Monday, February 20, 2012

Shining a light on a dark secret

Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable.  This deception has damaged America’s credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan.  It has likely cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars Congress might not otherwise have appropriated had it known the truth, and our senior leaders’ behavior has almost certainly extended the duration of this war.  The single greatest penalty our Nation has suffered, however, has been that we have lost the blood, limbs and lives of tens of thousands of American Service Members with little to no gain to our country as a consequence of this deception. 
-- Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, Dereliction of Duty II

So begins Lt. Col. Daniel Davis' critique of the American war effort in Afghanistan, a ten-year conflict that we have nothing to show for except thousands of American casualties.

According to the government, the war effort has been a success. US forces have weakened the Taliban by eliminating leaders and troops, taking away sanctuaries and disrupting supply lines. But, as Lt. Col. Davis points out, if the enemy has been weakened by the actions of US forces, how do you explain the increase in American casualties in the last year?

The report accuses the military leadership, Gen. David Petraeus in particular, of not just spinning the news, but completely distorting it in order to sell the American people the military's bill of goods when it comes to the sink hole that is the Afghan war.

According to the company line, the number of attacks against American troops increased because the troops were taking the fight to the Taliban in sections of the country that troops hadn't been to previously. As Lt. Col. Davis points out, that excuse only explains the violence at the beginning of the offensive. As the number of US forces in an area increase - and as Taliban forces either stay steady or decrease - the number of attacks against US forces should decrease. That's not what has been happening.

Our government tells us that Afghan security forces are capable to fighting the Taliban and keeping them in check. We are also told that the Afghan government isn't corrupt and is capable of running the country. Lt. Col. Davis claims the truth is the opposite. He cites military sources who have admitted that Afghan security forces aren't at all capable of "holding the fort" and that the government is still very much corrupt.

He questions the ability of local governments and security forces to defend the machinery of the state against the Taliban. If that is the case, then much of the last ten years has been nothing but a futile exercise in sending young men to their deaths in the desert.

The military blames the declining levels of support for the Afghan war on the military's inability to get its message out to the American people. Their myopia prevents them from understanding that the public is tiring of the war because it seems to have degenerated into a quagmire.

In the meantime the media, the so-called check on the government, has completely fallen on its face as a result of kissing every ass they could find to get inside sources on camera and on background. The media long since gave up its role of challenging government assertions during war - they became cheerleaders for the Pentagon during the first Gulf War. Scared of pissing off the people who give them access, reporters gladly relay the company line to the American people.

The war in Afghanistan has been a disaster - as has every other attempted invasion of the country. As Michael Hastings pointed out the other day on Democracy Now!, the Army will soon take aim at Lt. Col. Davis. First will be the smear campaign and then will begin the campaign to tarnish his credibility.

It takes courage to stand up and expose a lie. Lt. Col. Daniel Davis is risking his career to tell the American people the truth about Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Davis should be hailed as a hero.

H/T Democracy Now!

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