Sunday, August 04, 2013

Misleading Al-Qaeda Contracts Article

Many people have expressed outrage at the Bloomberg report that supporters of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have been getting US military contracts. Goddamit, we're sending guns and whatnot to those damn terrorists, what the hell! That is the gut reaction. It was my gut reaction. The reporter wants that reaction. Upon further reading, it is wrong. It is also the wrong way to discuss this issue. It also hides the true problem within our entire foreign policy and government contract system. We live in a complicated world and going for raw emotion is the cathedral progressive way, but not conducive to real talk.

Reporter Tony Capaccio leads the article off with a gut wrenching sentence:

Supporters of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan have been getting U.S. military contracts, and American officials are citing “due process rights” as a reason not to cancel the agreements, according to an independent agency monitoring spending.

Common reader will think we're giving military aid to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and our government is not doing anything to end this now. A reader will seethe at the thought of the US government spending money supplying forces that same government is sending young men to fight. This is not quite right. Vox Day posted on this, and I'm going to disagree only because we do not know a lot of information as this is a propaganda piece to discuss our Af-Pak war effort in general. Without bringing up Obama's bungling of it. The article discusses funding the post-war potential, funding reconstruction and a variety of big Af-Pak issues. If the author is leading off with that first sentence, he wants you to have a negative view of the entire effort in general. He's priming you to eventually defund and walk away from whatever those Pentagon boys want.

Here are some questions that would clarify the situation:

1. Are the contracts awarded to US based firms or foreign firms?
2a. If foreign, what nations?
2. Are they hiring locals to execute the contracts?
3. What makes the contract recipients supports of Al-Qaeda/Taliban?
3a. Is the support material, financial, propaganda, or humanitarian?
4. What are the contracts for?

Without any of those questions answered, this is purely propaganda to push your buttons to swing the way they want you to later in the article. The truth is that these firms may be foreign firms, think Saudi owned, that have a connection to militant groups. They might even be Islamic charities that are aiding in reconstruction. The article never says it is military goods, just that they are military contracts. These contracts could be for Afghan clothing. The contracts could go to a giant foreign firm, but because they hire locals, sure, the locals may support the Taliban or Al-Qaeda. The point is, we do not know and are not told. The reporter is only reporting what they want us to read to get us to react in a way to support what they recommend or want later in the article. The deeper questions of why are we there, why are we entangled with foreign powers that might support our enemies and why are contracts awarded the way they are will not be discussed. Do we support any side or care about the Middle/Near East if we aren't importing oil for our transportation fleet? This kind of odd aiding our enemies backers story could spark deeper reflection, but not in our modern media. It's about page clicks, and even Bloomberg is subject to that hunt.

Update: I emailed the reporter to ask if names of the firms or their situs nation were released. He answered and stated no.


peterike said...

Yet another reason to get out of that pointless shithole.

Anonymous said...

@ peterike - Lithium makes it all worth it, along with the other mineral deposits. The Stans NG pipeline plays make it all worth it. Encirclement of Iran/denial of Russian sphere is another reason. And, of course, practical training the US military in MOOTW, like the Brits did for 20 years in Northern Ireland.