Newly leaked memos related to the 2009 escalation of the war in Afghanistan have put President Obama’s decision in an even worse light, with the revelation that Vice President Joe Biden penned a memo warning him that the plan wasn’t “viable.” Even more shocking is the revelation that President Obama knew of a CIA assessment that warned against the surge, and “purposely did not read it” before approving the massive escalation.
The new information is included in the upcoming book Little America by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. The Associated Press got an advanced copy of the book and revealed the new information.
Biden’s memo centered on the idea that, while confident that more troops would be able to chase insurgents from villages, the Afghan government was still not credible, nor able to actual secure any of those “gains.” He recommended a smaller escalation.
In practice even Biden’s assessment was a bit rosy. The surge dramatically increased the death toll in Afghanistan, but here in summer 2012, all of the same problems present in summer 2009 remain, and perhaps have worsened in some ways. Though officials are publicly claiming “progress” the administration has signed a pact with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to keep troops on the ground in Afghanistan through 2024.