The Real News We Ignore At Our Peril

Authored by Andrew Bacevich via The Gatestone Institute,

This is the threat to our democracy, not Fake News. And Exhibit A is our failed war in Afghanistan...

 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180111_afgh.jpg

As defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld used to entertain (and befuddle) reporters with his song-and-dance about Known Knowns, Known Unknowns, and Unknown Unknowns. This last category - “things we don’t know we don’t know,” as the inimitable Rummy put it - was the one that could really get you in trouble.

Allow me to posit a similar taxonomy for news.

There’s Real News, based on fact and responsibly reported. Then there’s Fake News, made up of stuff propagated by disreputable outlets ranging from the National Enquirer and Breitbart to cable news networks and a bazillion websites. And finally there’s Real News That Gets Ignored. Once again, it’s that last category that will eventually land us in trouble.

A distinctive characteristic of the Trump era finds Fake News displacing Real News as the basis of what passes for our national conversation. This stems in part from the fact that Donald Trump himself obsessively denounces as fake any reporting he doesn’t like, with those in the news business repeating and thereby amplifying the president’s complaints no matter how bizarre or preposterous. But it’s also because Trump and his administration on a daily basis generate their own counter-narrative of news that they insist is genuine even though it’s manifestly bogus. The media landscape is thus awash in reports that one side or the other loudly condemns as fraudulent.

With all this emphasis on Fake News, the third category of our taxonomy has mushroomed. That is, the quantity of Real News that is underreported, shrugged off, or treated as an afterthought is increasing by leaps and bounds.

I was reminded of this the other day when the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released its latest update on how U.S. nation-building efforts in that country are faring.

This particular report focuses on a Defense Department-created entity called the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), charged with overseeing U.S. taxpayer-funded economic development projects in Afghanistan. From 2010 to 2014, Congress appropriated approximately $823 million to fund TFBSO operations in Afghanistan. SIGAR now provides what is, in effect, a report card.

Among its key findings regarding TFBSO’s performance are these:

  • More than 50 percent of funds obligated for TFBSO—$359.5 million of $675 million—were spent on indirect and support costs—that is, on overhead—rather than on actual projects in Afghanistan.
  • Only $70 million of the $316.3 million obligated on contracts directly supporting TFBSO programs (22 percent) fully achieved their objectives. The remaining $246.3 million (78 percent) fell partially short or failed altogether.
  • Nearly half of the TFBSO contracts that SIGAR reviewed, worth $201 million, were let on a limited competition or sole-source basis, thereby increasing the risk of waste. Seven contracts worth $35.1 million went to firms employing former TFBSO staff as senior executives.
  • Further hampering the prospects of success was the fact that TFBSO projects routinely overlooked local conditions such as politics, culture, weather, and security, i.e., all the things that distinguish Afghanistan from Wisconsin or Vermont.
  • Ill-defined contract requirements prevented TFBSO from holding contractors accountable for poor performance, resulting in further waste.
  • Overall, the Pentagon is today unable to say whether TFBSO projects actually created jobs, facilitated foreign direct investments, increased exports, or hiked Afghan government revenues. In other words, no basis exists for determining whether TFBSO actually contributed anything useful.

Now, SIGAR has been releasing reports about waste, fraud, and abuse in the Afghanistan War for years. TFBSO’s abysmal performance, now irrefutable, is just the tip of the iceberg.

Notably, all SIGAR reports, including this latest one, are readily available online. There is no need for reporters to cajole some unnamed source into spilling the beans or for editors to worry about courting trouble by publishing leaked classified material. It’s all there for the New York Times, Washington Post, PBS, NPR, etc., etc., to bring to the attention of the public. Yet these prestigious outlets never seem able to spare much attention for TFBSO’s troubles.

We should not be surprised. As it stumbles from one year to the next, the wayward U.S. project in Afghanistan receives sporadic media coverage at best. Even when some tidbit of awfulness attracts an occasional nod—when we learn, for example, that Afghan opium production has today reached yet another all-time high—the story ends up being a one-day affair, with no serious follow-up. Afghanistan, the longest war in American history, is a prime example of Real News That Gets Ignored.

There are many other examples. Staying in the arena of national security policy, other neglected stories include foreign arms sales (here the U.S. is truly the world’s number one), the global disposition of U.S. forces (now present in two-thirds of the world’s countries), cost overruns of major weapons programs, and the ongoing trillion-dollar modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Let me emphasize: It’s not that you can’t find the odd reference to such matters, whether in your local newspaper or on TV. But compare the coverage such stories receive to the extravagant attention conferred on women graduating from the U.S. Army’s Ranger School or the service eligibility of transgendered persons. No doubt those are worthy topics. Yet at the end of the day they are unlikely to have anything more than marginal relevance to the safety and security of the United States.

The Real News That Gets Ignored poses a greater threat to the nation’s well-being than any of the Fake News in which we are presently drowning. And the fault is not Trump’s alone.

Comments

Chupacabra-322 Fri, 01/12/2018 - 22:17 Permalink

“Shit Hole”is Nothing more than a failed attempt at distraction from the “Shadow Banning” Censorship Criminal Twitter exposé from Project Veritas. Project Veritas just confirmed they’re dropping yet another Twitter exposé bombshell on Monday.

 

James O’Keefe of Project Veritas has just dropped a new undercover video which reveals Twitter “shadow banning” and creating algorithms that censor certain ideas.

 

The first clip features a former Twitter software engineer who explains how/why Twitter “shadow bans” certain users:

 

Abhinav Vadrevu:  “One strategy is to shadow ban so you have ultimate control. The idea of a shadow ban is that you ban someone but they don’t know they’ve been banned, because they keep posting but no one sees their content.”

 

“So they just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it. I don’t know if Twitter does this anymore.”

 

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2018/01/twitter-responds-project-veritas-2nd-undercover-video-twitter-doesnt-shadowban-accounts/

Hudis Muffakah stizazz Fri, 01/12/2018 - 23:58 Permalink

I'm with you bro, just won't click through anymore. Don't need to, the point is taken. I have kids. The thumbnail pic on the last link i followed of the guy screaming as he held the remains of his child, skull hollowed out like a jackolantern, was almost more than I could take. That picture painted more than a thousand words. 

In reply to by stizazz

D503 Hudis Muffakah Sat, 01/13/2018 - 00:13 Permalink

Unknown unknowns are dangerous and speculative, but that is the limit of a single player perspective. The real danger is unknown knowns; that which your opponent knows but you haven't any clue exist. The American people have many unknown unknowns that are well understood by their would be leaders, and you are kept in the dark, speculating and assuming there are options where none exist. 

In reply to by Hudis Muffakah

techpriest Hudis Muffakah Sat, 01/13/2018 - 02:18 Permalink

Start reading, for one.

Give up the TV. Take breaks from ZH.

Then, through the reading you might find enough good ideas to start doing something that will actually impact your local community. Or help you find one that is healthy.

As the community gets healthier, you now have more people who are doing the same and inspiring others to do likewise.

I believe a certain Paul told a certain Timothy about this.

In reply to by Hudis Muffakah

UselessEater techpriest Sat, 01/13/2018 - 06:27 Permalink

Great advice. There is something everyone can do, even donating regularly to good alt. media sites to keep them afloat and growing is doing something. These sites give voices to writers, speakers and interesting people who are banned or shadow-banned elsewhere.

Mark Weber for instance who runs IHR is now banned from England and lost their paypal account.

The Barnes Review lost their pay pal account. Their sister site American Free Press cannot advertise in any MSM publication. They both publish books that cannot get published by jew-media who hate any facts that contradict the Civil War narrative, WWI and WW2 narratives or harp on about events like the USS Liberty....that should be recommendation enough for most ZH'rs!

https://barnesreview.org/

http://americanfreepress.net/

http://www.ihr.org/other/ukban2017

Also Andy Hitchcock's 1hr interview podcasts with a huge range of guests from South Africa, USA, Germany, etc:

http://eurofolkradio.com/2018/01/11/andrew-carrington-hitchcock-show-53…

Why you should think about Monika Schaefer:

https://wearswar.wordpress.com/2018/01/08/when-brainwashing-fails-throw…

 

In reply to by techpriest

skbull44 PrivetHedge Sat, 01/13/2018 - 08:24 Permalink

The thing about 'facts' is that no matter how grounded in 'truth' or 'reality' is that they must be interpreted. And it is here that we get the competing narratives because even with agreed upon 'facts', interpretations of meaning or cause can vary significantly. If one looks into scientific debates almost all are because of different interpretations of the exact same 'facts'. And as most 'news' is an interpretation of events, the differentiation between 'fake' news and 'real' news may be moot--it comes down to what one believes in forming one's worldview/paradigm/schema/etc.. Add in all the psychological processes that impact belief systems and attitudes, and what we end up doing is believing (or not believing) 'facts' that fit into our preconceived notions...and this is why psyops are so important and critical to the propaganda of the 'authorities' so as to try and maintain control over the competing narratives. 

 

https://olduvai.ca

In reply to by PrivetHedge

UselessEater skbull44 Sat, 01/13/2018 - 09:59 Permalink

What is important is investigating every narrative and confirming for yourself whether it is built on BS or not.

We each can be own educator, we actually have to be because we are in fact custodians for our future generations. The most reviled and endangered animal on the planet is a strong, confident, resourceful white man. This is why Oprah's name is being pitched, she openly stated she wants our finest 'older white men' who think for themselves to die out.

A critical aspect in events like the Jude-Bolsehevik blood-lust revolution in Russia was to destroy the finest men and minds, the same happened in WWII. These 2 events alone have contributed significantly to the decline in the white race as a % of all peoples. Think that was by accident?

Do you ever wonder where are the Holodomor Genocide Trials? The Holodomor "Never-Again" Memorials? Would the results disturb other victim-hood narratives that are now used to justify the "racist-evils" of maintaining closed borders and national-ethnic identity?

Yes they would.

That is why even questioning the WW2 narrative results in jail time, it can't be defended. Why did Deborah Lispstadt refuse to take the stand in the trial with David Irving? Why years prior did they decide to not present witnesses for examination in Ernst Zundel's 2nd trial?

"In fact, the prosecution witnesses in the 1985 Zündel trial were so bad that the prosecutors did not call any witnesses in the 1988 Zündel trial."

Because so many narratives fall apart under rational forensic examination. Each of these narratives are key parts to the Cultural Marxist agenda and conditioning of western nations to become their own worst enemies and thereby complicit in our own destruction.

In reply to by skbull44

Expendable Container Hudis Muffakah Sat, 01/13/2018 - 14:01 Permalink

"my leaders are in fact my enemies".....they are the shabez goi all working together for their Zionist masters including the international banksters, against ALL of us goy whether we are White, Black, Brown or Yellow - lying cheating criminals at the top - don't believe me, look at this: http://www.renegadetribune.com/no-one-watched-trump-pardoned-5-megabank…

They have been using the successful tactic of Divide & Conquer against us, so that we insanely kill each other on their behalf - while they sneer and laugh. They have been doing this for Centuries! They own ALL the mainstream media and condition and manipulate us through all media including unholywood - turn off the television forever!

 

In reply to by Hudis Muffakah

Expendable Container andrewp111 Sat, 01/13/2018 - 14:42 Permalink

Then you are a (((dual))) citizen. The Palestinians have been in Canaan/Palestine for -7,000 years you scumbag moron and harmed no one. This information from an elite Jewish Insider who knew 7 Presidents personally, Benjamin Freedman,who was so disgusted he converted to Christianity and exposed the Zionist underhanded manipulations to create both world wars and to use them to gain Palestine territory:

http://whale.to/c/hiddenyyranny.pdf   This is dynamite info to be downloaded by all who read it before it 'disappears'

The Zionist Jews made a deal with Britain (who was about to lose world war one against Germany and about to accept the Kaiser's peace terms that everyone keep what they had before the war started and that there would be no reparations nonsense, they all just stop killing and go home) - that they the JEWS would BRING AMERICA INTO THE WAR ie have our young Americans killed for no reason, IF BRITAIN AGREED TO 'GIVE' THE JEWS A PART OF PALESTINE IN RETURN - Britain agreed but had no rights whatsoever over Palestine which was part of the Ottoman Empire. It was not Britain's to 'give'.

The Palestinian people had harmed no one and lived peacefully side by side with Christians and Palestinian Jews. They are being Genocided for territorial gain and World Control ambitions of the Jews.

In reply to by andrewp111

BigPunny Chupacabra-322 Sat, 01/13/2018 - 00:21 Permalink

Sorry Jack, but Twitter is a private business and "Shadow-banning" has been around as long as forums have existed. Reddit uses shadow banning all the time, as does FB, as does just about any other large forum you go to. 

They are a private business and can do whatever they want for any reason they want. If you don't like it, don't use it. You aren't forced to use it. There's nothing criminal about it. 

Just like a business being able to kick your a$$ out for saying things they don't want to hear while in their establishment. 

Just like a Republican - always wanting to tell everyone else what they can/can't do while claiming to be the party of "freedom." Hypocritical fuckwads is all you people are. 

 

In reply to by Chupacabra-322

Hudis Muffakah BigPunny Sat, 01/13/2018 - 01:47 Permalink

Was gonna drop this on Chup's post, but saw this as I was mulling it over.

Agree that censorship is a serious issue, and glad that there are still some gutsy forums like ZH where dudes can throw a few rhetorical blows and still go home bloodied up a bit but still on good terms, but it's pretty obvious that twatter is fully pwned and therefore irrelevant to any mind that matters. Leave it to the low-T crowd and shepherds of the global flock of sad beasts that graze on vetted opinions. As things get more decentralized and the minds that matter find their ways to greener pastures, twatter will go the way of things that I never heard of and so can't possibly remember. As my pops says, fuck em and feed em fish heads.

+1 to Chup anyhow

In reply to by BigPunny

UselessEater BigPunny Sat, 01/13/2018 - 06:31 Permalink

Most people might agree if they knew the private virtually-monopolistic companies were honestly paying full taxes and barriers to entry weren't so tribal based... when we see a level playing field and diversity in ownership (i.e. not jewish) and the end of corproate welfare then they can bleet on about their rights as a private corporation to censor the (white, conservative) tax donkey's.

In reply to by BigPunny

NiggaPleeze BigPunny Sat, 01/13/2018 - 11:37 Permalink

Twitter is a private business

But it's useful to know Twitter is the enemy.

The other thing worth noting is that Twitter, FB, Google, etc. are natural monopolies, and have been engineered to have tribal ownership/control.  They are natural monopolies not only because the marginal cost of adding a user is almost zero, but also because of the network effect (I can personally ignore Facebook and use vKontakte, but how am I getting all my friends and family to use vKontakte?  And even if I could, it's then a duopoly.  Also there is the gross inefficiency of requiring users to post the same posts on multiple platforms.)

A third factor is that governments force/pressure these natural monopolies to censor.

The whole "private business" argument only works in a competitive environment (think: bakeries and restaurants in Manhattan) not controlled by government regulations.  One could realistically create a competitive environment from, say, FB if FB were to use open standards.  But I cannot "friend" a person on FB using VKontake - and there is no reason for that except FB obviously wants to maintain it's monopoly.  But if there were open standards there could be 1,000 FBs, each sharing data with each other.

The equivalent would be if a telephone company would not permit you to call someone on a different network.  Those types of natural monopolies were broken up in the early 19th century because the government wasn't utterly controlled by the oligarchs like it is now.

Think a bit before writing ideological nonsense :).

In reply to by BigPunny

thebriang Chupacabra-322 Sat, 01/13/2018 - 13:22 Permalink

They only called it "shadow banning" because in true twitter fashion, they stole the idea and want to make people think twitter came up with it.

"Ghosting" of ads has been going on for many many years on craigslist, and both Disqus and Livefyre now have the ability to ghost a comment, so it happens all the time at places like those liberal liars motherjones.

They can also ip ghost you, so that even if you logout and login from a different device on the same ip, it still looks like a real visible comment.

I mean if you had the resources to really fuck with someone, you could take over their modem or upstream router, grab their history and clone every website they have bookmarked.

 

And speaking of wonky commenting systems...

In reply to by Chupacabra-322

Normally Aspirated Fri, 01/12/2018 - 22:38 Permalink

This is evidence of the looting taking place by those in the know and friends of those in the know.

This will only accelerate America's decline but I wonder how many lives it is going to suck down the drain hole with it?

MuffDiver69 Fri, 01/12/2018 - 22:45 Permalink

Article assumes people want real news...it’s the reason censorship doesn’t work...those of us who want factual news that we can cross check know where to get it..Sheep are Sheep..I find this website entertaining and the 20% +/- Of real news here is excellent and the slant either way is obvious, so no need to lecture anyone....That’s all I can ask for..

WTFUD Fri, 01/12/2018 - 23:01 Permalink

Andrew, what you doing associating yourself with Gatestone? You appear a cut above those tossers, with their blatant distortions of the Truth.

The last TAX BREAK penned by Trump's Handlers will keep those Gravy Trains rolling for a while yet.