The Washington Post has, after more than two years of investigation, revealed that senior foreign policy officials in the White House, State and Defense departments have known for some time that the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan was failing.
Interview transcripts from the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, obtained by the Post after many lawsuits, show that for 18 years these same officials have told the public the intervention was succeeding.
In other words, government officials have been lying.
Few people are shocked. That’s a stark contrast to 1971, when the Pentagon Papers, a classified study of decision-making about Vietnam, were leaked and published. The explosive Pentagon Papers showed that the U.S. government had systematically lied about the reality that the U.S. was losing the Vietnam War.
The failure of the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan has been known for years. Virtually none of the U.S. goals have been met. These goals included a strong, democratic, uncorrupt central government; the defeat of the Taliban; eliminating the poppy fields that contribute to the world’s heroin problem; an effective military and police and creating a healthy, diversified economy.
The Inspector General has repeatedly documented the reality in its widely available (and widely reported) audits.
Despite this public record of failure, officials continued to trumpet political and military gains on the ground, even that the U.S. could prevail.
Privately, they have been wringing their hands.
Shades of Vietnam.
Sad history of Vietnam