In 1967, Michigan Governor George W. Romney, a potential contender for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination, abandoned his earlier support for the war in Vietnam, which he had called “morally right and necessary.” Asked why he changed his position, Romney said, “When I came back from Viet Nam [in November 1965], I’d just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get.” That remark indicating the U.S. military had lied to him was widely interpreted as a fatal gaffe, and Romney pulled out of the race two weeks before the New Hampshire primary.
Of course, the U.S. government was lying about Vietnam. This was the infamous “credibility gap.”
Would a politician suffer the same fate today if he were to claim that the Obama administration is lying about the war in Afghanistan? Perhaps, but George Romney’s son, Mitt, isn’t likely to find out. Yet he and the entire country are being lied to about that war.
From President Obama on down, we hear nothing from government officials but glowing public reports about how things are going in Afghanistan. In June, when Obama announced his initial timetable for withdrawal, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We have broken the Taliban’s momentum. We do begin this drawdown from a position of strength.”
But that’s not what the military says behind closed doors. Thanks to one U.S. military officer, the doors have been cracked open so the public can learn what officials really think.
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Sheldon Richman (photo) is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation.