On December 9 the Washington Post broke this story:
I’ll leave it to others to interpret, analyze, yea or nay the Afghanistan Papers.
My takeaway can be summed up in one sentence, a 2003 quote in the article from then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:
“We are woefully deficient in human intelligence.”
Rumsfeld was referring to information from the U.S. Intelligence Community, but I think his statement describes the entire war in Afghanistan:
We are woefully deficient in human intelligence in our leaders, who led us into, and have kept us in, an 18-year unwinnable war.
We are woefully deficient in human intelligence in those same leaders who, according to the article, were advised – repeatedly – by experts that “the war had become unwinnable,” and instead continued making “rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.”
We are woefully deficient in human intelligence when we don’t challenge a war that since 2001:
- Has deployed more than 775,000 U.S. troops.
- Has caused 2,300 U.S. deaths, and 20,589 U.S. wounded in action.
- Has cost $1 trillion, and counting.
Why have we allowed this tragedy to continue for so long?
Because I/you/we are woefully deficient in human intelligence for believing:
George W. Bush, October 11, 2001:
“We learned some very important lessons in Vietnam. People often ask me, ‘How long will this last?’ This particular battlefront will last as long as it takes to bring al-Qaeda to justice. It may happen tomorrow, it may happen a month from now, it may take a year or two. But we will prevail.”
Barack Obama, December 1, 2009:
“The days of providing a blank check are over…It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security and that America has no interest in fighting an endless was in Afghanistan.”
Donald Trump, November 28, 2019:
“The Taliban wants to make a deal and we’re meeting with them and we’re saying it has to be a cease-fire and they didn’t want to do a cease-fire, and now they do want to do a cease-fire. I believe it’ll probably work out that way… We are winning like we haven’t won in a long time…We’ve made tremendous progress and at the same time we’ve been drawing down our troops.”
Here, instead, is the truth: