This news about the U.S. military systematically lying about its disastrous occupation of Afghanistan can only come as a surprise to those who still believe that the USS Maine was sunk by the Spanish, NASA landed men on the barren Moon, Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.
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.
The documents were generated by a federal project examining the root failures of the longest armed conflict in U.S. history. They include more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials.
The U.S. government tried to shield the identities of the vast majority of those interviewed for the project and conceal nearly all of their remarks. The Post won release of the documents under the Freedom of Information Act after a three-year legal battle.
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In the interviews, more than 400 insiders offered unrestrained criticism of what went wrong in Afghanistan and how the United States became mired in nearly two decades of warfare.
We may not know what the whole truth is. We usually can’t. But we absolutely know, on the basis of the historical pattern, that whatever story the U.S. government is pushing on the public is substantially false.