Just how much do American citizens know about the U.S. war in Afghanistan and its conclusion? Not very much, according to a Washington Post book entitled “The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War.”
The book, which will be published on Aug. 31, paints a picture of a grand illusion crafted during President Barack Obama’s administration that seemingly hid the truth about the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
The book, by Washington Post investigative reporter Craig Whitlock, is based on interviews with more than 1,000 people who played direct roles in the war, as well as thousands of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. How U.S. leaders. The book’s conclusion? The government “deliberately misled the public about America’s longest war,” The Afghanistan Papers reported.
The war had started on October 7, 2001, when the U.S. and its allies entered Afghanistan to drive the Taliban from power in order to deny al-Qaeda a safe base of operations in Afghanistan. On Dec. 28, 2014, President Obama had promised to end the war, and U.S. and NATO officials held a ceremony at their headquarters in Kabul to mark the occasion. But as Americans now know, the war didn’t end then.
In a statement, Obama called the day “a milestone for our country” and said the United States was safer and more secure after 13 years of war.
“Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion,” he declared.
Problem was, the war was nowhere near a conclusion, “responsible” or otherwise, and U.S. troops would fight and die in combat in Afghanistan for several years to come.
Obama’s “baldfaced claims to the contrary ranked among the most egregious deceptions and lies that U.S. leaders spread during two decades of warfare,” The Washington Post reported.
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At the time of Obama’s declaration, about 10,800 U.S. troops remained in Afghanistan. It was a decrease of almost 90 percent from the surge of forces that he had sent to Afghanistan in his first term but the U.S. still had a major presence there. Obama promised to withdraw the rest of the troops by the end of 2016, coinciding with the end of his term in office.
Americans were tired of the war, with just 38 percent of the public saying the war had been worth fighting, found a December 2014 Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Instead of totally pulling American troops out totally, “Obama conjured up an illusion. He and his administration unveiled a messaging campaign to make Americans think that U.S. troops still in Afghanistan would stay out of the fight, with duties that relegated them to the sidelines,” The Afghanistan Papers stated.
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