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US colonel: Don't believe US statements on progress in Afghanistan

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I spent five years covering the Iraq war, and at the end of it I was not inclined to believe anything official spokesmen had to say about Iraq anymore. I heard denials an insurgency was erupting in 2003, watched President Bush's "mission accomplished" moment after Saddam Hussein was captured, and was earnestly told Iraq's insurgency was on its last legs in 2005.

Again and again, the gap between observed reality and official rhetoric was wider than the ocean. I've only taken one reporting trip to Afghanistan, but follow the story from a distance and know many reporters who have lived there for years. Most of them believe, much as the Baghdad press corps did back in the day, that military spokesmen are running an information operation, not a clearing house for facts and honest opinion.

Now a colonel who just finished his tour in Afghanistan is backing that position up, in some of the most candid and critical comments you'll ever read from a serving officer. Many are certain to disagree with Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis' conclusions in Truth, lies, and Afghanistan. But his argument against continuing the war there is as straight and clear as a tracer bullet, particularly coming from a serving officer. 


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