In a trove of confidential documents insiders speak candidly about what went wrong in the Afghanistan War. It took 3 years and 2 federal lawsuits for @washingtonpost to obtain the documents. You can read all 2,000+ pages in our interactive database. https://t.co/3HJEmduDJ9— Danielle Rindler (@danrindl) December 9, 2019
Explosive – a Pentagon Papers moment: “senior US officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false..hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable” https://t.co/8ZUOLYudKD— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) December 9, 2019
US official who conducted secret survey of US war in Afghanistan: “The American people have constantly been lied to.”— David Folkenflik (@davidfolkenflik) December 9, 2019
The pentagon papers of our times. From WaPo’s @CraigMWhitlock https://t.co/OAN8cOWlg8
I’m reading through this now.
I doubt there is anything in here that will come as a surprise. Did anyone still believe we weren’t being lied to about Afghanistan?
“For 18 years, America has been at war in Afghanistan. As part of a government project to understand what went wrong, a federal agency interviewed more than 400 people who had a direct role in the conflict. In those interviews, generals, ambassadors, diplomats and other insiders offered firsthand accounts of the mistakes that have prolonged the war.
The full, unsparing remarks and the identities of many of those who made them have never been made public — until now. After a three-year legal battle, The Washington Post won release of more than 2,000 pages of “Lessons Learned” interviews conducted by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Those interviews reveal there was no consensus on the war’s objectives, let alone how to end the conflict. …
With most speaking on the assumption that their remarks would not become public, U.S. officials acknowledged that their warfighting strategies were fatally flawed and that Washington wasted enormous sums of money trying to remake Afghanistan into a modern nation. …
“What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?” Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. He added, “After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan.”
As commanders in chief, Bush, Obama and Trump all promised the public the same thing. They would avoid falling into the trap of “nation-building” in Afghanistan.
On that score, the presidents failed miserably. The United States has allocated more than $133 billion to build up Afghanistan — more than it spent, adjusted for inflation, to revive the whole of Western Europe with the Marshall Plan after World War II.
The Lessons Learned interviews show the grandiose nation-building project was marred from the start.
U.S. officials tried to create — from scratch — a democratic government in Kabul modeled after their own in Washington. It was a foreign concept to the Afghans, who were accustomed to tribalism, monarchism, communism and Islamic law….”
“The path to The Afghanistan Papers started with Michael Flynn.
In the summer of 2016, as the retired Army general became renowned for his fervent support of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, The Washington Post received a tip that Flynn had given a lengthy unpublished interview railing about the war in Afghanistan.
Flynn had granted the interview to staffers from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) as part of its Lessons Learned project. The general had served in the war zone as chief of military intelligence and carried a reputation for speaking his mind. What did he have to say about the longest armed conflict in American history? It seemed like something the public ought to know. …”
This is only the tip of the iceberg.
Afghanistan didn’t have the demographics to become a liberal democracy. The same was true of Iraq. This is what we have said for nearly 20 years now.