Washington Post: Top US officials repeatedly misled public about Afghanistan War

Washington Post: Top US officials repeatedly misled public about Afghanistan War

The Article mentioned it acquired the a lot more than 2,000 web pages of documents by a Independence of Details Act ask for manufactured three several years back that sought to acquire accessibility to the files, which it mentioned ended up section of a lengthy authorities report titled “Lessons Uncovered” that examined “the root failures” of the war effort and hard work by way of interviews with additional than 600 people, like a variety of foreigners related to NATO and 20 Afghan officers. The first interviews for the report have been conducted in 2014, in accordance to the Post, which mentioned 7 elements of the report have been revealed because 2016.

The paper claimed the interviews “carry into sharp relief the core failings of the war that persist to this working day” as “U.S. officers acknowledged that their warfighting strategies were being fatally flawed and that Washington wasted massive sums of revenue trying to remake Afghanistan into a modern day country.”

“Numerous of those interviewed explained express and sustained efforts by the U.S. federal government to deliberately mislead the public,” the Publish reported. “They mentioned it was typical at army headquarters in Kabul — and at the White Dwelling — to distort statistics to make it seem the United States was winning the war when that was not the scenario.”

Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell, a Defense Section spokesperson, pushed back again on the Post’s stories of deception, telling CNN in a statement that “there has been no intent by DoD to mislead Congress or the community.”

Protection Office “officials have continually briefed the progress and worries connected with our efforts in Afghanistan, and (the section) supplies common reports to Congress that highlight these troubles,” Campbell ongoing. “The data contained in the interviews was supplied to (the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) for the categorical goal of inclusion in SIGAR’s public reviews.”

Campbell also asserted that “most of the people today interviewed spoke with the gain of hindsight” and defended President Donald Trump’s South Asia Tactic in reassessing the United States’ strategy in the area.

“Hindsight has also enabled the Department to examine earlier strategies and revise our system, as we did in 2017 with the launch of the President’s South Asia Approach. DoD has been pretty distinct that this war will not conclusion on the battlefield,” he explained, incorporating that “in accordance with the President’s South Asia Tactic, our military services mission in Afghanistan is in aid of diplomatic attempts to reach a peace settlement.”

The Publish, which reported its investigation includes facts from previously unreported memos created amongst 2001 and 2006 by previous Protection Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, observed that the newly disclosed Defense documents “broadly resembles the Pentagon Papers, the Defense Department’s best-top secret historical past of the Vietnam War” due to the fact of the candor in the accounts integrated in each collections of paperwork. Most of people interviewed assumed that their remarks would not turn out to be community, the paper mentioned.

In a person these types of scenario, the Submit stated Douglas Lute, “a three-star Military basic who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar” below previous Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, advised interviewers “we ended up devoid of a elementary knowing of Afghanistan — we did not know what we ended up executing.”

“What are we attempting to do right here? We failed to have the foggiest idea of what we were being undertaking,” Lute stated in 2015, according to the Write-up.

In an additional case in point, Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White Home staffer for Bush and Obama, bemoaned the expense of the war to interviewers, inquiring, “What did we get for this $1 trillion energy? Was it well worth $1 trillion?” the Put up stated.

“Following the killing of Osama bin Laden, I claimed that Osama was in all probability laughing in his watery grave taking into consideration how a lot we have used on Afghanistan,” the former SEAL mentioned, according to the paper.

The Write-up reported that in a single of Rumsfeld’s memos, the former Pentagon main wrote: “I may be impatient. In reality I know I am a little bit impatient … We are in no way going to get the U.S. army out of Afghanistan except we acquire care to see that there is some thing likely on that will present the steadiness that will be required for us to leave.”

“Assistance!” he wrote in the memo, according to the paper.

In evaluating the new files to the Pentagon Papers, the Submit explained that “during the Afghan war, paperwork exhibit that U.S. navy officers have resorted to an outdated tactic from Vietnam — manipulating community opinion.”

For illustration, the interviews “comprise many admissions that the government routinely touted statistics that officers realized have been distorted, spurious or downright wrong,” the Publish reported. A person specific discovered as a senior National Security Council formal stated, according to the paper, that “even when casualty counts and other figures seemed lousy … the White Home and Pentagon would spin them to the position of absurdity.”

Peace might be breaking out in America's longest ever war
Michael Flynn, the retired three-star Military normal who briefly served as Trump’s national stability adviser, also presented candid feelings on the war hard work to interviewers, questioning in 2015 why officials had been touting it as effective, in accordance to the Submit.

“From the ambassadors down to the reduced degree, [they all say] we are executing a good occupation,” Flynn informed interviewers, the Article claimed. “Seriously? So if we are carrying out this sort of a excellent job, why does it really feel like we are shedding?”

The Article mentioned that John Sopko, the head of the Office of the Exclusive Inspector Normal for Afghanistan Reconstruction, which oversaw the “Lessons Acquired” task, advised the paper that the report displays “the American men and women have continually been lied to.”

Sopko also explained to the paper “that he did not suppress the blistering criticisms and uncertainties about the war that officers elevated” in the files and that his office “didn’t sit on it,” but had to wait around for other workplaces to evaluation the information and facts “to prevent governing administration insider secrets from remaining disclosed” in advance of it could comply with the Post’s FOIA request.

“We are agency believers in openness and transparency, but we’ve bought to follow the legislation,” Sopko reported, according to the Article.

CNN’s Barbara Starr and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.

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