Last week, I wrote about the recent General McChrystal hoo ha.
I pointed out the colossal mindfuckery of a system that tolerates wholesale murder in the pursuit of empire, while drawing the line of acceptability at petty personal insults.
I reminded everyone that it was just a few short months ago that the New York Times printed the following McChrystal quote:
“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.”
That was McChrystal’s response when he was informed that “American and NATO troops firing from passing convoys and military checkpoints have killed 30 Afghans and wounded 80 others since last summer, but in no instance did the victims prove to be a danger to troops.”
Nobody gave a shit about THAT quote.
Well, nobody except for me, Glenn Greenwald, Chris Floyd, Arthur Silber, and possibly a few others that I missed, but there certainly was no populist outcry for McChrystal’s head, or even for his job. In fact, the author of the Times piece, Richard A. Oppel Jr., didn’t even bat a literary eyelash, as he went right on to note that those killings were actually “fewer in number than deaths from air strikes and Special Forces operations,” and that “such shootings have not dropped off, despite new rules from General McChrystal seeking to reduce the killing of innocents.”
You know, war is hell and whatnot, and we just have to learn to live with shooting an amazing number of people who have never proven to be a threat.
Just don’t ever compare an Ambassador to a wounded animal, crack wise about Vice President Biteme, or accuse the President of not being engaged. Nope, that type of activity is a BIG FUCKING DEAL. Just remember who your bosses are and keep your mouth shut as you continue to shoot an amazing number of yadda, yadda, yadda…
So anyway, there’s apparently a new outrage in town. The new outrage is aimed squarely at the handful of actual investigative journalists who still operate in the last empire standing.
Instead of being applauded for presenting a fly-on-the-wall view of the empire’s machinery of death, Michael Hastings, the Rolling Stone journalist who wrote the piece that got McChrystal fired, is being attacked for not toeing the Pentagon’s company line and ruining a good thing for all of the war correspondents who so obediently serve as photocopiers of military press releases.
As Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi have already pointed out, CBS Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan made a complete ass of herself on CNN’s Reliable Sources this past Sunday, shamelessly protecting the corporate status quo as she painted Hastings as a sneaky observer who blended into his surroundings in order to procure important information that he otherwise may not have been privy to. Simply scandalous, right? I thought that’s exactly what investigative journalists were supposed to do, but I guess not. Logan also accused Hastings of lying, without providing any evidence of any lies.
“Michael Hastings, if you believe him, says that there were no ground rules laid out … something doesn’t add up here, I just, I don’t believe it.”
Of course the interviewer, Howard Kurtz, allowed that baseless accusation to slide by completely unchallenged.
NOTE: WordPress doesn’t allow me to embed CNN videos, but you can (and should) watch the interview here.
For my money, though, Logan’s most asinine portion of the interview is this:
“I mean, the question is, really, is what General McChrystal and his aides are doing so egregious, that they deserved to end a career like McChrystal’s? I mean, Michael Hastings has never served his country the way McChrystal has.“
See??? Michael Hastings never shot an amazing number of people who never proved to be a threat. Can you believe that we allow a man like him to report on the actions of men who have shot an amazing number of people who never proved to be a threat?
Here’s an idea; any journalist who wishes to report on the military should be forced to kill a few innocent Afghanis (or Iraqis, or Pakistanis, or Yemenis, or … well, you get the picture), in order to be initiated into the club. You know, like street gangs do with new members. If Hastings had some innocent Afghani blood on his hands, he’d have been far less likely to act like an actual investigative journalist, and far more likely to cover up the petty insults (and war crimes) of those he’s supposed to be covering. I mean, I guess that’s what Logan is saying. It’s really hard to figure out what her point is though, as I don’t speak batshit fucking crazy.
So yeah, it’s business as usual here in the last empire standing. Up is down, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, and good reporting is bad reporting.