Panetta, Military Officials ‘Paint Rosy Picture’ of Afghan War

Painting falsely encouraging pictures of the Afghan war is a favorite pastime of top US officials

While on a trip to Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and top US military officials have been issuing misleading statements on the progress of the war, “paint[ing] a rosy picture of the Afghan situation,” reports the Washington Post.

Marine Maj. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the head of operations for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, claimed Afghan troops have begun to operate independently.

“We’re now un-partnering from” Afghan forces, Nicholson said Wednesday. “We’re at that stage of the fight.”

But this really isn’t the case. All along, officials have quietly admitted that Afghan security forces are weak and untrained, and would probably fall apart (along with the state) without the NATO occupation.

“Without a US military presence, the Afghan government would be in deep trouble,” Seth Jones, an analyst at RAND Corp., told USA Today. “A U.S. presence is probably necessary to survive.”

“Nicholson said that although US commanders have made ‘disingenuous’ claims in the past about the extent to which Afghans were acting as equal partners in joint missions, officials now see the Afghan army as ready to operate largely on its own,” the Post reported.

A Pentagon report to Congress on Monday “found that violence in Afghanistan is higher than it was before the surge of American forces into the country two years ago,” according to The New York Times.

Painting falsely encouraging pictures of the Afghan war is a favorite past time of top administration officials and military’s top brass.

The blockbuster reporting of Michael Hastings in Rolling Stone last year revealed that “the US Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in ‘psychological operations’ to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war.”

Lieutenant Colonel Daniel L. Davis, who bravely came out publicly last year to denounce the US military leadership as a bunch of propagandists, said that “Our current military leadership is so distorting the information it releases that the deterioration of the situation and the failing nature of our efforts is shielded from the American public (and Congress), and replaced instead with explicit statements that all is going according to plan.”

Davis added his deployments to Afghanistan revealed to him a reality that “bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.”

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.