Daniel Davis, Matthew Hoh, and Danny Sjursen reflect on America’s war in Afghanistan in light of the Washington Post’s publishing of a trove of formerly confidential documents on the war. The report, which is being hailed as this generations Pentagon Papers, details the ways officials in the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations have lied about the progress being made in Afghanistan and the need to keep troops there. Even though lots of people like Davis, Hoh, and Sjursen have been speaking out for years about America’s forever wars, they say that it’s embarrassing for top brass to admit that lower level officers could see strategic failures that the war planners could not—and so voices like theirs mostly just don’t get heard. At some point all three guests had moments that convinced them they couldn’t keep contributing to this lost cause in good conscience, and have since striven to show the world what’s really going on. We need to bring back a healthy skepticism, they say, of the idea that America’s military is a wise force for good in the world.
Discussed on the show:
- “U.S. officials misled the public about the war in Afghanistan, confidential documents reveal” (Washington Post)
- War Is a Lie
- “Potemkin Patrols: Performing the (Afghan) War” (Antiwar.com Original)
- “Casablanca (1942)” (IMDb)
- The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11
- Obama’s Wars
- The Promise
- The Best and the Brightest
- A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam
- About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior
Daniel Davis did multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan during his time in the army. He writes a weekly column for National Interest and is the author of the reports “Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leaders’ Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort” and “Go Big or Go Deep: An Analysis of Strategy Options on Afghanistan.” Find him on Twitter @DanielLDavis1.
Matthew Hoh is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and formerly worked for the U.S. State Department. Hoh received the Ridenhour Prize Recipient for Truth Telling in 2010. Hoh is a member of the Board of Directors for Council for a Livable World and is an Advisory Board Member for Expose Facts. He writes on issues of war, peace and post-traumatic stress disorder recovery at matthewhoh.com.
Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. army major and former history instructor at West Point. He writes regularly for TomDispatch.com and he’s the author of “Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge.” Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet.
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Scott Horton has done over 5,400 interviews with military leaders, whistleblowers, and investigative journalists. Avoid being part of the mob that calls for innocent blood by learning from foreign-policy experts, and spread the message of peace to others.