18 Years of Lies About Afghanistan

badlatitude

Super Anarchist
27,807
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I guess we didn't learn a stinking thing from Vietnam. $2 trillion bucks would have repaired and built a lot of roads and bridges, bought a lot of things we deprived ourselves of having because we listened to these fools. The best payback I can think of is starving the Pentagon for the next 18 fucking years.


WASHINGTON — Thousands of pages of documents detailing the war in Afghanistan released by The Washington Post on Monday paint a stark picture of missteps and failures — and those assessments were delivered by prominent American officials, many of whom had publicly said the mission was succeeding.

The United States military achieved a quick but short-term victory over the Taliban and Al Qaeda in early 2002, and the Pentagon’s focus then shifted toward Iraq. The Afghan conflict became a secondary effort, a hazy spectacle of nation building, with intermittent troop increases to conduct high-intensity counterinsurgency offensives — but, overall, with a small number of troops carrying out an unclear mission.

Even as the Taliban returned in greater numbers and troops on the ground voiced concerns about the American strategy’s growing shortcomings, senior American officials almost always said that progress was being made.

The documents obtained by The Post show otherwise.“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” said Douglas Lute, a retired three-star Army general who helped the White House oversee the war in Afghanistan in the Bush and Obama administrations.

“What are we trying to do here?” he told government interviewers in 2015. “We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

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The 2,000 pages of interviews were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and years of legal back-and-forth with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, according to The Post. Formed in 2008, the office has served as a government watchdog for the war in Afghanistan, releasing reports quarterly on the conflict’s progress, many of which publicly depicted the shortcomings of the effort.

In one interview obtained by The Post, a person identified only as a senior National Security Council official said that the Obama White House, along with the Pentagon, pushed for data that showed President Barack Obama’s announced surge in 2009 was succeeding.

“It was impossible to create good metrics. We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory, and none of it painted an accurate picture,” the official told interviewers in 2016, according to The Post. “The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war.”

 



In 2010 this pressure trickled down to troops on the ground, as they answered to commanders eager to show progress to senior leaders, including Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, then the commander of all American troops in Afghanistan. But the facts were that the fledgling Afghan military performed poorly in the field and that the American “clear, hold, build” counterinsurgency strategy had little hope of succeeding.

“Afghans knew we were there temporarily, and that affected what we could do,” Marc Chretien, who served as the senior State Department adviser to the Marines in Helmand Province, said in one interview. “An elder in Helmand once told me as much, saying: ‘Your Marines live in tents. That’s how I know you won’t be here long.’”

The tension between rosy public statements and the reality on the ground has been one of the enduring elements of the war. Now, 18 years in, the American-led mission in Afghanistan has all but cut off outside access to United States troops on the ground in an attempt to execute their mission in near-secrecy.

Much more at the link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/09/world/asia/afghanistan-war-documents.html#commentsContainer



 
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Rum Runner

Rum Runner
5,276
292
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Afghanistan has embarrassed world powers for 100+ years. Not just the US but England and Russia got their butts kicked by trying to make control that region. This is a tribal society that defies western attempts to organize it into a country.  We need to acknowledge this and then move on.  

 

badlatitude

Super Anarchist
27,807
4,038
Afghanistan has embarrassed world powers for 100+ years. Not just the US but England and Russia got their butts kicked by trying to make control that region. This is a tribal society that defies western attempts to organize it into a country.  We need to acknowledge this and then move on.  
Yes, and then we need to see peace for a change. We have spent more money than even our great-grandchildren will be able to repay on this debt in their lifetimes. We should all be ashamed.

 

Lark

Supper Anarchist
9,209
1,531
Ohio
Running away has been suggested for about 16 of those 18 years.    We kept being told we shouldn’t leave just as we were starting to make progress.   I seem to remember a lot of opposition here when Trump proposed the same strategy.    

 

Fakenews

Super Anarchist
13,282
1,684
Running away has been suggested for about 16 of those 18 years.    We kept being told we shouldn’t leave just as we were starting to make progress.   I seem to remember a lot of opposition here when Trump proposed the same strategy.    
Without wars it’s hard for people in the Military to get promoted.  It’s the reason the military lies about war.

Americans lap it up because...

PATRIOTISM!

 
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Pertinacious Tom

Importunate Member
61,261
1,670
Punta Gorda FL
WASHINGTON — Thousands of pages of documents detailing the war in Afghanistan released by The Washington Post on Monday paint a stark picture of missteps and failures — and those assessments were delivered by prominent American officials, many of whom had publicly said the mission was succeeding.
I posted about this in what seemed the relevant thread. I hope we learn the names of the "prominent American officials" at the very least.

The Afghanistan Papers
 

The behavior has been the same through three administrations now: painting a rosy picture of a futile waste. Glad to see Bezo$'  pet pre$$ corporation $peaking out about it.

It hasn't been easy. They had to sue a couple of times to get FOIA release of the documents, but without names.

I hope Judge Jackson makes them name names but if she decides otherwise she has earned enough credibility that I would not be inclined to question the decision.



 

badlatitude

Super Anarchist
27,807
4,038
Without wars it’s hard for people in the Military to get promoted.  It’s the reason the military lies about war.

Americans lap it up because...

PATRIOTISM!
It's mostly about money, promotion is important, but not the driving motive.

 

Pertinacious Tom

Importunate Member
61,261
1,670
Punta Gorda FL
Running away has been suggested for about 16 of those 18 years.    We kept being told we shouldn’t leave just as we were starting to make progress.   I seem to remember a lot of opposition here when Trump proposed the same strategy.    
The "immediate" (non) withdrawal from Syria damn near caused a bipartisan PANIC.

 

Olsonist

Disgusting Liberal Elitist
28,053
3,459
New Oak City
W had already screwed the pooch in Afghanistan. But this was my big beef with Obama. I'll grant that he did chase down OBL and I can never quite separate Afghanistan and OBL. So Obama was just sloppy seconds after W. There was NEVER going to be any win there. We just spent a lot of money, trillions, killed a lot of people, lost a few ourselves and created more blowback.

What a stupid waste.

 
G

Guest

Guest
The best payback I can think of is starving the Pentagon for the next 18 fucking years.
The last 18 years wasn't the pentagon's fault.  Last I checked, the nation's policy was run by civilians and fed by congress.  

 

badlatitude

Super Anarchist
27,807
4,038
The last 18 years wasn't the pentagon's fault.  Last I checked, the nation's policy was run by civilians and fed by congress.  
You poor naive little snowflake. Don't you realize that the Pentagon and the military Industrial Complex has been methodically controlling how we view coming wars, the need for advanced weaponry, the need to advance our interests worldwide, the need to start wars, skirmishes, invent yellow cake, develop technology, develop drones, the CIA, DIA, and 15 other agencies all with their own agenda? You of all people should be wise to this, why aren't you?

Yes, Congress and civilians bear a large responsibility, but not solely.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_model

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_military_analyst_program

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationale_for_the_Iraq_War

https://pastebin.com/88Em6DsB

https://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/us/20generals.html

 
G

Guest

Guest
Actually, I would say the voting public and the media bear most of the blame for this.  We keep voting in people who think the AUMF should last forever, or who are too gutless to challenge it for fear of reprisals at the polls.  And the media is more focused on what a celeb wore to dinner or who is fucking around on whom rather than doing the hard reporting needed to get the American public on side and against the war. 

And Nancy could have pulled the plug on funding the war$ at any time $he was SOTH.  

 
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Navig8tor

Super Anarchist
7,042
1,773
Dick Cheney,

Such a altruistic individual, country first....right?

Oh I forgot he's a republican............. so its ok to make.......... personally pocket......US $35 million of a war.........

Have to say the media was a little late to that party, were they even invited?.

 
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