By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) The Washington Post did President Donald Trump a huge favor on Monday, which is notable in and of itself since the paper has spent the past three years enabling the same deep state it exposed in a blockbuster report on Afghanistan.
Nicknamed this generation’s “Pentagon Papers,” the Post provided horrific and heartbreaking details about the war there — by far, America’s longest war at just more than 18 years.
Jaime McIntyre of the Washington Examiner summarized what the Post discovered:
The “Afghanistan Papers” released by the Washington Post reveal a truth that any journalist covering America’s longest war has known for a long time — that while civilian and military leaders have publicly professed confidence that steady progress was being made, privately many, if not most harbored deep doubts about the efficacy of the strategy in Afghanistan.
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The cache of more than 2,000 pages notes of interviews from some 400 Pentagon leaders, generals, diplomats, aid workers and Afghan officials — which the Post obtained through the Freedom of Information Act after a three-year legal battle — are being portrayed as a “secret history of the war” in Afghanistan, a nod to the leaked 1971 Pentagon Papers that revealed similar truths about the Vietnam War.
In short, the papers contain interviews with several officials — many of them former military commanders in Afghanistan — who admit that there was no plan to win the war in Afghanistan, that the rules of engagement made winning impossible, and that report after official report claiming “progress was being made on the ground” were simply the work of fiction.
“If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost,” said retired Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations in one document. “Who will say this was in vain?”
Some did, actually, and then paid for it with their careers. One of those people was retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn — yes, that Michael Flynn, the one who would go onto become Trump’s first national security adviser until the deep state that ran him out as Obama’s Defense Intelligence Agency chief.
The Guardian reported:
If one interview stands out, it is with Michael Flynn, the director of intelligence for the International Security Assistance Force [ISAF] in Afghanistan from June 2009 to October 2010, who would later serve briefly as Donald Trump’s national security adviser before leaving the post in disgrace.
Describing a “positivity bias” in reporting back to Washington, Flynn concluded that the “rosy picture” being painted across the board from the conflict was as corrupt as the theft that was also going on, and condemned a “lack of courage in senior government officials to tell the truth”.
“For a while [the operational successes on a daily basis] might have made me feel good, but after 2006, for me, it was actually irrelevant because we were just killing so many people and it wasn’t making any difference at all,” Flynn told his questioners.
But set against that lack of progress, Flynn continued, was an institutional desire to report and to be the recipient of “good news”.
“Commanders and policymakers, on the spectrum of news, they want always to be good news. Operational commanders, state department policymakers and Department of Defense policymakers are going to be inherently rosy in their assessments. They will be unaccepting of hard-hitting intelligence.”
For Flynn, the problem was not reserved to the higher-ups, but individual commanders at battalion and brigade level.
“[This was true for every] commander. They all said, when they left, they accomplished [the] mission. Every single commander. Not one commander is going to leave Afghanistan or Iraq or any place, not one is going to leave and say, ‘You know what, we didn’t accomplish our mission.’
“So the next guy that shows up finds it screwed up … they do their mission analysis once they are on the ground and then they come back and go, ‘Man, this is really bad.’
“From ambassadors down to the low level [they all say] we are doing a great job. Really? So if we are doing a great job, why does it feel like we are losing? There is corruption in reporting and not just corruption in the theft that occurred … That also includes from the state department. There is no way that over the years, to include this year , that we can say things are wonderful.”
Shortly afterward, Flynn was out and not just out as DIA chief, but tainted. Smeared as a ‘kook’ and a ‘rabble rouser’ who wasn’t a ‘team player’ and who spread ‘conspiracies’ about the war there.
But he was absolutely right. I know, because I spent a year in that hellhole.
I was part of a route clearance battalion. Our mission was to keep roads and ‘routes’ open; that is, free of Taliban improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Using specialized vehicles and equipment, we found lots of IEDs…and lots of IEDs found us.
Between 2009 and 2010, the longest year of my life (which I volunteered for, because I wanted to “do my part”), we traveled more kilometers and ‘cleared’ more routes than any Army National Guard battalion before us (and probably since). Our commander — a wonderful man who had our best interests at heart but who also had a mission to do — developed a strategy of constant patrolling to keep the Taliban off-guard and not give them time to plant really large IEDs due to our omnipresence.
It ‘worked,’ of course, but only in the sense that Flynn described. We accomplished our mission, but only in that limited way described by Flynn. At year’s end, we counted a lot of successes, but we came back with four fewer men while leaving behind a lot of blown-up equipment.
And all said and done, not a damned thing changed. The route clearance battalion that fell in on us suffered as well. As did the next battalion. And the next.
And that was a decade ago. Wash, rinse, repeat.
McIntyre noted that the president’s gut instinct told him we needed to get out of that place, but he admitted he was convinced against his gut by his advisers — all gone now — to continue the war effort. “My original instinct was to pull out, Trump said in an Aug. 21, 2017 speech announcing his new strategy, “and, historically, I like following my instincts.”
In a newly-published book, Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos, by CNN analyst Peter Bergen, in which Bergen describes a 2017 meeting attended by retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, who lost a son in Afghanistan.
Trump reportedly said, “We got our boys who are over there being blown up every day for what? For nothing. Guys are dying for nothing. There’s nothing worth dying for in that country.” The anecdote is offered up as an example of Trump’s “astonishing display of insensitivity,” while the generals are portrayed as guiding the president to “sensible decisions.”
He was right then, and he’s right now. And yet, he continues to let one war hawk jackal like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and the late Sen. John McCain, as well as many Democrats, talk him out of pulling all U.S. troops out of a war that never should have lasted more than six months, at best.
In 2001, when President George W. Bush ordered retaliation against the Taliban for harboring Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, it should have consisted only of air strikes and special operations to target every single military asset the Taliban commanded.
After that, we should have pulled out with this warning: “Do it again and when we return, there will be nothing left of your country, at all.”
But we didn’t. Too many people in Washington believed we needed another Vietnam for this generation. Even Bush told us back then, ‘Hey, you know, this war on terror thing is gonna last a long time.’
That should have been our clue that the deep state globalists were about to screw us all over. Again.
We’re still in Afghanistan. We have proof that we shouldn’t be and never should have stayed so long.
So my question, Mr. President, is this: What the hell are we still doing there?
You promised us you’d get our boy and girls out of that place. Do it. And while you’re at it, how about holding those responsible for keeping us in Afghanistan with lies and deceit responsible for their actions?
After thousands of lives and a trillion dollars, I think Americans have earned a some justice.
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