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Monday, December 9, 2019

US Government Infested with Liars


Silverfiddle Rant!
Washington Post reports:

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. (WaPo via MSN)

It's no surprise our government is infested with bald-faced liars. The most sickening aspect of this story is the complicity of military flag officers. Military people thrive on the mission impossible, I saw it in action every day in Iraq and Afghanistan. A nation needs such people, and when carried out by the enlisted, company grade officers and field grade officers it is a noble endeavor.

It's a different story with flag officers. Generals responsible for the lives of the men and women charged to their care failed to tell the truth and instead went along with the political lies foisted on them by our elected leaders. They said nothing and refused to put their careers on the line to challenge the lies from our government. The generals who exhibited such behavior are moral cowards, a disgrace to the uniform, and criminally negligent. Every damn one of them who participated in this lie--active duty or retired--should have the stars ripped from his or her shoulders and be publicly disgraced. I am sick to my stomach.

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should be immediately fired for his role in this fraud on the American people and the men and women of the US military, living and dead.

Here are some damning quotes. Please go read the whole thing for yourself, and tell us what you think.
“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.”

"Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible."

The United States has allocated more than $133 billion to build up Afghanistan — more than it spent, adjusted for inflation, to revive the whole of Western Europe with the Marshall Plan after World War II.

One unidentified contractor told government interviewers he was expected to dole out $3 million daily for projects in a single Afghan district roughly the size of a U.S. county. He once asked a visiting congressman whether the lawmaker could responsibly spend that kind of money back home: “He said hell no. ‘Well, sir, that’s what you just obligated us to spend and I’m doing it for communities that live in mud huts with no windows.’ ”

Year after year, U.S. generals have said in public they are making steady progress on the central plank of their strategy: to train a robust Afghan army and national police force that can defend the country without foreign help.

In the Lessons Learned interviews, however, U.S. military trainers described the Afghan security forces as incompetent, unmotivated and rife with deserters. They also accused Afghan commanders of pocketing salaries — paid by U.S. taxpayers — for tens of thousands of “ghost soldiers.” 

42 comments:

  1. It's good the media is exposing what probably should have been obvious.

    Perhaps it will make a difference going forward.

    Guess that will be up to the American electorate. Not hopeful.

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    1. Les, I'm not hopeful either. This should have been a bombshell, but I don't think anyone noticed.

      I remember in high school studying about the lies of generals and government officials about the war in Vietnam.

      In normal times, this would call for congressional hearings.

      Our government is rotten to the core. When the money finally runs out, it will get ugly.

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    2. "When the money finally runs out, it will get ugly."

      What makes you think the money will run out? It's not real money and hasn't been for several decades. We aren't even keeping up the fiction of printing it. It is not even being created by the government. It is nothing more than a ledger entry created by the Federal Reserve Bank.

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    3. "In normal times, this would call for congressional hearings."
      No, it's "Impeach! Impeach! Impeach!"

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  2. Yes Silver, and run it it will.

    Why has it happened neither party is the least bit concerned about fiscal responsibility, debt reduction, and maintaining a manageable and sustainable debt to GDP ratio?

    We simply cannot continue to be the elite global police force. It will ultimately break us.

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  3. America’s military has been politicized for a long time. As you’ve suggested, it is disturbing because, in an organization that preaches the importance of personal and professional integrity, it’s senior-most element has been (and continues to be) willing to exchange their integrity for the next star. Kissing the ass of the president is not the job description of a three or four star officer. And to be perfectly candid, were I sitting in the oval office, I would be concerned (distrustful) about a flag officer who was a “yes man.”

    Like you, I believe that our men and women in uniform deserve better leaders, but then looking around at the lettuce displayed by most (not all) of our flag officers, there appears to be a paucity of combat leaders. They have plenty of administrative awards, but few combat decorations. Lute, for example, does not have a single combat decoration. One wonders, why do we place officers with no combat experience in charge of developing operational or contingency plans, or in command of our combat forces? If anyone should command our combat troops, it should be those with proven ability in the combat arms; and under no set of circumstances should an administrative-weenie ever be appointed to serve as a service chief/vice chief. In a perfect world, all ass-kissers would be constrained to supervising recruiters, contract managers, and other foul creatures.

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  4. The military failed and it's somebody else's fault. Well, that's convenient.

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  5. Surely there's no al Qaeda or ISIS left to be emboldened by American troop withdrawals and proclamations that wars against them are unwinnable. Rainbows, sunshine, and lollipops for everyone!

    What kind of Mickey Mouse operation does the Pentagon have going on when generals at war forget their mission is "kill the enemy?" What the hell do they mean they don't know what they are supposed to be doing?! The population of Afghanistan is 35.5 million. Make it closer to zero with as much fiery explosions as possible, dumbass. Go!

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  6. Sadly, this is not remotely new news. This has been detailed in each and every SIGR report released to the public. Since those had nothing to do with whining about Obama or Trump......they went unnoticed by the general public.

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    1. Perhaps if the Afghan's had made greater contributions to the McCain Leadership Institute the SIGAR reports would have been more positive....

      ...but then the overall Afghan foreign aid loans available from the US to skim and kick back to the McCain Leadership Institute would have been smaller so....

      :(

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    2. I'm not interested in partisan point-scoring. This is a bipartisan, multi-administration FUBAR.

      And this article goes beyond what was in previous reports.

      Delete
    3. @Silverfiddle
      It is an American government run by the military. Military control of the government became more open under Obama, who was the weakest president ever to occupy the White House, and the first in several generations who had never even pretended to serve.

      It has now become open and glaringly obvious under Trump. He has twice announced that all military forces were being withdrawn from Syria, where they serve no useful purpose. Both times those announcements have been countered by the Pentagon, and troop levels in Syria have actually increased.

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    4. Jayhawk:

      Its the MIC. The armed forces are the mercenaries who unquestioningly follow their orders.

      The picture becomes clearer when we understand that a general officer is a political actor with lucrative money-making opportunities in retirement, if he/she doesn't rock the boat.

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    5. SF - Absolutely, but the article does seem to ignore the current and past political administrations goals; the blame for this does not fall squarely on the military, avoiding inconvenient partisan blame as some would have.

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    6. Civilian leadership and the foreign policy "experts" get the blame because they were the authors of this catastrophe and kept it going despite all evidence it was a total cluster and they didn't know what the hell they were doing.

      It is a damnable stain on the military that not one GO fell on his sword over any of this and called BS.

      For this reason I have great respect for Gen. Mattis. He had a fundamental disagreement with the President, stated so bluntly but diplomatically in his resignation letter, and punched out.

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    7. Yep; I respect Gen. Mattis for the same reasons [aside from previous honors].

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    8. SF - It’s also worth mentioning that part of the problem is the ‘in err’ goal of trying to turn majority Islamic and underdeveloped nations into even facades of western liberal democracies. This burden, on the ground, has been borne largely by our military forces.

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    9. CI, I know, and I agree. I saw if first-hand. I have said many times the US Army should have gotten some kind of big award for its job on the ground in Iraq. We had E-5's acting as Sheriff, Captains and Justice of the Peace, and overall, a force on the ground doing the impossible in service to an incoherent policy cooked up and pushed by people who should be in jail for what they did.

      Delete
  7. A Sliver of Hope

    “We must end the vicious, lethal cycle of misinformation and unspecified, unsupported strategies.” - Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)

    “The Senate Armed Services Committee should hold hearings on the state of the Afghanistan conflict and the infuriating details & alleged falsehoods reported today.” - Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)

    “The time to end this war and bring our troops home honorably is now.” Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), an Afghanistan veteran.

    The article also contained some unfortunate Vietnam-esque black humor:

    “There has been no intent by DoD to mislead Congress or the public.” Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell, Defense Department spokesman



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  8. Isn't the larger question here what are the conditions that led us to this point?

    Why, in the two largest military operations of my lifetime, do leaders feel a need to lie, shade the truth and obfuscate? Why are we unable to state and define objectives when we send our troops into harm's way?

    What is pushing ppl to behave this way and perhaps more importantly, what can be done to change the equation?

    The Middle East [Afghanistan] issue started with a GOP Admin, continued with a Dem Admin and circled back and kept going with another GOP Admin, so the issue is clearly bi-partisan in nature.

    It's maddening, infuriating in fact. I'm at a loss to see we move forward on this...

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  9. I wish I could find the exact quote but I recall Rumsfeld saying very early on that the "global war on terrorism" would not be quick and easy, and would take upwards of 75 years to end. I'd like to find that quote and its context. Not even a third of the way into a 75 year hypothetical commitment, are we on time or off track?

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    1. Rummy should be awarded the McNamera Trophy... from behind bars.

      All we're doing to the terrorists is red teaming them, and creating more of them.

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    2. I don't know. Seems to me we're exactly where we should be after nearly eleven years of Obama-Trump wanting to abandon the front lines.

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    3. Don't forget Bush wanting to "bomb" them with "love" and food packages.

      The whole damn thing was flawed from the start.

      Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice should be sharing a jail cell.

      Delete
    4. We’re clearly still shopping. That’s the ‘sacrifice’ the public was asked for after 9/11. A useful distraction by which to engage in military, political and corporate adventurism.

      As you well know SF, if the public could glimpse the ground truth on both Iraq and Afghanistan.....they would march on DC with pitchforks and torches.

      At least.....I would hope.

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    1. It accords with what I have seen with my own eyes and heard from other sources.

      I don't just blindly gobble stuff up. I use my own experience and my light of reason.

      Delete
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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Lovely, but what does it have to do with the TOPIC?

      You delete people at your blog for doing stuff like this.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Ah yes, everyone is blind but you...

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    4. FT wants to sing Kumbaya with Nero on the fiddle.

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    5. TC,

      I understand what Franco is getting at--as Christians we can apply Biblical teachings to any phenomena on earth, and recourse to God is often our only recourse in a life that often makes no earthly sense. For people who believe in God, all that is a given.

      Given that, the topic of this post is our government's criminal incompetence and rotten house of lies concerning Afghanistan.

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    6. All I know is John Bolton resigned mostly because Trump wanted to host the Taliban at Camp David on September 11th, 2019. The war on terror required a serious leader, and we got a game show host instead.

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    7. I agree that was a dumb move. We also have to remember it wasn't the Taliban who attacked us.

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  14. Wasteful spending and half-baked ideas: U.S. officials reveal how massive rebuilding projects in Afghanistan backfired

    Since 2001, Washington has spent more on nation-building in Afghanistan than in any country ever, allocating $133 billion for reconstruction, aid programs and the Afghan security forces.

    Adjusted for inflation, that is more than the United States spent in Western Europe with the Marshall Plan after World War II.

    Instead of bringing stability and peace, they said, the United States inadvertently built a corrupt, dysfunctional Afghan government that remains dependent on U.S. military power for its survival. Assuming it does not collapse, U.S. officials have said it will need billions more dollars in aid annually, for decades.


    I say, let it collapse.

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  15. Never send soldiers to do the job of an atomic bomb.

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  16. Back in 2009, I had a rare opportunity to hang out with one of Israel's first military generals when Israel returned as a nation in 1948. He gave me and some friends a perspective on the violence in the Middle East including Afghanistan. General Shimon Erem told us that President Jimmy Carter destroyed over 30 years of ground intelligence during his first 2 years of his term as President. The rise of Khomeini fueled many of the violent attacks on the Middle East nations as radical Islamists tried to conquer and subject nations to extremist Islamic control. What we are seeing right now, judging from what I got out of the private chat I had with the late General Erem back in 2009, is a violent attempt of Islamic extremists trying to retain their stranglehold on the government of Afghanistan. General Erem pointed out that after Carter got voted out, he continued to meddle in the affairs of the Middle East, interfering with dealings from President Reagan, President Bush Sr., President Clinton and President Bush Jr. Carter deliberately sabotaged Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr.'s moves dealing with issues in the Middle East, interfered with President Clinton's attempt to capture 0sama bin laden, and kept interfering with George W. Bush's dealings with the wars in the Middle East. General Erem smelled something rotten with 0bama's dealings as well, even early on into 0bama's first 9 months as President. General Erem died in late May 2012, and is probably rolling in his grave, knowing what is going on in the Middle East. From the things I learned from General Erem, I suspect Jimmy Carter did some interfering at least during 0bama's first term and has handed the baton for 0bama to continue what he started in the 80s when he passes away. However, President Trump is quite vocal about what is going on, and I suspect he is going to try to turn some screws against the regime in order to force them to get their act together. There is still plenty at play, costing Afghanis their lives at the hands of Islamic extremists.

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