The Pentagon’s lies about Afghanistan — ‘the truth has become unrecognizable’

Douglas Wissing writes: If observers had any doubts about the failure of the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, the past several days should have put them to rest. Since Feb. 21, anti-U.S. protests have erupted in virtually every major Afghan city over the revelation that American personnel had burned Qurans at Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. installation in the country. The demonstrations have at times turned violent, claiming the lives of at least seven Afghans. This wave of protest is just the latest example of how the United States has botched its attempt to win “hearts and minds” in Afghanistan, and another indicator that its war effort is heading toward failure.

But that’s not the message you would hear from U.S. officials. To hear them tell it, the United States has already taken action to prevent such shocking displays of cultural insensitivity from happening again. “When we learned of these actions, we immediately intervened and stopped them,” U.S. General John R. Allen, the commander of the international force in Afghanistan, said in his apology. “We are thoroughly investigating the incident and we are taking steps to ensure this does not ever happen again.”

If this episode sounds familiar, it should.

Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis has traveled over 9,000 miles across Afghanistan to learn a simple lesson: public statements made from podiums in Washington and Kabul bear little resemblance to the reality of the Afghan war. The 17-year U.S. Army veteran spent most of his time in the insurgency-enflamed provinces in the east and south, and was shaken to discover the U.S. military leadership’s glowing descriptions of progress against the Taliban insurgency did not jibe with the accounts of American soldiers on the front lines of the war.

Davis then did a remarkable thing for a U.S. Army officer: He went public. In January 2012, he began a singular campaign to bring his findings to the attention of the American people. Davis wrote two reports, classified and unclassified, that aimed to expose the failures of the Afghan war while not endangering lives in the process. “I am no WikiLeaks guy Part II,” he wrote.

Davis’s reports have become one of the most damning insider accounts of the U.S. military’s handling of Afghanistan. In his unclassified report, he wrote that U.S. officials have so thoroughly misinformed the American public “that the truth has become unrecognizable” and that, during his recent year-long deployment, he saw “deception reach an intolerable low.” In his view, the divergence between the upbeat accounts offered by the top military leadership and the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan has undermined U.S. credibility with both allies and enemies, cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars, and inflicted death, disfigurement, and suffering on tens of thousands of soldiers with “little or no gain to our country.”

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3 thoughts on “The Pentagon’s lies about Afghanistan — ‘the truth has become unrecognizable’

  1. BillVZ

    Many American soldiers in Afghanistan are coming around to Davis’s views.

    An interesting article from FP. While attempting to get a direct link with Davis’s views in his own words- the following was indicated:
    You don’t have permission to access “” on this server.

  2. DE Teodoru

    When speaking of “THE” military, one doesn’t speak of all those mom and dad soldiers we sent on impossible missions, making for more widows and orphans at home, but of career types like Petraeus who believe that “PR” is the main component of victory in COIN warfare. He and McCrystal have proven themselves to be killers that lie and kill their mistakes. Our nation’s firepower is their error eraser!

    Finally a Lieut.Col.– field grade– decided that the truth is the best antiseptic for what infects the US military. But what is also clear from the current state of affairs is how detached are the “ain’t my son going to war” Americans whom, “FRANKLY MY DEAR, I DON’T GIVE A DAMN!” These are the real criminals because we who send these mom and dad soldiers out there are the ones who, as their friends and neighbors and beneficiaries of their efforts owe them piercing of the curtain of Pentagon BS to make sure that they don’t get WASTED by tactical imbecility covered up by “military secrecy.” It’s all rather simple: hold our generals to the same standards to which you hold your physician: you wouldn’t accept “the fog of pathophysiology” as an excuse for incompetence, so why do you accept the “fog of war” as excuse for reckless endangerment of “OUR” sons and daughters in combat by generals who see them as casino chips to gamble on careerism? We’ve been there before….we did nothing…so we’re there again…and again…and again….and again….Bravo Col. Davies, a true American who put his brothers and sisters above the military careerist incompetent in loco parentis.

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