Why “trusting us” is often reason enough not to trust the government

In August, the United States carried out a drone strike in Kabul amid the evacuation from Afghanistan, and the military announced it had ...


In August, the United States carried out a drone strike in Kabul amid the evacuation from Afghanistan, and the military announced it had foiled potential I-K suicide attacks. Even as there were reports of civilian casualties, including children, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, insisted the strike was “right”. It was only later, after a video survey by the New York Times showed that the person targeted was an innocent aid worker, did the Pentagon acknowledge that the strike was a tragic mistake and that no ISIS fighters had been killed.

In 2011, when the Obama administration announced the commando raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden, the president’s chief counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, said the al-Qaeda leader engaged in a shootout and used his wife as a human shield. A few days later, the White House regained his accountclaiming bin Laden was neither armed nor cowering behind a woman.

During the build-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, officials from President George W. Bush’s administration presented famous information about alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be inaccurate. They have also fueled unfounded fears that Iraq’s secular dictator, Saddam Hussein, is collaborating with the religious extremists behind the September 11 attacks, al-Qaeda.

During the wars In Vietnam and, more recently, in Afghanistan, administration officials from both parties often presented the public with a more optimistic picture of progress than internal government assessments supported. And President Lyndon B. Johnson justified an escalation of the war in Vietnam based on a supposed North Vietnamese attack on an American ship in the Gulf of Tonkin which never happened.

Recognizing that the US government has not always shared credible information and that its statements in such situations should be approached with skepticism is different from the equating of the US with ISIS or Russia, which is known for its disinformation operations – including a propaganda campaign suggesting that Ukraine is guilty of genocide against its Russian-speaking citizens.

And there are differences that may lend a greater presumption of credibility to current US government claims. The situation on the border between Ukraine and Russia is not like Vietnam or Iraq, for example, in that the United States is trying to deter conflict rather than justify or initiate it.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Why “trusting us” is often reason enough not to trust the government
Why “trusting us” is often reason enough not to trust the government
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