Remember the story about Marja being a town or city of 80,000 or 125,000 people, a logistical hub of the Taliban, a major strategic objective of the American military? Remember that? Just a little while ago?
A deliberate lie by the American military command in Afghanistan headed by General Stanley McChrystal, under the overall command of General David Petraeus under the leadership of President Barack Obama, enabled and abetted by the right wing of American politics.
A key element of the lie:
The COIN manual asserts that news media "directly influence the attitude of key audiences toward counterinsurgents, their operations and the opposing insurgency." The manual refers to "a war of perceptions…conducted continuously using the news media."
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of ISAF, was clearly preparing to wage such a war in advance of the Marja operation. In remarks made just before the offensive began, McChrystal invoked the language of the counterinsurgency manual, saying, "This is all a war of perceptions."
The Washington Post reported Feb. 22 that the decision to launch the offensive against Marja was intended largely to impress U.S. public opinion with the effectiveness of the U.S. military in Afghanistan by showing that it could achieve a "large and loud victory."
The false impression that Marja was a significant city was an essential part of that message.
McChrystal and the American command structure created the lie to impress the American people and show that their dollars and lives and blood were not being poured uselessly and wastefully into the sands and hills of a sad little medieval culture on the other side of the world.
Marja is not a city or even a real town, but either a few clusters of farmers’ homes or a large agricultural area covering much of the southern Helmand River Valley.
"It’s not urban at all," an official of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), who asked not to be identified, admitted to IPS Sunday. He called Marja a "rural community".
"It’s a collection of village farms, with typical family compounds," said the official, adding that the homes are reasonably prosperous by Afghan standards.
So tell the truth, reader, did you think the big bad American military machine was fighting an intense urban battle against some of the nastiest enemies since the Nazis?
Yeah. That’s what you were supposed to think. You were supposed to think that so that you would shut the hell up and support a war that has no other purpose than to advance the careers of a bunch of West Point officers and give the right wing politicians back home something to crow about when they attacked the Democrats for being soft on security.
Afghani people, innocent people, men, women, children, died in Marja to pump up the resumes of American military officers and keep warmongering politicians in office.
American soldiers died there, in Marja, in a senseless attack built on lies and deceit, to pump up the resumes of American military officers and keep warmongering politicians in office.
And let’s not forget that those people also died to keep in power a corrupt, venal government that the Washington politicians want to use as a puppet, and whose influence barely extends beyond the walls of the capital city, Kabul, and that’s with the help of the American military and American tax dollars and American blood.
Innocent people died there to keep you, reader, as far away from your conscience as the American government could manage.
Welcome to your real America. Live large, watch ‘em die so you can live the lie.
Update: Further information on Marja(h) and American strategy in Afghanistan.