The Key Reason Why the USA Keeps Losing Wars – Antiwar.com Blog

In a word, dishonesty. That’s the key reason why America keeps losing its wars of choice, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, or elsewhere.

Dishonesty is nothing new, of course. Recall the lessons from the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam War. U.S. leaders knew the war was lost, yet they lied to the American people about seeing lights at the end of tunnels. Recall the Iraq war and the “fixing” of intelligence to justify the invasion. Today the newspeak for Afghanistan is “corners,” as in we’ve turned yet another corner toward victory in that 16-year conflict, according to military testimony before Congress this week.

About those “corners,” here’s a concise summary from FP: Foreign Policy:

Afghanistan turning a corner. Again.Or still? After 16 years of war, the United States and its Afghan partners “have turned the corner,” and Kabul’s battered forces are “on a path to a win,” the top US general there told reporters on Tuesday.

But FP’s Paul McLeary notes that we’ve heard this before. American generals have been seeing victory on the horizon since at least 2007, and “Gen. John Nicholson is at least the eighth top commander in the last decade to forecast a pathway to victory in a war that has dragged on nearly all century, and his optimistic forecasts contrast starkly with deteriorating Afghan government control and a resurgent Taliban.”

The military and our leaders can’t even level with us on the number of troops deployed in Syria. Consider this report today, courtesy of FP: Foreign Policy:

The Pentagon is good at a great many things, but they can do absolutely magical things with troop numbers. The U.S. Central Command announced this week that it was pulling 400 Marines out of Syria, where they had been providing artillery support for the Syrian Democratic Forces battling ISIS.

The number is remarkable given that the military continues to insist there are only 503 US troops in Syria overall. And somehow, that 503 number has managed to remain exactly the same even after the Marines left. Recently, a general running US special operations in Iraq and Syria said there were 4,000 US troops in Syria. He quickly backtracked, saying the number was around 500 and holding steady, despite all actual physical evidence to the contrary.

Do we have 500 troops in Syria, or 2000, or 4000? Who are our generals trying to fool? Our rivals and enemies know how many troops we have in their regions and countries. Why can’t the American people have a full and honest accounting of what “our” troops are up to in places like Syria?

Whether from the Executive branch or from the military, the dishonesty keeps coming. This is exactly why we fail.

Why are we so persistent in our folly? For several reasons. Some people come to believe their own lies, their own happy talk. Careerism plays a role; so does politics. Money is a big concern, since there’s so much of it to be made in war. Some people even think it’s OK to…

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