Truth, lies and Afghanistan
How military leaders have let us down
BY LT. COL. DANIEL L. DAVIS
I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces….
I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level….
If Americans were able to compare the public statements many of our leaders have made with classified data, this credibility gulf would be immediately observable…. When it comes to deciding what matters are worth plunging our nation into war and which are not, our senior leaders owe it to the nation and to the uniformed members to be candid — graphically, if necessary — in telling them what’s at stake and how expensive potential success is likely to be. U.S. citizens and their elected representatives can decide if the risk to blood and treasure is worth it.
Likewise when having to decide whether to continue a war, alter its aims or to close off a campaign that cannot be won at an acceptable price, our senior leaders have an obligation to tell Congress and American people the unvarnished truth and let the people decide what course of action to choose. That is the very essence of civilian control of the military. The American people deserve better than what they’ve gotten from their senior uniformed leaders over the last number of years. Simply telling the truth would be a good start.
And Next Door in Pakistan…
Here’s one little anecdote about the war against Islamic radicalism next door in Pakistan: as noted by the Long War Journal, the other day the U.S. launched its sixth attack since 2008 on the same Pakistani village. Now, doesn’t that just make you proud of your military and the political leadership directing it in the still very hot global war on…villages?__________________