Summary: Please read this letter from Daniel L. Davis (Lt Colonel, US Army). He has set in motion forces that can change America, but only if we choose to help. Pass this on to your Congressmen, Senators, local newspapers, associate, friends, and relatives. If we stand together we can reclaim America. Today is an opportunity to start this process.
δῶς μοι πᾶ στῶ καὶ τὰν γᾶν κινάσω (Give me a fulcrum, and we shall move the nation.)
— Archimedes of Syracuse (c. 287 BC – c. 212 BC), my translation
- The letter
- What the late John R. Boyd (Colonel, USAF) would tell Colonel Davis
- This has happened before
- Update: Rolling Stone has posted a copy of Davis’ unclassified report
- Other posts describing misinformation about Afghanistan and the war
(1) The Letter
Colonel Davis has attracted considerable attention lately from these articles:
- “Truth, lies and Afghanistan – How military leaders have let us down“, Daniel L. Davis (Lt Colonel, US Army), Armed Forces Journal, February 2012
- “Important news about our war in Afghanistan“, New York Times, 6 February 2012
This letter explains his actions. It is reprinted with permission of Colonel Davis. See his website here, with important docutmentation about his observations, and links to his other articles.
My Dearest Friends,
I haven’t talked to many of you in awhile, but so the rest of this makes sense, I was deployed to Afghanistan for a year between November 2010 and October 2011. I saw many things during that deployment — the fourth combat deployment of my career — that I found disturbing. Eventually I felt morally obligated to do something about what I saw to such an extent that iI was incapable of not acting. Here’s what I’ve done and things that are being done as a result.
Scott Shane from the New York Times will publish a story on the actions I’ve taken, and the Armed Forces Journal will simultaneously publish an article i’ve written explaining why I submitted a Department of Defense Inspector General complaint against select senior leaders of the Armed Forces for so being so deceptive to the US Congress and American people that the truth is no longer recognizable — and the biggest bill-payer for this deception has been the lives and bodies of America’s service men and women.
Additionally I have briefed three members of the House (Jones, Garamendi, and McGovern), four Senators (Merkley, Bennet, Tom Udall, and Manchen) as well as 18 other Senate staffers representing numerous other offices. This briefing included a classified and unclassified portion (and the DoDIG complaint also included a classified and unclassified component), and was also submitted in the form of a request for Congress to investigate my allegations.
Supposedly, the three House members are planning on going to the House floor on Tuesday with up to 10 other Members to speak on the matter and demand an investigation and hearings (or whatever they do on the floor!); the Senators suggested they are considering similar action.
Part of my AFJ article includes a link to a web site I set up for the purpose of hanging the unclassified report for everyone to see (the AFJ article is only 2,400 words, while the unclassified report is 86 pages; the classified report is 58 pages). However, there is a battle within the Army Public Affairs on releasing the document, which I submitted for review on 20 January – the same day I disclosed to the Army’s senior leaders and my chain of command what was coming. Officers from the Army Media Relations department tried to pry it loose on Friday because they believe it is the right thing to do, but someone – they didn’t tell me who – overruled them and said it would take longer still…
In case you’d like to read the Armed Forces Journal article I wrote to see what exactly I witnessed, the article has just been posted on their web site at: “Truth, lies and Afghanistan – How military leaders have let us down“, Armed Forces Journal, February 2012.
The New York Times will publish the story on my actions in their Monday paper edition, but an online version has also just been published at “Important news about our war in Afghanistan“, 6 February 2012.
Once I became aware of the truth on the ground, I could no longer rationalize inaction on my part. Essentially, I would have had to keep my mouth shut and thus not risk running afoul of the Army’s senior leaders – but turned a blind eye to the thousands of combat troops who continue risking their lives each and every day they go outside the wire while I lived comfortably in the safety and security of America. Once I looked at it in those terms, I was compelled to act…
Anyway, thought you’d like a little heads up!
(2) What the late John R. Boyd (Colonel, USAF) would tell Colonel Davis
He made the right choice when coming to the fateful “to be or to do” moment. See “To be or to do” at Defense and the National Interest, 1 July 2007 — Opening:
Of all the things Boyd wrote or said, we probably get the most requests for his “To be or to do?” invitation. Although Boyd associated with many junior officers during his Air Force career, there were a few, perhaps half a dozen, that he had such respect for that he invited them to join him on his quest for change. Each one would be offered the choice: Be someone – be recognized by the system and promoted – or do something that would last for the Air Force and the country. It was unfortunate, and says something about the state of American’s armed forces, that it was rarely possible to do both.
Boyd’s biographer, Robert Coram, collected the invitation from an officer who got it and selected the “to do” option. Here it is: …
(3) This has happened before
A historical analogy is the briefing Lt. Colonel John Paul Vann (US Army) gave to the senior Army leadership in Washington during June and July 1963, with statistical evidence proving that the military’s reporting about the Vietnam War was incorrect. It was suppressed, although some details slowly leaked into the press through a few brave journalists (as rare then as now). More about this tomorrow.
Let’s see if the actions of this brave man produce larger results than those of Vann.
(4) Update: Rolling Stone has posted a copy of Davis’ unclassified report
Solidifying Rolling Stone’s role as one of America’s few remaining outposts of journalism:
- The article: “The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Read“, 10 February 2012
- The report: “Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leaders’ Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort“, 27 January 2012
- A post with excerpts from the report: Rolling Stone releases Colonel Davis’ report about Afghanistan!
(5) Other posts describing misinformation about Afghanistan and the war
- The good news about COIN in Afghanistan is really bad news, 20 August 2008
- We are warned about Afghanistan, but choose not to listen (part 2), 19 July 2009
- DoD did not consider troop levels when devising our latest Af-Pak war plans, more evidence that their OODA loop is broken, 8 October 2009
- A clear view of our Afghanistan War strategy (unfortunately, it’s mad), 16 April 2010
- A powerful story from Afghanistan, an illustration of our un-strategy at work, 18 April 2010
- Presidential decision-making about Vietnam and Afghanistan: “You have 3 choices, sir”, 5 October 2010
- We can learn an important lesson about ourselves from the “Three Cups of Tea” affair (part one), 26 April 2011
- The lessons about ourselves we can learn from the “Three Cups of Tea” affair (part two), 27 April 2011