National Security

Washington Post Reports What We Already Knew About Afghanistan

Money was spent poorly and our mission there was ill-defined. That's no surprise.

Harold Hutchison · Dec. 10, 2019

A new report by The Washington Post about the state of Afghanistan is being treated like a bombshell. In reality, though, we knew much of what that report was saying already … and the response of many Patriots who have followed the war should be, “No kidding. Did the Post also figure out that water is wet, the Pope is Catholic, and bears poop in the woods?”

We ran through America’s options in that war-torn country — and none have been really good. We’ve discussed what lessons we should learn from the Global War on Terror, which has gone on for 18 years, and will go on for more. George W. Bush had some things right, but his mistakes of omission have left us in a bad spot. Barack Obama’s efforts made things far worse.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has been conducting a lot of reports — and has documented how many times the money spent has not been spent well. It’s disheartening. But worse is that these expenditures were approved by Congress, and often part of these lucrative deals find their way into the campaign coffers of those either in Congress or running to be in Congress.

Then again, if you have followed this war closely, then you know all this already. Many Americans haven’t — largely because since 2012, much of the fighting has been passed on to Special Operations Command, and casualty counts went down. Still, it’s not unheard of for some of these operators to have 10 tours or more.

Yet there was no buildup of forces to ease the burden on the special operators. The United States once had the 6th and 8th Special Forces Groups in the active-duty Army, and the 11th and 12th Special Forces Groups in the Army Reserve. The Navy SEALs planned to increase their force structure, but that is on hold. Even then, the SEAL expansion didn’t get more SEALs on the front lines; it just added more units that the same number of SEALs will have to fill in.

Looking at that, as well as the controversies that led to pardons last month, as well as the dishonorable treatment of the heroes who got Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other high-ranking terrorists to talk among other things, make it seem like America is not serious about winning the Global War on Terror.

When America asks the CIA to come up with a way to get terrorists to talk, and the CIA does so, gets it legally cleared, then actually executes the procedures and succeeds in getting information, the response should not be to turn on those we sent to do the job in the first place. But politicians did exactly that. Those who took the risk became villains, while those who sanctimoniously second-guessed them in the safety of offices and with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight became heroes.

More than 2,300 Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice and nearly 21,000 have been wounded in Afghanistan. Countless others suffer the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder. What is most frustrating is that we will see precious little — if any — accountability for the failure to succeed, or to even allow our troops to win.

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