It must have been challenging for the Washington Post to publish the blockbuster report that reveals lies over the years from the United States government regarding Afghanistan. They had to do it; after three years and two lawsuits to invoke their Freedom of Information Act request, failure to publish a story about the now-infamous “Lessons Learned” report compiled by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) would have been journalistic malfeasance to the scale of killing a story about Jeffrey Epstein.
The report details years of lies told to the American people and more importantly to the families of military personnel who made sacrifices for what appears to be a lost cause. It’s as scathing of a report as any we’ve seen regarding the military in recent decades, quoting hundreds of military commanders, soldiers, politicians, foreign observers, and Afghanistan officials who all seem to come to the same general conclusion: We didn’t have a plan for our military to execute.
Even though SIGAR’s investigation took place in 2016, WaPo goes out of its way to equally distribute the blame between Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump. The blame, of course, rests squarely on the previous two administrations as President Bush launched the nation-building scheme and President Obama perpetuated it with his “surge” that yielded no fruit. President Trump has continuously said we need to pull out of Afghanistan, even going against his own advisers. But we’re still there. It’s time to bring the troops home.
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.
The rest of mainstream media is attempting to echo that the report is a condemnation against all three presidents. But when we dig into what was actually said and more importantly what was actually done, the burden of lies being told point specifically to President Bush and President Obama. As Newsweek reported, the lies were custom tailored to be politically beneficial even when the reality on the ground was dire.
A senior National Security Council official quoted by the Post said there was pressure from the White House and Pentagon to produce war figures that paint the troop surge under Obama as a sound strategy that was working, despite evidence to the contrary.
“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,” reported the Post, quoting the senior NSC official speaking to government interviewers in 2016. “The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war.”
Now that we know more of the truth, there’s no reason to continue forward. We’ve spent over a trillion dollars there, which is likely one of the reasons the previous two administrations tried to paint a rosier picture than what their reports told them. Waste is already bad enough when it has some benefits. The war in Afghanistan clearly has no benefits to anyone anymore, if it ever did at all. For once, I’m glad the Washington Post reported on something. This will hopefully seal the deal that President Trump has been pushing from the start: A disengagement from the quagmire of Afghanistan.
President Trump has an opportunity to follow his gut and pull our military out of the pointless war the previous two administrations started and perpetuated. It’s a lost cause and was from the start. Let’s bring the troops home.