It may not be completely wrong, but I thought the Northern Alliance was a fairly fictitious force that would inevitably begin to feud,'" he told Ross. "I am cautiously optimistic, but that could be proven wrong, too."
Ross write that the quick victory destroyed a lot of myths favored by the media elite:
Myth #1: History repeats itself.
Afghanistan is Vietnam all over again. The history of the defeats Britain and later, the Soviets suffered in trying to overcome the Afghanis prove the U.S. is heading in the same direction. As in Vietnam, the U.S. will find itself mired in a quagmire battling tough guerrilla forces on unfamiliar terrain.
Myth #2: The Alleged Popularity of the Taliban regime.
The award for the most egregious example of this canard must surely go to freelance columnist Nicholas von Hoffman who wrote a 1,500-word critique of the U.S. effort entitled, "Why Are We in Afghanistan?" in the weekly New York Observer on Nov. 19.
"We are mapless, we are lost, and we are distracted by gusts of wishful thinking," to believe Afghans would switch sides so easily he wrote. "Moreover, as hellish as the Taliban are, it appears that the ordinary people of Afghanistan prefer them to the brigands and bandits with whom we've been trying to make common cause."
Notes Ross: "The week the column appeared, gleeful Kabul residents shaved their beards and displayed posters of Indian movie stars to show their delight in being rid of the Taliban."
Von Hoffman told Ross he still thinks declaring war was a bad idea -- because "there is by definition no way to say you've won" -- but he also pleads ignorance.
"Nobody knew anything about Afghanistan, myself included," von Hoffman says. "It turns out there really wasn't an army there. Turns out we probably still are clueless." He conceded that "in the prediction business, ... you almost never get it right."
Then what qualified you to write about a nation "Nobody knew anything about" including yourself," Nick?
Myth #3: High-altitude bombing couldn't win the war.
Critics warned that there weren't enough targets to justify bombing, and that bombing could turn major cities into death-traps for special forces operating within them.
Few commentators could match NBC News military analyst and former Army intelligence analyst William Arkin who went on CNBC on Oct. 10 and told Geraldo Rivera: "I think sooner or later we're going to have to bite the bullet and get in there in a big way or we're going to have to admit some kind of a defeat."
And just 19 days later he was back with Rivera warning that a mere 70 bombing missions a day in a place the size of Texas weren't having the desired effects on the ground. He then told Chris Matthews of CNBC's "Hardball" on Oct. 23 that the war could last "into the winter, and beyond."
His alibi for being so far off the mark: "I'm doing reporting here and people seemed to be nervous and disgruntled about the way the war was going and that's something that needs to be aired," he told Ross.
Myth #4: The Afghans are lousy allies.
The allegedly ragtag Northern Alliance controls just 10 percent of the country "through a loose and fractious affiliation of tribal leaders." They would never be able to unite and battle the Taliban.
On Nov. 12 Newsweek portrayed a demoralized Northern Alliance unit wearing running shoes, eating rice, beans and scraps of mutton, and with no easy ways to communicate. Wrote Jon Meacham, the magazine's' managing editor, the story "reflected the reality on the ground at the time and raised questions a lot of people were wondering about in Washington and Afghanistan."
Added the leftist New Republic, "Of all the proxies the United States has enlisted over the past half-century, the Northern Alliance may be the least prepared to attain America's battlefield objectives." The magazine said that ground troops were needed to take Kabul.
Peter Beinart, the New Republic's editor, now concedes that the magazine underestimated the Northern Alliance's capabilities.
Even after Kabul fell, "experts" appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Nov. 23 saw little hope for the forming of a unified government. "I think we have to be very careful, Larry, not to get our hopes up," warned Bob Schieffer, host of CBS News's "Face the Nation."
He now tells Ross "I think I meant we had to be patient ... We will know when we have won, but we are not there yet."
Myth #5: The Muslim world will explode.
Muslims the world over will be infuriated, the masses will rise up, and get rid of leaders such as Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and create turmoil in the Persian Gulf states. President Bush's comments about capturing Mr. bin Laden "dead or alive" can only deepen the anger.
Columnist Katha Pollitt, in the Nov. 19 issue of the ultra-leftist Nation magazine wrote gloomily: "Thousands of new Taliban fans and recruits for anti-American suicide missions? A protracted war with a determined, hardy foe that draws in Central Asia, enrages the Muslim masses and destabilizes Pakistan or Indonesia or another country to be named later?"
She now tells Ross that it's a good idea to be cautious, especially when war and foreign policy are involved, and that "a lot of innocent people" have been killed so far. "Nobody knows the future, but I don't think we've seen the end of the story. People are talking about war on Iraq."
Finally, in an Oct. 15 commentary on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," the all-knowing and all-wise Dan Schorr, said, "Whatever success the Anglo-American alliance is having pounding the Taliban into dust, it's having little success winning the hearts and minds of Islamic peoples... Most alarming of all, anti-American feeling is rising in Pakistan, where the Taliban came from, threatening the stability of the Musharraf regime," he opined.
It would appear that their real target, G.W. Bush, showed by his conduct of the war just how biased and wrong his leftist critics in the media were in warning America that he was leading the nation into a humiliating and long-lasting Vietnam-like quagmire.
That wasn't enough to stop him ...
Of course not! They will never learn and they will never stop!
"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge. " ~ Daniel J. Boorstin
And, how they must secretly hate Willie. He had the opportunity to destroy or damage America and didn't do as much as he could because he couldn't keep it in his pants. Image were we'd be if Willie had been as constant in his hate-America mode as any of these guys.
These fools are blind to the intelligence and brilliant leadership of George W. Bush.
Aw hell--they're just plain blind--and stupid--locked in their Liberal paradigm--blind to all else--unable to see anything other than their groupthink dilusions.
Who cares what they think!
Unfortunately we aren't at war with Afghanistan, we in a "War on Terrorism". I think it is a little premature to declare ourselves victorious. To steal a quote -- "This isn't the beginning of the end, this is the end of the beginning"
By the way, nice home page. I particularly like the pics of France. Makes you want to go there.
No, now that the Taliban has been defeated, we aren't.
I think it is a little premature to declare ourselves victorious.
We haven't defeated the Taliban? Where are they?
I agree with you on the "War on Terror", though. It is FAR from over.
Same old same old. What a Clymer.
Sheeple that vote?
Most of those PBS and major network bastards like Jennings, Rather, etc.... have been wrong and wrong headed in most important instances.... They were also not just a little guilty of defending the undefendable "rapist in denial"...
- Omigod, the RAMADAN is coming and we MUST stop all military activites then.
- And... Omigod, the WINTER is coming and, somehow, people flying airplanes were going to be more incovenienced by the cold and snow than those on the ground.
- And, of course, those elaborate, computer-generated 3-D 'cave simulations' which were assumed to be real, just becuase someone made them up, on a computer - the way to bust a simulated bunker was, of course, using a bunch of simulated bombs and missiles.
It would appear that their real target, G.W. Bush, showed by his conduct of the war just how biased and wrong his leftist critics in the media were in warning America that he was leading the nation into a humiliating and long-lasting Vietnam-like quagmire. . .
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