Afghanistan Papers


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Alex Maisenhelder, Online Managing Editor

In the past there have been massive data leaks such as the Pentagon Papers, the Panama Papers, and now the Afghanistan Papers, which is a collection of over 2,000 documents regarding the American involvement in Afghanistan.

The United States has been present in Afghanistan since late 2001, but as we have learned a lot through these papers from the military.

“[The military] was 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 said.

The amount of funding the United States put into Afghanistan was absurd. Reportedly putting more money into Afghanistan than they put into Europe to fix it via the Marshall Plan.

Not only did military officials in Afghanistan say they had no clue what they were doing, but “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,” according to the Washington Post.

With the Afghanistan war still going on, current President Donald Trump has not been one to hold back on comments regarding the war. Making numerous comments regarding how the war could be ended.

““We’ve been very effective in Afghanistan, and if we wanted to do a certain method of war, we would win that very quickly, but many, many, really, tens of millions of people would be killed, and we think it’s unnecessary,” Trump said according to the Washington post. “But Australia’s been a great help to us in Afghanistan.”  However, with the Afghanistan Papers getting out it can be seen that not everything the government has said or put out about the conflict in Afghanistan was truthful or can be trusted.

“Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.” There seems to be a case of the military trying to make everything seem better than it actually was and put themselves in a good light.

While some this may not be necessarily new to people, it is always shocking and disheartening to see the lack of truthfulness to the populous of a country by its government and military. Also, just like it was in the case of the Panama Papers this is likely just the tip of an iceberg, which in a sense expose how unprepared and unplanned the venture into the Middle East was. Even so, this kind of news is not much of a shock to those who grew up during the start of the conflict, it is just more so an affirmation.