"Saagar Enjeti REVEALS Pentagon Plot To Manufacture Consent For NEVER Leaving Afghanistan"
The Hill TV (Rising) (March 10, 2021)
Saagar Enjeti: "One of the vows I've taken in covering the Biden administration is to deliberately try to wade through the culture war bs that happens to dominate the news of the day and instead focus on stories that actually matter to you and your lives and to the core rock set of issues that I believe has contributed to the loss of this country's prestige abroad. And one of those is the multi-trillion dollar boondoggle in Afghanistan: a war where American blood was spilled for essentially nothing; where trillions of dollars in wealth was transferred to some of the most corrupt people on the planet in Dubai, Kabul, and right here in Washington; and where those who paid the real price came back home to a public that neither was invested in the conflict or even wanted to keep it going."
Barack Obama and Donald Trump were both elected, in three separate elections with the pledge to end this war. Neither was able to succeed. Joe Biden was elected on a similar pledge. And while I've never been optimistic given that this is the dude who beat the war drum for Iraq, Biden's past experience in the White House gave me some cause for hope. He argued strenuously in the Situation Room in 2009 to Obama: Do not surge troops in Afghanistan. He told Obama he was getting rolled by the Pentagon who endlessly and incessantly leaked against him, to box him into a corner where he had to send American troops or he would suffer tremendous domestic political pushback. Biden was right and Obama was wrong. He sent the troops there. They came back two years later with hudreds of American dead, with the Taliban controlling more territory than ever."
"And millions of Americans asked the same question. We asked for two decades now. What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan?
"But today, with Biden in the White House sidelined by the pandemic and an economic crisis, the very same machinery that boxed Obama in and that boxed Trump in, is doing the very same thing to him. The Afghan and Iraq wars are the reason I'm in politics. I make it a point to keep my eye on the Pentagona as closely as possible. Because I know they are masters of preparing the informaton environment in preparation for a big debate about toop withdrawal. And I can see before my eyes the consent being manufactured by our press and their sources inside the five-sided building."
"The first thing that caught my eye was this from the Washington Post, the kind of story which most people scroll right past. But I know exactly what it means. Look carefully at this headline. Quote: "With less U.S. tactical support, Afghanistan's elite forces are struggling to roll back Taliban advances.
Hmmmmmmm. File that under "No Shit."
Are Taliban advances bad? Yeah. Do I wish the Afghan elite forces the best? Yeah, I do. But if they can only do it with embedded U.S. troops, I've got bad news for you. It ain't ever going to change. Becase at this point, we've spent almost a hundred billion dollars on the Afghan security forces and it's never getting better."
"The pupose of this story, obviously fed to the Post by the Pentagon, is that the Taliban is gaining ground because we don't have enough troops in Afghanistan, and we're allowing U.S. troops to go and do the Afghan's job for them. Ergo, we need MORE troops. If you don't agree with that, then you're a Taliban apologist. Got it? This is the circular hellish logic that has dragged the war on for twenty years. And it's a tried and true Pentagon trick of the last decade. Check this out. This is my personal favorite story:"
"The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Miley, broke down in tears in a recent meeting of Biden administration offials. Saying that if we leave the country, then women's rights will, quote, 'go back to the stone age.' And it wasn't worth it, leaving the country after, quote, 'all the blood and treasure spent there after the last two decades.'"
[3:45] Saagar Enjeti: "That is about as perfect as it gets. The military-industrial complex justifying the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars and hundreds of lives by pointing to preserving another country's women's rights for why we should stay in perpetuity. And by the way, in case you're wondering, according to a report released on February 17th, the U.S. government, itself, has spent 787 million, or three-quarters of a billion, to support Afghan women and girls since 2002. We did our part and plenty more. And no expenditure of U.S. lives is worth more, as sad as the situation is.
But it tells you everything you need to know that this is the tactics that the generals are going with now. They cannot point to a military objective. They cannot even really point to U.S. national security. They settle on WOKE politics to justify the continued flow of billions of dollars a year to a conflict that gets worse every single day."
[4:39] "I'm highlighting this all now because behind the scenes a major debate raging within the White House and the State Department. Do we honor the peace deal President Trump signed with the Taliban, or not? We have only two months to decide. By the terms of the peace deal, we have to leave Afghanistan on May 1st. But the Penagon is already giving Biden an opening, saying that the Taliban has broken the terms of the peace because they continue to fight the Afghan government. A true peace deal has not been reached. The Afghan government doesn't want one because they don't have to share power with the Taliban and they know the REAL gravy train is over if we do actually leave. And the Taliban doesn't want to just win outright because they don't want to live under international sanctions for the rest of their lives."
[5:24] "The solution is simple. End the god damned war now. It will be unpleasant. It will require striking a deal with people who have shot American soldiers and smiled while doing it. It is terrible, but that's war. There is nothing to be gained from staying in Afghanistan. No matter your agenda and at all costs, all of us have to take notice of this ongoing Pentagon effort to manufacture consent. Because if we don't, they will bamboozle the rest of us into another 25 years into Afghanistan."
"I know it's important, Chrystal, and it doesn't get nearly the amount of coverage it deserves. But if you string those couple of things together, the generals making emotional pleas in the situation room, or you can see that Washington Post story was just a little bit too perfect. And I also know this because I was there covering the Pentagon whenever they stopped releasing Afghan casualty reports because they didn't want us to know how badly the war was going. So they strategically leak it ever time it is bad in order to try and push a narrative.
[6:23] "It is so clear. We've only go two months. I mean, it's less than two months at this point, actually. We need to leave. And all of the ground is being set for these people to stay forever. For totally bs reasons. It will never get better."
Krystal Ball: "We learned in the Afghanistan papers that the Washington Post got their hands on, that across BIPARTISAN administrations the American people have been lied to about what was happening on the ground in Afghanistan. The assessment of high-ranking government and military officials was that it was an unwinnable war. And Obama himself said you've just got to muddle through. That's the truth about what's been going on there for years."
"Everyone would love to see women and girls have the rights in Afghanistan and every other country in this world that they have here in the U.S., preferably even better. If you want to talk about women's rights, how about you go talk to your friend MBS, and their stone age treatment of women. How about that, OK? Let's not imagine that any of this is being done because of human rights or women's rights or anything of the sort. It's about money and it's about power. And that's what it has always been about. It's about the people who make their living who get rich off these kinds of conflicts. And they have permanent sustained power in this town.
[7:44] "And it seems like it doesn't matter who you elect and what they promise. They start leaking to the press. They present a range of options that doesn't put on the table the thing that you actually wanted to do as president, which is to get out of the war. And look, that is not to let off the hook Obama, Bush, Trump, and now Biden. But it's to understand the pressure that comes to bear that sustains these things for decades and turns them into forever war. So, look. I understand the way it pulls at people's heartstrings, because you know most Americans are good people. They don't want to see women suffering. They don't want to see the Taliban -- it's absolutely sad. And it's horrific to turn your eyes away from that."
[8:31] "But what are they really arguing for here? Do you think that just keeping our current troop level would do anyting for women's rights? Do you think it would do anything for pushing back the Taliban? No. The answer is, if you really wanted to do those things you had better be prepared to send hundreds of thousands of troops. Take that case to the American people and see how that goes."
Saagar Enjeti:"Yeah. It's never going to work. And this is the thing I want to underscore, too, which is that they, in each one of these stories, Pentagon officials will confirm on background that if the U.S. troops leave, that the Taliban will take over the country within one year. Well, what the hell have we been doing there for 20 years? Why did we spend a hundred billion dollars on the Afghan security forces who pocket all their money and send it to their bank accounts in Dubai while we look the other way. These people have gotten stupendously rich off of us for decades, including their military contractors here in Washington. That's why they don't want to leave. This is the dirtiest secret of all of this."
[9:28] "Secretary Blinken apparently is said to [have sent] a secret letter -- which was strategically leaked -- where he was telling the Ghani government, he's like 'Look, man, you better get wise. Like, you need to sign a deal or to have some deal with the Taliban.' They don't want to do it. The last thing they want is any sort of peace. And it's not because of too much blood spilt on both sides. Give me a break. They do business with each other all the time whenever it comes to the narcotics business. What it really is about is they don't want to give up the grift. They don't want to stop the pipeline of all of our dollars flowing into their pockets, month after month after month."
"And it's enough. We just cannot do it anymore. Like you said, Do you really want to take that case to the American people? They'll vote it down, 95 to 5. That's exactly how it would work. That's why they can't do it, so they make these appeals in the boardrooms. And watch. May 1st, that's the deadline. And if we stay after that, we're going to be there for the next ten years. I guarantee it."