Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis reportedly submitted a classified report to members of Congress, arguing that the Department of Defense has intentionally and consistently misled the American people and Congress when it comes to measuring progress and conduct in Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Davis has also written an 80+ page unclassified version, which the DOD has not cleared for public release. Below is Lt. Col. Davis and Matthew Hoh with the Center for International Policy discuss.
According to RollingStone’s Michaell Hastings, Colonel Davis submitted the unclassified report –titled “Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leader’s Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort” – for an internal Army review last month. U.S. military officials familiar with the situation told the reporter that the Pentagon is refusing to do so. Rolling Stone has now obtained a full copy of the 84-page unclassified version. You can read it here (pdf). It is long but a must read. Here is an interesting excerpt:
A bunch of dudes in bed sheets and flip-flops.
But before anyone else underestimates these gentlemen, consider also the path they’ve travelled to get to this place. The Taliban initially formed in the chaotic aftermath of the post-Soviet period and by 1996 had captured Kabul, where they ruled until October 2001 when the United States unleashed its post-9/11 sword. Less than four months after the first US airstrike in Afghanistan the military and political organization of the Taliban had all but ceased to exist. They were as decisively crushed psychologically as they were physically. Yet from this virtual grave they slowly reconstituted themselves in the 2003-04 time-frame and in 2005 re-emerged on the Afghan scene.
On paper, the imbalance between the two forces couldn’t be greater and ought to have resulted in a rapid and crushing defeat for the insurgent force. But wars aren’t fought on paper. An unbiased analysis of the tactical situation on the ground in Afghanistan and even a cursory observation of key classified reports and metrics leads overwhelmingly to the conclusion that over the past two years, despite the surge of 30,000 American Soldiers, the insurgent force has gained strength, the number of attacks has increased considerably, and the number of American casualties has skyrocketed. The Afghan people demonstrate an alarming lack of faith in their government and security forces and according to multiple sources, despite ISAF claims to the contrary, Taliban morale is so strong that most are reported to be utterly convinced they have already won.
Despite overwhelming physical evidence of our failure to succeed on the military front, senior US and ISAF leaders inexplicably continue a steady stream of press releases and public statements that imply the exact opposite. Far from positively influencing the target audiences in the region, our words and actions unequivocally work to our disadvantage, as it causes both our friends and foes to question what we say. One Washington, DC-based foreign diplomat with whom I recently talked, explained that diplomats from other countries whom he knew shared his view: the problem isn’t so much they have lost confidence in the truthfulness of our public statements, but possibly something worse – they suppose we genuinely believe what we’re saying, but our ability to accurately assess difficult foreign problems is flawed.
Michael Hastings @mmhastings tweets “I hear Pentagon officials pushing story Davis is being investigated for “possible security violations.”
Well, that’s not very smart, is it? Pentagon officials pushing the story that Davis is a subject of investigation? The report hits online today, and he’s now the subject of investigation? Man, that “investigation” should have been “leaked” last week, dudes, not today, because now it sounds utterly suspicious. Where do you think we are, in Jupiter?
ISAF Media, where are you when we need you?
- Pentagon Counters Dim Assessment of Afghan War (atwar.blogs.nytimes.com)
- I’ll get ‘nuked’ for revealing Afghan failures, admits US army colonel (independent.co.uk)
- The Next Victim in the US Government’s War on Whistleblowing (dissenter.firedoglake.com)