In what’s already being hailed as a defining and explosive “Pentagon papers” moment, a cache of previously classified documents obtained by The Washington Post show top Pentagon leaders continuously lied to the public about the “progress” of the now eighteen-year long Afghan war.
The some 2,000 pages of notes from interviews of senior officials who have shaped US strategy in Afghanistan confirm that “senior US officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false… hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable,” according to the bombshell Post report.
The internal interviews and statements were unearthed via Freedom of Information Act request and span the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations. The trove further confirms that US leaders knew vast amounts of money was being wasted in a futile attempt to “Westernize the nation”.
Watchdog groups commonly estimate total US spending on the war has hit $1 trillion by end of 2019. More importantly, America’s ‘endless war’ has cost at least 2,351 American lives and over 20,000 wounded.
The internal Pentagon project conducted by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) had sought to get as honest assessment as possible as to the status of America’s longest running quagmire panning multiple administrations. It was to be a classified “Lessons Learned” assessment of sorts to prevent future missteps.
“What did we get for this $1tn effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?” one retired Navy SEAL who had advised the Bush and Obama administrations observed in one of the documents. “After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan.”