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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

NEVER believe the Official Story

This news about the U.S. military systematically lying about its disastrous occupation of Afghanistan can only come as a surprise to those who still believe that the USS Maine was sunk by the Spanish, NASA landed men on the barren Moon, Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.
A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.

The documents were generated by a federal project examining the root failures of the longest armed conflict in U.S. history. They include more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials.

The U.S. government tried to shield the identities of the vast majority of those interviewed for the project and conceal nearly all of their remarks. The Post won release of the documents under the Freedom of Information Act after a three-year legal battle.

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In the interviews, more than 400 insiders offered unrestrained criticism of what went wrong in Afghanistan and how the United States became mired in nearly two decades of warfare.
We may not know what the whole truth is. We usually can't. But we absolutely know, on the basis of the historical pattern, that whatever story the U.S. government is pushing on the public is substantially false.

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58 Comments:

Blogger Oswald December 10, 2019 11:15 AM  

When I first heard this story, I immediately suspected that in the very near future we will hear that the Taliban has retaken Kabul. By the way, I have some insight into this, Oswald in fact did not act alone.

Blogger braq December 10, 2019 11:19 AM  

Sounds like "mission accomplished" to me:

> Meanwhile, as U.S. hopes for the Afghan security forces failed to materialize, Afghanistan became the world’s leading source of a growing scourge: opium. The United States has spent about $9 billion to fight the problem over the past 18 years, but Afghan farmers are cultivating more opium poppies than ever. Last year, Afghanistan was responsible for 82 percent of global opium production, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The CIA and their Deep State allies are presumably up to their old tricks, just like in Laos and Nicaragua - obtaining billions of dollars for their black ops while ostensibly fighting communism. The CIA-led war in Laos was the largest air campaign in history but very few people seem to even know about it.

Blogger Unknown December 10, 2019 11:22 AM  

I wonder how many of those generals got lucrative kickbacks from the 'defense' contractors making billions over there?

Blogger Ominous Cowherd December 10, 2019 11:27 AM  

Oswald wrote:By the way, I have some insight into this, Oswald in fact did not act alone.
Who was with you?
Unknown wrote:I wonder how many of those generals got lucrative kickbacks from the 'defense' contractors making billions over there?
Is it plausible that any did not? It's hard to believe that any flag officer is not a traitor and a criminal.

Blogger qualitycontrol December 10, 2019 11:28 AM  

What you are saying is excellent advice. Whenever conspiracy theories or similar topics come up I try to talk about the things I can prove easily. No one I met believes the official 9/11 story after they have seen the collapse of WTC7. But telling them what I believed is true always turned out to be a bad idea. Most people aren't ready to hear it.

Blogger Barbarossa December 10, 2019 11:37 AM  

In addition to not believing the official story, never believe the one printed in the putative "papers of record". Why was there any need to go finding supposedly confidential documents? As for these vaunted "insiders", all one has to do is talk to anyone who has been there or read the voluminous literature penned by participants. And I seriously doubt there was any "battle" to get information when so much of it is openly published.

I was there in 11-12 as a military advisor. I had absolutely no impact on the readiness of the battalion I was assigned to. None. Zero. No one did. The Afghans weren't interested in running their military like ours (or like we now imagine it's run...separate conversation) because a merit-based officer corps meant not getting to put your nephews in choice positions. A well-run logistics system meant leaving a paper trail to document the spoils a unit commander felt he was owed as an assumed perquisite of the position. And...for them the Taliban was not some ideological foe to be battled at all costs. They were simply just another player either to be allied with or opposed to, depending on the prevailing winds.

Not sure what the working definition of disastrous is here, but the adjective I used was "highly ineffectual and a damned waste of time and money." There simply wasn't enough fighting going on for any true disasters a la Gandamak. As for being there almost two decades, as was observed frequently, "We haven't been in Afghanistan for 18 years. We've been in Afghanistan for one year 18 times."

Blogger James Dixon December 10, 2019 11:48 AM  

> This news about the U.S. military systematically lying about its disastrous occupation of Afghanistan can only come as a surprise to those who still believe that the USS Maine was sunk by the Spanish, NASA landed men on the barren Moon, Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.

You don't have to disbelieve any of those things to know it's true. You just either have to a) know the history of the Vietnam conflict or b) actually follow the news about Afghanistan.

I'm just hoping Trump will use this publicity as the excuse he needs to pull our troops out.

With the warning that next time we'll just nuke the place and be done with it.

Blogger Oswald December 10, 2019 11:49 AM  

It is all tied in I's sure, the opium trade, the opioid crisis, Obama care, which is still around. Get the people on drugs so you can steal their freedoms and children.

Blogger Duke Norfolk December 10, 2019 12:13 PM  

Barbarossa wrote:In addition to not believing the official story, never believe the one printed in the putative "papers of record".

Yes. My mind immediately went to the question of just what the aim is of the publishing of this piece, by the rag that is an arm of the Deep State. It's all flim flam and misdirection, all the time.

Blogger Crew December 10, 2019 12:16 PM  

Wait a minute. The Magic Bullet Commission proved that Oswald acted alone!

Blogger Crush Limbraw December 10, 2019 12:17 PM  

"substantially false" - what we are taught, believe and act on as a society with a firm grasp on a fundamental premise which is "substantially false"!

Blogger Noah B. December 10, 2019 12:28 PM  

It's a little late to get any credit for acknowledging the obvious. The GWOT is now the first American war to have soldiers fighting who weren't born when the war began, and we have nothing good to show for it. Sick.

Blogger Balkan Yankee December 10, 2019 12:33 PM  

The Spanish didn't sink the Maine?!

Blogger dc.sunsets December 10, 2019 12:37 PM  

The best belly-laugh of all is the nearly universal belief that this (systematic lying by those in power) can ever be cured. At least under monarchy or open dictatorship "the people" can plainly see Lenin's "who/whom" (and at least have the minor hope of jealously guarding their prerogatives from Authority's encroachment.)

It doesn't take a Ph.D. in human psychology to see the 100% saturation of perverse incentives present in everything about "the state" (and it's coercive agency, the military.) Oh, but we luv, luv, luv our men in uniform (and generally loved our POTUSs until the Uniparty lost in 2016.)

It's disorienting to accept that we live our lives steeping in misinformation, self-serving lies and pervasive ignorance. For this reason, nearly everyone clings to the illusion that there's truth in stories about which they have zero personal experience.

The paradox of the World Wide Web is that a people who have access to an infinite amount of information are in fact the least informed humans ever. We don't know what we don't know, but worst is the quantity of what we think we now know that just ain't so.

Blogger OneWingedShark December 10, 2019 12:41 PM  

Unknown wrote:I wonder how many of those generals got lucrative kickbacks from the 'defense' contractors making billions over there?
This is a good question. In line with "how much corruption was/is involved with the development and procurement of the F–35 or the LCS projects."

Oswald wrote:It is all tied in I's sure, the opium trade, the opioid crisis, Obama care, which is still around. Get the people on drugs so you can steal their freedoms and children.
That's a whole other can of worms, but you're not wrong in assuming they're connected.

braq wrote:The CIA and their Deep State allies are presumably up to their old tricks, just like in Laos and Nicaragua - obtaining billions of dollars for their black ops while ostensibly fighting communism. The CIA-led war in Laos was the largest air campaign in history but very few people seem to even know about it.
I wonder: if there really was a massive declassification, how many trials for Treason would happen?

Blogger carnaby December 10, 2019 12:59 PM  

...and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.

Shocking exactly no one. Like stating that a football game in which the field has no end-zone has "become" unwinnable. It never was winnable. And Oswald did act alone, you can see it on the live footage. That that guy got with his cell phone.

...more than 400 insiders offered unrestrained criticism of what went wrong in Afghanistan.

I would prefer to see the short list of what went right. This media report is strange. Trying to seem normal when nothing is normal.

As for men on the moon, I'm open to either possibility - that NASA landed men on the moon or they didn't. I'm leaning toward did but who knows.

Blogger joc December 10, 2019 1:02 PM  

Oswald was the lone gunman.

Blogger Ahărôwn December 10, 2019 1:04 PM  

The Spanish didn't sink the Maine?!

No. It was most likely unstable ammunition. which was then used as a causus belli for war and empire.

Blogger lynnjynh9315 December 10, 2019 1:04 PM  

History will compare the "War on Terror" with the Greeks' Peloponnesian War. A disaster to end an empire.

Blogger Robert Browning December 10, 2019 1:07 PM  

The terrain in Afghanistan is not all that different from Iran. Ditto not winnable.

Blogger Wazdakka December 10, 2019 1:09 PM  

qualitycontrol, I quite agree with informing people of facts. I frequently raise USS Maine, USS Liberty and gulf of Tonkin. All provable and accepted as fact.
Let people come to their own conclusions though. The minute I've tried that, I come across as a know it all Dick.

Blogger Newscaper312 December 10, 2019 1:10 PM  

@9
"Yes. My mind immediately went to the question of just what the aim is of the publishing of this piece, by the rag that is an arm of the Deep State."

The purpose is implicitly tie it to Trump, as if 1) he hasn't received pushback (or conveniently timed setbacks/provocations to suck us back in) every time hes tried to follow his instincts and disentangle, and as if Bush II and Obama*** didn't have the lion's share of blame. They count on the headlines leaving a vague impression, and people forgetting timelines, just like the 'kids in cages' border patrol crap started under Obama.

***Obama gets a lot of blame in my book because, stupidly embracing the Afghan quagmire just so he could bash the Bush legacy in Iraq as 'the wrong war' and Hillary for supporting it early on. Talking tough about Afghanistan let him dodge the charge of being weak, squish, dove, pacifist, etc. Doubly stupid because he did exact opposite of what was needed: staying the course a while longer in a calmed down Iraq, while getting out of the much more fundamentally intractable problem of Afghanistan. Running out of Iraq reduced our ability to moderate the mostly Shiite governments behavior, and opened door for ISIS and its spillover. Even more insane, he did exactly what he accused Bush of doing, opening the door to chaos in Libya and Syria, when unlike Bush he had Bush's bad example before him.

Blogger VFM Bear December 10, 2019 1:26 PM  

"History will compare the "War on Terror" with the Greeks' Peloponnesian War. A disaster to end an empire."

Maybe we should start referring to Afghanistan as the graveyard of Empires.

Oh wait.... This time it'll totes be different!

Blogger Johnny December 10, 2019 1:32 PM  

Unknown wrote:I wonder how many of those generals got lucrative kickbacks from the 'defense' contractors making billions over there?

You retire and the contractor hires you as a lobbyist. All legal and ongoing for some time. Illegal kickbacks only if they are getting worse.

Blogger Silent Draco December 10, 2019 1:33 PM  

How many trials for treason? All of them.

It'd be one heck of an Environmental Impact Statement filed with the EPA, to have one hanging or crucifixion every 1000 yards along I-95, I-80, I-10, and I-5, to include periodically replacing the spots emptied by scavengers.

Blogger Balkan Yankee December 10, 2019 1:43 PM  

Afghanistan will not be the graveyard of the American Empire.

America will be the graveyard of the American Empire.

Blogger Nostromo December 10, 2019 1:47 PM  

The same number that will occur for the coup attempt on DJT. Zero.

Blogger peacefulposter December 10, 2019 1:52 PM  

@25 - It'd be one heck of an Environmental Impact Statement filed with the EPA, to have one hanging or crucifixion every 1000 yards along I-95, I-80, I-10, and I-5.

Greta would appreciate hanging, which requires much less energy than, say, the electric chair or burning at the stake.

Blogger Damelon Brinn December 10, 2019 1:52 PM  

@22 Newscaper, exactly. With Trump as president, the media has remembered how to criticize US military adventures. It doesn't matter much that the actions pre-date Trump, because they count on their low-IQ followers to assume Trump is at fault for any negative news coming out now. They don't even have to lie, just tell the truth without making the distinction clear.

Blogger #7139 December 10, 2019 1:55 PM  

It'd be one heck of an Environmental Impact Statement filed with the EPA, to have one hanging or crucifixion every 1000 yards along I-95, I-80, I-10, and I-5, ...

There would be massive traffic jams, people pulling over to the shoulder to take selfies, some folks would want 'souvenirs'. Oh the humanity...

Blogger DonReynolds December 10, 2019 1:58 PM  

It is appropriate, so soon after his birthday on November 30th, to restate some of the words of Winston Churchill...

"During wartime, the Truth is so precious that it must be protected by a Bodyguard of Lies."

Winston was perhaps one of the great liars of the 20th century and he had some really tough competition...from FDR, from Stalin, from Mao, from Lenin. So I cannot say he was the best or the most gifted liar of the 20th century, but he may have been the most desperate, given the historical circumstances. Churchill was unable to win the conflict that landed in his lap, being so wildly outclassed in nearly every way, but he managed for his country to survive it, even if he did not politically.

Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa Clause. And governments do lie to their own public and everyone else, at every level...local, state, and Federal. And much of what you think you know is not actually true and the Truth that you crave may actually be difficult for you to believe. And if the past cannot be believed, Virginia, you may not have any understanding (or believe) what is coming in the future, but it will happen anyway, even if no one tells you about it. Trust in God and behave as though you are in the dark.

Blogger Stilicho December 10, 2019 2:17 PM  

Anyone paying attention knew we weren't accomplishing anything in Afghanistan since 2002. We accomplished what could be done in late 2001 and early 2002. Maybe rooting out some remaining AlQaeda positions for a little while after that. We should have gotten out after that and let the Chinese and their Paki allies play in the poppy fields for a while.

Blogger Franz Lyonheart December 10, 2019 2:27 PM  

The U.S. government tried to shield the identities of the vast majority of those interviewed for the project and conceal nearly all of their remarks. The Post won release of the documents under the Freedom of Information Act after a three-year legal battle.

We may not know what the whole truth is. We usually can't. But we absolutely know, on the basis of the historical pattern, that whatever story the U.S. government is pushing on the public is substantially false.


POTUS G-E Trump should ideally simply declassify the lot.

Blogger pnq87 December 10, 2019 2:28 PM  

Could this mean diversity isn't our greatest strength?

Blogger Daniel Heneghan December 10, 2019 2:55 PM  

I do believe that NASA landed men on the moon, though.

Blogger Dwayne Thundergrit December 10, 2019 2:57 PM  

". . . hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable."

No, we won hands down, the opium crop is immense and that gives the US control of the world heroin trade.

Now, if you thought we were there for some other reason you can just take comfort in the fact that we're staying their to protect our interest in opium.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd December 10, 2019 3:04 PM  

DonReynolds wrote:And much of what you think you know is not actually true and the Truth that you crave may actually be difficult for you to believe.
Truth doesn't have to be plausible.
pnq87 wrote:Could this mean diversity isn't our greatest strength?
Inconceivable!

Blogger Sargent.matrim December 10, 2019 3:14 PM  

The war in Afghanistan is so dumb. But I wonder why Trump hasn't withdrawn yet? Is it because they need the rare earth minerals in Afghanistan to compete with China? Are they worth being there for that reason?

Or is it about Iran? Having US bases in Afghanistan and Iraq must make Iran nervous.

Whatever the reason, there's no doubt what they say is untrue.

Blogger Oswald December 10, 2019 3:55 PM  

17. No I wasn't. I mean Lee Harvey Had help.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd December 10, 2019 4:27 PM  

Sargent.matrim wrote:Is it because they need the rare earth minerals in Afghanistan to compete with China?
We didn't have to go all the way to Afghanistan. There is a rare-earth minerals mine on Prince of Wales Island.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine December 10, 2019 4:59 PM  

"Shocking exactly no one. Like stating that a football game in which the field has no end-zone has "become" unwinnable. It never was winnable."

This. "Terror/terrorism/terrorist" is deliberately vague. People will say "oh, it's because they don't want to admit that it's Islam, because that would drive people back to Christianity...", however it's even more comically transparent than that. It's about fear. "Cause you fear therefore bad guys therefore give us more power to fight the bad guys."

Terrorism is nonspecific because specifics tell where ends lie.

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella December 10, 2019 5:09 PM  

Why crucifixions? That wastes a lot of wood. And, it spatters out blood. Which, right now, makes it an environmental hazard.

You've got perfectly adequate metal lamp fixtures and nylon rope. Failing nylon, you can twist plastic shopping bags into rope or yarn. I've heard we have too many plastic bags, after all.

Blogger xevious2030 December 10, 2019 5:31 PM  

“by the rag that is an arm of the Deep State”

Several pieces. 18 years. Bush, Bush, Obama, and Obama are Deep State workers that got/kept things going in Afghanistan. Low trust China is pissing on the US residence low trust parasites. China has the lucrative deals with “rare Earth minerals” in Afghanistan. Impeachment. Election 2020. Any Dem candidate. The Left was the “give peace a chance” droners over half a century ago, after getting the war then, started.

A variety of possibilities, with the one coming to mind as sticking out being the “pin the Donkey on the Trump” game. What would Nixon be without the MIC, hippies, and Watergate?

Blogger bodenlose Schweinerei December 10, 2019 6:00 PM  

the war had become unwinnable

It started out that way, in great part because like the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, the form that "victory" is supposed to take is either insubstantial or nonsensical.

Blogger Hammerli 280 December 10, 2019 7:15 PM  

I don't think bribery enters into this. At least not as the primary issue. This was about interservice prestige and resource fights.

Central Command has always been an Army/Marine Corps fiefdom. Especially Army.

In the 1980s, the American military was balanced to fight a land war in Europe - big Army, big tactical Air Force, medium-sized Navy with lots of convoy escorts. After the end of the Cold War, they substituted Iraq for Soviet Union, desert tan for NATO 4-color, and cut everybody's budget in half.

Admit that Iraq and/or Afghanistan had been a flop, and somebody might get the idea that spending that money on the Army wasn't such a bright idea. That perhaps the Pacific was the primary theater, the Navy the primary service. And allocate resources accordingly.

Blogger Hammerli 280 December 10, 2019 7:26 PM  

There's an extended commentary at CDR Salamander's site that also should be read.

https://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/2019/12/shaping-blame-in-afghanistan.html?fbclid=IwAR1pgZUpLErAKdlCVTqaxnAG6Un46wgq4tmlh3Y_3Xv_Nc4qss6QH3XrWe4

Blogger S1AL December 10, 2019 7:57 PM  

"The war in Afghanistan is so dumb. But I wonder why Trump hasn't withdrawn yet? Is it because they need the rare earth minerals in Afghanistan to compete with China? Are they worth being there for that reason?"

No. The rare-Earth mineral issue ranges from missing to myth. We have access to all of them in the Continental States, they just aren't developed.

Blogger Vulgar_Display December 10, 2019 9:26 PM  

Mexico is waging a more successful war on the United States than we have in any middle eastern country.

They will regain all there territory through simple demographic displacement of the American population.

Unless we are willing to wipe out the people of Afghanistan and replace them with Americans we will never win that conflict.

Blogger jeffinjapan December 11, 2019 1:51 AM  

And we also know that the liars will go unpunished.

Blogger Avalanche December 11, 2019 8:00 AM  

@42 "you can twist plastic shopping bags into rope or yarn."


A jobs program! More SHOVEL-ready jobs! So, hitting 'em with shove.... er... never mind. But all that plastic being sent to recyclers could be the spur for new 'rope-making facilities built next door!

Blogger Andrew Jackson December 11, 2019 8:02 AM  

The Wash. Post is communist propaganda.

Blogger Avalanche December 11, 2019 8:10 AM  

@46 There's an extended commentary at CDR Salamander's site that also should be read.
https://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/2019/12/shaping-blame-in-afghanistan.html

Excellent read; thanks! And look, Wm Lind shows up in a quote from The Guardian:

"We can win all the tactical battles but that doesn't mean we win. To win, we have to win the battle of ideas," he said. "We must define winning in Afghan terms: meaning improved security, reduced civilian casualties, trustworthy government, economic and social progress."

Blogger Terrific December 11, 2019 10:51 AM  

Of course I supported going after Bin Laden - in whatever country offered him refuge! But I knew the "Afghan War" was unwinnable the moment it became clear our policy was no longer to "Get Bin Laden", but "Nation Building" and Imposing "Democracy" on the Afghanis. Then the Iraqis.

Blogger HouellebecqGurl December 11, 2019 1:19 PM  

Wait til you find out the truth about the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, and the Gulf of Tonkin.

Blogger HouellebecqGurl December 11, 2019 1:22 PM  

I appreciate hangings, as well. The Mexican Beans are right in that seeing bodies hanging from an overpass is a GREAT physical reminder to anyone confused as to whom is in charge.

Blogger HouellebecqGurl December 11, 2019 1:25 PM  

I hate the idea of selfies and will do anything to avoid interstate traffic, but if people like Clapper, Brennan and the cheerleading Neocon crowd hanging from I-85 overpasses here, I'd be fighting to get my shot with them.

Blogger Engineer-Poet December 12, 2019 8:21 AM  

@Ominous Cowherd:

"We didn't have to go all the way to Afghanistan. There is a rare-earth minerals mine on Prince of Wales Island."

We didn't have to go anywhere; "rare" earths are NOT rare.  One recently uncovered source is the grit left over from separating kaolin from its source clay deposits.  One problem is that rare earths are associated with thorium, which has been declared a radiological hazard and requires disposal as hazmat above a certain concentration (thanks EPA).  Coal ash is a potential rich source of rare earths.  The USA had plenty of rare-earth mines until environmental regulations were tightened.  They couldn't raise prices with China flooding the market, so they has to close.

The real problem is that separating and purifying rare earths is messy.  China has polluted a lot of water and land with the effluents of careless REE refining.  The USA prohibited such polluting practices a while back.  It was the right thing to do... though we should have paid to keep capacity on-tap plus reserves in case of supply disruptions.

In general, to solve a problem you must first understand the problem.  Most people are not capable of this.  Those in charge either find those who are and let them solve it, or fail.

Blogger Andrew Jackson December 12, 2019 9:14 AM  

What occupation?!

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