What cable news wont tell you about Afghanistan

If we don’t learn the right lessons from Afghanistan, those mistakes will be repeated again and again and again.




For the last three weeks, cable news talking heads — many literally on the payroll of military contractors — have expressed shock and horror at the events unfolding in Afghanistan.

How could the Taliban have taken over so quickly? Why wasn’t there a more orderly transition of power?

But a better question is this: Why are so many alleged “experts” surprised?

The vital task of journalism now is to call B.S. on the warmongers trying to hide their failures and protect their profits — and to make sure that the American people know the truth about how and why the U.S. war in Afghanistan was such a complete debacle.

Because if the U.S. doesn’t learn the right lessons from Afghanistan, then it’s only a matter... of time before those same tragic failures are repeated again and again and again.

The Intercept is one of the few news outlets with the resources and independence to dig deep and uncover the decades of bipartisan failure and lies that led to this moment. But as a nonprofit news outlet with no corporate advertising on our website, we rely on donations from readers to help power this essential reporting.

Will you donate to help The Intercept provide the essential context needed to understand the U.S. failure in Afghanistan and prevent the next U.S. military fiasco?

If you’ve saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your donation will go through immediately:

DONATE $15 →

DONATE $25 →

DONATE $50 →

DONATE $100 →

DONATE ANOTHER AMOUNT →

For 20 years, politicians of both parties told the American people that the war in Afghanistan was going well. Even now, some are arguing that if we just stay a little longer, we can still “win,” whatever that means.

But as the reporting team at The Intercept has recounted in unsparing detail, the U.S. war in Afghanistan was lost years ago and was probably never winnable. What we’re seeing now is not only a withdrawal. It is a surrender. The only way for the U.S. coalition to organize any kind of relatively orderly exit would have been to negotiate with the forces that defeated it: the Taliban.

However, admitting defeat would undermine the entire logic behind the multibillion-dollar industry of American empire. And there are far too many people getting rich to allow that.

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is a critical test of journalism, and too many news outlets are failing. We must go beyond covering the momentary spectacle of the Taliban takeover, reject tidy excuses and cop-outs, and dig deep for the context essential to understanding how the U.S. came to this point after 20 years of war.

That will require challenging the assumptions that drove much of the last 20 years of news coverage about the war. It will mean listening to the dissenting voices who were dismissed and ignored after 9/11 — and listening to the voices of Afghans who have suffered most from this catastrophe.

In today’s media environment, The Intercept is one of the few news outlets with the resources and independence to challenge the assumptions behind the entire regime of the post-9/11 forever wars. And we count on readers to help power this essential coverage.

Will you stand with The Intercept and make a donation today?

STAND WITH THE INTERCEPT →

Thank you, The Intercept team

First Look Institute is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization (tax ID number 80-0951255).

The Intercept’s mailing address is:
First Look Institute
P.O. Box 27442
Washington, DC 20038

The Intercept is an award-winning nonprofit news organization dedicated to holding the powerful accountable through fearless, adversarial journalism. Our in-depth investigations and unflinching analysis focus on surveillance, war, corruption, the environment, technology, criminal justice, the media and more. Email is an important way for us to communicate with The Intercept’s readers, but if you’d like to stop hearing from us, click here to r0 from all communications. Protecting freedom of the press has never been more important. Contribute now to support our independent journalism.

Login Form