Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Military report on Afghanistan "not releasable"

While waiting for the big speech, it was easy to miss yesterday's news that Trump's Afghanistan war is going very sour (just as Obama's and George W.'s wars did).

Taliban suicide bombers have killed 130 people in the capital, Kabul, in the last week. The entity that passes for a "government" of the country controls less and less territory. Eleven U.S. troops were killed and 99 injured in this forgotten war in 2017; there have been plenty of airstrikes and plenty of civilian casualties -- but to what end?

Military leaders know that a civil war like this one can only end when the local parties reach some kind of negotiated agreement. But Trump says there can be no talks.

So what to do when a largely forgotten war is sinking into a quagmire (again)? You can stop telling the American people the truths that our own Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has uncovered. SIGAR reports are "unclassified," but the Pentagon has invented a new secret category: "not releasable to the public."

Now presumably the Taliban know what proportion of Afghanistan they control as do the people who live in those areas. Our military is not hiding information about the battlefield from the enemy -- it's hiding the quantification of its strategic failure from us.

Why do our leaders think we must continue this 17-year failure? There have been many rationales over the years, but I fear the current one is that Trump's advisors knew they could sell him on the war so long as he saw himself as the meanest ape around.


ellen kirkendall said...

Is it not releasable due to its resemblance to the Pentagon Papers?

Rain Trueax said...

I never watch speeches. I also skip press conferences. I prefer to read them later-- when i need to know.

We might've had one chance in Afghanistan (and I emphasize might) if when Bush got us in there, he'd let the military get bin Laden instead of wanting him to get away and have an excuse to continue the war. I think maybe when the soldiers first got there, the Afghani people might've trusted us and we could have ended the Taliban but it never was what Bush wanted. He wanted Iraq and he didn't in the end finish either. And Afghanistan always was iffy even then as it's mountainous and tribal. Nobody has really succeeded in changing or taking it over. It's sad though as if the people then could have been convinced to join the modern world for their women especially, maybe iit'd have been a foot in the door. As it is, it's another loss with lives being blown up and for what!

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