Rather than focus on how the U.S. got out of Afghanistan, focus on how it got in
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post
Posted: August 22nd, 2021
There should be a serious accounting for the Afghanistan debacle. The United States waged its longest war in a distant, impoverished country. After two decades, more than 775,000 troops deployed, far more than $1 trillion spent, more than 2,300 U.S. deaths and 20,500 wounded in action, tens of thousands of Afghani civilian deaths, the United States managed to create little more than a kleptocracy. Rather than focusing on how we got out, it would be far wiser to focus on how we got in. The accounting can draw from the ... Afghanistan Papers project. The papers come from ... the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, based on interviews with hundreds of officials who guided the mission. Their words are a savage and telling indictment. Under President George W. Bush, the early mission — to defeat al-Qaeda and get Osama bin Laden in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — quickly turned to nation-building. That mission was an abject failure from the beginning. Adjusted for inflation, the United States spent more money developing Afghan institutions than it had spent to help all of Western Europe after World War II. Yet as Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan concluded, the “single biggest project” stemming from the flood of dollars “may have been the development of mass corruption.” Nearly $10 billion was spent to eradicate poppy production but as of 2018, Afghan farmers produced more than 80 percent of the global opium supply.