They’ve been lying to us about Afghanistan the whole time.
Lawmakers, veterans and experts have expressed shock and resignation after a Washington Post report Monday unveiled 18 years of distortion by U.S. officials over the prosecution of the war in Afghanistan.
The documents involved — more than 2,000 pages of confidential notes and interviews from more than 400 people, from ambassadors to troops on the ground — exposed a constant parade of failures while three presidential administrations insisted the war was moving in the right direction.
Whether or not the administrations knew they were being lied to or if they abetted it is almost beside the point. This is a pattern that has been a part of warfare since time out of mind, and even when we were winning, they — the people running the war — knew they had to embellish and exaggerate to keep the money and the support flowing.
Vietnam and the Pentagon papers in 1971 was the first time they got caught, at least publicly. What made them think that they could get away with it this time? Well, probably the ingrained mindset that the first casualty of war is the truth, and the second thought being that with a public that has the attention span of a fruit fly and the depth of understanding of a twitter feed, they could keep it up.
“We must end the vicious, lethal cycle of misinformation and unspecified, unsupported strategies,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in response, calling for public hearings with Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and other officials.
“The Senate Armed Services Committee should hold hearings on the state of the Afghanistan conflict and the infuriating details & alleged falsehoods reported today,” said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a member of the committee.
Despite the high dudgeon and faux outrage of the senators, this will not end. The only way to stop it will be to never go to war again.