It’s not often — OK, almost never really — that a respected and experienced senior military officer will break from cover to make public criticisms of their own institution, the wars that institution is fighting and the way politicians intercede in those wars.
But that has happened. And now, you can read all about it.
U.S. Army Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Davis recently hit the news for his scathing short article posted over at the Armed Forces Journal which describes how U.S. leadership (and NATO, by extension) had consistently mislead the public about the actual situation in Afghanistan. (Canadian content bonus: read the AFJ article for mentions of combat and various mis-deeds in the old CF stomping grounds of Panjwaii and Zhari).
For the past few days, the web has been alight with news that Davis’ larger report has leaked. It’s long — very long — but it’s also a gripping read (I lost most of my Sunday to it, somewhat unhappily).
In it, Davis indicts pretty much everyone — much of the U.S. general leadership, the media, politicians, etc. It’s not our style here to summarize what should be read in its entirety, but suffice to say Davis’ privileged position allowed him to see quite clearly that not only was the war being spun, but that the spin itself was derailing the war effort. Davis walks the reader through this and shows how it happened.
It’s powerful stuff; hard to argue with. Word from over in Afghanistan has reached us to note that the feeling among some NATO staff officers is that the report is “bang on.”