‘Something Went Wrong,’ Afghanistan Edition

It’s one thing to suspect it, and another thing to have it dumped in your lap by The Washington Post.

“Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.”

Except ice cream cones taste good. This tastes like death.

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22 Responses to “‘Something Went Wrong,’ Afghanistan Edition”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Just listened to the podcast. Yep. Pentagon Papers revisited. we were snookered. I’m shocked, are you?

    • khal spencer Says:

      Aside from Ellsberg’s work, this also reminds me of “A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam” by Neil Sheehan. Maybe Pat O’B read that one, since he spent time over there. If you haven’t read it, its damn riveting.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My default memory triggered by matters such as these is a passage from Michael Herr’s “Dispatches,” which goes as follows:

      A few months earlier there had been an attempt Higher to crank up the Home for Christmas rumor, but it wouldn’t take, the troop consensus was too strong, it went, “Never happen.” If a commander told you he thought he had it pretty well under control it was like talking to a pessimist. Most would say that they either had it wrapped up or wound down; “He’s all pissed out, Charlie’s all pissed out, booger’s shot his whole wad,” one of them promised me, while in Saigon it would be restructured for briefings, “He no longer maintains in our view capability to mount, execute or sustain a serious offensive action,” and a reporter behind me, from The New York Times no less, laughed and said, “Mount this Colonel.” But in the boonies, where they were deprived of all information except what they’d gathered for themselves on either side of the treeline, they’d look around like someone was watching and say, “I dunno, Charlie’s up to something. Slick, slick, that fucker’s so slick. Watch!”

  2. JD Dallager Says:

    So … those who are historians…..please help me by naming one “empire” throughout history that has gone into present day Afghanistan and lastingly changed the Afghans and their culture/governance. And should we expect, in our “infinite wisdom” and arrogance, to accomplish more?

    Two additional points please for your consideration:

    1) Please read “Presidents of War” by Michael Beschloss. “History doesn’t repeat itself; but it often rhymes” (Mark Twain).

    2) Is the Afghanistan conflict really the longest war in US history? Or is it the so-called “War on Drugs”? And … how’s that one going please?

    Apologies in advance for the negativism; but history really does appear to rhyme, eh? 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Nobody in the feddle gummint ever read any Kipling, it would seem.

      Now it is not good for the Christian’s health to hustle the Aryan brown,
      For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the Christian down;
      And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased,
      And the epitaph drear: “A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.”

    • khal spencer Says:

      Jeebus. You don’t have to reach deep into history on this one. Wasn’t Afghanistan one of the things that brought the USSR down?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The Russians didn’t read no Kipling neither.

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Guess we might want to think a little different about Uncle Joe.

  4. SAO Says:

    I’m mostly over it but there are moments when I feel like “self-licking ice cream cone” is going to be my “Rosebud.”

  5. khal spencer Says:

    Having had to deal with classification, it bothers the piss out of me that we can stamp National Security Information on the fact that we are lying to the public in a democracy, where the common Joe and Jane Blow (and he/she/it/they/them) vote for liars, pay the taxes, and shed the blood for these mother-****ing adventures. I’d like to know where we can better draw the lines.

  6. Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

    Allen Ginsburg said it best “War is good business. Invest your son.” and old Ike warned us about the military-industrial complex. I still remember standing along atop a rise above a “Support Our Troops” rally in Sioux City, IA ginning up the fever for the invasion of Irag. Some dolt called up to me as he saw my “NO BLOOD FOR OIL” protest sign – “You’re an idiot! This will all be over in a couple of weeks! USA! USA!” Each time you think someone has learned that war solves nothing – those who make money from them succeed in convincing the idiots into starting (or continuing) yet another one. Same s–t, different day.

  7. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Look on the bright side. It’s bipartisan! Winning! So much winning.

    Except in Afghanistan, of course.

  8. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Another take on the Afghanistan papers.

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