WaPo: Secret Afghanistan Papers Reveal How U.S. Officials Lied About War

HeadlineDec 10, 2019

“The modern-day Pentagon Papers.” That’s how people are describing a confidential trove of documents obtained by The Washington Post revealing how senior U.S. officials have lied throughout the 18-year war in Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history. The first installation of the explosive report, published Monday, is titled “At war with the truth.” It documents how U.S. officials repeatedly lied about the war’s progress while hiding evidence the war had become unwinnable. It also shows how three successive presidencies — President George W. Bush, President Obama and President Trump — have bungled the war in Afghanistan, despite deploying 775,000 U.S. troops since 2001. More than 2,000 U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan, and 20,000 have been wounded. The papers also reveal how U.S. officials tried to hide the truth about the war from the American public. In one interview revealed in the papers, Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan War czar during both the Bush and Obama administrations, said, “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing. … If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction.” The 2,000 pages of secret documents contain 400 interviews with generals, diplomats, aid workers, Afghan officials and others who played a direct role in the war. The Washington Post won access to the documents after a three-year legal battle.

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