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The Other War: Pentagon's Own Report On Afghanistan Invasion Blasts U.S. War Strategy
A report commissioned by the Pentagon on the invasion of Afghanistan was turned away after it concluded there was a wide gap between how the White House represented the war and what was actually taking place. We speak with the New Yorker's Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh who says, "It's a great trifecta for this administration. In three-and-a-half years of office, we have destroyed Afghanistan, destroyed Iraq and we are in the process of destroying the UN too."
As the nation and the world focus attention on the increasing violence and turmoil in Iraq - few are noticing the plight of the other nation invaded by the U.S. in the last two and a half years - Afghanistan.
The Bush administration has consistently labeled the invasion of Kabul a success. But reports from humanitarian organizations, United Nations officials and Afghanis themselves paint a very different picture - warlords dominate much of the country, the Taliban is still a force in many parts, and the illegal drug trade is flourishing.
But the latest criticism of the conflict comes from within the Pentagon itself.
In late 2002, the Pentagon commissioned a report from a retired colonel and leading military expert in unconventional warfare to examine the invasion of Afghanistan.
Retired Army Colonel Hy Rothstein, who served in the Army Special Forces for more than 20 years concluded the US failed to adapt to new conditions created by the Taliban's collapse and created conditions that have given "warlordism, banditry and opium production a new lease on life." This according to the New Yorker magazine.
After Rothstein submitted the report in January, the Pentagon returned it with a request he cut it drastically and soften his conclusions. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Collins said of the report "There may be a kernel of truth in there, but our experts found the study rambling and not terribly informative."
Rothstein wrote that the war "effectively destroyed the Taliban but has been significantly less successful at being able to achieve the primary policy goal of ensuring that al Qaeda could no longer operate in Afghanistan."