Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who last week was hailed in the Washington Post as someone “incapable of dissembling,” dissembled to a gullible press corps about the history of U.S. dealings with Afghanistan while en route to that country on Monday.
By Robert Parry
December 8, 2009
"....However, while that story of the 1989 abandonment may be a powerful conventional wisdom in Washington – popularized by the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War” – it is substantially untrue, and former CIA Director Gates knows it to be a myth.
What actually happened in 1989 was that President George H.W. Bush rebuffed overtures from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for a negotiated settlement of the war that envisioned a coalition government involving Soviet-backed President Najibullah and the CIA-backed mujahedeen warlords.....
The reason for rebuffing Gorbachev and continuing the war was simple: Gates’s CIA analytical division – which he had packed with Cold War hardliners – was projecting a rapid collapse of Najibullah’s government. That would mean a complete humiliation of the Soviets and a total triumph for the United States and the CIA.
In 1989, I was a correspondent for Newsweek magazine covering intelligence issues. After the Soviets left Afghanistan, I asked CIA officials why they were continuing the bloodshed. Why not, I asked, just look for a way to bring the war to an end with some kind of national unity government? Hadn’t the U.S. national interest of driving out the Soviets been achieved?
One of the CIA hardliners responded to my question with disgust. “We want to see Najibullah strung up by a light pole,” he snapped......"