Who would you trust more to report what is really going on in Afghanistan? High ranking generals spellbound by the sunk costs and warped to incoherence by their increasingly outrageous promises of success in this ten-year old war? Or would you trust a 17-year army veteran who has put his career in jeopardy by reporting his frank observations outside of his chain of command?
Here is the detailed unclassified report of Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis. He has also provided a classified version to various members of Congress, as reported by Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone, in an article he has titled, “The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Read.” Here is an excerpt from the unclassified report by Daniel Davis:
[A]s was repeated with frequency during the first quarter of 2011 senior ISAF leaders have explained that we killed a significant number of insurgent (INS) leaders and foot soldiers, we took away his former sanctuaries, cut off his supply routes, took away his freedom of movement, discovered a huge number of weapons and ammo caches, and captured hundreds of insurgent fighters. But if these things are so, the expectation of yet another all-time record of violence warned by the leaders was illogical. If I have tens of thousands of additional ISAF boots, and I kill hundreds of INS leaders thousands of his fighters, capture huge numbers of caches, take away his sanctuaries, and deny him freedom of movement, how could he then significantly increase his level of attacks as the Taliban did in the first half of 2011?
By any rational calculation, our vastly increasing numbers combined with the enemy’s dwindling pool of fighters and loss of equipment ought to have had precisely the opposite effect: they should have been capable of conducting considerably fewer attacks, emplacing a smaller number of IEDs, and their influence on the population should have been notably diminished. Yet none of those things came to pass. ISAF leaders, nevertheless continue to make bold and confident statement after statement that we are succeeding, that the insurgency is weakening, and that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) is gaining the confidence of its people though they offer almost no tangible evidence to that effect, while explaining away the considerable volume of evidence which logically should cause one to reach a very different conclusion.
What is the truth about Afghanistan? Davis cites with approval from a 2011 report by Anthony Cordesman, on behalf of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (see pages 10 and 11):
• US and ISAF won every major tactical clash, but lost much of the country;
• ISAF denied the scale of the insurgency and the seriousness of its rise. Issued intelligence and other reports claiming success that did not exist;
• The US and ISAF remained kinetic through 2009; the insurgent fought a battle of influence over the population and political attrition to drive out the US and ISAF from the start;
• In June 2010, the Acting Minister of Interior told the press that only 9 of Afghanistan’s 364 districts were considered safe;
• No ISAF nation provides meaningful transparency and reporting to its legislature and people.
But what about all of those optimistic reports from high ranking U.S. military brass? Davis cites with approval from a report written by Afghanistan NGO Safety Office (ANSO) and signed by ANSO Director, Nic Lee, examining “the security situation in Afghanistan in order to inform the greater NGO community about the risks they face when operating there.”
More so than in previous years, information of this nature is sharply divergent from (International Military Forces) ‘strategic communication’ messages suggesting improvements. We encourage (NGO personnel) to recognize that no matter how authoritative the source of any such claim, messages of the nature are solely intended to influence American and European public opinion ahead of the withdrawal, and are not intended to offer an accurate portrayal of the situation for those who live and work here.
The report by Davis is compelling, detailed and damning of the propaganda issued by the U.S. regarding Afghanistan. His report is a must read in these times while we continue to spend $2 Billion per week on this fiasco.
Now it’s time for American journalists to step up and report the truth, though Davis is not optimistic that they will carry out their mission (see p. 28):
So long as our country’s top TV and print media continue to avoid challenging power for fear of losing access, there is every reason to expect many senior Defense Department leaders will continue to play this game of denial of access in order to effect compliant reports. As I’ve shown throughout this report, there is ample open source information and reports all over the internet that would allow any individual – or reporter – to find the truth and report it. But heretofore few have. As I note later in this report that there are a number of high ranking generals in the military today who are brilliant leaders and have the highest standards and integrity (giving me hope that there is a chance of reform in the future), so too there are some really fine journalists in both print and on-air media organizations. We need more experienced and honorable journos – and their parent organizations – to summon the courage to report wherever the truth leads and not simply regurgitate the bullet points handed out by some action officer. America needs you.
Feb 15, 2012 – Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone discusses the report of Lt. Col. Daniel Davis with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now: