“In war, truth is the first casualty.” -Aeschylus, (525BC – 456BC)
There’s an interesting piece from Paul Harris in the Guardian, about U.S. Army Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, a born again Christian, member of his church choir, son of a Texas football coach and career military man turned whistle blower. Not that any of that matters, it’s just my way of saying this guy isn’t your average East Coast Establishment liberal out to complain about America’s ongoing entanglement in Afghanistan. He tells the Guardian that his decision to go public involved some “heavy soul searching.”
Colonel Davis, who has served two tours, put together two reports. The opening statement of the first, reads: “Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable.”
Anybody out there remember Gen. William “Westy” Westmoreland, and his highly publicized body count in Vietnam? The way he used the number of dead to keep score and credible charges that the number was inflated to make the American people think we were winning?
Colonel Davis traveled extensively, covering 9000 miles and talking with more than 200 people. The impression he came away with is not encouraging. According to the Guardian, “He had built up a picture of a hopeless cause; a country where Afghan soldiers were incapable of holding on to American gains. US soldiers would fight and die for territory and then see Afghan troops let it fall to the Taliban. Often the Afghans actively worked with the Taliban or simply refused to fight. One Afghan police officer laughed in Davis’s face when asked if he ever tried to fight the enemy. “That would be dangerous!” the man said.”
Col. Davis, is also highly critical of the media., saying reporters are “…obsessed with getting ‘access’ to military bases and generals and tempered reporting in order to maintain that situation. ‘Most of the media just takes the talking points and repeats them,’ he said.”
For those of us who were around during the Vietnam years, it’s deja vu all over again. Except for the part about the media. The difference between the media now and the media (“the press”) then, is night and day.