Why the ‘Afghanistan Papers’ Matter, foreignpolicy.com

Newly released interviews on the U.S. war reveal the coordinated spin effort and dodgy metrics behind a forever war.

On Monday, the Washington Post published what it calls a “secret history” of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, comprising 2,000 pages of interviews with senior U.S. officials and others directly involved in the conflict. The debriefs, part of a confidential government review on the war effort, contain candid and shocking revelations about how U.S. politicians and generals misled the world about the status of the war.

The “Afghanistan Papers,” as the Post calls the report, have drawn comparisons in their scope and granular detail with the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers, published in the New York Times in 1971. In both wars, “The presidents and the generals had a pretty realistic view of what they were up against, which they did not want to admit to the American people,” Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, told CNN’s Brian Stelter. […]

 Another interview with an unnamed National Security Council official reveals a clear attempt to spin the war effort as a success. “It was impossible to create good metrics,” said the official. “We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory and none of it painted an accurate picture … And this went on and on for two reasons: to make everyone involved look good, and to make it look like the troops and resources were having the kind of effect where removing them would cause the country to deteriorate.”Läs artikel