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Marsha Blackburn: “Afghanistan Papers” bombshell, It’s time for a congressional investigation

 

U.S. SenateWashington, D.C. – If it were any other year, last week’s “Afghanistan Papers” bombshell in the Washington Post would still be dominating headlines, talk radio segments, and cable news chyrons.

For passive observers of wartime news, the Afghanistan Papers validated almost two decades of barroom debate over the unprecedented outpouring of resources and troops into a region many Americans long ago wrote off as lost cause.

Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Senator Marsha Blackburn.

For lawmakers in Washington, however, the Post’s reporting raised serious questions about the trustworthiness of an agency that has guided policy in Afghanistan for two decades.

The immediate comparisons made between the documentation of interviews performed by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (or, “SIGAR,”) and the notorious Pentagon Papers were unavoidable and jarring, and it will take time to determine if those comparisons are fair.

Still, it will be time well spent. SIGAR was created by Congress specifically to prevent fraud and excessive spending. For years, lawmakers, congressional staff, and foreign policy experts have relied on SIGAR to guide policy: money, resources, and lethal force are withheld or granted based in part on SIGAR’s analysis.

This standard reporting is drastically different than the “Lessons Learned” investigation the Post’s reporting unveiled.

Our armed forces—mainly, the United States Army—use Lessons Learned documents to think creatively about successes, failures, and what ifs. They are not used to report on mission status, and they’re certainly not meant to drive policy.

Read the rest of Senator Blackburn’s op-ed on Fox News.com.

Senator Blackburn serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support.


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