The title could be about just anything political for lies and cash are the stock and trade of American politics……in this case I am trying to point out the lies the public were told about the the situation in Afghanistan for the last 20 damn years…..
The Pentagon, the president, Secs Defense and State with the help of the media have been lying to the American people for just about of our 20 year involvement in Afghanistan….
The lies began December 2001 when Bush issued his statement…..
“The Taliban regime is coming to an end,” announced President George W. Bush at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on December 12, 2001 — almost twenty years ago today. Five months later, Bush vowed: “In the United States of America, the terrorists have chosen a foe unlike they have faced before. . . . We will stay until the mission is done.” Four years after that, in August of 2006, Bush announced: “Al Qaeda and the Taliban lost a coveted base in Afghanistan and they know they will never reclaim it when democracy succeeds. . . . The days of the Taliban are over. The future of Afghanistan belongs to the people of Afghanistan.”
And the lies continued from there.
Let’s just pick on a couple of the major lies……thanx to Maj. Danny Sjursen……
The Pentagon (publicly, at least) underestimated the skill, will and popularity of the Taliban, whilst (also publicly) overestimating the same factors for the security forces of the U.S.-installed and -backed Kabul government. While even such a skeptic as I was wrong about the likely speed, scale, and scope of enemy victory – what’s clear from the often almost-combat-free recent conquests, is that Taliban success turned on mostly morale and psychological factors. Many local elders and power-brokers feared a return to 1990s-era chaotic civil war more than a Taliban takeover (and the semblance of at least order they hoped the latter would bring). Then, as Afghan security forces faced a recent string of defeats, often went unpaid, and lacked proper air or logical support – they read the way the wind was blowing, decided not to die needlessly, and thus the Taliban tidal wave took on an inertial momentum all its own. Kabul’s soldiers aren’t all cowards – most Afghans are able and willing fighters – but neither are they stupid or suicidal. Washington never really admitted the extent to which America’s very invasion – and especially its prolonged military occupation – bolstered the Taliban narrative, (somewhat understandably, if uncomfortably) legitimizing these oft-pitiless Islamists as the only true nationalist resistance in town. That the recognized Afghan government remained so reliant, after two decades, on US trainers, contracted-logisticians, and cold-hard-cash (Kabul still lacked enough tax revenue to even pay its own security forces) only magnified the perception that President Ghani and company were little more than corrupt (which they were) foreign lackeys.
Establishment elites – politicians and pundits alike – ignored the advice of actual nonpartisan experts, as well as centuries of history and even basic reason, believing (as they’re are apt to do) that America-the-exceptional would prove the exception when wading into the “graveyard of empires.” Deep down, even the US military knew the salacious score and the long odds. In my mandatory military history course at Fort Leavenworth’s Command and General Staff College (the Army’s school for new majors), we were all taught about the all-but-unconquerable challenges of what’s called “fortified compound warfare” (FCW). In such a situation, one’s enemies possess four main elements and advantages: 1) a regular or main force (massed Taliban foot soldiers), 2) an irregular or guerrilla force (dispersed Taliban fighters, as well as informants, urban terrorists and assassins), 3) a safe haven for the regular force (just over the Pakistani border), and 4) a major-power ally (Pakistan, and much later, and to a much lesser extent, maybe Russia and Iran). An official US Army University Press publication dubbed compound warfare “the fatal knot,” and admitted that “[an enemy possessed of these advantages] nearly always defeated its opponents because the adversary’s necessary first step to victory, destroying the FCW defender’s main force, is almost impossible.” Yet into the impossibility-inferno America’s moral-coward generals and civilian-chickenhawks gleefully leaped – replete with 20-years worth of sunny false follow-on promises of progress. That is until the Taliban called in the illusional chips.
Overall, and perhaps most profoundly, American leaders – enabled by an apathetic, deceived, and cowed citizenry – exaggerated the utility of of foreign-imposed force to transform far-flung complex societies. Even after countless (at best) indecisive draws, and (should-have-been) obvious Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan losses – not to mention abject blood-soaked failure back in Vietnam – these criminally inept clowns never learned the limits of American military power. And why not? No one (at the top) is held accountable; no one fails to profit from even losing ventures, and none of the policymakers were betting their own sons and daughters at the Afghan table – these venal incompetents really believed they were playing with the house’s (blood) money. So they carelessly acted accordingly.
Like I stated just a bit of the manure spread by politicians and the media…..
Our ‘leaders’ deluded themselves and the public for 20 years…..
Afghanistan was never America’s to lose. The US and its Afghan allies did not, at any point, control the country, Daniel Silverberg writes in the Atlantic. Instead, officials in Washington deluded themselves and each other for two decades, until President Biden was left with nothing but bad choices. A former Defense Department official, Silverberg saw on a 2017 visit to Kabul that the government couldn’t even guarantee the safety of the four-mile route from the airport to the US Embassy—and that was with the help of thousands of US personnel in the country. In congressional hearings, he heard intelligence officials assess the tenuous situation in Afghanistan, only to be followed by defense officials’ optimistic portrayal of progress. In truth, the 20-year US effort went nowhere. “Biden did not decide to withdraw,” Silverberg writes, “so much as he chose to acknowledge a long-festering reality.” You can read the full piece here.
Writing in Slate, Fred Kaplan sees similar delusions, calling the army’s collapse and the Taliban’s rout “the result of an arrogance that has plagued American strategy from nearly the beginning.” The US self-deception began in 2001, when an international conference assumed that Afghanistan, with the Taliban gone, would embrace democracy and civil society—if only the “mountainous, rural, largely illiterate country ruled by provincial warlords” could be shown the way. Decisions were based on US ideals, not what would work in Afghanistan. The US sent millions to the government that was used to bribe warlords to follow edicts, further ingraining a culture of corruption. Another $83 billion went to create an army “in the precise image of the US military,” Kaplan writes, sustained by a combat support network maintained by American forces and contractors. When US personnel withdrew, it was over. “Not even US military units would have been able to fight well without this network behind them,” Kaplan writes. You can read his full piece here.
I find it very telling how the media has changed its tune now that Afghanistan has fallen….it has gone from cheer leading to condemnation….scapegoats everywhere.
My point is that all willing participants to the lies owe their existence to the Defense industry…..this country needs writers like myself and others that will not bow to the influence of the industry whose profits come from the continuation of war.
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