“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan. We didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”
— Gen. Douglas Lute, Afghan War “Czar” adviser to both presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
(Access NPR interview with Lute.)
“Truth was rarely welcome. Bad news was often stifled. Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible. Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced everything we were doing was right. And we became a self-licking ice cream cone.”
— Col. Bob Crowley, retired Army counter insurgency officer.
The Daily Podcast / New York Times (12/16/19)
For nearly two decades, U.S. government officials crafted a careful story of progress to justify their ongoing military campaign in Afghanistan. Newly disclosed documents reveal to what extent that story was not the reality of the war. Today, one former Marine speaks about the missteps the government concealed for years. Guest: Thomas Gibbons-Neff, a reporter in The New York Times Washington bureau and a former Marine infantryman and Eric Schmitt, who covers terrorism and national security for The New York Times. For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily.
- Afghans have endured four decades of conflict, with little prospect of peace. This is the story of the last 18 years since the American invasion, as told by the men and women who’ve lived it.
- “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” one retired three-star Army general said in hundreds of classified memos obtained by The Washington Post.
- Here are our key takeaways from the declassified documents.
The Afghanistan Papers Reveal Two Decades Of White House Cynicism, Lies & Deceit By Both Parties
A blockbuster investigative series from the Washington Post reveals the extent to which top officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations misled the public about widespread failures in America’s eighteen-year war in Afghanistan. The story described the ways in which the original mission of dismantling the Taliban was expanded with time, and how American money was funneled into the war despite a shared understanding among many U.S. officials that it was helping spawn corruption in the fledgling democracy.
What impact — if any — will the stark findings have on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, or American voters? To discuss, Jim Braude was joined by Stephen Kinzer, a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times, now a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University; and Neta Crawford, director of the Watson Institute’s Cost Of War Project, and chair of the political science department at Boston University.
Link to Story and 11-Minute Video
- Endless War Without Strategy: Bipartisan History Of Secrecy & Lies About The Afghan War Revealed — For nearly two decades of fighting in Afghanistan, U.S. leaders have sounded a constant refrain: We are making progress. Government interview records obtained by The Washington Post after a three-year legal battle show otherwise. Link To 17-Minute Video & Four Related Stories
- The U.S. Government Lied About The Afghanistan War. They Couldn’t Have Gotten By With It Without Lapdogs Like The Washington Post — “In ten years or so, we’ll leak the truth,” the Dead Kennedys sang. “But by then it’s only so much paper.” But it might just score you a Pulitzer Prize. Award bait and bragging rights are no doubt the principal goals of The Washington Post’s self-congratulatory data dump, “The Afghanistan Papers.” As the headline implies, the 2000 pages that a court ordered the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction to release to Jeff Bezos’ newspaper paints a Robert McNamara-esque portrait of not-so-best-or-bright Bush and Obama Administration bozos privately admitting what they knew all along—that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was always an unwinnable, counterproductive mistake—at the same time they were telling the American people that victory in the post-9/11 “good war” was right around the corner. All we had to win was win Afghan hearts and minds. … Read The Rest
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )