Where’s the truth behind the invasion of Afghanistan? | PostIndependent.com

Where’s the truth behind the invasion of Afghanistan?

Mary Boland
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
What do we really want?

“The truth will set you free.”

– John 8:32

Finally, someone with the proper credentials to speak with authority is trying to tell us the truth about the longest war in U.S. history. Would his truth spread until it sets us free of this horrid and tragic futility?

After returning from his second yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis began a rare and heroic effort to tell us all the truth as he saw it.

He was in an unusually good position to see the truth.

He represented the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, created to bypass the normal cumbersome channels and make sure troops quickly get the gear they need. In this capacity he traveled over 9,000 miles of Afghanistan, visiting almost every U.S. base of consequence to talk to the troops about their needs and circumstances.

He visited with 19-year-old privates, division commanders, Afghan security officials and civilians. And, in his own words, he “witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.”

He reports hearing “many stories of how insurgents controlled virtually every piece of land beyond eyeshot of a U.S. or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) base.”

He “saw little to no evidence the local governments were able to provide for the basic needs of the people” and “observed Afghan Security forces collude with the insurgency.”

“How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?” Col. Davis asks in an article titled “Truth, Lies and Afghanistan: How Military Leaders Have Let Us Down.” This article was published in the Armed Forces Journal. Davis goes on to state: “No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan. But we do expect – and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve – to have our leaders tell us the truth about what is going on.”

In conclusion he asserts that “when having to decide whether to continue a war, alter its aims or to close off a campaign that cannot be won at an acceptable price, our senior leaders have an obligation to tell Congress and the American people the unvarnished truth and let the people decide what course of action to choose.

“The American people deserve better than what they’ve gotten from their senior uniformed leaders over the last number of years. Simply telling the truth would be a good start.”

An important part of this truth-telling would include, in my humble opinion, a frank discussion of how and why we got so involved in Afghanistan in the first place.

The U.S. government had long coveted the oil resources of the Caspian Sea area. But getting the oil out required long pipelines through unfriendly or unstable countries. The best route transits Afghanistan.

In 1979, Afghanistan was a functioning state with a healthy middle class. But its leftist government was not interested in negotiating a pipeline deal with us. So when Islamic fundamentalists started a revolt because the leftist government wanted to teach girls to read, we supported their revolt, first against the independent leftist government then against the invading Soviets.

But after we finally discovered that the Taliban were not going to negotiate pipeline rights with us either, the U.S. was ready to support another regime change. And 9/11 gave us our excuse. Instead of military strikes aimed simply at punishing al Qaida and the Taliban, we decided on a full-out invasion and total regime change.

Whatever one thinks of the merits of that scheme, the fact is that invading Iraq in addition, for no good reason, caused us to be so overextended we could achieve no real success in either country.

And never has the U.S. government told the American people the truth about the whys and wherefores behind its complicated and improbable plans for using military force to shape the world to serve U.S. economic interests. Or, one might say, simply to serve the thoughtless greed of the U.S. leadership, the U.S. 1 per cent.

Not only has our military and civilian leadership been duplicitous, but it has created total failure at the expense of killing and maiming thousands of our finest young men, plus destroying the lives of an uncountable number of innocent Iraqis and Afghans. Not to mention, it’s nearly bankrupted us.

Now, despite the fact that we have no pipeline from the Caspian or other demonstrable benefit, we seem unable to just cut our losses. I guess that’s due to the unwillingness of anyone in power to just say the emperor has no clothes, or the whole policy of military intervention was a horrible mistake.

Too many egos are involved. And I fear at this point, the economic interests of the military industrial complex are also working against the truth.

– “What Do We Really Want?” appears on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. Mary Boland is a retired teacher and journalist, a proud grandmother, and a longtime resident of Carbondale. Follow her on twitter@grannyboland.

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