The Long War in Afghanistan – Lying to the American People

The Long War in Afghanistan – Lying to the American People A Political Junkie via Russia-Insider

At a recent hearing “U.S. Lessons Learned in Afghanistan” before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), John Sopko, clearly outlined the lies that Washington has told Americans during the 18-year-old war in Afghanistan that shows no real signs of progress or resolution other than the “conditional peace agreement” that was signed with the Taliban on February 29, 2020.  If you weren’t aware of SIGAR, it was created by Congress in 2008 to oversee and report on waste, fraud and abuse regarding reconstruction spending in Afghanistan.  SIGAR is not tasked with determining whether or not the United States should have attacked Afghanistan in the first place and whether the American military should remain there.  Since its inception, investigations by SIGAR have saved United States taxpayers $3 billion and led to the convictions of more than 130 individuals for crimes related to the rebuilding of Afghanistan.

Let’s pick out some of the salient points from the transcript of the testimony.  Inspector General Sopko opens by noting that 2372 American military personnel have died in the conflict thus far and that American taxpayers have spent more than $133 billion on reconstruction efforts.  Here are his comments on the success of the mission thus far:

…on March 25, 2013, I sent letters to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, asking them to each provide me with a list of their agency’s ten most successful Afghanistan reconstruction projects and programs, as well as a list of the ten least successful, along with a detailed explanation of how these projects and programs were evaluated and the specific criteria used for each.

The answers we received from the agencies were informative, but—as you can see from Appendix I—they failed to list or discuss each agency’s 10 most and 10 least successful projects or programs. As my letter of July 5, 2013 noted, this failure limited our understanding of how government agencies evaluated and perceived both success and failure, which was critical for formulating lessons learned from past reconstruction projects and programs.

It is perhaps understandable that agencies would want to show their programs in the best possible light—and it is certainly understandable that the private firms, nongovernmental organizations, and multilateral institutions that implemented those programs would want to demonstrate success. Yet a recurring challenge to any accurate assessment has been the pervasive tendency to overstate positive results, with little, if any, evidence to back up those claims.

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