From Vietnam To Afghanistan, All US Governments Lie…(We Live In The Land Of Lie!!)

Sunday, December 22, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Gordon Evans via The Conversation,
Sat, 12/21/2019

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
The Pentagon Papers revealed that senior officials asserted in the 1960s that the Viet Cong were dying in record numbers, enemy leadership was decapitated and there was “light at the end of the tunnel.” Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and his commanders, who knew the reality, continuously called for even more force from 1961 to 1969.

H.R. McMaster, in his classic study of Vietnam decision-making, excoriated the military for not bringing the truth to President Lyndon Johnson, for presenting Johnson with the “lies that led to Vietnam.”

The U.S. was winning in Vietnam, until it was not. Right up to the moment diplomats in the U.S. embassy turned the lights off and were airlifted off the building’s roof.

Are comparisons justified?

Afghanistan is not Vietnam, it is said.

Former Afghanistan Ambassador Ryan Crocker argues that the U.S. must be in Afghanistan for America’s security even if reconstruction fails. Brookings analyst Michael O’Hanlon asserts that there were no lies; officials were clear the policy was in trouble. He avoids discussing the voluminous true statements The Washington Post uncovered that were not made publicly.

The U.S. was ignorant about both countries. Serving in the Obama transition in 2008, for example, I learned that Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the Bush-Obama Afghanistan coordinator, was carrying out a policy review process that led to a military surge.

Now we learn, courtesy of The Washington Post, that, when interviewed in 2015 as part of Special Inspector General’s “Lessons Learned” project, Lute said, “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan … we didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

While Afghanistan is clearly not Vietnam, Washington is still Washington.

Prevarication as policy

After more than 30 years of policy work, government experience, teaching and research, I see no mystery here. Concealment, deception and outright lies have characterized U.S. national security policy for decades – from the overthrow of democratically elected governments in Iran and Guatemala to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and more.

The Rest…HERE

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