These documents are pretty devastating.
Courtesy of WaPo:
A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.
The documents were generated by a federal project examining the root failures of the longest armed conflict in U.S. history. They include more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials.
In the interviews, more than 400 insiders offered unrestrained criticism of what went wrong in Afghanistan and how the United States became mired in nearly two decades of warfare.
With a bluntness rarely expressed in public, the interviews lay bare pent-up complaints, frustrations and confessions, along with second-guessing and backbiting.
“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”
“If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost,” Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. “Who will say this was in vain?”
Since 2001, more than 775,000 U.S. troops have deployed to Afghanistan, many repeatedly. Of those, 2,300 died there and 20,589 were wounded in action, according to Defense Department figures.
The interviews, through an extensive array of voices, bring into sharp relief the core failings of the war that persist to this day. They underscore how three presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump — and their military commanders have been unable to deliver on their promises to prevail in Afghanistan.
I initially started my blog as a kind of release valve to vent my frustrations with the Bush Administration and my anger over the two wars that were started for no good legitimate reasons.
In those early days I found I could criticize the Iraq War with minimal blowback but if I dared to criticize the Afghanistan war, the so-called “good” war, I would immediately find my comments section filled with angry responses calling me a traitor and suggesting that I was giving comfort to the terrorists.
The facts are that neither of those wars were started for good reason and that we were completely unprepared to attain victory in either one of them.
Instead we slaughtered millions of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, created thousands of new terrorists, and spent trillions of tax payer dollars because the American people were frightened and our government took advantage of that fear to start military campaigns that would never have passed the smell test in less troubled times.
And now here we are finally confronted with the documentation which proves the critics were right all along, and that the American people have been lied to for two decades.
If you are surprised by this then you were simply not paying attention.
But don’t beat yourself up over it, because those of us who were paying attention did not manage to change a goddamn thing.
I only wonder if we will be more successful the next time, because trust me, there will always be a next time.