On the one hand, US officials are constantly claiming “progress” in the Afghan War, citing territorial gains and massive death tolls against the insurgency as proof that the war is, some 10 years in, coming together under some sort of plan.
At the same time, NATO’s own figures show the insurgency isn’t getting any smaller, Gen. Petraeus is now reported to be on the way out, and today Admiral Michael Mullen informed Congress that 2011 will be an even more violent year in Afghanistan than the record 2010 was.
“The fighting will be tough and often costly,” Mullen informed the committee in a prepared statement, which added that the violence to come would be “greater than last year,” which may sound familiar, because violence in Afghanistan has gotten worse year after year, and record tolls always find a way to be topped.
Officials keep saying rising violence is a sign of Taliban desperation, but we’re now talking about several years of “desperation” spikes that never go away. It seems difficult to fathom, then, how the ever worsening situation continues to be spun as progress. and worse, how it continues to be convincing enough that Congress takes them at their word.