Bush and the Media Cover Up Jihad Schoolbook Scandal
It has been almost unreported in the Western media that the US government shipped - and continues to ship - millions of Islamist (that's short for Islamic fundamentalist) textbooks into Afghanistan.
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BUSH & THE MEDIA COVER-UP THE JIHAD SCHOOLBOOK SCANDAL
By Jared Israel
[Posted 9 April 2002]
Have you heard about the Afghan Jihad schoolbook scandal?
Or perhaps I should say, "Have you heard about the Afghan Jihad
schoolbook scandal that's waiting to happen?"
Because it has been almost unreported in the Western media that the US
government shipped - and continues to ship - millions of Islamist
(that's short for Islamic fundamentalist) textbooks into Afghanistan.
Only one English-speaking newspaper we could find has investigated this
issue: the Washington Post. The story appeared March 23rd. (A)
According to Washington Post investigators, over the past twenty years
the US has spent millions of dollars producing fanatical schoolbooks,
which were then distributed in Afghanistan.
"The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured
drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then [i.e.,
since the violent destruction of the Afghan secular government in the
early 1990s] as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. Even the
Taliban used the American-produced books..." -- Washington Post, 23 March
According to the Post, these violent Islamist schoolbooks, which
"served...as the Afghan school system's core curriculum" produced "unintended
Core curriculum? Unintended consequences?
Yes, reports the Washington Post, according to unnamed officials the
schoolbooks "steeped a generation in [Islamist] violence."
How could this result be unintended? Did they expect that having
fundamentalist schoolbooks in the core curriculum would produce moderate
LET'S BE REASONABLE
Nobody with normal intelligence could expect to distribute millions of
violent Islamist schoolbooks without influencing school children
towards violent Islamism. Therefore one would assume that the unnamed US
officials who, we are told, are distressed at these "unintended
consequences" must previously have been unaware of the Islamist content of the
But surely someone was aware. The US government can't write, edit,
print and ship millions of violent, Muslim fundamentalist primers into
Afghanistan without somebody in high places (in the US government)
approving those primers.
So if the books weren't supposed to be Islamist, that is, if their
fanatical content contradicted US policy in Afghanistan, shouldn't the mass
media and top politicians, such as President George Bush, now be
calling for an investigation? Shouldn't they be demanding to know the
identity of the official or officials who subverted the *intended* US policy
by flooding Afghanistan with jihad primers?
Indeed, considering the disastrous consequences, shouldn't US officials
and the media be questioning the very practice of violating the
sovereignty of other countries by distributing millions of Islamic
Yet after a thorough Internet search we could find no evidence that any
mainstream Western newspaper, with the exception of the Washington
Post, or any TV station or government leader has questioned - let alone
denounced - sending fundamentalist schoolbooks to Afghanistan.
Quite the contrary.
For example, here's what the Boston Globe (owned by the NY Times) wrote
about the old textbooks:
"Those schoolbooks that still exist are pro-Taliban screeds and deemed
-- Boston Globe, March 17, 2002 (B)
This is implicitly misleading. How could Elizabeth Neuffer, who wrote
this article, and who is the Globe's UN Bureau Chief, not know that
these schoolbooks were made in USA? Was the UN also involved in
distributing the Islamist books? Perhaps instead of hiding US complicity, she
should do some investigative reporting!
Other newspapers went further, lying more elaborately about US
involvement. Here is the Daily Telegraph from Sydney, Australia:
[START DAILY TELEGRAPH EXCERPT]
"AFGHAN children ran, skipped and dawdled to their classrooms like
pupils everywhere yesterday for the start of a new school year -- with
girls and women teachers back in class and subjects like math replacing the
Islamic dogma of the Taliban.
"In a symbolic break from a war-scarred past, children opened new
textbooks written by Afghan scholars based at universities in the US.
"There are even pictures of people -- images banned by the
- The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), March 25, 2002 (C)
[END DAILY TELEGRAPH EXCERPT]
By beginning the article with the irrelevant but cheery image, "Afghan
children ran, skipped and dawdled, etc.," the Telegraph prepares us for
an upbeat news experience. We are not disappointed. In the new
schoolbooks, we are told:
"There are even pictures of people -- images banned by the
This creates the impression that the Taliban were responsible for the
bad old texts. Good thing we invaded Afghanistan and brought US
influence to bear!
Unfortunately, as the Washington Post investigators reported:
"Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical
movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict
fundamentalist code." -- Washington Post, March 23, 2002
Other than their objections to the human face, the Taliban were
perfectly happy with the US-produced primers.
Next, as if presenting evidence of a sea change, the Telegraph tells us
great news: Afghan children now have new schoolbooks "written by Afghan
scholars based at universities in the US."
Similarly, an article five weeks earlier in the Omaha World-Herald
declares that, "Afghanistan stands at least a chance of hauling a modern,
healthy society up out of the ashes of war and oppression," partly
because University of Nebraska at Omaha "officials and staffers" will be
"cranking up their presses in neighboring Pakistan" to churn out
schoolbooks, all funded by "a $ 6.5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for
International Development [AID]." (D)
Neither newspaper mentions the fact that the bad *old* schoolbooks
"were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of
Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies." -- Washington
Post, March 23, 2002)
What about the US government? Have any US congressmen demanded an
investigation to find out who in the US government was involved in the
production of jihad primers that "steeped a generation in [Islamist]
No they have not.
SPEAKING OF FORKED TONGUES...
What about George Walker Bush?
You may recall that George and Laura Bush have made passionate speeches
denouncing Islamic fundamentalism. At first Mr. Bush told us we needed
to attack Afghanistan in order to stop Mr. bin Laden. But later on he
(and Laura Bush) told us we were fighting to crush the vicious
Has George Bush said anything about the textbooks?
Yes, Mr. Bush talked about the jihad primers in a March 16th radio
broadcast. He held nothing back:
"And before the end of the year, we'll have sent almost 10 million of
them [that is, new textbooks] to the children of Afghanistan. These
textbooks will teach tolerance and respect for human dignity *instead of
indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry*." -- My emphasis -
Radio Broadcast, March 16, 2002 (E)
Note the phrase, "instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism
So according to Bush, Afghan school children won't have to contend with
bad schoolbooks anymore because finally the US has taken charge,
replacing those other guys, those evil educators who published textbooks
"indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry."
The amazing thing is not only that he tells such total lies but that he
delivers them with such righteous indignation.
What about the new textbooks? Will they "teach tolerance and respect
for human dignity" as Honest George promises?
To be precise (which may be an unwise move in the New World Order) how
will the new textbooks that George Bush Junior is shipping into
Afghanistan differ from the old ones?
You know, those old books that were also designed at the University of
Nebraska at Omaha and also paid for by US AID? You know, those old,
un-American books that George Bush Junior attacked for "indoctrinating
students with fanaticism and bigotry"? You know, those terrible old books
that were shipped into Afghanistan by US AID when George Bush Senior
Here's the Washington Post again:
"On Feb. 4, [Chris Brown, head of book revision for AID's Central Asia
Task Force] arrived in Peshawar, the Pakistani border town in which the
textbooks were to be printed, to oversee hasty revisions to the
printing plates. Ten Afghan educators labored night and day, scrambling to
replace rough drawings of weapons with sketches of pomegranates and
oranges, Brown said."] - My emphasis, Washington Post, March 23, 2002
So it appears that the only change is that some violent pictures have
been removed from the printing plates and some fruit has been added.
There is no indication that the texts have been changed.
What does a non-fundamentalist Afghan educator think about the new
"'The pictures [in the old schoolbooks] are horrendous to school
students, *but the texts are even much worse,'* said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, an
Afghan educator who is a program coordinator for Cooperation for Peace
and Unity, a Pakistan-based nonprofit.'"
-- (My emphasis, Washington Post, March 23, 2002)
So the Untied States government is right now shipping into Afghanistan
millions of Islamic Fundamentalist schoolbooks whose texts, according
to a non-Fundamentalist Afghan educator, are not just "horrendous," they
are "much worse."
Is it possible that this is all a terrible mistake? That Mr. Bush and
US AID just don't know what's in the new schoolbooks?
According to the Washington Post, the "White House defends the
religious content" of the schoolbooks. And as for US AID, the Agency for
International Development, which pays for the books:
'It's not AID's policy to support religious instruction,' Stratos said.
'But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . .
is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity.'"
(-- Washington Post, March 23, 2002)
So because education is predominantly secular it's OK for the
schoolbooks to be fundamentalist. Likewise, since marriage is predominatly
monogamous it's OK to cheat on your wife. And since banks are after all
mainly places where people deposit money to keep it safe, it's fine to go
rob a bank.
Mr. Bush describes the texts of the old books as "indoctrinating
students with fanaticism and bigotry." But note, having been republished in
the new books, these exact same texts have undergone a transformation.
They have been reborn as "religious instruction" (says US AID) or
"religious content" (says the White House). It's a modern miracle.
Reading these news reports and statements one might feel a certain
sympathy for citizens of the US and allied countries, required to hold in
their minds at one time a) the conviction that Mr. Bush is sincerely
fighting Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan and b) the knowledge that
the US is spending millions of dollars to indoctrinate Afghan school
children with Islamic fundamentalism.
Not to worry. This problem has been solved by the US and allied mass
media, which, with the exception of the Washington Post, have never told
their readers and viewers who it was that produced the old books or
what it is that's in the new ones.
Even the Washington Post has pulled its punches. For example, consider
the headline of the March 23rd article, the only one that deals
critically with the jihad primers.
Here's the headline:
"From U.S., the ABC's of Jihad; Violent Soviet-Era Textbooks Complicate
Afghan Education Efforts."
"Violent Soviet-Era textbooks." This phrase doesn't even make it clear
that the books were shipped in by theUSA! They could have been hateful
And the phrase, "Complicate Afghan Education Efforts" sounds like the
books are hindering current US attempts at effecting progressive change.
Nobody would guess from this headline that US AID has been forcing
Islamic fundamentalist texts on Afghan kids for 20 years. And that they're
still importing the same fundamentalist texts today.
(This is important because studies show that with any given article,
most people only read the headline.)
In the body of the article itself the Post asserts without offering any
evidence that steeping "a generation in [Islamist] violence" was an
"unintended consequence" of giving these kids violent Islamist
"Unintended consequence" is fast becoming the US Establishment's
favorite excuse for the many disasters of its foreign policy. "We didn't
know. We weren't prepared. We used old maps. We didn't see the train. We
thought there were tanks in the refugee column. Who could have expected
this to happen?" and on and on.
But does the case of the Islamist textbooks seem like "unintended
consequences?" Or, quite the contrary, doesn't it show every indication of
being "deliberate policy!"
In a forthcoming article we will examine other "unintended
consequences" of US policy in Afghanistan.
-- Jared Israel
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