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Myths of Iraq and Afghanistan

•, Steve Chapman
 When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the other day the U.S. war in Afghanistan is "succeeding" and "has turned an important corner," I could have sworn I had heard that before. Where could it have been?

Ah, now I remember. In 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld boasted, "We clearly have moved from major combat activity to a period of stability. ... The bulk of this country today is permissive, it's secure."

Four years later, he pronounced Afghanistan "a big success." In 2011, Defense Secretary Robert Gates assured us the U.S. effort was "succeeding."

There is a term for a war that is always "succeeding" but never concluding: a failure. But Barack Obama has followed the custom of George W. Bush in pretending otherwise.


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