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Which Bomb Will You Attend To?

Yesterday, the Guardian reported that British intelligence agents have given congressional investigations “specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion” between members of the Trump for President campaign and Russian spies who attacked the United States in 2016.

Also yesterday, the United States dropped a bomb on Afghanistan that was so big that the mushroom cloud from the explosion could be seen from 20 miles away. It was the biggest non-nuclear bomb that has ever been dropped.

Across American news outlets, the bomb got more attention than the bombshell. American journalists have been seduced by the “beauty” of the U.S. military, falling in line behind Donald Trump’s spreading campaign of violence, teaching him with their positive response each attack that the best technique for controlling the news narrative is to kill people in dramatic ways.

What few journalists remarked upon is that the GBU-43/B, also known as the Mother Of All Bombs, only managed to kill 36 people. As with Trump’s attack in Syria, the show was much bigger than the actual impact. Donald Trump is using bombs like he uses posts on Twitter – not to make an actual impact, but to create the kind of bombastic chaos from which he can build an intimidating public image.

Once Trump added bombs to his social media repertoire, the willingness of American journalists to ask critical questions seemed to evaporate. Most coverage of the GBU-43/B boiled down to an elaboration of the observation, “Wow. That was a really big bomb.” No one in cable news or in the nation’s big papers managed to ask the Mother Of All Questions: Why are we still fighting in Afghanistan 16 years after the war there began?

The fact that the American military feels that it has to resort to using its biggest sub-nuclear bomb just to kill a small group of its enemy shows what a profound failure the war in Afghanistan has been. For almost an entire generation, the biggest military in the world has been pounding Afghanistan, and has made little progress doing so.

In the meantime, we now have reason to believe that members of Congress have proof that the Trump for President campaign was coordinating throughout 2016 with Russian spies sent by Vladimir Putin to destroy American democracy. In response to receiving this information, Congress has gone on vacation.

Which bomb will you pay attention to? Don’t accept the false choice. You have the mental capacity to attend to, and ask critical questions about, both.

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