The mass media are full of headlines announcing that a “watchdog” has concluded in an “independent” investigation that US military personnel did nothing wrong in an August airstrike in Kabul which killed ten civilians and zero combatants.
“An independent Pentagon review has concluded that the U.S. drone strike that killed innocent Kabul civilians and children in the final days of the Afghanistan war was not caused by misconduct or negligence, and it doesn’t recommend any disciplinary action,” the Associated Press reports in an article titled “Watchdog finds no misconduct in mistaken Afghan airstrike“.
The word “watchdog” appears nowhere else in the article apart from its title, which means it was calculatingly chosen by an AP editor for the public (the vast majority of whom only read headlines) to see. When people hear the word “watchdog” in reference to scrutiny of government institutions they naturally think of the standard usage of that term: parties outside the institution being watched like Amnesty International or the American Civil Liberties Union. They most certainly don’t think of “watchdogs” being the government institutions themselves, as is the case here.
“The review, done by the Air Force Lt. Gen. Sami Said, found there were breakdowns in communication and in the process of identifying and confirming the target of the bombing, according to a senior defense official familiar with the report,” AP informs us.
The US Air Force is of course a branch of the US Department of Defense. So the Pentagon literally did the “we investigated ourselves and cleared ourselves of any wrongdoing” meme, and the mainstream press is passing that off as a real thing in much the same manner as the famous 1997 New York Times headline “C.I.A. Says It Has Found No Link Between Itself and Crack Trade“.