By Eric Levitz, New York Magazine | Here’s a fun little thought experiment: Imagine a “big government” bureaucracy embarked on a wildly ambitious project of social engineering — only to discover, almost immediately, that it had little hope of meeting its stated objectives. Reluctant to admit defeat, or jeopardize funding for its endeavors, this federal agency proceeded to deliberately mislead the public about how badly its project was going, and the likelihood of its ultimate success. Over an 18-year-period, these pointy-headed bureaucrats and their allied elected officials conspired to shovel roughly $1 trillion of taxpayer money into an initiative that exacerbated the very problems it purported to solve — and got 2,300 Americans killed in the process!
Now imagine that a major newspaper published a bombshell report meticulously documenting this bureaucracy’s conscious efforts to mislead the American people whom it claimed to serve, so as to ensure that it could carry on squandering our blood and treasure with impunity.
Would Congress reward that bureaucracy with a $22 billion budget increase hours later, with self-identified “small government” conservatives leading the call?
Last week, we learned that the answer is “of course.”
Last Monday, the Washington Post published “The Afghanistan Papers,” thousands of pages of war documents that our government did not want us to see, and which the paper only secured after a protracted legal battle. Those documents include nearly 2,000 pages of notes from interviews with generals, diplomats, and other officials who played a central role in waging America’s longest war. Here is some of what the Post uncovered:
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