Former US President Barack Obama attends a town hall meeting at the ‘European School For Management And Technology’ (ESMT) in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, April 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Since the election of Donald Trump, we’ve been subjected to a ridiculous re-writing of history in which Barack Obama was incredibly pure, never even having a hint of scandal take place throughout his presidency. You only have to go back to the summer to hear networks like CNN repeating that fallacy.
Well, things just got a lot more complicated if you are of the variety to constantly claim the Obama administration was spotless.
New documents reveal a scandalous amount of lying that took place to cover up the failures of the war in Afghanistan, and while I’m sure some outlets will hope that that vague headlines on the matter will leave people with the impression that this is a Trump scandal, Obama is actually the one being implicated in the materials. This comes from an Inspector General report that’s still confidential currently but has been leaked.
“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”
“If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost,” Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. “Who will say this was in vain?”
Because of those failures, the Obama administration sought to cover things up, painting a completely false picture of what was actually happening on the ground.
“A person identified only as a senior National Security Council official said there was constant pressure from the Obama White House and Pentagon to produce figures to show the troop surge of 2009 to 2011 was working, despite hard evidence to the contrary” https://t.co/ps8mqmUJ85
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) December 9, 2019
Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul — and at the White House — to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.
“Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.”
Keep in mind, manipulating intelligence has often been referred to as an impeachable offense when the one being accused is President Trump (he hasn’t done so, but it would be if he did). Yet, Barack Obama was doing it throughout his two terms without a hint of accountability. The other factor here was how the war was being propagated as a profit mechanism. Even as the failures mounted, officials asked for more and more money, which then went into the pockets of connected businesses.
Ironically, while the Post (who released these documents) strains themselves to try to blame Trump for the situation, almost all of what’s contained happened prior to his taking office. Further, it’s no question that the President has been skeptical of the Afghanistan war and is validated by these revelations. For too long, Washington bureaucrats and insiders have been propping up failures in order to profit and/or save face. Pulling out has long been the right thing to do. The war is no longer winnable within the confines of what’s acceptable to invest into it by the American people. Our soldiers did their part, winning every major battle they were asked to wage. It’s our know-nothing Washington experts and politicians who are the true failures here.
And given what we’ve learned here, is it any wonder there’s such distrust for the intelligence complex? The same people who we are constantly told we must believe without question were lying to our faces for the better part of a decade about the Afghanistan war. It’s disgusting.
Between today’s FISA report and WashPo document dump on Afghanistan, it’s easy to figure out why intelligence, law enforcement, diplomatic and, in some cases, military brass want Trump gone. The corruption, arrogance and deception is deep and wide.
— Julie Kelly (@julie_kelly2) December 9, 2019
Even still, you have some outlets hand wringing over the possibility of these new revelations driving us to pull out of Afghanistan. This is from National Review.
To the extent these SIGAR reports get noticed, they will be cited as a piece of evidence in the isolationist-interventionist policy battle. Those who want to withdraw from Afghanistan will point to this report and say that not only have our efforts not worked, but advocates in multiple administrations have lied to the public about how well the efforts were working. Interventionists will need to grapple with these difficult truths. Maybe we will witness the end to the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan in the coming years. But we had better be ready for what follows us; based upon the history of Afghanistan, it will be ugly, and it could well end up trading one threat to Americans for another.
Perhaps the issue here isn’t that people might see the report and decide a more isolationist view on Afghanistan is warranted. No, the issue is what’s contained in the report itself. It’s long past time for the interventionists to grapple with the fact that they were simply wrong. Yes, Afghanistan will devolve into a dumpster fire again, if it hasn’t already. That was always going to be the reality because their society, bolstered by tribalism and Islamism is so reductive. We can’t change that and adding another year to an already 18-year long war won’t fix anything.
The idea that we will somehow garner a higher threat level if we leave no longer bears any resemblance to reality. It’s not 2003 anymore. Technology has advanced greatly and we have the ability to monitor the situation without continuing to wage a ground war our officials don’t know how to win and the American people no longer support.
In the end, this report will be white-washed or inexplicably shoved off as Trump’s fault, but the reality is that the greatest levels of malfeasance and lying took place early on under Barack Obama. This should put to rest any notion that he was “scandal-free.” It won’t though because his tan suit or something.
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