AFGHANISTAN PAPERS AUTHOR: The Years Of Lies Which Led To Fall Of Kabul

Krystal and Saagar talk with the author of the Afghanistan papers about the lies that were told in the years leading up to the fall of Kabul

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  1. I remember my first deployment to Afghanistan after two prior Iraq tours. The two theaters was like the difference between a well kept barracks and a hoarder's house. Everything in Afghanistan from the military internet to the logistics to the overall tactics was a chaotic muddle of woolly thinking and unjustified hopes. Driving around Bagram Air Base I saw military equipment scattered carelessly as a child's legos. Millions of pieces of random gear rotting in the sun or even lying in giant puddles in seemingly forgotten motorpools. The press covered it in detail. Vice, back when it was a legit journalistic outlet, actually made a really good video in 2013 titled "This Is What Winning Looks Like" showing how incredibly incompetent, shiftless, and unmotivated the Afghan Army and Police were. You can find it on Youtube. Having worked with the Afghans I can confirm it's 100% on point.

    Telling lies about Afghanistan wasn't so much the problem. It's that the US military couldn't admit the truth to itself, let alone the government and the public simply wasn't interested in the truth to even look. For the vast majority of the public it was someone else's war.

    The Afghan War was a joint screw up by all levels of US society. The Republicans that got us in there then shifted focus to Iraq, the Democrats that kept the ball rolling (or doubled down), the military for its strategic ineptitude, the US citizenry for their apathy, and myself for a mix of all that. The Afghans themselves bear some responsibility. But in truth Afghanistan is so colossally fucked up that in retrospect we could've taken out Osama Bin Laden and left Afghanistan as it was and called that our revenge for 9/11.

    The lesson we need to learn – and we could've from Vietnam but didn't – is that the US should never enter a war unless it's declared war. Declared like in WW II, waged just as ruthlessly with a victory condition/exit plan. Waged with the US civilian population, business, and government committed as much as the troops. Rationing, war taxes, a draft, no college exemptions – all of that. If the government and the people can't get behind that, then we don't go to war.

    If the President unilaterally deploys troops or forces abroad for more than 90 days without full authorization from Congress he or she is automatically impeached. If any US service member or foreign civilian dies on deployment on day 100 that president gets put in jail for manslaughter. If more than 100 people die – enemy, civilian, ally, or our own – we decide to declare war or get out and seek peaceful terms.

  2. It’s like 6-7 grand per American. They should pay us back. Dollar a day per American for 20 years. Invested with compound interest. The loss of innocent life is the real cost. Peak Gangsterism. We need 40 years of good works to even begin to come back from this illegal war.

  3. I don't believe victory was ever the Mission. Our government knew damn well that you couldn't beat these Afghan rebels in the mountains so all they could do was suppress them until we left.

  4. Pat Tillman died for the opium operation which began when the British first invaded Afghanistan and which the military wing of the British empire – the USA INC. – then took over. Trillions of dollars later, and more imporatantly, millions of lives lost, the operation, I guess, is no longer necessary. The Sackler family, who refuses to take responsibilty for the opiod crisis, after billions of dollars of profit, and again, millions of lives lost, must have put the opium trade out of business with their synthetic opium.

    But yeah, blame the Afghani people for trying to remain unmolested by foreigners.

    RIP Pat Tillman. And all the other poor souls, Afghanis, and all of the troops who were uselessly maimed and died as a result of the inbred oligarchs deciding that they wanted to take that land from them.

    Rest in peace to the poor souls, and burn in hell to the perpe-traitors who secretly operate these conflicts for profit. At least Rumsfeld is burning now.

  5. Irony that the 1980s Afghanistan war was meant to be a Soviet quagmire caused by the U.S.. The 2000s Afghan war became a quagmire for the U.S. without any foreign intervention to help it along. The US has made a shameful conquest of itself.

  6. I think that ending compulsory military service in 1973 has greatly enabled these endless wars. In 2003, during the Iraq invasion, I had a student tell me how worried she was about her cousin who was in the US forces involved in the invasion. She felt guilty somehow that he was in danger because was fighting for our country. She kept saying, as if to relieve herself of some of that guilt: "But he volunteered…he volunteered." When the people, all the people, HAVE to go and fight, there is much more resistance to a war that is not really necessary for the defense of our country. Just compare public protests to Vietnam to the almost complete lack of public protests to any of the Gulf wars or Afghanistan.
    …Bring back the draft, no exemptions, no deferments.

  7. This entire 20yr fiasco (for lack of a better term) had no goal or endgame just like Iraq. Not one of these countless incursions accomplished squat. To make matters worse is that it will happen again thanks to the MIC that is making billions of dollars. We have been "lead" by a rogue government for decades and the chickens have come home to roost.

  8. No more excuses. 20 years of wasted lives and money to prop up the wealthy at the expense of the poor. There's nothing else here. Poor people die, rich people get richer.

  9. While I don't doubt the source material, I'm afraid that I find the interpretation here to be limited by tunnel-vision, far too much US-centrism, and an unfortunate tone of self-centeredness. It reminds me of when you see a work colleague, who refuses to do things that are asked of them, because they perceive it to be unfair, or they bemoan the situation as ridiculous, and why should they have to commit to cleaning up a seemingly irretrievable mess when they were not the only one responsible for making it ? Answer: because it is your f*cking job. You have responsibilities and obligations to the people around you whose daily lives are, and have been, seriously and directly affected by the decisions and actions that you do or do not choose to make. If you didn't want that, then you shouldn't have started here in the first place .
    For better or worse, we made Afghanistan our job. We can argue about whether that was right or wrong, but the fact is that over the course of those first years, we chose to establish our presence there. It is too late to turn back time. And, despite the extremely pessimistic interpretation here, there were in fact green shoots of progress beginning to grow. (I could write a whole essay about this specifically, but this comment is already going to be way too long… In short: by leaving now, in this chaotic way, we have especially screwed over a whole new generation of Afghans, who spent the last 20 years growing up with new and different opportunities, and hopes, than they otherwise would have done). In my opinion, the honourable thing to do would have been to stay there for an additional 20 years, if that was what it would have taken. Despite popular belief, the combat and publicly invested (western) money situation, over the last 5 years, is nowhere near what the majority of western people seem to think it is – the situation on the ground has been changing. It was not the Afghanistan of ten years ago. Once we got into this mess, many of our politicians understood that securing long term positive outcomes would require generations of commitment and military support – but there was no way they would admit it, to the public, or sometimes even to themselves…
    I don't know – I just think that people need to realise that things were slowly becoming more stable in the country over time (corruption or no corruption). It was just going to take double the amount of time western politicians wanted to admit to, in order to secure progress in the long term, extending over multiple generations. We could very reasonably have afforded it, and hell, from a more mercenary perspective, there even would have been probable and significant strategic advantages to be gained from committing to staying that long (I won't name drop, but anyone interested won't have to look too hard at mid-late 20th century history, to find some examples of what I'm thinking about). But, the most important point for me is, that we gave ourselves a responsibility to the people of Afghanistan when we started down this track. Now, because of these recent decisions, thousands more people will suffer oppression, trauma and death, who otherwise need not have. Many more than if we had not spent the last 20 years on this project already. We have basically primed the country for an extended civil war, and a new nationalist insurgency, that would not have been a possibility if we hadn't spent decades establishing an alternative to the Taliban in people's minds. Perhaps I am wrong, but I predict that the war in Afghanistan is not going to be over for the people of that country for a very long time. This need not have been the case, if we had just accepted our responsibilities, and committed to following through on our obligations. (Disclaimer: I am very much a mere armchair commentator, and I get most of my information from youtube, wiki, internet searches, and other news media. So feel free to point out where I am talking out of my a**.)

  10. The government officials should have retirement taken and be fined the income they received since the first day involvement with Afghanistan and thrown in jail for all the lives lost because of their lies. Every time a spokesperson says something they need to be pushed on allowing this to go on. Congress knew they need to voted out, recalled whatever can be done to get these people out if government and never respected as a source again.

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