Originally published February 8 2012
Army officer says it's time to stop lying about 'progress' in Afghanistan
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's refreshing and extremely worthy of praise: A ranking military member with credibility, who has much to lose by speaking out, steps forward to tell some hard truths about what's really going on in a war that has become the nation's longest in history.
He may not think of himself as one, but Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis is a hero in the eyes of many, because he has the intestinal fortitude to tell the American people what our senior military and civilian leaders have chosen to ignore - namely, that the words "progress" and "Afghanistan," in a military sense, don't belong in the same sentence.
Davis, a four-combat-tour veteran who has offered up a better strategy for Afghanistan in the past, says in a recently published assessment of his latest tour in 2011 that, after more than a decade of war, he "witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level" in the U.S. and NATO effort to beat back the Taliban-led insurgency and develop even basic-level governmental services for the people.
Incompetence and Collusion
"As a representative for the Rapid Equipping Force, I set out to talk to our troops about their needs and their circumstances. Along the way, I conducted mounted and dismounted combat patrols, spending time with conventional and Special Forces troops. I interviewed or had conversations with more than 250 soldiers in the field, from the lowest-ranking 19-year-old private to division commanders and staff members at every echelon. I spoke at length with Afghan security officials, Afghan civilians and a few village elders," said Davis.
"I saw the incredible difficulties any military force would have to pacify even a single area of any of those provinces; I heard many stories of how insurgents controlled virtually every piece of land beyond eyeshot of a U.S. or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) base," he said.
Davis wrote that even the Afghan civilians were leery of associating with what they viewed as "predatory" or incompetent local government officials. Worse, from time to time he even "observed Afghan Security forces collude with the insurgency."
Detached from Reality
Davis reserved his most emphatic criticism for the nation's senior military and civilian leaders, whom he says suffer from a yawning credibility gap.
"How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding and behind an array of more than seven years of optimistic statements by U.S. senior leaders in Afghanistan? No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan. But we do expect -- and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve -- to have our leaders tell us the truth about what's going on," he says.
In particular, Davis wants to debunk the myth that the surge of U.S. forces ordered to Afghanistan in 2009 has been a success; it hasn't, despite claims to the contrary by senior military and civilian leaders. And he wants the public to also know that - again, counter to claims made by the military and civilian leadership - that local Afghan army and security forces are horribly inadequate, even to the point of collaborating with the insurgency.
"As the numbers depicting casualties and enemy violence indicate the absence of progress, so too did my observations of the tactical situation all over Afghanistan," Davis wrote. "If Americans were able to compare the public statements many of our leaders have made with classified data, this credibility gulf would be immediately observable."
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