Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Afghanistan Withdrawal: Sundays With the Military Industrial Complex – FAIR

Posted by M. C. on October 24, 2021

Twenty of the 22 unique featured guests from the United States had ties to the military/industrial complex.

Julie Hollar

As US troops finally made their exit from Afghanistan after 20 years of occupation, the Sunday shows—which have always aimed to set Washington agendas—were filled with guests who had direct ties to the military/industrial complex.

FAIR analyzed three weeks of ABC‘s This Week, CBS‘s Face the Nation, CNN‘s State of the Union, Fox News Sunday and NBC‘s Meet the Press during the Afghanistan withdrawal (8/15/21, 8/22/21, 8/29/21). We recorded 36 featured guest appearances and 33 roundtable participant appearances. Those who appeared on more than one show were counted every time they appeared; there were 24 unique featured guests and 32 unique panelists.

Of the 24 unique featured guests, only two were not from the US: Roya Rahmani, the former ambassador to the US from Afghanistan, and Yasmeen Hassan, the Pakistani director of the NGO Equality Now. The two were interviewed jointly in one CNN segment (8/29/21)—the only segment in the study to center on the situation of Afghan women.

MIC ties

HR McMaster, Meet the Press

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster (Meet the Press, 8/29/21): “We surrendered to a jihadist organization and assumed that there would be no consequences for that.”

Twenty of the 22 unique featured guests from the United States had ties to the military/industrial complex. These MIC associates accounted for 28 of US guests’ 34 appearances. They included 13 appearances by elected officials who are recipients of military industry PAC money, 12 appearances by current or former government officials who serve or have served as consultants or advisors to the military industry, and eight appearances by former members of the military. (Some guests had multiple ties.)

The two exceptions were National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who appeared five times, and career diplomat and former ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker (CBS, 8/22/21). Even these exceptions didn’t stray far from the MIC orbit: Crocker was cozy enough to the military to be named an honorary Marine in 2012, and Sullivan was a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a somewhat misleadingly named think tank that regularly takes five- and six-figure donations from various tentacles of the military/industrial complex.

No elected officials without military/industrial complex ties were invited on to discuss the situation in Afghanistan in the three weeks studied. Nor were any scholars, activists or civil society leaders aside from Hassan.

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