Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nagl Gazing

Media "genius" for US counterinsurgency, John Nagl, is back on NPR...again (see Aug. 9, 2007 and Dec. 5, 2006). On Tuesday's ATC, Michelle Norris has a friendly chat with Nagl, not once raising the issues of how, in spite of Nagl's intellectual window dressing (and plagarism), US counterinsurgency has always been about crushing poor people with appalling violence.

Norris also does not question the contradiction that lies at the heart of Nagl's argument (see his brief summary here). Nagl tells Norris that counterinsurgency can not be won simply by killing insurgents; he states that "whatever underlying social concerns led to an insurgency developing will reemerge unless you find a way to solve those basic problems." Yeah, well what if the underlying social concern is the fact that an imperial power is occupying your country to control your country's resources (Iraq) or to prop up its oligarchy and protect poverty wages (Central America)? Maybe that's why historically, US counterinsurgency has relied on mass murder, torture, and other forms of state terror (Philippines, Vietnam, El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc.)

Norris never even hints at the sordid and murderous history of counterinsurgency, instead she says, "We're talking about wars that are long and protracted and drawn out and very very difficult." That's definitely how it looks from the point of view of the empire.

Nagl likes Norris' answer. He says, "That's exactly right Michele, the average counterinsurgency campaign takes about a decade so these are long hard slow wars..."


Porter Melmoth said...

One hand washes the other. Why should NPR rock the boat it shares with its' Military-Industrial shipmates? Every cause needs a publicist; what better than 'public' radio to provide the perfect mechanism for reaching all those 'thinking' people out there? The nefariousness of this symbiotic strategy maketh my blood to boil.

I think there's something intrinsically and subconsciously satisfying for Americans about being sold a bill of goods. Even if they know something is BS, as long as their consumer lives aren't interrupted, they can check issues off their list and get back to their consuming, comforted that they have devoted a few minutes (via NPR) to thinking about the issues that NPR selects, and accepting NPR's spin, and then the listener feels that he or she has 'done something' because of that little bit of NPR involvement. The thing is, NPR's 'thinking' audience should know better than to just accept something because it's got the NPR brand name on it. In a way, the NPR audience has sold themselves out more than the Fox News audience. At least Fox watchers tend to make no bones about where they stand (thus the admiration for Bush), while NPR-oids tend to pose as liberal and intelligent, while at the same time suckering for the NPR BS because it's more attractive, 'non-commercial', 'in-depth', and supposedly deep-thinking. Again, they should know better. Critical thinking skills are cheerfully tossed out the window these days, and that's a phenomenon that stretches WAY past the self-absorbed little pipsqueak known as NPR.

Sorry to ramble, but ventilation is always an attempt to sort messes like NPR out.

Porter Melmoth said...


Rupert Murdoch does a hostile takeover of NPR after Dennis Kucinich and L. Ron Paul call for NPR to be discarded due to abuse of public monies. Murdoch takes over, renames it BS-NPR, and perhaps most importantly, DOES NOT FIRE any of the current NPR personnel. Indeed, he triples their salaries. By doing this, he prevents any of them from jumping ship in order to join the new, improved and entirely revamped news agency created from scratch, that would replace the rot of NPR and its poisoned legacy.

big!pink!fuzzy!bunny! said...

Wonder if they'd lose any listeners as a result of such a hostile (but most deserving) takeover, Porter?

My guess is: "prolly nottle." (ga-hulp, ga-hulp)